Wednesday, March 16, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Not Even A 6-Week Window: Tennessee GOP Advances Bill To Ban All Abortions

The proposed ban does not have an exception for rape or incest. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has been vocal in his opposition to abortion, but he has held off until now on supporting Texas-style legislation, AP reported. Health developments from other state capitals is also in news.

Tennessee Lawmakers Introduce Texas-Styled Abortion Bill

Despite already enacting one of the strictest abortion bans in the U.S., Tennessee Republicans on Tuesday began advancing yet another anti-abortion measure strategically written to sidestep federal court challenges. The proposal is almost a direct copycat of legislation currently enacted in Texas, which not only prohibits doctors from performing abortion before most people know they’re pregnant but also allows private citizens to file civil lawsuits against anyone who helps someone else get the procedure after six weeks into pregnancy. (Kruesi, 3/15)

In news from Georgia, Virginia Maryl—

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Medical Marijuana Production Bill Passes Georgia Senate

Lawmakers tried to revive Georgia’s medical marijuana program Tuesday as the state Senate unanimously passed a bill to quickly issue business licenses this spring. The Senate voted 52-0 to approve a measure that would jump-start cannabis oil production by authorizing six companies to manufacture sell the medicine to registered patients. Licenses would be issued by May 31, according to an amendment approved on the Senate floor. Georgia has allowed doctor-approved patients to consume cannabis oil since 2015, but there’s still no way for them to legally buy it. (Niesse, 3/15)

Grant Aimed At Reducing Racial Disparity In Lung Cancer 

A $1 million grant has been awarded to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center to study ways to reduce the disparity in lung cancer that affects Black residents. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the grant is part of a total $3 million donation to establish the Southeastern Consortium for Lung Cancer Health Equity. Investigators at Massey will collaborate with the cancer centers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill the University of South Carolina. Dr. Robert Winn, head of Massey, will lead the initiative. (3/15)

The Baltimore Sun:
Rep. Kweisi Mfume Files Legislation To Posthumously Award Henrietta Lacks The Congressional Gold Medal 

Rep. Kweisi Mfume filed legislation Tuesday to posthumously award a Congressional Gold Medal to the late Henrietta Lacks, a Baltimore County woman whose cells were used for medical research without her consent. The Congressional Gold Medal is is considered to be one of the highest civilian awards in the United States. It’s awarded for distinguished achievements contributions. Mfume, who succeeded the late Elijah Cummings in Maryland’s 7th District in 2020, said Lacks deserves the award because of how much her cells have helped — continue to help — society. (Oxenden, 3/15)

In news from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Kentucky Wisconsin —

The Boston Globe:
Immigrant Patients Allege Discriminatory Treatment At East Boston Health Center

Civil immigrant rights advocates asked for a state investigation into the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center over allegations that immigrant patients received discriminatory medical treatment. Advocacy groups Centro Presente Lawyers for Civil Rights identified nine cases going back to 2018 in which patients, most of them immigrant women many of whom receive health insurance through MassHealth, claim they did not receive the medical care they their families deserved at the health center, sometimes leaving them without proper treatment for months. In one case, the advocacy group said an infant died the day after he was sent home by the health center. (Tziperman Lotan, 3/15)

The CT Mirror:
Lawmakers Weigh ‘Anti-Competitive’ Practices In Health Care

A bill aimed at rooting out anti-competitive practices in the health care sector will be heard by the General Assembly’s Insurance Real Estate Committee Thursday, as lawmakers work to clamp down on rising health care costs. S.B. 416 would outlaw certain clauses in contracts between health care providers insurers that analysts say drive up health care prices insurance premiums by limiting options for consumers. Advocates say such anti-competitive contract terms have become more common in recent years as the state’s health care sector has consolidated through mergers acquisitions. (Phillips, 3/16)

Cincinnati Enquirer:
Lawsuit: Man Died After Being Restrained At NKY Mental Health Hospital

A Fort Thomas man died during his 18-hour stay at a mental health hospital in Erlanger after being pinned to the ground by staff in a position some say is potentially fatal, a wrongful death lawsuit filed by his family says. Brian Wilson, 48, was admitted to Sun Behavioral Health in the early morning hours of Nov. 18 “to address a mental health episode,” attorneys for the family said in an amended complaint filed March 11 in Kenton County. Staff checked on Wilson’s condition regularly noting that his state of mind was “calm,” until around 7:15 p.m. when he was told medication to help him sleep was unavailable, at which point he became “agitated,” the complaint states. (Bentley, 3/15)

Wisconsin Watch:
Wisconsin Patients Suffer In A Fight Over Chronic Lyme Disease

If life had gone as planned, Maria Alice Lima Freitas would be in medical school, inspired by the career of her father, a surgeon who practiced in Brazil. But instead of changing careers, the 49-year-old therapist retired from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Freitas says her undiagnosed Lyme disease has sapped her energy, fogged her thinking caused pain in her neck, shoulders, hands right knee. She has three times deferred her entrance into medical school while struggling with myriad symptoms that she attributes to Lyme. Most of her doctors say she is mistaken, that her symptoms, which began in 2015, are due to rheumatoid arthritis. (Wang, 3/15)

In updates from Idaho Utah —

Idaho Hospital Locks Down Amid Far-Right Call For Protest

A major Boise hospital went on lockdown for about an hour Tuesday after far-right activist Ammon Bundy urged supporters to go the facility in protest of a child protection case involving one of his family friends. St. Luke’s Health System put the Boise Medical Center on lockdown began diverting incoming patients about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. (Boone, 3/15)

Idaho Senate Kills Bill On Gender Reassignment For Minors 

Leaders in the Idaho Senate on Tuesday killed a House-approved bill prohibiting gender reassignment surgeries gender-affirming health care such as puberty blockers hormone therapy for minors. The Republican Senate Majority Caucus in a statement said it strongly opposes gender reassignment for minors, but the legislation undermines parental rights allows the government to interfere. (Ridler, 3/16)

Salt Lake Tribune:
New Data Shows How Often Staffers At Utah Teen Treatment Centers Have Been Fired For Sexual Misconduct

When Meagan Crider began exchanging notes with a staffer at the Utah teen treatment center where she was staying, the extra attention felt exciting. It was in the early 2000s, Crider was 16 years old. The staff member was an adult several years older than her. “I remember we would write letters back forth,” Crider recalled. “That’s how we would communicate. And I bet there was two boxes full of letters.” They kept their notes a secret. But at one point — she can’t remember exactly when — Crider said the tone of the letters changed. (Miller, Gilbert Craft, 3/15)

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