KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: KanCare Gets Nursing Home Critics; Patient Access To Records In Wis.

A selection of health policy stories from Virginia, Kansas, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The Washington Post: What Are Gov.-Elect Terry McAuliffe's Plans For Virginia's Mental Health System? 
In the wake of the Creigh Deeds family tragedy, it seems instructive to look ahead to how Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe plans to deal with Virginia's mental health system. I wrote a story last month about the views of both gubernatorial candidates on the state system, based in part on their platforms and in part on questions I asked about key issues. McAuliffe fully favors Virginia expanding its Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act, saying it would provide new health care coverage for about 400,000 Virginians and would increase money for mental health treatment (Jackman, 11/25). 

Kansas Health Institute: Nursing Homes Feel KanCare And Other Pressures
Kevin Unrein, chief executive and co-owner of a company that operates three Kansas nursing homes, said there is something he would like state policymakers to know about KanCare. "It's a mess," he said last week, leaving a meeting at a Topeka hotel conference room that brought together dozens of nursing home managers and representatives of the state’s three KanCare managed care companies (Shields, 11/25).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Patients Get Access To Doctors’ Notes Online In Milwaukee-Area First 
Most of the health care systems in the Milwaukee area give patients access to key information in their medical records, such as lab results and prescriptions, through secure Internet portals. But Columbia St. Mary's is the first to give them access to physicians' and clinicians' notes. The initiative -- OpenNotes -- is an outgrowth of a study that involved more than 100 primary care doctors from three medical centers and health systems across the United States. The response by patients was enthusiastic: 99 percent of the 5,391 patients who completed a survey recommended the notes remain available, the study found (Boulton, 11/24).

The Star Tribune: Fewer Minnesota Children Found To Be Uninsured 
The number of uninsured children in Minnesota dropped by 16,000 between 2010 and 2012, according to a new national analysis -- exactly the number that officials predicted when Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators expanded access to the state's MinnesotaCare program last July. Although the change in MinnesotaCare access can't be entirely credited for the two years of progress, officials with the Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota believe it contributed to the gains (Olson, 11/25). 

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