KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Report Finds Calif. Fails To Discipline 710 Doctors

News outlets report on a variety of state health care issues.

Los Angeles Times: California Medical Board Fails To Discipline 710 Troubled Doctors
California's medical board failed to discipline 710 troubled doctors even as they were disciplined by hospitals, surgical centers and other health care organizations in the state, according to a report released Tuesday. The report by Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Public Citizen was based on an analysis of doctors' records in the National Practitioner Data Bank from 1990 to 2009. The Department of Health & Human Services uses the data bank to track doctors' discipline, medical malpractice payments and other actions. The data released to Public Citizen did not name the doctors or their workplaces (Hennessey-Fiske, 8/10).

The Washington Post: Wisconsin GOP Holds Off Democrats In Recall Elections
The recalls were triggered by outrage over (Gov. Scott) Walker's move to sharply curtail collective-bargaining rights for public employees. But the races have become a national referendum on the competing views of government held by Republicans and Democrats. … After taking office, Walker moved aggressively to curb collective-bargaining rights and have public employees contribute more to their pensions, igniting huge protests at the state capitol in Madison (Fletcher, 8/9).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Republicans Take 4 Of 6 In Recall Elections, Hold Senate
By keeping a majority in the Senate, Republicans retained their monopoly on state government because they also hold the Assembly and governor's office. Tuesday's elections narrowed their majority - at least for now - from 19-14 to a razor-thin 17-16. Republicans may be able to gain back some of the losses next week, when two Democrats face recall elections (Tolan and Marley, 8/10).

McClatchy/The Kansas City Star: Kansas' Planned Parenthood Defunding Faces Federal Scrutiny
Kansas' decision to take federal family planning funds away from Planned Parenthood has put the state in a vise. On one side, the state is facing a legal assault from Planned Parenthood, which contends it is being punished because it advocates for abortion rights. And Kansas is getting squeezed by the federal government, which is concerned about ensuring access to family planning services in certain areas of the state. If Kansas can't satisfy the government's concerns, it will be at risk of losing all or part of nearly $3 million in family planning funds (Brad Cooper, 8/10).

NPR: Tackling Obesity Amid Poverty In A Mississippi County
The average life expectancy for men in Holmes County, Miss., is 65 years. That's a full decade shorter than the U.S. average. So what's killing people there? Researchers say it's no coincidence that Holmes County is also one of Mississippi's poorest, and most obese. Forty-two percent of the county's residents are considered obese (Elliott, 8/9).

Dallas Morning News: Texas' High Court Limits Hospital Charges In Judgments
The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that plaintiffs cannot base personal injury lawsuits on hospitals' billed charges, but rather the lower amount the hospitals finally accepted as payment. The case stems from a lawsuit filed over a 2004 accident in Lufkin, Texas (Roberson, 8/9).

Health News Florida: Medicaid To Favor FL HMOs
In determining which companies win contracts to enroll 1.5 million Medicaid recipients, the law says, the Agency for Health Care Administration should give preference to those based in Florida. WellCare is based in Tampa; Blue Cross & Blue Shield's home is Jacksonville. They are by far the largest Florida-based companies expected to compete in what Citigroup analyst Carl McDonald called "the single largest Medicaid managed care expansion in history" (Gentry, 8/9).

California Healthline: State Lambasted Over Transition Plan, Lack of Communication
[Jill Yungling attended] yesterday's adult day health care stakeholder meeting in Sacramento. The California Department of Health Care Services convened the session to discuss the elimination of ADHC as a Medi-Cal benefit, a move that is likely to shutter most of the 300 ADHC centers across the state. Yungling runs one of those ADHC centers. Her question was the same as almost everyone's at the meeting: What will happen to the roughly 35,000 senior and disabled Californians who count on ADHC services to keep them out of nursing homes and emergency rooms? (Gorn, 8/10).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Christie, In Burlington County, Touts Health-Care Funding
In a continuing effort this summer to shake off the dirt from a series of political dustups, Gov. (Chris) Christie visited Burlington County on Monday to tout his administration's funding of health care for the poor. … Since 2010, Christie has increased funding $6.4 million for (federally qualified health) centers, which serve more than 400,000 patients, according to his administration. Most patients are women and children, and almost all are uninsured or on Medicaid. But Democrats say the Republican governor has robbed money for health care elsewhere in the budget (Katz, 8/9).

Sacramento Bee: State Decides To Move Prison Health Care Agency To Elk Grove
The city of Elk Grove has won a high-stakes competition to house the headquarters of the California Correctional Health Care Services starting next year, city officials said late Tuesday. … The city has calculated that the added workers in Elk Grove will generate a $4 million economic benefit over 20 years, city spokeswoman Christine Brainerd said (Kalb, 8/10).

KQED/The California Report: Families Disappointed With Autism Services Settlement
Thousands of California families with autistic children have been battling health insurance companies for years, trying to get coverage for therapy. Parents thought they'd won an important victory when state regulators finally reached a deal with insurers last month. But there's a catch (Korry, 8/9). 

HealthyCal: Low-Income Health Program Will Insure Only A Fraction Of Eligible Residents In Monterey County
In Monterey County, an estimated 68,000 people lack health insurance, according to researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health, and many can't afford the medical care they need. ... Relief will come for some when the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Act, or federal heath reform goes into full effect in 2014. County officials predict that 23,000 uninsured residents will join the Medi-Cal rolls, and the federal government will foot the bill. Some people will get help as early as this September from the state's Low Income Health Program (Urevich, 8/9). 

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