State Roundup: FBI Questions Prime Healthcare Billers In Calif.
News outlets report on a variety of health policy issues around the country.
California Watch: FBI Questioning Former Prime Hospital Coders
The FBI is interviewing witnesses about billing practices at Prime Healthcare Services, the hospital chain that has charged Medicare for treating elderly patients with rare medical conditions at far higher rates than other California hospitals. The FBI would neither confirm nor deny an investigation, but at least two former Prime medical coders say they were approached by the agency to discuss the chain's billing practices. ... A spokesman for Prime said the chain is unaware of an FBI probe (Jewett, 12/13).
The Seattle Times: 1 Of 7 State Residents Lacks Health Insurance
The number of people in Washington state without health insurance has risen sharply since the end of 2008 and is expected to reach 1 million by the end of the year, according to a new report from state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. About 14.5 percent of state residents — most of them working-age adults — have no coverage, and many more are underinsured, the report says. In 31 of 39 counties, the percentage of uninsured grew over the past two years (Ostrom, 12/13).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: More Students Apply To Medical College Of Georgia
As Georgia's only public medical college expands to meet the state's demand for more doctors, school officials saw a drastic increase in applicants. The medical school at Georgia Health Sciences University received 2,384 applications for next fall – a 10-percent increase over the previous year. The national average increased by about 3 percent, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (Diamond, 12/13).
Denver Post: Study: Health Law Will Not Overwhelm Colorado's Medical System
Though Colorado will add 510,000 people to its insurance rolls under the health care law, the state will need far fewer new doctors than previously thought, in part because those patients will be shifting from emergency rooms and other existing care, a report says. Even with that many newly insured, Colorado will need only about 141 new doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to cover the added visits, according to the Colorado Health Institute (Booth, 12/12).
Health Policy Solutions (A Colorado news service): Colorado Health Institute Says Doctor Shortage Not So Bad
The demand for more health care providers in Colorado as the Affordable Care Act is implemented will not be as great as anticipated, said a report released today from the Colorado Health Institute. "The additional half-million insured Coloradans is going to stress the system, but it's not going to break it," said Michele Lueck, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Institute, which spent the past year gathering and analyzing data for the report (Carman, 12/12).
Health Policy Solutions (A Colorado news service): Colorado's Health Exchange Taps Businesswoman As New Leader
The Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Board of Directors today announced the hiring of Patty Fontneau as the exchange's executive director and chief executive officer. A committee of state legislators that also directs the exchange voted unanimously Dec. 7 to approve the hiring of Fontneau, who brings more than 25 years of experience as a private sector executive. She began in the new post today. … The exchange is building a new health insurance marketplace for individuals and small employers who historically have faced additional barriers to accessing and affording coverage (12/12).