KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Protests Over Plans To Close Brooklyn Hospital

News outlets look at a variety of state health policy issues.

The New York Times: Hospitals In Brooklyn Defended At Hearing
A stream of hospital administrators, a state assemblyman, doctors and advocates for immigrants took the microphone at a sometimes raucous hearing in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday to plead with state officials not to close, merge or shrink troubled hospitals in the borough (Hartocollis, 7/28).

Health News Florida: $9M Bill Caps Strange Tale
When Tampa General recently filed a $9.2 million claim against the estate of a penniless woman, it left itself open to criticism. But a look at Hillsborough probate court records offers perspective. ... The case is a good example of a paradox of the health-care system: A dying patient can be kept alive on a ventilator with a feeding tube almost indefinitely, yet there are few places for such a patient to go for care and often no way to pay for it (Gentry, 7/28). 

The Texas Tribune/KERA: Rural Health Care At Risk In Texas, Study Says
According to a new study, already strained health care providers in rural regions will suffer without technological improvements. ... Research from the United Health Group and Harris Interactive shows rural adults will have a tougher time seeking help than those in cities and suburbs. That's because -- and this is not new -- they have fewer primary care doctors and specialists, and have farther to go to see one (Zeeble, 7/28). 

California Healthline: Med Center Lowers Readmission Rates
Karen Rago of UC-San Francisco had an important task: help lower readmission rates of older heart failure patients. It's one of the targets for health care reform. ... The UCSF team has reduced readmission rates by about 30%. ... It has made care simpler, has saved Medicare about $1 million on just 41 patients, has made life better for patients and is a large bright area in UCSF's health reform puzzle (Gorn, 7/28). 

California Healthline: Lost Battle Over ADHC Turns to One Big Question: What Now?
Now it's not so much a question of whether there will be a version of an [adult day care system] program in the state, but rather how the system's 35,000 beneficiaries are going to get similar care, and if some of the 300 centers across California can survive. Those questions will be driven home in the middle of August, when the Department of Health Care Services sends out a letter to all ADHC beneficiaries, informing them of the state's decision to eliminate Medi-Cal coverage for the program (Gorn, 7/28).

Kansas Health Institute News: SRS Will Ask Judges To Slow Referrals To State Mental Hospitals
A top official at the Kansas Department of Social of Rehabilitation Services said he will be asking the state's district court judges to refrain from sending people to the state hospitals for the mentally ill when the hospitals are full. ... The state hospitals, he said, should not be required to take more patients than budgets allow. ... Johnson County Community Mental Health Center Executive Director David Wiebe said overcrowding at the hospitals is sure to lead to more mentally ill people ending up in jail (Ranney, 7/28). 

HealthyCal: Pharmacies Say Cuts Would Hurt Access
State budget cuts could put an end to local, independently owned pharmacies ... by impeding access to pharmaceuticals for low-income and disabled Californians who rely on Medi-Cal to pay for their prescriptions. Medi-Cal is the State's (publicly) funded health insurance program and the State is calling for a 10% cut in the program's budget (Chaussee, 7/28).

Des Moines Register: Board To Oversee Caregivers At Nursing Homes Is Vetoed
Gov. Terry Branstad has vetoed legislation calling for the creation of a new state board to maintain professional standards for nursing home caregivers. The effect of Branstad's action is unclear, however, as the language he vetoed parallels language that was signed into law by Gov. Chet Culver in 2010. "That just leaves us sort of perplexed as to where we go from here," said Di Findley, the executive director of the Iowa Caregivers Association. Her organization, along with the Iowa Department of Public Health, supported the concept of a new Iowa Board of Direct Care Workers (Kauffman, 7/29).

The Miami Herald: Jackson Health System Reverses Course, Decides Not To Outsource Inmate Healthcare Jackson Health System announced Thursday it is reversing course and will not out-source inmate healthcare – ending two years of planning, hearings and appeals involving a plan once considered a major initiative to turn around the struggling hospital group. ... When Jackson's new chief executive, Carlos Migoya, arrived in May, he reviewed the program, which covers 6,000 Miami-Dade County inmates. After the final bids came in earlier this week – the second set of final bids -- he decided the proposals were "notably higher" than what his team thought it would cost Jackson to perform the same service, he said Thursday (Dorschner, 7/28).

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