Highlights: N.D. Hospital And Abortion Docs; Calif. Sugary Beverage Bill

Los Angeles Times: Democrat Leading In Florida Race Eyed As Test Of Obamacare
A Democratic candidate who has explicitly defended Obamacare holds a slight lead in a special congressional election in Florida that both parties are eyeing as a test of the political impact of the healthcare law. A poll released Thursday by the Tampa Bay Times shows Democrat Alex Sink leading her Republican opponent, David Jolly, 42% to 35% among people considered likely to vote in the March 11 special election. Another 14% of respondents said they were undecided in the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points (Lauter, 2/13).

The Associated Press: North Dakota Abortion Clinic Gets Required Hospital Access
A Dakotas-based health care system has granted hospital-admitting privileges to doctors at North Dakota's sole abortion provider, which would bring the Fargo clinic into compliance with a new state law. In a statement Thursday to The Associated Press, Sanford Health said physicians at the Red River Women's Clinic have been credentialed at its hospital in Fargo (2/13).

Los Angeles Times: California Lawmaker Proposes Adding Health Warning Labels To Sodas 
Citing studies linking soda to obesity, a state lawmaker and medical experts proposed a first-in-the-nation bill Thursday that sugary drinks sold in California carry health warning labels similar to those on cigarette packs. They want warning labels on the fronts of all cans and bottles of soda and juice drinks that have sugar added and 75 or more calories per 12 ounces (McGreevy, 2/13).

The Associated Press: California Bill Seeks Warnings On Sugary Drinks 
California would become the first state to require warning labels on sodas and other sugary drinks under a proposal a state lawmaker announced Thursday. SB1000 would require the warning on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories in every 12 ounces. The label would read: "STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay" (Thompson, 2/13).

The Texas Tribune: As Population Ages, So Does Supply Of Home Care Workers
As the elderly population grows in Texas and throughout the United States, more seniors are finding themselves in need of home care workers. But that workforce is aging, too, and attracting young people to the profession has proven challenging (Zaragovia, 2/14).

The Oregonian: Oregon Senate Passes Silver Alert, Medicaid Fraud Bill
Local police agencies would be required to develop Silver Alert policies to locate missing vulnerable adults under a bill passed in the Oregon Senate on Thursday. Senate Bill 1577 passed unanimously and heads to the House. The bill would also require the Oregon Health Authority to develop improved electronic systems to detect and prevent Medicaid fraud. "It’s scary to have an elderly family member disappear often because of dementia or Alzheimer’s," said Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who sponsored the bill. "The goal is to as efficiently and effectively as possible recover these seniors and get them back to their loved ones” (Zheng, 2/13).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Assembly Approves Bill On Mental Health Detentions
The Assembly overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday aimed at reducing the number of people unnecessarily brought into Milwaukee County's Mental Health Complex by police. The measure would establish a two-year pilot program that would allow the 20 medically trained employees of Milwaukee County's mobile crisis team to determine if a patient is dangerous and needs to be held before transporting him or her to the hospital. After the two years, lawmakers would review the program and decide if they want to take the idea statewide. If they did nothing, the program would automatically end, and current policies would resume (Marley and Kissinger, 2/13).  

The Seattle Times: Feds Drop Demand That Could Privatize Mental-Health Care
The federal government has backed off a demand that Washington state change how it administers mental-health care, a reversal that removes the possibility of one of the largest privatizations of services in state history. Federal officials broke the news in a letter to the state last week (Rosenthal, 2/13).

Los Angeles Times: No Quick Fix For Strokes, But L.A. Trial Made Care Speedier, Better 
A groundbreaking Los Angeles clinical trial has proven a disappointment in demonstrating that a safe and inexpensive mineral infusion could reduce disability in stroke patients. But the researchers behind a UCLA trial called "Fast-Mag" said the eight-year effort drove dramatic improvements in the care of stroke victims across the Southland, rallying hospitals, emergency medical teams and physicians to deliver faster and more targeted care (Healy, 2/13).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: House Budget Adds $47 Million For Mental Health
The House Appropriations Committee will propose $47 million in new funding to address gaps in Virginia’s mental health system by expanding the availability of state hospital beds and the use of therapeutic drop-off centers to help people in psychiatric crises.The proposed funding represents almost $10 million more than then-Gov. Bob McDonnell requested in December to bolster the crisis response system after Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, was attacked by his son, who then killed himself on Nov. 19 at their home in Millboro. House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, gave House members a glimpse at the committee’s budget proposal in a floor speech Thursday that emphasized spending on mental health, domestic violence and higher education (Martz, 2/13).

Georgia Health News: Health Leaders Teach People Like Themselves To Live Better
During a family picnic once or twice a year, [Barbara] Haynes joins forces with health professionals to screen church members for high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels and other problems. Shiloh Baptist is a small, predominantly African-American church in east Athens, drawing members from throughout the city and some outlying areas. ... Haynes, 60, who is retired and spends most of her time volunteering, uses her status as a church member -- and in many cases, as a friend -- to get people to pay attention and perhaps ward off preventable ailments (Hale, 2/13).

The California Health Report: California Expands Palliative Care Efforts Through Nurse Training and the State’s First Outpatient Center
When Janna Woods was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last May, the Cupertino resident was unsure how she could possibly cope with the chronic back pain that had plagued her for years, combined with the onset of cancer pain. ... Fortunately, a friend told Woods about the new Palliative Care Center Silicon Valley (PCCSV) in San Jose. The first independent, community-based, licensed outpatient palliative care center in California, the center, a division of Hospice of the Valley, opened its doors to the public in July 2013 (Childers, 2/14).

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