Media outlets report on news from California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, New York, Oregon, North Carolina, District of Columbia, Ohio, and New Hampshire.

The Hill:
Five New Measles Cases Reported In Los Angeles Area

Five cases of measles were confirmed in Los Angeles County on Wednesday, with the local Department of Public Health warning that the local outbreak included four residents and an “unimmunized, international visitor.” The department listed 33 public places where that confirmed case was known to have been between Jan. 26 and Sunday. (Budryk, 2/6)

Texas Tribune:
Texas Prison Deaths Come As Staffers’ Use Of Force Against Inmates Increases

Ryan’s is one of three Texas prison deaths in as many years that have resulted in criminal charges being pursued against correctional officers involved in forceful encounters. In September, a former guard was tried in the 2017 slamming death of a prisoner. And prosecution is moving forward against another officer involved in the October fatal beating of an inmate. The cases are a rarity in the Texas prison system — an official labeled the three criminal investigations into the officers an “anomaly” — but the homicides coincide with a troubling trend. Over the last decade, while the Texas prison population has decreased by thousands, the number of times officers have used force against inmates has jumped. (McCullough, 2/7)

Miami Herald:
Corrections Officers Ignore Gang Violence In Fla. Prisons

Florida prisons are badly underfunded. Prisoners tell me short-staffing corrections positions allows well-organized gangs a freer hand while some prison officials turn a blind eye. Drugs flow into prison and are distributed by inmates who seem to move freely. Last I checked, there was no mandatory discipline for officers who let inmates in and out of unauthorized housing areas. (Cook, 2/6)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Georgia Veterans Struggle To Get Promised Healthcare

The VA says the overhaul has gotten off to a good start, authorizing more than 1.5 million visits to outside providers between June and December. The program also allows veterans to visit private walk-in clinics without pre-approval, with 209 of the participating clinics in Georgia alone treating 2,477 veterans during that period. But in Georgia, at least, there are also warning signs that things have gotten worse, not better. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution review of wait times at metro Atlanta VA health care facilities showed they grew at many locations since the program began, with waits as long as 63 days. (Quinn, 2/7)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Raising Age For Charging As Adults Could Require New Ga. Facilities

Georgia would need at least four new juvenile detention centers if the state raises the age at which teens are charged with crimes as an adult from 17 to 18, state officials said. Georgia is one of three states in the nation that charge 17-year-olds who commit crimes as adults. There were about 6,600 17-year-olds arrested in 2018 — the bulk of them in the Atlanta area — according to state data. (Prabhu, 2/6)

The CT Mirror:
Health Officials Report First Death Of Child Related To Flu

Connecticut health officials are reminding people to get vaccinated against the flu and take precautions after a child died of the disease recently in Connecticut. The child, a New Haven County resident between the ages of 1 and 5, was one of nine fatalities reported last week. Connecticut has logged 32 deaths since October – the start of flu season; only one child has died. More than 1,350 people have been hospitalized. (Carlesso, 2/6)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Lawmakers Aim To Reverse Health Cuts To Poison Control Center, Others

If proposed budget cuts go into effect, Georgians who call the state’s poison control center after snakebites, poison scares and other emergencies may have to wait longer to get their call answered, the center’s medical director testified Thursday. Dr. Robert Geller, who oversees the center, was among several health advocates who don’t want their budgets reduced and have given legislators a blunt picture of the possible impact of cuts proposed by the governor’s office. (Hart, 2/6)

Mental Health Access Bill Up In Senate Feb. 13

Making a deeply personal case for improving access to mental health care, Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka and state Sen. Julian Cyr helped roll out a significant reform bill Thursday that seeks to improve access to care by identifying gaps in the system, enforcing equity laws and clearly requiring insurance coverage for many emergency services. The bill, which will be debated in the Senate next week, would give the state notable new powers to enforce existing state and federal laws that require equitable access to physical and mental health care, but have fallen short. (Murphy, 2/6)

The Associated Press:
Auditor: More Than $4M Stolen From Mississippi Welfare Funds

Mississippi’s state auditor said Thursday that investigators believe at least $4 million in federal welfare money was stolen by the former head of the state welfare agency and others in the nation’s poorest state. At least $48,000 of that paid for a luxury drug rehabilitation program for a former pro wrestler, according to indictments issued Wednesday, which also alleged a politically connected nonprofit administrator and her son took more than $4 million __ including more than $2 million invested in two Florida medical companies. (2/6)

St. Louis Public Radio:
First Ordained Presbyterian Minister Of Gun Violence Prevention To Speak In St. Louis

The first ordained Presbyterian minister of gun violence prevention is headed to St. Louis to teach elected officials and parishioners about ending gun violence. Washington University and Webster Groves Presbyterian Church will host a weekend-long event that will include a lecture, sermon and workshop with the Rev. Deanna Hollas. Hollas was ordained a minister of gun violence prevention through the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship last year. (Lewis-Thompson, 2/7)

As Rules And Services Vary, People From All Over Seek ‘Low-Threshold’ Shelter Beds

Father Bill’s — and its sister facility in Brockton, MainSpring House — are what’s known as low-threshold shelters. They take pretty much anyone, including people who are intoxicated and those with criminal records. They don’t perform criminal background or sex offender registry checks. Many shelters in Massachusetts have stricter rules. According to information provided by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, 21 of the 39 emergency adult homeless shelters funded by the state require sobriety. (Joliocoeur, 2/7)

Modern Healthcare:
Northwestern Memorial Plans $77.6 Million Expansion

Northwestern Memorial Hospital is seeking approval from the state for a $77.6 million expansion on its Streeterville campus. The 894-bed hospital is looking to add 49 new beds and construct a three-story building that would connect its Feinberg and Galter pavilions, according to an application filed with the Illinois Health Facilities & Services Review Board, which oversees healthcare projects in the state. (Goldberg, 2/6)

The New York Times:
Young Father Was Investigated 4 Times. Then His Newborn Died.

The young father was arrested after his 6-week-old son was found lifeless in his crib in the Bronx one morning last week. Investigators had found undated video on a baby monitor of him pressing down on a pillow over the tiny boy’s head and charged him with murder. But it was not the first time the authorities had heard about the father, Teshawn Watkins. (Southall, 2/7)

The Oregonian:
Sales Pitch For Portland’s Mental Health ER Omitted Numerous Red Flags

Safety violations and patient overcrowding have long plagued a California psychiatric hospital that served as an inspiration for Portland’s Unity Center for Behavioral Health, suggesting that some of the trouble local hospital leaders continue to face should have been foreseeable. In 2014, Oregon hospital officials began eagerly promoting the California endeavor, dubbed the “Alameda Model,” as a humane, compassionate alternative that could be adopted in Portland to better treat mentally ill people. (Harbarger and Schmidt, 2/6)

North Carolina Health News:
Access To Care Inequality In NC Persists, Study Shows

Two documents from the past month reflect the state of racial disparities in access to health care in North Carolina. A new report from the Commonwealth Fund, a health care policy nonprofit, showed that racial disparities in access to health care across the country have shrunk since the Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2014. But that reduction in disparities is unevenly distributed. (Duong, 2/7)

The Washington Post:
Adventist To Manage Howard University Hospital

Howard University Hospital has signed an agreement with Adventist HealthCare to manage the hospital’s operation as an initial step toward a possible acquisition and replacement of the troubled medical center, officials announced Thursday. Wayne A.I. Frederick, Howard University Hospital’s president, said that he wanted to reassure the community that the new arrangement will strengthen the teaching hospital’s historical mission of training African American physicians and preparing undergraduates for medical school while providing care for some of the city’s poorest residents. (Kunkle and Douglas-Gabriel, 2/6)

The Washington Post:
Akron Children’s Hospital Surgeon Robert Parry Becomes An Artist After Surgery, Lifting The Spirits Of Young Patients

One of the most traumatic days of Susan McFrederick’s life was watching her son, Witt, get wheeled away for surgery to fix a ruptured intestine hours after he was born in 2011. But after the operation at Akron Children’s Hospital in Ohio, McFrederick, a mother of six, and her husband, Rodd McFrederick, burst into tears for a different reason: Across the incision on their newborn son’s belly was a sweet winter scene, hand-drawn on his bandages. (Free, 2/5)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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