KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Highligts: Calif.’s Medical System For Prisons; Gender Therapy In Boston; Ga. Public Health Money

A selection of health policy stories from California, Massachusetts, Georgia and North Carolina.

Los Angeles Times: California's Medical Prison Beset By Waste And Mismanagement
California's $840-million medical prison -- the largest in the nation -- was built to provide care to more than 1,800 inmates. When fully operational, it was supposed to help the state's prison system emerge from a decade of federal oversight brought on by the persistent neglect and poor medical treatment of inmates. But since opening in July, the state-of-the-art California Health Care Facility has been beset by waste, mismanagement and miscommunication between the prison and medical staffs (St. John, 4/12).

The Boston Globe: Gender Therapy Access Pushed
City workers in Boston seeking gender reassignment surgery would for the first time have their care covered by health insurance under a City Council proposal supported by Mayor Martin J. Walsh. City Councilors at Large Michelle Wu and Ayanna Pressley said they plan to file a proposal Monday that would guarantee transgender city employees access to gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and mental health services (Fox, 4/14).

Georgia Health News: Drop In Federal Funds Squeezes Public Health 
The state budget recently delivered good news for Georgia public health: an overall increase in funding. But behind those numbers are other numbers that have alarmed public health officials. About 70 percent of the overall budget for the Department of Public Health comes from federal grants. And that federal money has seen significant reductions. From fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013, across all programs, Public Health lost about $25 million in federal money. And that drop has continued (Miller, 4/13).

Kaiser Health News: Waiting -- And -- Waiting On The Nursing Home Inspector
The case is just one example of hundreds in Los Angeles County and thousands statewide in which investigations by nursing home regulators have remained incomplete for months, sometimes years. There were 3,044 open cases in the county as of mid-March, 945 of which date back two years or more, according to an audit released last week by the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller (Gorman, 4/14).

North Carolina Health News:  Lack of Funds Continues to Limit NC Abortion Clinic Inspections
In a new report, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says that funding shortfalls remain an obstacle to hiring needed inspectors for abortion clinics and other medical facilities. The report, on “additional needs to survey abortion clinics,” was issued April 1 in response to the requirements of N.C.’s new abortion law, passed late last summer. The law instructed DHHS to prepare new rules for how clinics are certified and to keep the N.C. General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services apprised of the process. The legislature’s directives regarding abortion clinics seemed relatively clear last summer: Do more inspections and write new rules. But neither objective has played out quickly (Elliston, 4/10).

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