KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: ‘Ambitious’ Baltimore HIV Initiative

State health policy news from California, Florida, Maryland, Wisconsin, Oregon, Kansas and Georgia.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Group Predicts Physician Shortage In Wisconsin
The state needs to train or recruit an additional 100 physicians a year through 2030 to meet the projected demand for health care, according to a new Wisconsin Hospital Association report. ...  [The group] says the state must act immediately ... Primary care physicians - doctors who specialize in family and internal medicine and pediatrics - will account for 80 percent of the projected shortage (Boulton, 11/30).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Emory Healthcare Teams Up With CVS Walk-In Clinics
Nagged by a persistent cough for the past three weeks, Kara Ramos headed to a small clinic inside a local CVS drugstore in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood on a recent afternoon.  Ramos, a self-employed makeup artist without insurance, is one of a growing number of Americans with colds, strep throat and other minor ailments visiting walk-in retail clinics that offer medical care at a lower cost than doctors’ offices (Williams, 11/29).

Related, earlier KHN story: The Walmart Opportunity: Can Retailers Revamp Primary Care? (Appleby, 11/17).

Health News Florida: CVS Blacklists Some Doctors
CVS Pharmacy Inc. is notifying some physicians that it will no longer fill prescriptions they write for the strongest and most often abused narcotics, including Oxycodone. The new policy appears to be limited to Florida, but it's unclear what criteria CVS uses to determine which doctors can have their prescriptions filled (Davis, 11/29). 

San Francisco Chronicle: Union Faults Kaiser Permanente Mental Health Care
Union officials and Kaiser mental health care workers asked state regulators Tuesday to investigate claims that patients who seek mental health services at Kaiser Permanente often wait weeks for care - well beyond the 10-day limit required by state law. … Kaiser officials denied the allegations and said the HMO meets all regulatory requirements and provides high-quality mental health care (Colliver, 11/30).

Kansas Health Institute: Summit To Focus On Training Plan For Midlevel Dental Practitioners
State law doesn't allow ["registered dental practitioners"] to be licensed, which means they can't work in Kansas. Seven national experts plan to meet with members of a Kansas coalition that is trying to persuade policymakers to allow the mid-level caregivers to be licensed, despite opposition from the Kansas Dental Association (Cauthon, 11/29).

California Healthline: Ruling To Prompt New ADHC Transition
It's too early to know some details of the newest transition plan for adult day health care services, according to state officials. The final settlement of a lawsuit challenging the state's first transition plan will be released tomorrow, and the federal judge in the case will issue a ruling on the settlement in two weeks. But that doesn't stop people from raising questions (Gorn, 11/30). 

California Watch: State Can't Take $1B From First 5, Judge Rules
California's attempt to divert $1 billion from First 5 commissions to state health services is illegal, a Fresno County judge ruled last week. Lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown had sought First 5 funds in March to help close what was then a $26 billion budget shortfall. ... Prop. 10 placed a 50-cent tax on tobacco products and has generated about $7.3 billion to date. The revenue is divided among one state and 58 county commissions, which support early childhood development programs (Lin, 11/29). 

ABC: (Video) Baltimore HIV Initiative To Cut Infections 25 Percent By 2015
Baltimore has ambitious plans for its public health sector in the next three years: By 2015, city officials plan to cut new HIV/AIDS infections by 25 percent. While public funds are limited, government leaders say they're confident that the detailed plan, which seeks to reallocate placement of intervention programs and revamp city programs, will reduce the transmission of a disease that has plagued Baltimore for decades (Conley, 11/30).

The Baltimore Sun: Board Of Physicans Face Senate Committee Hearing
Lawmakers will have their first chance to hear from the state Board of Physicians since a recent audit found that the panel took too long to hear complaints about doctors and was lacking in transparency. ... The board is charged with licensing doctors and overseeing their behavior, but the audit found deficiencies — some of the problems have been ongoing for years (Cohn, 11/30).

The Lund Report (Oregon): CMS Fines The Regence Group $100,000 for Medicare Violation
The Regence Group is the holding company for the company’s insurance products in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah. During 2011, Regence failed to send accurate information about the cost-sharing changes for durable medical equipment and related supplies, including prosthetic devices, to its 88,667 Medicare Advantage members, according to Gerard J. Mulcahy, acting director of the Program Compliance and Oversight Group for CMS (Lund-Muzikant, 11/30). 

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.