Media outlets report on news from Illinois, California, Colorado, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kansas, Wyoming, Louisiana, Georgia and Missouri.

A Chicago Psychiatric Hospital Is Under Fire After Child Abuse Allegations. Again.

A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Cook County public guardian alleged that children as young as 7 were sexually abused, while others were injected with sedatives to control them and physically attacked, at a Chicago psychiatric hospital. Child welfare officials, meanwhile, allegedly worked with the hospital to cover up the abuse. Charles Golbert, the Cook County public guardian, filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven children who are in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and who had been involuntarily admitted to Chicago Lakeshore Hospital in 2017 and 2018. (Eldeib, 12/18)

The Associated Press:
Lawsuit: Children In State Care Abused At Chicago Hospital 

Children as young as 7 were subject to or witnessed sexual abuse by staff and peers, according to the lawsuit. When children reported the abuse, they were further victimized, the complaint said. One was allegedly given a powerful sedative when it wasn’t necessary. “Instead of being placed in a safe environment where they could focus on their treatment, each plaintiff found himself or herself in a hospital of horrors where they were subjected to sexual, physical and emotional abuse and otherwise not properly supervised or monitored,” the lawsuit said. (12/18)

The Associated Press:
Denver, Los Angeles Airport Measles Cases Connected

U.S. health officials have confirmed that three children recently hospitalized with measles in Colorado traveled from New Zealand to Los Angeles International Airport before arriving in Denver. The Denver Post reported Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued warnings at airports in Denver and Los Angeles involving the same airline passengers. (12/18)

Texas Tribune:
Texas Food Stamps Access Could Fall Under New Trump Policy

As of November, Texas distributed more than $4.2 billion in federal money to an average of 1.5 million people — about $261 per person. The rule that passed this month won’t affect Texans in the short term, but a second rule coming down the pipeline could kick at least 125,000 Texans off SNAP. The most recent rule change, which goes into effect in April 2020, is estimated to cut benefits for a roughly 700,000 Americans. (Fernández, 12/18)

The Associated Press:
Washington Governor Wants To Spend $300M To Help Homeless

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday he wants to spend more than $300 million from the state’s emergency budget reserve to add 2,100 shelter beds and provide other help to combat homelessness. In unveiling his supplemental spending plan in Olympia, Washington for the state’s current $52.4 billion two-year budget, Inslee said Washington must do more to find housing for people. (12/18)

Los Angeles Times:
Homeless Man Found Dead Outside L.A. City Hall, Official Says

A man, who by at least one city official’s account was homeless, was found dead outside Los Angeles City Hall on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Police Department received a call about a deceased man and responded at 7:40 a.m. to 200 N. Main St. in Los Angeles, said LAPD Officer Lizeth Lomeli. She had no other information about the man. However, Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer told reporters at an unrelated event Wednesday morning that the man was homeless. (Smith, 12/18)

The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Jefferson University, Temple Inch Closer To Wrapping Up A Deal On Fox Chase Cancer Center

Temple University has reached a definitive agreement to sell Fox Chase Cancer Center, an affiliated bone marrow transplant program, and its share of Health Partners Plans to Thomas Jefferson University, the two organizations said Wednesday. The deal is being announced after nearly a year of exclusive negotiations. Still, Temple and Jefferson, among the largest nonprofits in Philadelphia, did not disclose the price. (Brubaker, 12/18)

Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Cleveland Clinic To Offer Fully Paid Parental Leave To Employees

The Cleveland Clinic will offer fully paid parental leave to eligible employees starting in April.In an announcement of the new policy, Clinic President and CEO Dr. Tom Mihaljevic said, “Paid family leave offers economic security and peace of mind to families during one of life’s most significant events. And it has a positive effect on the health and well-being of both the mother and the newborn.” (Christ, 12/18)

California Healthline:
From Clinic To Courtroom, Fighting For Immigrant Health Care

Jane Garcia started as an intern at La Clínica de La Raza in the late 1970s, attracted by its mission to provide health care to all — especially immigrants, regardless of their legal status or ability to pay. Forty years later, Garcia, 66, is the chief executive officer of the organization, which now operates more than 30 clinics in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties and serves about 90,000 patients a year. About 65% of its patients are Latino, many of whom are immigrants. (Ibarra, 12/18)

Inside BMC’s OR, Surgery Shows Hospital’s Steps To Reduce Its Carbon Footprint

The health care sector produces 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Hospitals are 36% of that. And operating rooms are their hot spots for emissions, waste and energy use.But this OR, inside a renovation at Boston Medical Center (BMC), is about as climate friendly as they come. BMC says the renovation has helped it draw 70% less energy from the grid, starting in 2012. (Bebinger, 12/19)

A Stolen Laptop Contained Data For More Than 114,000 Patients At Truman Medical Centers 

For the second time in four months, Truman Medical Centers has suffered a data breach, this one involving more than 114,000 patients. The Kansas City safety net hospital informed the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights that the cause of the breach was a laptop theft on Dec. 5. Leslie Carto, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said the work-issued laptop was stolen from an employee’s vehicle. (Margolies, 12/18)

Wyoming Public Radio:
Campbell County Health Announces New CEO

Campbell County Health’s (CCH) Chief Operating Officer (COO) Colleen Heeter has been selected by the system’s Board of Trustees as the next CEO. Heeter will replace outgoing CEO Andy Fitzgerald. Heeter started her current position this past February after moving to Gillette in 2018 to be interim director of the Powder River Surgery Center. (Wheeler, 12/18)

The Advocate:
Our Lady Of Lourdes Opens Free-Standing Emergency Room In Scott

Wednesday marked the grand opening of Our Lady of Lourdes’ $9 million free-standing emergency room just north of Interstate 10 in Scott. Staff and executives from Our Lady of Lourdes, representatives from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette, representatives from local health care organizations and state and local leaders were on hand for the blessing and ribbon cutting for the emergency room, which is located in the Destination Pointe development. (Boudreaux, 12/18)

Georgia Health News:
High Levels Of Ethylene Oxide Detected At Covington Warehouse

State environmental officials say a warehouse operated by a medical sterilizing company in Covington, a suburb of Atlanta, is releasing high levels of the toxic gas ethylene oxide. The state’s Environment Protection Division (EPD) has charged the company, BD — which also runs a sterilizing plant in Covington — with a violation for operating the warehouse, which is a global distribution center, without an air quality permit. (Goodman and Miller, 12/18)

San Francisco Chronicle:
Learning To Walk, Live And Hope Again: Bay Area Man Endures 19 Surgeries, Homelessness

It’s the gait of a man who over the past eight years had 19 surgeries on his legs, which included the amputation of his toes on both feet due to complications with Type 2 diabetes. But finding ways to be mobile was only one of Walker’s recent obstacles in life. The surgeries kept him from working for extended periods of time, and without a steady income, Walker, along with his mother, Suzette Solis, and his great aunt, Carol Moreno-Solis, became homeless. Sleeping in makeshift rooms at the homes of relatives in Bay Point and Concord was the norm for the trio for several years. (Phillips, 12/18)

The Advocate:
Annual Event Reunites North Oaks Medical Center’s NICU Graduates And Healthcare Workers

Sometimes, a baby may be born prematurely or with a health condition that requires admission to the NICU, and the baby’s stay may range from a few days to as long as six months. With extended lengths of stay, it is natural for a strong bond to form among the nurses, doctors and others on the medical team and the families, sometimes becoming close friends, according to Kirsten Riney, vice president of patient services. (12/18)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
A New Board Began Work To Distribute Medical Marijuana In Georgia.

A new government board started setting up ways to distribute medical marijuana oil in Georgia on Wednesday, an effort to provide access to the drug to patients who are already allowed to use it. The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission, during its first meeting Wednesday, began exploring how to manufacture or import the oil for use by the state’s nearly 14,000 registered patients. (Niesse, 12/18)

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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