KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Roundup: Long-Term Care Costs Soar In Virginia

A selection of health policy stories from Arizona, Virginia, Nevada, Massachusetts and California.

Arizona Republic: Brewer Vetoes Bill Requiring Doctors To Post Prices Online
Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed legislation Friday that would have required doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to post prices for their most common services, a move the bill's sponsor said was a blow to consumers and driven by industry pressure. In her veto letter, the governor said the measure's "ambiguous terms and definitions" could conflict with state and federal laws and expose the state to lawsuits. … Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, dismissed the governor's explanations as "red herrings" and accused her of bowing to pressure from the hospital industry, which opposed Senate Bill 1115 (Reinhart, 4/12).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Long-Term Care Costs Rise In Virginia
The cost to receive care at home in Virginia through a home health aide increased during the past five years, a new survey shows. The Cost of Care survey by Henrico County-based Genworth Financial found that the costs are increasing faster in Virginia than national levels in some cases. The survey, released last week, shows the hourly rate for homemaker services and home health aide services in Virginia is $17 and $18, respectively (4/14).

The Associated Press: Psychiatric Hospital Accused Of Patient Dumping
Nevada's primary state psychiatric hospital has transported more than 1,500 mentally ill patients to cities across the nation by Greyhound bus over the last five years, according to a published story. As Nevada has slashed funding for mental health services, the number of such patients being bused out of Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas climbed 66 percent from 2009 to 2012, The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday (4/14).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Programs Help Independent Artists Access Health Care
Freelance artists are part of the estimated 15 million people who are currently self-employed, according to a U.S. Department of Labor 2012 estimate. … Programs like Springboard and the Freelancers' Union co-ops help a community that Hunt said is often underinsured because many artists have low incomes -- between $12,500 and about $25,000 -- especially when they are not yet established (Rao, 4/15).

Boston Globe: Holistic Criteria Aid Medical School
Medical schools traditionally have accepted students with the highest test scores and best science grades. But in an article published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Robert Witzburg of Boston University School of Medicine writes about what he considers a better approach to choosing future physicians: holistic review. Medical schools that use this method give potential students points for overcoming adversity, showing resilience, and being empathetic -- as well as for academic achievement. Admissions officers consider letters of reference, interviews, and community service experience to evaluate these qualities (Conaboy, 4/15).

Boston Globe: Support Grows For Legislation Requiring Paid Sick Leave
A nearly decade-long effort to require Massachusetts employers to offer paid sick days is gaining momentum as lawmakers pass similar proposals across the country. At least five cities and one state, Connecticut, have mandated that employers provide the benefit in recent years, with New York City poised to join them after the City Council agreed to enact legislation requiring businesses with 20 or more employees to offer five paid sick days a year. Similar proposals are under consideration in Philadelphia and Vermont (Woolhouse, 4/15).

California Healthline: Step Forward For Oral Chemotherapy Bill
The Assembly Committee on Health approved a bill Tuesday that would require health insurers to provide oral chemotherapy therapy to their members with a maximum out-of-pocket $100 co-pay per prescription. Another version of AB 219 by Assembly member Henry Perea (D-Fresno) passed the Legislature last year, but was vetoed by the governor. "This bill would ensure cancer patients have affordable access to the most appropriate cancer treatment covered by insurers," Perea said. "When the governor vetoed a similar bill last year, he encouraged me to work with his administration to design a policy that will work for California. AB 219 represents a new strategy to make oral chemotherapy affordable” (Gorn, 4/12).

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