KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Dropped Malpractice Suits; DC Abortion Report

News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.

The Boston Globe: Dropped Malpractice Lawsuits Cost Legal System Time And Money  
A study published today in the journal Health Affairs looked at the outcomes of 3,695 malpractice claims filed in Massachusetts courts against hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers between 2006 and 2010. Fifty-nine percent of those claims were simply abandoned, found author Dwight Golann of the Suffolk University School of Law, far more than were settled (26 percent) and adjudicated (15 percent). … The problem is that dropped lawsuits are expensive (Kowalczyk, 7/7). 

The Connecticut Mirror: Medicare Officials Will Fix Error That Could Have Cost CT Hospitals $30 Million
The Connecticut Hospital Association first caught the error, a provision in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' complex reimbursement rules. ... Delegation members said the correction will affect 104 providers across the country (Shesgreen, 7/7). 

The Associated Press: DC Funded 300 Abortions in Two Years
For decades Congress has used its power over the District of Columbia to ban the city from paying for abortions for poor women, but during a two-year period when lawmakers reversed course at least 300 women got city-funded procedures, according to data obtained by The Associated Press. That period when the city was free to pay for abortions ended earlier this year. The city now says that during that time it spent approximately $185,000 providing elective abortions for poor women who receive health care through government programs (Gresko, 7/7). 

Kaiser Health News: NY Health And Hospital Corp's President Welcomes The Health Law's Promise, But Sees 'A Very Clear Downside' For Public Hospitals – The KHN Interview
Alan Aviles, the president and CEO of the largest municipal health care system in the U.S, is struggling to meet the medical needs of the poor and uninsured while facing deepening budget woes (Kulkarni, 7/7). 

Times-Picayune: University Medical Center Board Drops Effort To Get Federal Insurance For Its Bonds
The University Medical Center governing board has abandoned its effort to secure federal mortgage financing to back any debt necessary to complete a new teaching hospital near downtown, a move that renewed sparring over the worthiness of the project. The decision ... comes as the hospital board considers a final business plan, design and financing scheme for what has been projected as a $1.2 billion, 424-bed complex (Barrow, 7/7). 

Health News Florida: FL Groups Can Compete For CDC Grants
While it still isn't clear whether Gov. Rick Scott will let Florida groups accept federal disease-prevention grants if they win one, at least they can compete. Scott's Health Department chief, Surgeon General Frank Farmer, e-mailed "letters of support" to at least four groups late last week after Health News Florida asked why there was a hold-up on them. ... [Scott] has instructed appointees to turn down other grants that were passed as part of the federal health law (Davis, 7/7). 

Kansas Health Institute News: Medicaid Forum Generates Long List Of Reform Ideas
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer came here Thursday looking for ideas how to remake the state's Medicaid program. He left with a long list of them. A sampling of the audience's recommendations: Enact policies that discourage non-emergency visits to emergency rooms. Remind families of their moral obligation to at least share in the costs of caring for frail elders. ... Do more to promote "living wills" and hospice care, less to promote nursing home care (Ranney, 7/7). 

California Healthline: Caveats, Proposed Amendments Clear Way for Rate Regulation Bill
The bill to regulate health insurers' rate hikes cleared a key hurdle yesterday, as the Senate Committee on Health voted 5-3, with one abstention, to approve AB 52 by Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) (Gorn, 7/7). 

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