KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Ohio Releases Nursing Home Database In Push For Tighter Control; Wis. Tops List As Best Place For Nurses

Media outlets report on news from Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, Missouri and Georgia.

Columbus Dispatch: State Releases Nursing Home Database In Push For Tighter Regs
As Gov. John Kasich tries to salvage his plan to pay Ohio nursing homes based on the quality of care they provide Medicaid patients, the state today released details showing that the level of service varies widely among Ohio’s 929 facilities. Kasich’s proposal was pulled out of the two-year budget last week by the Ohio House, which pushed managed-care reforms back to 2021. But the governor hopes to persuade the Senate to reinsert his proposal. (Johnson and Candisky, 5/11)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Ranked The Country's Best State For Nurses
Nursing is a challenging, demanding profession, but there's no better state to do it than Wisconsin. WalletHub ranked the Badger State as the best in the country for nurses in a recent study. The website considered 18 factors in its rankings, from job openings per capita and annual salaries to educational opportunities and work environments. (Lewis, 5/11)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: State Officials Cite Low-Performing Nursing Homes In Push For Managed-Care Plans 
Ohio Gov. John Kasich's administration Thursday cited the state's low-performing nursing homes - among the worst in the country in terms of care - in its push for managed-care plans. Kasich's Office of Health Transformation, released a spreadsheet of data on more than 930 nursing homes in Ohio and their ratings from a federal statistical measure, as well as the amounts each receives from Medicaid per day. (Caniglia and Corrigan, 5/11)

Los Angeles Times: Gov. Jerry Brown Urges Republican 'Penance' For Healthcare Vote, Warns Of The Impact On California's Budget
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday presented a slightly sunnier view of California’s economy than he offered just four months ago, but nonetheless delivered one of his vintage sermons on the evils of overspending when outlining a new state spending plan. And this time, the man who once trained to be a Jesuit priest singled out the state’s Republican members of the House for their unanimous vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act — a move that alone would result in California losing $18.6 billion in federal funds a decade from now. (Myers, 5/11)

Los Angeles Times: Cedars-Sinai And Torrance Memorial Hospitals Plan To Join Forces
Cedars-Sinai and Torrance Memorial hospitals plan to team up to share resources, collaborate on patient care and provide wider access to clinical trials. Under the proposed partnership, announced this week, the two Los Angeles-area healthcare institutions would keep their separate boards of directors and operate independently under their respective chief executives, each keeping their own employees and making their own staffing decisions. They would, however, affiliate under a new parent organization with a new board of directors. (Easter, 5/11)

Denver Post: Colorado Seniors Rank Fourth In National Health Report
Colorado’s seniors are the fourth-healthiest in the nation, thanks to high levels of physical activity and low levels of obesity, according to new rankings released this week by the United Health Foundation...The report, which is now in its fifth year, looked at the health of people ages 65 and older across the country, using federal and other data sources. Researchers found that Colorado ranks third for the amount of its seniors who are physically active and also scored well at measures for preventing hospital deaths, premature deaths, hospital re-admissions and unnecessary hospitalizations. The state has the second-lowest obesity rate in the country for seniors, at 20 percent. (Ingold, 5/11)

New Orleans Times-Picayune: 'Routine' Colonoscopies Cost Some New Orleans Patients Thousands Of Dollars
In the end, [Cedric] Valeary owed close to $2,500 out-of-pocket for what he thought was a routine, preventive colonoscopy - a procedure that, under federal law, is supposed to cost the patient nothing. Unbeknownst to him and thousands of patients across the country, the cost of a colonoscopy can depend on a host of factors, including lab fees, how long the exam lasted, even what type of anesthesia was used. In some cases, experts say, patients believe they are getting a colonoscopy screening, but wind up being charged for a diagnostic colonoscopy - a test typically performed as the result of abdominal symptoms or a family history of colon cancer. No laws require insurance companies to cover the full amount for such tests. (Lipinski, 5/12)

Chicago Tribune: Shortage Of Caregivers For People With Disabilities Intensifies Statewide 
Lawmakers in Springfield are now considering legislation that would, like the bill sent to the governor last year, raise the minimum wage for the caregivers to $15 an hour. The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday that representatives in the House will consider. With weeks left before the end of the legislative session, and lawmakers still at an impasse over the budget, advocates for people with disabilities say the worker crisis has gone from dire to potentially dangerous. (Healy, 5/11)

Boston Globe: Liberty Mutual Closing Its Research Unit 
Liberty Mutual is shutting down its research arm in Hopkinton that for six decades put it at the forefront of workplace injury prevention, prosthetic limb development, and the push for safer car features, including collapsible steering columns. The company will no longer conduct peer-reviewed research, considered the gold-standard for studies, which extended its reach worldwide. (Fernandes, 5/12)

Texas Tribune: Texas Senate Passes Sandra Bland Act
The Texas Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill aimed at protecting people with mental illnesses who are arrested and may harm themselves in jail. The legislation — Senate Bill 1849 — was filed after a high-profile incident in 2015 in which Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Illinois woman, was found dead in the Waller County jail days after being arrested during a routing traffic stop. (Silver, 5/11)

California Healthline: California Bill Addresses Safety Concerns At Dialysis Clinics
Saying they are concerned about safety in California’s dialysis clinics, a coalition of nurses, technicians, patients and union representatives is backing legislation that would require more staffing and oversight. The bill, introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would establish minimum staffing ratios, mandate a longer transition time between appointments and require annual inspections of the state’s 562 licensed dialysis clinics. (Gorman, 5/11)

Chicago Sun Times: Chicago Dermatologist Convicted Of Health Care Fraud
A Chicago dermatologist was convicted of health care fraud for billing health insurance programs for falsely reported pre-cancerous treatments. Omeed Memar, a 48-year-old Chicago resident, was convicted Wednesday of eight counts of health care fraud and eight counts of making false statements in a health care matter, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. (Wittich, 5/11)

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