Ohio budget could exempt doctors from procedures on religious grounds

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Hospitals could also refuse to provide treatment and insurers could refuse to pay on grounds of moral conviction under a clause in the state budget bill. Separately, a bill in Washington could permanently extend telehealth services under Medicare.

Cincinnati Enquirer: Ohio May Let Doctors Refuse To Provide Medical Services If They Violate Their Religious Beliefs

Ohio doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies could refuse to provide or pay for medical service if it violates their moral beliefs, under wording inserted in the Budget Bill. state this week. The new wording would also grant physicians immunity from prosecution for refusal and allow them to prosecute others. Abortion rights and LGBTQ advocates sounded the alarm bells this week, fearing less access to reproductive health care and more discrimination. Those on the other side hailed the measure as essential to protect religious freedoms. (Wu and Balmert, 13/6)

AP: Bill would permanently expand telehealth services

A new bill in Washington would permanently extend telehealth services under Medicare and allow patients in rural areas without broadband access to use audio services, said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “It shouldn’t have taken a pandemic for Medicare to finally unleash the potential of telehealth services – and now we must ensure that these vital telehealth services continue to be available to patients long after the pandemic has ended. COVID-19, ”Shaheen said. in a report. (6/13)

Billings Gazette: Montana had more deaths than births in 2020 for the first time

During the pandemic, Montana saw more deaths than births for the first time since this data was tracked. Early and provisional data from the state’s health department and a report compiled by a demographer document the austere statistics for 2020, a year drastically altered by the pandemic. Montana’s death rate increased 14% in 2020, according to the Department of Public Health and Human Services. There were 12,018 deaths compared to 10,791 live births – the first time that deaths have exceeded births since 1908, when registers began to be kept. (Michel, 13/6)

Salt Lake Tribune: No More Leadership Changes At Utah Department Of Health As Director Moves To New State “Innovation” Job

The leadership of the Utah Department of Health is changing again – with executive director Rich Saunders leaving after less than a year in office to take on a newly created role in Governor Spencer Cox’s administration. Cox has named Saunders the state’s first chief innovation officer, to join the governor’s senior executives effective June 21. Saunders, according to a statement released Friday by Cox’s office, will be in charge of Cox’s plans “to aggressively improve the efficiency, innovations and responsiveness of state government.” to residents of Utah. (Average, 6/11)

Indianapolis Star: Indiana secures $ 40 million from CDC to address health disparities linked to COVID

Indiana and Marion County will receive more than $ 40 million in federal funds from a $ 2.25 billion national scholarship aimed at addressing health disparities resulting from the COVID pandemic. The money represents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s largest investment to date focused on improving health equity. Aimed at local and state health departments, the grants focus on improving COVID testing and contact tracing for high-risk and underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minority groups. This money can also be used to reduce health disparities related to COVID-19 and improve the ability to control the viral spread, the CDC said in a press release. (Rudavsky, 6/11)

And beware of the red tide and poisonous caterpillars –

The New York Times: Maine residents repel poisonous caterpillars

While parts of the country grapple with swarms of cicadas this summer, Maine grapples with an infestation of an invasive species of caterpillar with poisonous hairs that can cause painful rashes and even respiratory problems. The caterpillars, known as brown butterflies, are about 1.5 inches long and have white dashes on the sides and two red dots on the back. (Jimenez, 13/6)

UMF public media: health alert issued in Pinellas as the red tide spreads north along the coast

Pinellas County authorities have issued a health alert for area beaches as a red tide outbreak persisted off the coast and spread north to Sand Key, south of Clearwater Beach. Karenia brevis, the organism responsible for the red tide, has now been found in low to medium concentrations in Tampa Bay and off the beaches of Fort De Soto, Pass-a-Grille, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, Indian Shores and Sand Key. (Ochoa, 13/6)

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

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