KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Hospital News: Colorado Legislature Considers Limits On Charges, Philly Children’s Hospital Apology, Mass. Facility Closure

Colorado Public Radio: Colorado Senator Wants To Limit Hospital Bills
Colorado's legislature is taking up a bill Thursday that would limit how much hospitals can charge people without insurance. ... The lawmaker who wrote it is trying to reduce the number of Coloradans bankrupted by medical bills (Whitney, 2/15).

Denver Post: Proposal At Capitol Today Limits Financial Pain On Colorado's Medically Uninsured
Easing the pressure on beleaguered patients ... is the primary push by consumer advocates at the state Capitol this year. They will pack a hearing today on a proposal to limit hospital bills to actual costs for the uninsured, delay medical-debt collectors and require hospitals to highlight charity policies in plain language at every turn. ... Hospital advocates say the sticker-price charges are nearly meaningless, since almost no one pays that full amount. They say they write off hundreds of millions of dollars a year in charity care and bad debt from the uninsured (Booth, 2/16).

Boston Globe: Taunton State Hospital Closing Opposed
Patient advocates and officials in communities south of Boston are lobbying to block the state Department of Mental Health’s plan to close Taunton State Hospital, saying it would leave Southeastern Massachusetts without a single bed for the mentally ill. Taunton State Hospital, which opened its doors in 1854, has 169 beds and 410 employees (Legere, 2/16).

The Dallas Morning News: Parkland Chief Tries To Encourage Employees After Report Exposing Widespread Problems
Parkland's interim CEO stood before hundreds of people from the hospital on Wednesday in an attempt to blunt the impact of a sweeping report that exposed widespread threats to patient safety. ... [Dr. Thomas] Royer said the hospital has been making improvements. But on the same afternoon he was speaking, Texas health officials said the state is considering whether to fine Parkland (Jacobson, 2/15).

Des Moines Register: Independence Hospital To Pay U.S. $406,030 For Employing Barred Nurse
A Buchanan County hospital has agreed to pay $406,030 to the federal government to settle allegations that it employed a nurse who was barred from working there because of past allegations of drug use and theft from patients. State and federal records show that in January 2007 Buchanan County Health Center in Independence hired Stephanie Davison of Mitchellville to work in the hospital. She continued to work there through May 2011 (Kauffman, 2/16).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Children's Hospital Apologizes To Family Of Disabled Girl For Insensitive Statement
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia apologized Wednesday for the way it had communicated with the parents of Amelia Rivera, the 3-year-old disabled girl whose quest for a kidney transplant has garnered national attention. ... the hospital said it was reviewing its processes to ensure that it was "sensitive to the needs of all families." In January, Joe and Chrissy Rivera said that a hospital physician had told them the girl should not have a transplant because of her mental disability (Avril, 2/16).

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