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State Highlights: Small Clinics, Doctor’s Offices In Puerto Rico Still Without Power; ACLU Threatens Suit Over Disabled Boy In Texas

Media outlets report on news from Puerto Rico, Texas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, Iowa, Kansas and Florida.

NPR: Clinics And Doctor’s Offices In Puerto Rico Struggle To Operate
Forty days after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, most of the U.S. territory remains without power. Over the weekend, the island’s power company fired a key contractor working to restore electrical service. The cancellation of the $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy, after the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies expressed significant concerns about the deal, is expected to further delay the return of power throughout Puerto Rico. (Baeubien, 10/30)

Dallas Morning News: ACLU To Feds: Release Disabled  10-Year-Old By Tuesday Or We’ll Sue
The American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue Customs and Border Protection and the Office of Refugee Resettlement if they do not release a 10-year-old undocumented girl with cerebral palsy from a San Antonio detention center by Tuesday afternoon. Border Patrol agents under CBP apprehended Rosa Maria Hernandez of Laredo at a Border Patrol checkpoint in an ambulance on her way to Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi for gallbladder surgery last week. (Kelly, 10/30)

Boston Globe: Senate Bill Would Shame Employers With Most Workers On MassHealth
Senators tucked a provision in the bill that would require an annual report identifying the 50 employers with the highest number of workers who get publicly subsidized health insurance. The measure received almost immediate pushback last week from Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which referred to it as a “Name and Shame” list in a memo to members. (Chesto, 10/30)

The Associated Press: Planned Parenthood Sues For Second Time Over Abortion Law
For the second time, Planned Parenthood is suing Missouri over a portion of its new abortion law, this time involving requirements for administering abortion pills. A woman undergoing a medication abortion takes one pill at an abortion clinic and generally takes a second pill at home. In a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Kansas City, Planned Parenthood seeks to block part of the law, known as complication plan regulation, which requires those who provide the medication to contract with an obstetrician-gynecologist with admitting privileges at a hospital. The ob-gyn must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to treat any complications from a medication abortion, KCUR reported . (10/30)

The Washington Post: Toddler Hospitalized After His Father’s Arrest Postponed Kidney Donation
A toddler who was prevented from receiving a kidney transplant from his father was reportedly rushed to an emergency room Sunday with an abdominal infection. Two-year-old A.J. Burgess was set to receive the transplant earlier this month when his father, who is a match, said he was told he had to wait to donate a kidney following a probation violation and stint in county jail. The incident has prompted questions and concerns in a case that one expert has called befuddling. (Bever, 10/30)

The Associated Press: Oklahoma Health Chief Resigns Over Fiscal Mismanagement
Oklahoma’s state health commissioner resigned on Monday after the health board of directors accused him of mismanaging the department’s finances. The health department said in a statement that its board voted at an emergency meeting Monday to accept Terry Cline’s resignation and appoint finance secretary, Preston Doerflinger, as interim commissioner. (10/30)

Denver Post: Two Colorado Hepatitis A Cases Linked To California Outbreak That Has Killed 19 People
An outbreak of hepatitis A in Southern California raised concern among Colorado health officials after two homeless people who apparently contracted the disease in San Diego were treated here. After the cases were reported in late summer, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment began working with homeless shelters and health clinics to vaccinate people and warn them about the danger of contracting the viral disease. (McGhee, 10/30)

The Associated Press: New Mexico, Insurance Firm Reach $18.5M Deal On Unpaid Taxes
New Mexico’s largest health insurance provider will pay $18.5 million to resolve unpaid taxes to the state dating back more than a decade under a legal settlement with state prosecutors, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced Monday. Three state insurance regulators who came forward as whistleblowers and exposed the case will split $3.7 million of the settlement. (10/30)

Nashville Tennessean: Mental Health Crises In Nashville Grow, Prompting ‘Psychiatric ER’ Plans
A “psychiatric emergency room” is planned to open in Metro Center next year as a way to more efficiently treat people in crisis and ease pressure on police who are often the first-responders in mental health emergencies. The goal is to get people connected to help faster, especially when they come into contact with police. Police spend at least 5,000 hours a year — that’s between two and three full-time police officers —  responding to someone in crisis. (Fletcher, 10/30)

The Washington Post: ‘Something Is Eating My Brain,’ An Inmate Said. A Lawsuit Claims He Was Left To Die.
Marques Davis kept moving the items on the floor next to his prison mattress — stacking toilet paper, books, a water pitcher and a cup and then disassembling the stack. He moved and stacked the items again. And then again.Then, he drank his own urine from a urinal. (Phillips, 10/30)

Texas Tribune: Texas Insurers To Cover Advanced Breast Cancer Screenings
Starting Jan. 1, Texas will become the eighth state to require commercial insurers to cover the cost of 3-D mammograms. The state already requires coverage of 2-D mammograms, and getting the advanced screening typically costs patients an extra $100. (Arraiga, 10/31)

Georgia Health News: ER Visits For Diabetes On The Rise In Georgia
Overall, more than 1 million Georgians have diabetes, with the state increase mirrored by national trends. Part of the surge in diabetes has been linked to the rise in the percentage of Americans being obese or overweight, said Jean O’Connor, chronic disease prevention director for the state Department of Public Health. (Miller, 10/30)

Denver Post: Listeria Concerns Idle Denver Food-Prep Company That Makes Meals For King Soopers, United Airlines At DIA
A food manufacturer that makes prepared meals for some King Soopers grocery stores and United Airlines flights out of Denver International Airport has suspended production after finding trace amounts of listeria in its food-prep area. The company, Denver-based Journey Cuisine, notified United of the possible contamination Monday, and said that its Denver catering facility was audited Friday, when the listeria was found. (10/30)

The Associated Press: Iowa Reports First Flu-Related Death Of 2017-18 Season
State officials say Iowa’s first confirmed flu-related death of the 2017-18 flu season was that of an elderly man who lived in central Iowa. The Iowa Public Health Department says the man died this month and was 81 or older. Department medical director Patricia Quinlisk says the man’s death “is an unfortunate reminder the flu virus does have the potential to cause severe illness and death, especially in the very young, very old or those who have underlying health conditions.” (10/30)

Denver Post: Denver Approves A Smoking And Vaping Ban For The 16th Street Mall
Smokers and vapers on Denver’s 16th Street Mall are now on notice: Starting Dec. 1, they will need to walk at least 50 feet down a side street before lighting up or puffing. The Denver City Council approved the public smoking ban 9-0 on Monday night, ending a weeks-long debate about how best to ensure that police don’t use the new restrictions to single out the homeless or service workers on their smoke breaks. (Murray, 10/30)

Health News Florida: Orange County Will Consider Banning Marijuana Dispensers
Orange County leaders will meet Tuesday to discuss banning medical marijuana retail centers. The county commission will consider two ordinances: One bans all medical marijuana retail centers, and the other allows them with additional restrictions. (Aboaya, 10/30)

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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