Roundup: Miami Police Unions Thwart Health Premiums Increase; Washington’s Mandatory-Abortion-Coverage Bill
News outlets cover local health policy issues around the country.
The Miami Herald: Police Layoffs Expected After Miami-Dade Commissioners Refuse To Impose Healthcare Concession
Despite blunt warnings from Mayor Carlos Gimenez that their decision would force layoffs of hundreds of police and corrections officers, Miami-Dade commissioners Thursday narrowly refused to force two employee unions to contribute an additional 5 percent of their pay toward health insurance. ... The panel also refused to impose the controversial 5-percent giveback on its professionals and supervisor (Brannigan, 1/5).
The Seattle Times: Proposal Would Require Private Insurers To Cover Abortions
[T]he proposal would extend a 20-year-old mandate that insurance plans funded or administered by the state cover abortion if they cover maternity care. The proposal, still in draft form, comes amid uncertainty about how the federal health-care overhaul, and restrictions on abortion funding, might affect abortion coverage in the state. ... The Legislature has not had a full debate on abortion since Democrats gained abortion-rights majorities in the House and Senate (Martin and Ostrom, 1/5).
Georgia Health News: Legislative Preview: The Health Care Lineup
[E]perts say they expect the Legislature to approve no seismic changes in health care, unlike in recent years, when new agencies were created or regulatory structures remade. One reason is that lawmakers will be working within the confines of a tight budget. ... Still, every session seems to bring a health care surprise (Miller, 1/5).
Denver Post: Denver Health To Pay $6.3 Million For Overbilling Government
Denver Health Medical Center will pay $6.3 million to federal and state officials for overbilling Medicare and Medicaid, state and U.S. attorneys said. After investigating a whistleblower's lawsuit, government officials said Denver Health was classifying patients with an "inpatient" status when it should have been listing them as "outpatient" or under "observation" status, which paid less under government rules (Booth, 1/5).
Earlier, related KHN story: Growing Number Of Patients Find A Hospital Stay Does Not Mean They’re Admitted (Jaffe, 9/7/2010).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: A Second Set Of Eyes Cuts Errors At HCMC
[T]he hospital assigned pharmacists to check the discharge orders before patients are released. Now, if they spot a mistake, they contact the physician and straighten it out. In nine months, the error rate dropped to "essentially 0 percent" (Lerner, 1/5).
The Lund Report: ZoomCare to Again Pursue Legislation Allowing Physician Assistants to Prescribe Medication
ZoomCare’s business model of providing same-day appointments for basic preventive and acute care from physician assistants has fascinated many. ... Citing concerns about patient safety, pharmacy groups around the state stopped legislation earlier this year that would have allowed ZoomCare's physician assistants to prescribe bottled, non-narcotic medications. But now the Oregon State Pharmacy Association is giving its cautious support to a revised version of that bill (Waldroupe, 1/5).
Boston Globe: St. Elizabeth's Medical Center Partners With Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
St. Elizabeth's Medical Center has signed an agreement with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to provide cancer care to St. Elizabeth's patients and give them access to experimental therapies. The two Boston hospitals are finalizing details of the agreement, which requires Dana-Farber to recruit physicians and other key personnel, advise St. Elizabeth's on care for complex patients and support services, and improve the hospital's information technology system (Kowalczyk, 1/5).
Health News Florida: Fraud Cited In Suit Against HMA
A former FBI agent who became an in-house watchdog for Health Management Associates says HMA fired him for doing his job too well. Paul Meyer's lawsuit against the Naples-based hospital chain says he repeatedly reported to top administrators that hospitals were deliberately overbilling Medicare. ... In legal documents, HMA denied wrongdoing and filed a counterclaim (Davis, 1/5).
Detroit Free Press: 3 Top Detroit Medical Center Executives Named To New Roles
Three top Detroit Medical Center executives have new jobs, effective this week. Conrad Mallett, a former Michigan Supreme Court justice and president of the DMC's Sinai-Grace Hospital since 2003, will take over as chief administrative officer for the Detroit-based system (Anstett, 1/5).