State Highlights: Colo. Republicans Refuse To Send ‘Red Fla…

Media outlets repot on news from Colorado, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas, Maryland, Minnesota, Arizona, Washington and Virginia.

The Associated Press:
Bill On Guns And Mental Health Stalls In Colorado Capitol

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock begged state lawmakers to pass legislation making it easier to confiscate firearms from someone considered a danger to themselves or others. People, he said, like the man who shot and killed a young sheriff’s deputy in suburban Denver on New Year’s Eve. A week later, Republicans in the state Senate refused to send the bill to a floor vote, unconvinced by the prominent GOP district attorneys and sheriffs who argued that it would protect officers dealing with people in the midst of mental health crises. (5/8)

San Jose Mercury News:
Abortion Activists Protest Outside Google Over Search Results

As Google kicked off its annual I/O developers conference on Tuesday, women’s advocacy activists protested outside its campus to demand the removal of anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” from search results for abortion services. …The two groups argue that when someone searches on Google for abortion services or on Google Maps for nearby abortion centers, crisis pregnancy centers often emerge at the top of the results. (Lee, 5/8)

The CT Mirror:
Reforms To Stem Whiting Abuses Head To The Governor

Spurred by urgent demands that horrific abuse at Whiting Forensic never happen again, the state House of Representatives unanimously gave final approval to a series of reforms designed to increase oversight of the facility. … Among other things, the bill creates an independent task force to oversee Whiting and makes employees there and at other state behavioral health facilities subject to fines or even criminal charges if they fail to report abuse. (Rigg, 5/8)

Boston Globe:
Experts Puzzle Over Partners-Harvard Pilgrim Merger Talks

The state’s largest hospital network confirmed last week that it is discussing a range of options with Harvard Pilgrim, including a possible acquisition of the Wellesley-based provider of employer and individual insurance plans. A merger, which would create a formidable new health care company, could result in higher costs for consumers and reduced competition, several industry experts said, ensuring tough scrutiny from state regulators who are focused on containing the growth in medical spending. (Dayal McCluskey, 5/8)

The Baltimore Sun:
Protesters Denounce Reduction In Pediatric Services At Baltimore’s MedStar Franklin Square Hospital

About 75 people gathered outside MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center Tuesday to protest the hospital’s decision to cut back pediatric services. They carried signs that said “Greed Kills Babies,” “Children’s Lives Matter” and “Children Over Profit,” and described the hospital’s decision as detrimental to the community. …The hospital announced last month that it was cutting inpatient children’s services and combining the pediatric and adult emergency rooms, citing declining pediatric admissions amid a statewide effort to reduce hospitalizations to save money in the health care system. (McDaniels, 5/8)

Sacramento Bee:
Sutter Health Employees Testify They Were Denied Breaks

At hearings unfolding this week and next week at the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, Sutter Health employees testified that they were not able to take meal breaks or rest breaks because of chronic understaffing in their departments at Sutter’s Capitol Pavilion Surgical Center in midtown Sacramento. In total, about 30 employees at the Capitol Pavilion Surgery Center are requesting thousands of dollars in compensation for both meal and rest breaks that they say they were forced to miss. (Anderson, 5/8)

Austin Statesman:
Austin-Based Company Settles Lawsuit In Medical Testing Case

An Irish woman who claims an Austin-based medical testing company provided her with erroneous test results has settled her case for almost $3 million, according to published reports. …In 2014, as part of an audit, it was reportedly determined that the woman, Vicky Phelan, had been given inaccurate results. (Dinges, 5/8)

Mass. High Court Considers Fining AG Office In Drug Lab Case

The SJC is reviewing whether to impose monetary sanctions against the attorney general because two former assistant attorneys general did not disclose evidence about the extent of the misconduct by former chemist Sonja Farak. A lower court judge found that the two former AGs committed fraud by withholding evidence about Farak’s drug use. (Becker, 5/8)

Arizona Republic:
E. Coli Reported At Red Lobster, Panera And Texas Roadhouse

Two women who say they ate salads at an Arizona Red Lobster were hospitalized with the same strain of E. coli that has killed one person and sickened 120 others in 25 states, according to separate federal lawsuits. The women tell nearly identical accounts in their lawsuits, saying days after eating Caesar salads at the Red Lobster in Peoria they began suffering cramps and bloody diarrhea that put them in the hospital for four days. (Anglen, 5/8)

The Washington Post:
Hepatitis C: Nurse Accused Of Using Dirty Needles And Exposing Patients To Infection

A Washington state emergency room nurse has resigned and her license has been suspended after accusations that she exposed patients to hepatitis C by stealing narcotics and using her own needle to administer their medication. Officials with the State Department of Health said Monday that Cora Weberg’s nursing license has been suspended “due to alleged diversion of controlled substances.” (Bever, 5/8)

The Washington Post:
Company Sold $25,000 ‘Service Dogs’ That Were Really Just Untrained Puppies, Virginia Says

Customers turned to Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers for a potentially lifesaving tool: highly trained dogs that would alert them, with the nudge of a nose or paw, to spikes or dips in blood sugar. What they got, the state of Virginia alleged on Tuesday, were “little more than incredibly expensive pets.” A lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Mark R. Herring in the Madison County Circuit Court, accuses the company of violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act by charging $18,000 to $27,000 for 3-month-old Labrador retriever puppies that were unable to perform their task or even to walk properly on leashes, respond when called, or remain calm around loud noises or new people. Customers were told that they would receive ample “scent training” support; instead, their requests for assistance were regularly ignored, the suit says. (Brulliard, 5/8)

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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