KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Calif. Gov. Signs Pharmacist Scope-Of-Practice Bill

A selection of health policy stories from Texas, Delaware and California.

Politico: Wendy Davis Launches Bid For Texas Governor
Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator whose abortion filibuster catapulted her to national fame, announced Thursday that she will run for Texas governor, a race that looks to be a banner 2014 contest (Glueck, 10/4).

California Healthline: Pharmacist Scope-Of-Practice Bill Now Law
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) this week signed into law a bill (SB 493) that would give more responsibility to certain pharmacists. The measure is designed to ease the increasing burden on primary care providers by having pharmacists help with some of their tasks. … SB 493 will become law on Jan. 1, 2014. It will allow pharmacists to initiate certain kinds of prescriptions and to provide clinical advice and patient consultation. The bill was part of a suite of four bills introduced this year to expand scope of practice for optometrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other mid-level practitioners (Gorn, 10/3).

The Texas Tribune: Embattled Cancer Center Chief Plans A New Approach
Ronald DePinho, the president of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, part of the University of Texas, becomes animated when he talks about his ambitious plans in leading the institute's efforts to combat the disease. In two weeks, Depinho plans to give a public report on the first year’s progress of MD Anderson’s "moon shots" program (Hamilton, 10/4).

California Healthline: Stanislaus County ACO Shows Remarkable Results In Four Key Benchmark Metrics
In its first year of operation, the Central Valley ACO has posted some impressive numbers. Hospital admissions have been reduced by 28.8 percent. The number of days spent in the hospital was cut back by 29.3 percent. Average length of stay in the hospital has dropped slightly (0.6 percent). Visits to the emergency department have declined by 9.3 percent (Gorn, 10/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Legislative Budget Writers In Delaware Discuss Medicaid Spending, Other Big Expenditures
Budget writers from Delaware's legislature met Thursday to consider how to curb spending on the state’s Medicaid program, which is costing state taxpayers about $700 million a year. State Medicaid director Stephen Groff briefed members of the Joint Finance Committee on how the subsidized health care program for the poor and disabled operates and outlined some of the biggest cost drivers, including a 40 percent increase in enrollment over the past five years (10/3).

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