KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid News: Wash. Pauses Plan To Not Pay For Some ER Visits

Texas' public hospitals want some Medicaid money shifted to pay for the uninsured while a proposal in Washington state to stop paying for some Medicaid ER visits deemed unnecessary is paused. Ohio is also trying to save money on its Medicare and Medicaid dual-eligible population by restructuring the program.

Houston Chronicle: Public, Private Texas Hospitals Spar Over Medicaid
Texas' public hospitals are asking the state to make some taxpayer money now spent on Medicaid care instead pay for the uninsured, a group that soon may be mostly illegal immigrants. The proposal, under consideration by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is pitting public and private hospitals against each other for hundreds of millions of dollars allocated annually in a supplementary Medicaid program. The public hospitals argue the program favors private hospitals (Ackerman, 4/1).

The Seattle Times: Gregoire Suspends Plan to Limit Medicaid Emergency-Room Visits
A plan by the state Medicaid program to stop paying for emergency-room visits for all conditions deemed "nonemergency" -- set to go into effect Sunday -- has been suspended by Gov. Chris Gregoire pending the outcome of budget negotiations under way in the state Legislature. Gregoire's budget director, Marty Brown, said Saturday that Gregoire on Friday stopped the Medicaid plan from going into effect, noting growing legislative support for a less-drastic alternative. The alternative plan, pushed by Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, is a modified version of a proposal offered by emergency-room doctors and hospitals, Brown said (Ostrom, 3/31).

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: Details Emerge On Ohio's Health Plan 
The state's plan to streamline medical care for some of its sickest, most expensive and difficult to treat patients includes changes designed to eliminate unnecessary health tests, prevent medication errors and keep people healthier and out of emergency rooms. The proposal for those enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare could end up being a model for other states, said Ohio officials who drafted the plan. The officials are expected to send the details on Monday to the federal government, which must sign off on the changes (Sanner, 3/30).

In California, transitioning tens of thousands of Medi-Cal beneficiaries into a new adult day health care program begins:

California Healthline: Out With ADHC, In With CBAS
Late Friday night, CMS approved implementation of the Community Based Adult Services program. That means the state has successfully eliminated adult day health care as a Medi-Cal benefit, and is replacing it with CBAS, starting today. According to officials from the Department of Health Care Services, almost 32,000 of the nearly 40,000 ADHC beneficiaries have been deemed eligible for CBAS. That's more than 80 percent of the ADHC population (Gorn, 4/2).

California Healthline: State: DHCS Contempt Motion Won’t Delay New Program Launch
Attorneys gathered in U.S. District Court yesterday morning to argue whether or not the state Department of Health Care Services should be found in contempt of court for its handling of the adult day health transition. That argument will wait a week, at least. After meeting two hours yesterday, the two sides agreed to delay court proceedings (Gorn, 3/30).

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