KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Longer Looks: Health Care In Jail; Preventing Medicare Drug Fraud; New Medical Codes

Every week, KHN reporter Marissa Evans selects interesting reading from around the Web. 

Health Affairs: To Improve Public Health And Safety, One Sheriff Looks Beyond The Jail Walls
"Sheriff Ashe," [the waitress] began. "My daughter is in your jail." She then told me her daughter's story. "Laura," as I’ll call her here, was a bright and sociable girl who, after graduating from high school, went on to community college. There, she began using drugs with the new friends she made. Things got worse: She became addicted to heroin and landed in the Hampden County Correctional Center before she was even twenty. ... we aim to provide every inmate with the tools he needs to return to the community and build a new life. This is how we think of reentry. One way we support reentry is through the After Incarceration Support Systems Program, established in 1996 in downtown Springfield. The program office houses organizations and social service agencies that provide recently released inmates with assistance in getting jobs, housing, counseling, help with drug and alcohol abuse problems, and other supportive services. Health care is also a major component of our approach to reentry. Jails are “reservoirs” of under- or untreated illness, including many communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, and tuberculosis (Michael J. Ashe, 3/5). 

Time Magazine: When Not To Arrest An Abuser In A Domestic Violence Case
Almost half the states in America have mandatory arrest provisions in domestic violence cases, and it's widely accepted as an important step in protecting the mostly female victims of spousal or partner violence. Just last month, the legislature in Madison County, Alabama,  passed a bill that would strengthen police's ability to make such arrests. But a new research paper raises some questions about whether mandatory arrests in every case is the right approach. It’s possible arresting an alleged abuser may be really bad for some victims'  long-term health (Belinda Luscombe, 3/5).

The Weekly Standard: Code Chaos
Ever considered suicide by jellyfish? Have you ended up in the hospital after being injured during the forced landing of your spacecraft? Or been hurt when you were sucked into the engine of an airplane or when your horse-drawn carriage collided with a trolley? Chances are slim. But should any of these unfortunate injuries befall you after October 1, 2014, your doctor, courtesy of the federal government, will have a code to record it. On that date, the United States is scheduled to implement a new system for recording injuries, medical diagnoses, and inpatient procedures called ICD-10?—?the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases propagated by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. ... The coming changes are vast. The number of codes will explode?—?from 17,000 under the current system to 155,000 under the new one, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (Stephen F. Hayes, 3/5).

NewsHour: Teaching Students How To Combat Traumas Of Poverty On The Yoga Mat
At Cesar Chavez Academy in East Palo Alto, Calif., 7th graders are learning yoga as a way to cope with the stress of life in a community rife with homelessness, shootings and gang war trauma. By teaching these children to pay close attention to their breathing and movements, Stanford University researchers are hoping they will focus better in school and beyond (Jeffrey Brown, 3/4).

ProPublica: Medicare's Drug Program Needs Stronger Protections Against Fraud, Watchdog Says
Medicare has failed to adequately track fraud in its massive prescription drug program, according to a new report today from the agency's watchdog. In particular, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that fewer than half of the insurance companies paid to administer Medicare's drug program reported data to the federal government about potential fraud and abuse cases between 2010 and 2012. Two large insurers with 4 million members collectively appear not to have reported a single incident of fraud in 2012 (Charles Ornstein, 3/4).

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