California introduces “CARE Court” to help homeless people get mental health care

For the first time, the state would require counties to provide comprehensive treatment for people suffering from debilitating psychosis — and risk sanctions if they don’t, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Los Angeles Times: Newsom unveils new homelessness and mental health plan

As California cities struggle to address a homelessness and mental health crisis on their streets, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration unveiled a proposal Thursday to place more people with serious psychiatric disorders and addiction problems in court-ordered care that requires medication and accommodation included. The proposal, which Newsom calls Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment Court, is the state’s latest effort to address one of California’s biggest struggles and an acknowledgment that something more robust is needed to address the problem. Newsom earmarked $12 billion for homelessness in the state budget last year and proposed an additional $2 billion in its January fiscal plan. (Wiley, 3/3)

San Francisco Chronicle: Gavin Newsom’s bold new mental health plan was inspired by the misery on the streets of San Francisco

The misery on the sidewalks of San Francisco has long provided a case study in the failure of California’s mental health system. Now the dire situation inspires a proposal for a major overhaul. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan, due to be unveiled on Thursday, aims to address two major flaws in the system: the lack of much-needed care and the severe restrictions on mandatory treatment for people who are too ill to care understand that they need help. (Knight, 3/3)

In News About the Utah Housing Crisis –

Salt Lake Tribune: If Salt Lake County can’t agree on winter shelters for the homeless, the state says it will step in

After years of conflict over where to put overflow shelters for the winter, a new proposal would require Salt Lake County cities to work together to find extra beds for the vulnerable — or risk the state stepping in and doing it for them. Shortages of space have plagued the area’s homeless centers in recent years, forcing providers to seek emergency solutions each winter to keep people out of the elements. Now Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, is trying to create a more structured process for opening up these overflow shelters and forcing more cities to help solve a regional problem. (Rodgers, 3/4)

The Texas Tribune: Parents of trans children prepare for child welfare investigations

For the past two weeks, a mom in the Austin area has wavered between anger and panic. Some days she gets so excited she feels like she could take on the entire state of Texas on her own. Other days she just crawls under her weighted blanket and lets the fear take over. The woman, who asked not to be identified to protect her family, has an 8-year-old transgender daughter. In late February, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state’s Child Protection Agency to open child abuse investigations into parents who provide gender-affirming care for their children. This family has not yet had a visit from Child Protective Services, but they know others who have and they have begun to prepare for the possibility that they could be next. (Klibanoff and Dey, 3/4)

The Washington Post: Safe Folders for Transgender Kids: What You Need to Know

While the past two years have seen a spate of bills aimed at restricting trans children’s access to health care and banning them from gender-matched sports teams, families of trans children across the country have long felt vulnerable for investigations and investigations. experts say. In response, many parents supporting their trans children have turned to a network of organizations to get help and share basic practices to protect their loved ones. These include “safety folders” (aka “safety folders”), which Abbott urged some Texas parents to put together. (Branigin, 3/3)

Dallas Morning News: UNT Students Protest Jeff Younger, Conservative Speech On ‘Transgender Child Abuse’

Student protests against a Conservative politician who is campaigning to criminalize child sex reassignment surgeries escalated into a police operation during an event Wednesday night at the University of North Texas. Videos circulating online show dozens of students banging on desks, yelling and verbally abusing Jeff Younger, who will be in the Republican elementary school for Texas House District 63 in a runoff election in May. He was embroiled in a years-long custody battle over his child, whose mother says is a transgender girl. (Olivares, 3/3)

AP: Oklahoma House passes bill targeting transgender girls

An Oklahoma House panel passed legislation Thursday to prevent transgender girls from playing on women’s athletic teams in Oklahoma schools. The House Rules Committee passed the bill by a 6-2 party-line vote with Republican support. The measure is now going to the entire house for examination. Civil rights groups and the Freedom Oklahoma gay rights organization immediately criticized the passage of the bill. (3/3)

In other news from the US —

The Texas Tribune, ProPublica and NBC News: Firefighter disciplined after delayed 911 response in Texas winter storm

The Houston Fire Department fined a firefighter for misconduct after an investigation into a delayed 911 response to a case in which a mother and daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The department launched the investigation in July after ProPublica, The Texas Tribune and NBC News reported that first responders initially decided not to enter a family’s Houston home during the massive winter storm that battered Texas in February 2021, a Decision that resulted in a couple and their two children being exposed to the deadly gas for a further three hours. (Trevizo, Churchill and Hixenbaugh, 3/4)

Miami Herald: DeSantis Supports Physicians’ Freedom of Speech Protection

Gov. Ron DeSantis Thursday called on lawmakers to protect doctors’ ability to freely express themselves without fear of reprisals from the bodies that regulate the medical profession. A federation of state medical associations warned doctors in July not to spread misinformation or risk losing their licenses during the pandemic. “You’re not going to have good medical practice if people are afraid to do things that the evidence tells them to do just because it might conflict with the narrative,” DeSantis said on the Florida State University campus in Panama City. (Wilson and Mahoney, 3/3)

Detroit Free Press: Report: Food insecurity is an ongoing problem in Michigan

Health spending related to food insecurity was US$1.8 billion per year in Michigan. It’s a cost that’s coming into focus amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Michiganders have struggled to get food on the table due to the pandemic’s economic upheaval, highlighting the close relationship between poverty, food insecurity and health. That’s according to a report released Thursday by the Food Security Council, established by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 to examine the extent and causes of food insecurity in the state. The advisory group presented its findings and recommendations to the governor last month. (Rahman, 3/3)

AP: Maine withdraws plan for new medical marijuana rules

Maine’s marijuana regulators are rejecting a proposal to change state medical marijuana regulations after being rejected by the industry. The rules included product tracking and other new security requirements. Industry members have criticized the proposal as an overstatement likely to result in higher costs for consumers. (3/3)

AP: Maine is making a dent in the state nursing shortage

A report commissioned by Maine health groups found the state has reduced its projected nursing shortages by more than half. The Maine Nursing Action Coalition and the Maine Hospital Association commissioned the report. The Portland Press Herald reported Wednesday that the originally projected shortage of 3,200 registered nurses has fallen to 1,450 by 2025. (3/4)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: What Works in Public Health? CDC Director Finds Reason for Hope in St. Louis

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got her nose on Thursday during a uniquely extensive visit to a city during which she spoke to medical students, met with the city’s health director, heard from clinic leaders and toured one full of St. Louis clinics in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. “We at CDC are only as good as our community public health partners, and so in my travels I really want to see what’s working and what isn’t in community public health, and I want to hear and learn.” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who became a director when COVID-19 vaccines were rolled out over a year ago. (coin, 3/4)

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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