State Roundup: Calif. Prison Spending On Anti-Psychotics Raises Treatment Questions

A selection of health policy stories from North Dakota, California, Nevada and Massachusetts.

PBS NewsHour: States Become Central Battleground In Fight Over Access To Abortion Services (Video)
Five states have moved to adopt tighter abortion regulations, including North Dakota, where a new law prohibits abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. Jeffrey Brown gets perspectives from Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life and Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America (4/30).

The Associated Press: Calif. Spends Big On Anti-Psychotics
Under federal court oversight, California's prison mental health system has been spending far more on anti-psychotic drugs than other states with large prison systems, raising questions about whether patients are receiving proper treatment. Figures compiled by The Associated Press show that California has been spending a far greater percentage on anti-psychotic medication for inmates than other states with large prison systems (Thompson, 5/1).

Sacramento Bee: Two Hospital Workers Fired Over 'Dumping' Of Nevada Psychiatric Patients
Nevada state officials said Monday that two employees at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas have been fired and another three will be disciplined as a result of an internal investigation into the hospital's practice of busing mentally ill patients to other states. The investigation found that 10 out of roughly 1,500 patients may have been placed on buses during the last five years without "a support system/family/friends/housing at the destination," according to a statement from Mary Woods, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (Reese and Hubert, 4/30).

Los Angeles Times: Workers Fired From Nevada Hospital Accused Of 'Patient Dumping'
Two employees have been fired and three others disciplined at a Las Vegas hospital accused of "patient dumping" -- sending mentally ill patients to other states, including California. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that 10 of roughly 1,500 patients discharged from Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital had been placed on buses within the last five years without "a support system/family/friends/housing at the destination," the Sacramento Bee reported (Mather, 4/30).

The New York Times: Harvard Student's Suicide As A Case Study
A lawsuit against Harvard provides rare detail on the issues involving a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder from a student-health department. … Mr. Edwards's father, John, contends, among other accusations, that his son had never had A.D.H.D. and that Harvard's original diagnostic procedure, and subsequent prescriptions for Adderall, did not meet medical standards. Harvard attests that Johnny Edwards's care was "thorough and appropriate," according to a university statement. The trial is scheduled to begin next February in Massachusetts Superior Court (Schwarz, 4/30).

Los Angeles Times: Prosthetic Device Makers Reach Out To Aid Boston Marathon Victims
A group of companies that design, manufacture and service orthotic and prosthetic devices has banded together to aid uninsured and under-insured victims of the Boston Marathon bombing who have had limbs amputated and may need years of costly care. The newly formed Coalition to Walk and Run Again said its members are "committed to assuring the availability of appropriate patient care as well as artificial limbs and other mobility devices on a compassionate access basis" to those who had amputations as a result of injuries sustained in the April 15 bombing that injured 264 people and claimed the lives of three (Healy, 4/30).

California Healthline: Study: Insurers Are Palliative Care Innovators
Six major health insurers in California are expanding access to palliative care by providing more specialized case management and opening up the hospice benefit beyond its Medicare boundaries, according to a new study expected to be released today. The study, "A Better Benefit: Health Plans Try New Approaches to End-of-Life Care," is accompanied by a second paper in today's scheduled release: "End-of-Life Care in California: You Don't Always Get What You Want." The two papers are funded and published by the California HealthCare Foundation, which publishes California Healthline (Gorn, 4/30).

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