State Highlights: Minn. Lets The Sun Shine On Health Data; Despite Difficulties Southeast Mich. Health Systems Post Profits

News outlets report on health issues in Minnesota, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, California, Washington, Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, Maryland and Alabama.

Minnesota Public Radio:
Minnesota Releases Treasure Trove Of Health Care Data

A treasure trove of information on health conditions, medical services and costs in Minnesota is now available to researchers, providers and insurers. The Minnesota Department of Health is publishing the first batch of data from its Minnesota All Payer Claims Database this week, and lawmakers hope researchers will mine the information to learn more about variations in health care services and patient outcomes. (Benson, 4/25)

The Oregonian:
OHSU Recruits For National Autism Registry To Speed Research

Oregon Health Science University is looking for people with autism for a national registry that aims to accelerate research. The registry is open to anyone diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and their families. The idea is to gather genetic information from 50,000 people to give researchers a big pool of data to help them better understand the condition and find treatments. (Terry, 4/25)

Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Agencies Ask For Time To Comply With New Overtime Rules

Paula Hart and Dave Toeniskoetter sat outside the Cannon House Office Building last week after a day of back-to-back meetings with Minnesota’s congressional delegation had ended. … Hart, the CEO of Volunteers of America Minnesota, and Toeniskoetter, CEO of the Mendota Heights-based independent living business Dungarvin, are trying to balance fair pay for workers with the cost of serving their intellectually and developmentally disabled clients. The pair … want Minnesota’s federal politicians to press the U.S. Labor Department to extend the time they get to apply rules that will more than double the base salary of workers who can be declared exempt from overtime. (Spencer, 4/24)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
New Enrollees Rethinking Medicare Advantage Option

For years, Medicare Advantage plans have been big business for private insurers offering one-stop shopping, low premiums and extra benefits to an aging Western Pennsylvania population. But there are signs lately that the plans are losing some luster, as more retirees choose traditional plans with a Medigap supplement that sidestep concerns about access to providers and may represent better value in the long run. (Twedt, 4/26)

Billionaire Bankrolls New Brain Science Center At UC San Francisco

Former banker Sanford Weill transformed the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York with more than half-a-billion in donations in recent years. Now he is pivoting to the West Coast, pledging $185 million to create a neuroscience institute at the University of California, San Francisco. (Piller, 4/26)

The Associated Press:
The Latest: Employee Placed On Leave Over School Lead Levels

Officials say a Tacoma School District manager has been put on paid administrative leave after it was discovered Friday that tests done nearly a year ago showed high lead levels in drinking water at two public elementary schools. District spokesman Dan Voelpel said Monday that the district’s safety and environmental health manager was placed on leave. (4/25)

Wyoming Public Radio:
Email Breach At Wyoming Medical Center

This February, the email accounts of two Wyoming Medical Center employees were compromised in a phishing scam. A phishing scam is an email that looks like it came from a credible source, and tricks the recipient into providing passwords and usernames in an attempt to access sensitive information. The scam won’t work if the recipient ignores the email, and doesn’t open any links. (Sanders, 4/25)

The Kansas Health Institute News Service:
Clients Say Turnover Hinders Regional DCF Office For Disabled Employment

When Shannon Lindsey moved from Missouri to Kansas two years ago, she decided she wanted to go to Johnson County Community College to get a nursing degree that would make her more employable. Lindsey, now 49, has several disabilities, so she contacted Kansas’ vocational rehabilitation office for assistance. In Missouri she had the same vocational rehabilitation counselor for years — a state worker who understood her needs, what was available to help her and how to get it to her quickly. (Marso, 4/25)

Lesson Learned For Baltimore’s Health Commissioner: ‘I Like A Fight’

To wrap up [a] series on public health in Baltimore, Audie Cornish met up with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen in Freddie Gray’s neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester. The health department recently opened a new outpost of its violence prevention program Safe Streets there, employing ex-offenders to mediate conflicts before they erupt in violence. Wen spoke about pushing a public health agenda in a city that has long struggled with poverty, violence and addiction. She also talked about what she, as an emergency physician, has learned in her first stint in government. (4/25)
Doulas Help Pregnant Inmates Give Birth, Say Goodbye

Harley Ezelle gently rocked back and forth on a yoga ball in a meeting room at Tutwiler Prison as the woman next to her helped set her legs for maximum balance. It was the second meeting of the Alabama Prison Birth Project, which is bringing certified doulas to the women’s prison to support pregnant inmates. (Yurkanin, 4/25)

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