KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: New Minn. Gov.’s Plans To Expand Medicaid Could Be Off To Slow Start; Ariz. Gov. Asks For Federal Help

The Associated Press/Bloomberg: Dayton Irked By Medicaid Conversion Lag In Minn.
Minnesota Gov.-elect Mark Dayton says a nine-month transition to a new Medicaid health care program carries "enormous financial implications" when state finances are already tight (12/20).

Minnesota Public Radio: Health Official Says Nine-Month Timeframe For Medicaid Expansion Necessary
Gov.-elect Mark Dayton says he'll authorize the expansion soon after taking office next month. On Monday, Dayton is scheduled to meet with a state official about expansion of Medicaid for the state's poor. But, Human Services Commissioner Cal Ludeman said it could take until October to move some 95,000 low-income Minnesotans into the program (Picardi, 12/20).

The Arizona Republic: Gov. Jan Brewer Asks For Congress' Help On Medicaid
Gov. Jan Brewer has sent a letter to Republican U.S. House Speaker-elect John Boehner and Arizona's congressional delegation "respectfully" asking that the new Congress propose legislation to eliminate the spending requirement for state Medicaid programs (Rau, 12/21).

Chicago Tribune: Illinois Nursing Homes Escape Paying Full Fines After Residents Harmed
Throughout Illinois, facilities caring for children and young adults with severe developmental disabilities have escaped serious penalties when kids have been harmed or died on their watch (Roe and Hopkins, 12/20).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Study Targets Tax Exemptions For Hospitals, High-End Retirement Homes
Hospitals and high-end retirement housing developments would generate tens of millions of dollars annually for Wisconsin communities, if their exemptions from paying property taxes were eliminated (Daykin, 12/20).

Chicago Sun-Times: Trauma Centers Blowing Patient Transfer Deadlines
Illinois hospitals that need to transfer trauma patients to facilities with higher levels of trauma care are supposed to do so within two hours. But a new study finds that 80 percent of transfers made over a five-year period in Illinois exceeded the two-hour limit, though the most seriously injured patients did receive care within that window. The findings, published Monday in the journal Archives of Surgery, call into question the need for mandating how quickly transfers between hospitals should take place, said study co-author Dr. Thomas J. Esposito, of Loyola University Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine (Thomas, 12/21).

Chicago Sun-Times: Emanuel Wants To Use Incentives To Drive Down City Health Costs
If [Rahm] Emanuel is elected mayor, he plans to implement an incentive-laden health and wellness plan [for city employees] mirroring those pioneered by companies such as Safeway and Johnson & Johnson. Emanuel noted that Johnson & Johnson managed to reduce employee smoking by two-thirds and cut the rate of high-blood pressure among its workers in half. The company got $3 of savings for every $1 invested in incentives, he said (Spielman, 12/20).

WBUR (Boston): NH Company Aims To Spread 'Smart Shopping' For Health Care
How it works: Your employer signs up with Compass. When you need an MRI or a colonoscopy, a blood test or a knee "scope," you go on-line to the Compass Website or call an 800 number. Compass's algorithms and analytics sift through claims data, and turn you into a comparison shopper for health care, telling you which venues for the procedure you need would be cheaper (Goldberg, 12/20).

Kansas Health Institute News Service: Corporate Dentistry Debate Looming
Under Kansas law, only a licensed dentist can own and operate a dental clinic. A corporation cannot. It's illegal. It's been that way for as long as most dentists can remember. ... Some legislators aren't so sure that allowing corporate clinics that are owned and operated by Kansas dentists would diminish the quality of care that patients received. During a recent meeting of the Joint Committee on Health Policy Oversight, several members noted that so-called franchise clinics tend to accept more Medicaid patients (Ranney, 12/20).

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