Justice Department Reports 187 Federal Prisoners Died By Suicide Over 8 Years

KFF Health News Morning Briefing

NPR: DOJ Watchdog Finds 187 Inmate Suicides In Federal Prisons Over 8-Year Period
Over an eight-year period, 344 inmates in federal prison died from suicide, homicide or accidents, according to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s inspector general. … “Today’s report identified numerous operational and managerial deficiencies, which created unsafe conditions prior to and at the time of a number of theses deaths,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said. (Lucas, 2/15)

On Medicaid and welfare —

The Hill: Doulas Improve Health Outcomes For Pregnant Women With Medicaid: Report
Doula care improves health outcomes for pregnant women with Medicaid, according to a new report from public policy institute Elevance Health. The country’s worsening maternal health crisis has stirred interest in using doulas as an additional support for expecting mothers, especially Black women, who have the highest maternal mortality rate in the U.S. But most insurance companies do not cover doula care, and only 13 states, along with Washington D.C., offer reimbursed doula care through Medicaid. (O’Connell-Domenech, 2/15)

AP: Why 14 GOP-Led States Turned Down Federal Money To Feed Low-Income Kids
Lower-income families with school-age kids can get help from the federal government paying for groceries this summer, unless they live in one of the 14 states that have said no to joining the program this year. The reasons for the rejections, all from states with Republican governors, include philosophical objections to welfare programs, technical challenges due to aging computer systems and satisfaction with other summer nutrition programs reaching far fewer children. (Mattise and Mulvihill, 2/16)

KFF Health News: Southern Lawmakers Rethink Long-Standing Opposition To Medicaid Expansion
As a part-time customer service representative, Jolene Dybas earns less than $15,000 a year, which is below the federal poverty level and too low for her to be eligible for subsidized health insurance on the Obamacare marketplace. Dybas, 53, also does not qualify for Medicaid in her home state of Alabama because she does not meet the program requirements. She instead falls into a coverage gap and faces hundreds of dollars a month in out-of-pocket payments, she said, to manage multiple chronic health conditions. “I feel like I’m living in a state that doesn’t care for me,” said Dybas, a resident of Saraland, a suburb of Mobile. (Chang and Miller, 2/16)

In other health news from across the U.S. —

Los Angeles Times: California Tightens Workplace Rules On Poisonous Lead
For the first time in decades, California is tightening its rules on workplace exposure to lead, a poisonous metal that can wreak havoc throughout the body. Experts said the new regulations will make California a national leader in battling the insidious and deadly effects of lead in the workplace. The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted 5 to 2 on Thursday to adopt the rules over the objections of business groups that said they were unworkable and difficult to understand. (Alpert Reyes, 2/15)

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San Francisco Chronicle: Employee At S.F.’s Largest Drug Treatment Provider ODed At Work
An employee of San Francisco’s largest drug treatment provider, which is currently under investigation by the state, fatally overdosed while at work, according to nonprofit and city records. David Hamilton, who worked at a sober living facility run by HealthRight 360, overdosed … with fentanyl and cocaine in his system, according to records from the San Francisco Medical Examiner. Hamilton’s job was to dispense medications to clients in the facility. … Hamilton, 33, was one of four people who died of an overdose inside HealthRight 360 facilities within the past year, records show. (Angst, 2/15)

The Washington Post: Trans Adults On Edge As Legislatures Broaden Focus Beyond Children
Medical school is hard enough, but Charlie Adams’s existence was on the line, so he took a day off from clinic rotations in Kansas City and drove three hours to the Missouri Capitol. Republican legislators had proposed nine bills to restrict transgender rights. Two sought to limit the definition of sex. Another gave doctors the right to discriminate against trans people. And four aimed to keep them out of the bathrooms that match their identities. Adams, 27, has a full beard and a deep voice, and as he spoke recently to a committee of legislators, a patch of chest hair peeked out from his navy blue scrubs. “Do you want to see me in the women’s restroom next time you’re at the hospital?” he asked. (Parks, 2/15)

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

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