A selection of health policy stories from New York, North Dakota, Texas, Minnesota and California.
The New York Times: Interfaith Medical Center Plans To Close
Giving up the fight to stay open, Interfaith Medical Center, one of Brooklyn’s most financially troubled hospitals, asked a bankruptcy court on Tuesday to approve its closing and sent layoff warning notices to its 1,544 employees (Bernstein, 7/31).
The New York Times: Abortion Law Is Blocked In North Dakota
A state judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked enforcement of a law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The law is similar to measures promoted by anti-abortion groups and upheld by courts in other states including Mississippi and Alabama (Eckholm, 7/31).
Dallas Morning News: Women's Health Program Serving Thousands Fewer Texans Since State Takeover
Thousands of women have dropped out of a health care program since the state altered it seven months ago in a fight over Planned Parenthood, state statistics show. Since the state began operating its own Texas Women’s Health Program, claims have dropped 23 percent, or about 4,000 visits monthly. The state broke from a Medicaid-funded program because federal rules allowed Planned Parenthood to deliver health services. Some Texas leaders insisted no organization that was affiliated with abortion providers should be allowed in the program (Martin, 7/31).
MPR News: New Underage-Drinking Law Aims To Change Perception, Save Lives (Audio)
The most important benefit of a new law on underage drinking is its educational effect, says a student who helped write it. The law, which takes effect Thursday, provides a limited shield from prosecution for underage drinkers who call 911 seeking help for themselves or a friend. Police had already followed a practice of declining to prosecute young drinkers who called emergency services because they thought a friend's life was in danger, said Matt Forstie, a University of Minnesota student and chair of the Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition. The bigger problem, he said, was that a large number of students admitted they would hesitate to call 911 in such situations (7/31).
California Healthline: State Helps Providers Navigate New Immunization Web Exchange Portal
State health officials yesterday staged their first provider webinar for the new Immunization Messaging Portal, an effort by the California Department of Public Health to automate the submission of immunization data. The new web portal replaces the former manual process for registering, testing and submitting electronic immunization data. Medicare and Medi-Cal providers participating in an electronic health record incentive program are required to submit immunization data electronically to the immunization registry. The electronic immunization system helps providers meet the meaningful use requirements of the federal EHR incentive program (Gorn, 7/31).