KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Anti-Abortion Legislation Campaign

A selection of health care news from around the country.

The Associated Press: Abortion Foes Push Fetal Heartbeat Bills In States
A nationwide coalition of anti-abortion groups said Wednesday it is preparing to push legislation in all 50 states requiring that pregnant women see and hear the fetal heartbeat before having an abortion. The effort follows the introduction of similar legislation at the federal level by Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota (Sanner, 10/12).

The New York Times: Cuomo Says He Will Reform Agencies Serving Disabled
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, saying he was startled by problems with the handling of abuse and neglect allegations at state facilities, on Wednesday vowed reforms at six agencies that provide residential care for the disabled, the elderly, children and the mentally ill. ... a review of the agencies had found myriad clashing procedures — differing definitions of abuse, varying directives about when to call law enforcement, inconsistent standards of proof and sometimes no standard of proof at all (Hakim, 10/13).

Kansas Health Institute News: Delay Sought In Starting New HCBS Payment System
Kansas Secretary on Aging Shawn Sullivan told a legislative panel today that his agency and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services will try to postpone until Dec. 1 the joint launching of a new state accounting and payment system that has prompted a stream of complaints from providers of services to the elderly and disabled (Shields, 10/12). 

California Healthline: State Appeals Ruling On Disability Funding
In May, a federal judge issued an injunction to halt the state's freeze on funding for programs for the developmentally disabled. Yesterday, California attorneys were back in court, this time at the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Pasadena, to ask that the May decision be overturned. ... The judges are not expected to rule for months (Gorn, 10/13).

HealthyCal: Minority Nursing Home Residents Increase, Whites Decline
As the nation’s elderly population balloons, nursing homes across the country have seen a demographic shift in their residents. More Hispanic, black and Asian elders are moving into nursing homes while white residents choose other options. Whites, who have greater economic resources on average, are finding better housing alternatives as they reach old age (Portner, 10/13). 

Modern Healthcare: Texas Med-Mal Caps Haven't Cut Costs: Group
Consumer watchdog group Public Citizen claims in a new report that the medical malpractice caps that Texas approved in 2003 have not slowed the growth of healthcare expenditures, made health insurance less expensive or had a marked effect on the number of physicians practicing in the state, as the caps' proponents had predicted (Galloro, 10/12).

News Service Of Florida: Insurance Chief McCarty Criticizes Workers' Comp Drug 'Spike'
Looking at a proposed 8.9 percent rate increase for next year, Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty and business groups Tuesday criticized a controversial drug-dispensing practice that they say drives up workers' compensation insurance costs. The practice involves doctors dispensing what are known as "repackaged" drugs to injured workers, rather than writing prescriptions to be filled at pharmacies. Critics say prices for the repackaged drugs are inflated -- and account for 2.5 percent of the proposed 8.9 percent average rate increase for businesses (Saunders, 10/12).

(New Orleans) Times-Picayune: Gov. Bobby Jindal Says He's 'Beginning To Turn This State Around'
Jindal is steering $2.2 billion in state Medicaid business -- about 70 percent of those insured by the program -- to private insurers who will run managed-care networks. He's also pushing to privatize the benefits office for state employees. ... But on health care, Jindal is a full-throated supporter of a planned public teaching hospital to succeed Charity Hospital in New Orleans (Barrow, 10/12). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Healthcare Advocate Reports $2.9 Million In Consumer Savings Last Quarter
State Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri announced Wednesday that her office generated $2.9 million in savings for Connecticut residents during the third quarter of 2011. The figure represents the cost of health care services that would have been paid by consumers without intervention from the agency, which helps state residents with managed care insurance issues (Levin Becker, 10/12). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Study Finds Confusion About Medical Home Concept
State officials are developing plans for Medicaid recipients to be cared for in "medical homes" beginning in January, but they might want to start with a marketing campaign: In focus groups conducted on behalf of the Department of Social Services, many people said they were unfamiliar with the concept--or worse. Upon hearing the term "medical home," some people said it sounded like a place you go to die, said Meryl Price, a consultant working with DSS to design the medical home program (Levin Becker, 10/12). 

The Lund Report: Healthcare Transformation Undergoes Public Scrutiny
Uncertainty was in the air at a community meeting Tuesday night designed to inform people about healthcare transformation and the development of coordinated care organizations that will provide services to more than 600,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan next July. ... Ultimately, these CCOs will be judged on their ability to effectively measure health outcomes (Thomas, 10/12). 

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