KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Public Comments On Mass. Hospital Deal; Wash. Insurance Case Brings Allegations

A selection of health policy stories from Massachusetts, Washington state, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

WBUR: In Public Comments, Partners-Coakley Deal Brings Praise And Protest
Quite an “only in Massachusetts” moment. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and leaders of Raytheon, Suffolk Construction and Putnam Investments have all filed letters in support of an anti-trust agreement that would not normally see the light of day before a judge approves the deal. The opposition includes public health professors, a group of top economists and politicians battling Attorney General Martha Coakley in the governor’s race. This show of force is weighing in on a deal Coakley negotiated with Partners HealthCare. It would let the state’s largest hospital network expand its market power, but with constraints, some of which would last for 10 years (Bebinger, 7/24).

Seattle Times: Investigator: Children’s Hospital Ex-Hearing Judge Was Untruthful, Investigator Says 
Patricia Petersen, the state insurance office’s top administrative-law judge suspended in May over a messy set of dueling allegations, was misleading and untruthful in her characterizations of events surrounding a high-profile insurance case, an independent investigator has concluded. In a rebuttal and memo released Thursday with the investigation report, her lawyers accused the investigator of cherry-picking facts in an error-filled effort to wrongly castigate a judge who stood up for “judicial independence.” For example, her lawyers said, the investigator concluded that Petersen should have told lawyers in a case before her involving Seattle Children’s hospital that her husband had been a medical resident there. But that was over three decades ago, they noted, and he had no current financial interest in the hospital (Ostrom, 7/24).

Kansas Health Institute News Service: New Missouri Law Pays Dividends For Kansas City Clinic
A year and a half ago, a local safety net clinic underwent one of the most significant changes in its more than four decades of serving the metropolitan area: It went from a purely free provider to one that also accepted paying patients covered by insurance. Known for years as the Kansas City Free Health Clinic, the organization became the Kansas City CARE Clinic to reflect that its donation-based operation had evolved to a fee-based, sliding-scale system with a minimum payment of $10. The shift promised hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue for the clinic, at 3515 Broadway in Kansas City, Mo., but lawmakers first needed to fix a glitch in a state statute. That finally occurred last week when Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation shepherded through the General Assembly by State Sen. Jolie Justus, a Kansas City Democrat (Sherry, 7/24).

The Associated Press: Doctor Fires Back At Pennsylvania Hospital Gunman
A doctor told police that a patient fatally shot a caseworker at their hospital complex before the doctor pulled out his own gun and exchanged fire with him and wounded him, a prosecutor said Thursday night. Dr. Lee Silverman, a psychiatrist, was grazed in the temple during the gunfight in his office with patient Richard Plotts, according to Delaware District Attorney Jack Whelan (7/24).

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