KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

State Highlights: Ore. Court Medicaid Decision Leads Some Families To Try To Recoup Estate Payments; Ga. Struggles To Address Backlog Of Nursing Home Complaints

Outlets report on health news from Oregon, Georgia, Kansas, West Virginia, Texas, Illinois and Florida.

Oregon Public Broadcasting: Oregon Supreme Court Ruling Prompts Families To Try To Recoup Medicaid Payments
When a couple grows old, one spouse often gets sick and needs long-term care — like a nursing home. That can cost $6,000 a month. To qualify for Medicaid, couples often transfer the title for an asset, like a home, to the other spouse. In 2008, the state tightened the rule governing asset ownership in an effort to recover more money. Now the Oregon Supreme Court has found that exceeded the state’s authority. (Foden-Vencil, 1/3)

Georgia Health News: State Admits To Slow Pace In Addressing Nursing Home Complaints
Georgia is dealing with a large backlog of complaints about nursing homes, and also has a substantial vacancy rate in surveyors who check conditions in these facilities, a state health agency said Tuesday. The complaint situation has helped lead to “a mess’’ with federal health officials, Frank Berry, commissioner of the Department of Community Health, told Georgia House lawmakers at a hearing. (Miller, 1/3)

KCUR: Kansans Struggle Through Maze Of Autism Therapy Coverage
ABA [applied behavior analysis] consists of one-on-one sessions with trained experts who try to keep kids with autism in step developmentally with their age-group peers. It’s the most common autism therapy in the United States. [Jill] Wagner and other parents of kids with autism are told ABA is essential for their children’s development. But finding a qualified provider and getting insurance to cover it can feel impossible, she said. (Marso, 1/3)

Stateline: Telemedicine In Schools Helps Keep Kids In The Classroom
Telemedicine, increasingly used in prisons, nursing homes and remote areas, is becoming more common in schools. According to the American Telemedicine Association, at least 18 states authorize Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine services provided in schools and 28 states plus Washington, D.C., require private insurers to cover telemedicine appointments as they would face-to-face doctor visits. Telemedicine can’t always replace an in-person examination — a doctor often has to touch a patient, for example, to diagnose the cause of abdominal pain — but it does make it less likely that a child will have to miss class for a visit to the doctor’s office. (Ollove, 1/4)

Chicago Tribune: Chicago, Public Housing Agencies To Implement Federal Smoking Ban 
The federal rule, announced Nov. 30 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will require all public housing agencies to go smoke-free by June 2018. The rule prohibits tobacco products — cigarettes, cigars, pipes and hookahs — in living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and outdoors within 25 feet of housing and administrative office buildings. Although electronic-cigarettes are not explicitly banned, HUD encourages individual public housing agencies to "exercise their discretion" in their smoke-free policies. (Moreno, 1/4)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.