KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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N.M. Faces $417 Million Medicaid Shortfall In Current Budget Crunch

Officials are looking at possible cuts in reimbursements for doctors and hospitals. News outlets also report on Medicaid issues in Kansas, Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska.

Albuquerque Journal: NM Faces $417M Medicaid Shortfall
New Mexico’s budget crunch has left the state facing a $417 million Medicaid shortfall over the next 16 months, a daunting figure that could mean reduced reimbursement rates for providers and hospitals and, down the road, new mandatory payments for some patients. The belt-tightening measures, some of which will probably take effect in July, come at a time when the state’s Medicaid enrollment is skyrocketing – roughly 850,000 New Mexicans are on the state’s rolls, and that number is expected to rise. State funding is not expected to keep up, and without that match, New Mexico loses hundreds of millions of federal dollars. (Boyd, 3/5)

The Kansas Health Institute News Service: Brownback Administration Hears From Nursing Homes On Medicaid Problems
Judy Kregar is not a member of the Rotary Club in Greensburg, but she decided to go when she heard Gov. Sam Brownback would be at the club’s recent meeting. Kregar, the administrator of a small nursing home in nearby Bucklin, wanted to tell Brownback in person about the struggles some of her residents are having getting their Medicaid applications and annual renewals processed. (Marso, 3/4)

Georgia Health News: Nursing Home Firm Penalized Again As Feds Cut Funds At 4th Georgia Facility
Federal health officials, citing potential harm to patients, is stopping Medicare and Medicaid payments to a fourth Georgia nursing home operated by a Tennessee-based company. Three of those Georgia facilities run by New Beginnings Care have closed, with state officials helping to relocate more than 200 patients. The fourth facility, in Abbeville, south of Macon, is having federal payments cut off this month, according to a CMS letter. (Miller, 3/4)

Alaska Public Radio/KTOO: Alaska Senate Weighing A Bill To Overhaul Medicaid
The Senate Finance Committee has been weighing a wide-ranging bill to overhaul Medicaid in Alaska. One provision is aimed at curbing the abuse of opioid drugs. Senate Bill 74 would require doctors to check a database before prescribing opioids. The sponsors want to make sure patients aren’t going from doctor to doctor seeking pills. The bill also requires pharmacists to check the Alaska Prescription Database Monitoring Program. (Kitchenman, 3/4)

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