State Roundup: Health Care Construction Boom In Texas
News outlets report on health care developments in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Texas.
The Dallas Morning News: Dallas Area In Middle Of $6 Billion Health Care Building Boom
The Dallas-Fort Worth area is in the midst of an unprecedented health care building boom. You can see the most visible evidence in the Dallas medical district. There, several blocks apart, construction cranes signal more than $2 billion worth of new hospitals — the $1.27 billion replacement for Parkland Memorial Hospital and an $800 million replacement hospital at UT Southwestern Medical Center…. Many health care experts warn against overbuilding, saying unnecessary facilities mean higher costs for everybody. Costs in North Texas are already higher than the national average (Jacobson, 10/13).
Georgia Health News: Some Schools, Authorities May Quit States Health Plan
About a dozen state authorities or school districts have inquired about withdrawing from the state employee health plan due to higher costs, officials said Thursday. One state authority, the Georgia World Congress Center, with 487 employees, already plans to leave the state plan Jan. 1. The moves come as the Department of Community Health, facing shortfalls, has raised the costs of coverage for its member employers and their employees (Miller, 10/12).
Kaiser Health News: Safety-Net Hospitals Brace For Cut To Federal Subsidies
At the Hennepin County Medical Center about 50 men and women are wedged in cubicles, talking on headsets. The scene looks like a telemarketing boiler room, but here the employees aren't making the calls; they are taking requests from people who wish to see a doctor (Stawicki, 10/14).
The New York Times: Soda Industry Sues To Stop A Sales Ban On Big Drinks
The American soft-drink industry, joined by several New York restaurant and business groups, filed a lawsuit on Friday that aims to overturn restrictions, proposed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and approved by the Board of Health, on sales of large sugary drinks at many dining locations in the city. The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, contends that the Board of Health did not have the authority to ratify the new rules unilaterally. The rules — approved last month and scheduled to take effect in March — limit the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces or less at restaurants, street carts, and entertainment and sports venues (Grynbaum, 10/12).
CBS/Associated Press: Soda Industry Sues NYC Over Sugary Drink Limits
Soft-drink makers, restaurateurs and other businesses are suing to block New York City's move to end the sale of super-sized, sugary drinks in many eateries. The American Beverage Association and others sued the city Friday. City officials had no immediate response. The lawsuit says the unelected health board shouldn't be telling people how much soda to drink. The suit also says the rule "burdens consumers and unfairly harms small businesses" (10/12).
CQ HealthBeat: On Exchanges: New Jersey Governor Faces Choice On Bill To Create State Exchange
The New Jersey state legislature may soon send a bill creating a health benefits exchange to Republican Gov. Chris Christie, but the governor still plans to wait until well after the Nov. 6 elections to announce whether he’ll sign it. Christie vetoed an earlier version in May, in part because the Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the 2010 health care law. The governor also raised objections to some specifics in the earlier bill, such as $50,000 salaries for part-time exchange board members. The pay has been removed from the more recent version, which was passed by the state Senate. The legislation was approved by an Assembly committee on Thursday and will next be voted on by the full Assembly, which is expected to back it (Adams, 10/12).
The Associated Press: Louisiana Charity Hospital Officials Seek Agreements With Private Firms
A week after $152 million in cuts were levied across the LSU public hospitals, Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein said Thursday that no new, formal arrangements have yet been reached with private hospitals to pick up the care. But he and LSU hospitals chief Frank Opelka said in a joint interview that they're having solid discussions with private health care facilities to identify ways they might collaborate on services and medical training programs or possibly take over management of a university hospital (Deslatte, 10/12).
The Associated Press: Christians-Only Health Insurance Medi-Share Cast Out of Kentucky
Members of a Christians-only health insurance plan that has been ordered to cease operations in Kentucky should get different policies immediately, the state Department of Insurance advised Friday. The move follows Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate's ruling earlier this month that Medi-Share, a Florida-based cost-sharing ministry, can't operate in Kentucky because it doesn't meet the state's insurance code (Alford, 10/13).
CBS: Rabbis Challenge NYC Over Controversial Circumcision
A group of rabbis is clashing with New York City health officials over the safety of an ancient circumcision ritual. Three rabbis and three Jewish groups asked a federal court Thursday to block enforcement of a new regulation requiring written parental consent for a rite called "metzitzah b'peh," in Hebrew, which city health experts said can spread infection and has killed two children since 2004. During the ritual, the person performing the circumcision attempts to cleanse the wound by sucking blood from the cut and spitting it aside. The saliva contact puts the infant at increased risk of getting herpes simplex, a virus that is carried harmlessly by a large majority of adults but that can be deadly in newborns (10/12).
California Healthline: California Making Progress In Digital Transition
California is making progress in its transition to electronic health records, state officials said Thursday in an update on the state's eHealth Initiative. … Last month, UC-Davis Health System launched a 16-month, $17.5 million effort to expand electronic health records to under-served communities in California. … The Davis program, called California Health eQuality (CHeQ), is part of an interagency agreement with the state Health and Human Services Agency. It aims to improve sharing of immunization, laboratory and care data, while helping providers find secure platforms for exchanging information (Hart, 10/12).
Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle: Major Shift On The Way For Rochester's Health Care Providers
Your doctor is about to have an even bigger stake in whether or not you stay well. Each of the four health systems in Monroe County is working to make providers responsible for results by tying payments to the quality of the care. The approach is spurred by federal health care reform, which is moving from a system that pays providers for how much they do, to how well they do it (Singer, 10/12).