Monday, October 26, 2020 | Kaiser Health News

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Immigrants At Georgia Detention Center Forced To Have Unnecessary Gynecological Surgeries

Media outlets report on news from Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Vermont, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Michigan, Missouri, Montana and Texas.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Report: Women At Immigration Detention Center Pressured Into Unneeded Surgeries

Women held in a South Georgia immigration detention center were referred to a gynecologist for problems unrelated to their reproductive health and were pressured to undergo unnecessary surgeries, according to a group of medical experts reviewing their complaints. The five-page report says the gynecologist who performed the procedures did not inform the patients of risks, benefits or alternatives before operating. (Redmon and Judd, 10/23)

In news from the South —

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Sweeping Provisions Of The ACA On The Table As High Court Hears Case

Like millions of Georgians, the Rev. Jill Henning has health insurance through her job and doesn’t shop the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. But her job’s plan gave her the cancer screening that saved her life for free because the ACA required it. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, is best known for the health insurance exchange marketplace where individuals can buy subsidized plans. And when it comes before the U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 10, that will be on the table. So will countless other changes that altered far corners of the U.S. health care system. (Hart, 10/23)

New Orleans Times-Picayune:
50,000 Children In Louisiana Are Without Health Insurance, The Largest Increase In A Decade 

Roughly 11,000 children in Louisiana lost their health insurance last year, the largest single-year drop in over a decade and an alarming reversal of years of progress getting kids covered. About 50,000 children, or 4.4% of children in Louisiana, were uninsured in the state in 2019, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Louisiana Budget Project, compared to 39,000 children who lacked health insurance in 2018. In 2016, the number of uninsured children was even lower, at 36,000. (Woodruff, 10/25)

Attorney Will Evaluate Mississippi Mental Health Services

A special assistant attorney general in Mississippi has been appointed to a new role in state government as the coordinator of mental health accessibility. William Rosamond will evaluate the quality of mental health care to possibly change services offered in some counties. Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration executive director Liz Welch recently appointed him to the role, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported. (10/25)

Florida Fails To Attract Bidders For Canada Drug Importation Program 

Florida’s plan to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada — designed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and endorsed by President Donald Trump — has tasted its first bitter pill. No private firms bid on Florida’s $30 million contract to set up and operate a drug importation program. Bids were due at the end of September. The setback is likely to delay by at least several months Florida’s effort to become the first state to import drugs. (Galewitz, 10/26)

In news from the East —

Burlington Free Press:
Vermont Front-Line Workers Can Apply For 2nd Round Of Hazard Pay

Vermonters who served as front-line workers during the the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring may be able to apply for a second round of hazard pay, Gov. Phil Scott’s office announced this week. There will be $22.5 million available to eligible workers, who will receive either $1,200 or $2,000, depending on the number of hours they worked and other eligibility criteria, Scott’s office said. Employers can begin applying online on Oct. 28 to identify workers who may be eligible for the payments. (Murray, 10/23)

Boston Globe:
COVID-19 Outbreak At Chelmsford Nursing Facility Leaves 5 Dead; State Rapid-Response Team In Place Since Oct. 9 

Five residents of a Chelmsford nursing home have died since Oct. 15 in connection with a COVID-19 outbreak, and dozens more residents and employees have been infected, according to a town official and the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Sue Rosa, director of public health in Chelmsfored, confirmed that 47 residents and 17 staff members at Sunny Acres Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center have tested positive for the coronavirus that has infected nearly 145,000 residents in Massachusetts. (Ellement and Sennott, 10/24)

North Carolina Treasurer Took On The Hospitals. Now He’s Paying Political Price. 

Cartel is a term frequently associated with illegal narcotics syndicates. In North Carolina, it has become the favored word of State Treasurer Dale Folwell to describe the state’s hospital industry, the antagonist in his quest to lower health care prices for state employees. The treasurer manages the state employees’ health plan, which insures about 727,000 teachers, police officers, current and retired state workers and dependents. Folwell, a Republican, has tried to persuade hospitals to accept lower payments, but he has struggled to discover the existing rates the plan pays each hospital. (Rau, 10/26)

In news from the Midwest and West —

Detroit Free Press:
Majority Of Michigan Workplace Deaths In 2020 Caused By Coronavirus

A majority of Michigan’s workplace deaths in 2020 are now linked to the coronavirus, according to numbers released Friday by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The latest data, while preliminary, shows that 19 of the 37 workplace deaths since January are attributed to COVID-19, after the pandemic hit Michigan in March. (Egan, 10/23)

COVID Spikes Exacerbate Health Worker Shortages In Rocky Mountains, Great Plains

COVID-19 cases are surging in rural places across the Mountain States and Midwest, and when it hits health care workers, ready reinforcements aren’t easy to find. In Montana, pandemic-induced staffing shortages have shuttered a clinic in the state’s capital, led a northwestern regional hospital to ask employees exposed to COVID-19 to continue to work and emptied a health department 400 miles to the east. (Houghton, 10/26)

Feeding Houston’s Hungry: 1M Pounds Of Food Daily For Needy

In car lines that can stretch half a mile, (0.8 kilometers), workers who lost jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic and other needy people receive staggering amounts of food distributed by the Houston Food Bank. On some days, the hundreds of sites supplied by the country’s largest food bank collectively get 1 million pounds. Among the ranks of recipients is unemployed construction worker Herman Henton, whose wife is a home improvement store worker and now the sole breadwinner for their family of five. They tried to get food stamps but were told they only qualified for $25 of federal food assistance monthly. (Snow and Mone, 10/26)

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