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State Highlights: Calif. Regulators Fail To Inspect Dozens Of Hospitals; In Subcommittee, Va. Lawmakers Block Immunization Mandate

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Outlets report on news from California, Virginia, Michigan, Arizona, Nebraska, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas and Florida.

Los Angeles Times: California Fails To Inspect Several Dozen Hospitals With High Infection Rates
Scores of California hospitals with high rates of patient infections have not been inspected within the last five years, according to a petition filed Monday by Consumers Union. California law requires hospitals to be inspected every three years, but the state has fallen so far behind that the period has stretched to at least five years for 131 hospitals, the group said. (Peterson, 1/24)

Richmond Times Dispatch: Virginia House Subcommittee Tosses Immunization Mandate Bill
A House Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee on Tuesday threw out a bill that would have mandated all sixth-graders in Virginia be vaccinated against diseases like bacterial meningitis. The bill was backed by the Virginia Department of Health and was sponsored by Del. Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington. It would have required that Virginia students receive a vaccine to protect against the bacteria that causes meningococcal diseases like meningitis. (Demeria, 1/24)

The Washington Post: Flint Water Falls Below Federal Lead Limits, But Residents Are Still Asked To Use Filtered Water
Months of testing have found that the water in Flint, Mich., no longer contains lead levels that exceed federal limits, officials announced Tuesday. But though the city has reached that positive threshold, residents are still being advised to use filtered water for drinking and cooking, while the city continues to replace thousands of lead service lines. Last week, Flint marked its 1,000th day without reliably clean drinking water. (Berman and Dennis, 1/24)

Arizona Republic: Arizona Bills Would Ban Coverage For Gender-Reassignment Surgeries Already Denied By State
An Arizona lawmaker has introduced a pair of bills that would prohibit gender-reassignment surgeries for Medicaid recipients and prison inmates, saying he is “always in favor of personal freedoms … but never at the expense of the taxpayer.” Arizona taxpayers don’t currently fund gender-reassignment surgeries for such individuals. Nonetheless, Rep. Anthony Kern sees House bills 2293 and 2294 as a crucial pre-emptive strike given recent shifts in transgender rights and protections. (Polletta, 1/24)

ProPublica: In Nebraska, New Bill Proposes Protections Against Rampant Debt Collection 
Last year we reported on a little-known hardship facing Nebraskans struggling to pay their medical debts: They were being sued over doctor bills of just a few hundred dollars. Unheard of in most states, such lawsuits are filed in Nebraska by the tens of thousands, typically against low-income workers, in

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