KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: New Dem Gov. And Minn. Medicaid; Fla. Docs On Medicaid Changes; Iowa Gov. Eyes Long-Term Care Loopholes; Conn. Provider Rates

Stateline: Stitching Medicare And Medicaid Together
Over the past decade, programs that integrate Medicaid and Medicare have resulted in improved consumer satisfaction, better health outcomes and lower Medicaid costs in Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Wisconsin and Washington. In each case, states have had to change their Medicaid rules by attaining a waiver from the federal government (Vestal, 12/13).

(St. Paul, Minn.) Pioneer Press: Minnesota To Change Course On Health Care For The Poor
That bet hinged on the governor's race, with the winner deciding whether to enroll the state in a $1.4 billion expanded Medicaid program allowed under the federal overhaul. With his ascension to the governor's office made clear Wednesday, Democrat Mark Dayton said he wants to collect on that bet as soon as he's sworn in Jan. 3. While some lawmakers, particularly Republicans, have reason to mourn what now appears to be a short-lived experiment at health care cost reform under GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty, many in the health care field are praising the move (Hoppin, 12/10).

California Healthline: Study Out Next Week On Continuous Coverage
In a study to be released Thursday, a UCLA researcher drew some interesting conclusions about the impact of California's 12-month continuous Medicaid eligibility policy on continuity of care. Shana Lavarreda, Director of Health Insurance Studies at UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research ... [said] one finding really surprised her: 'One big finding was that there were still half a million children in California who had discontinuous coverage' (Gorn, 12/10).

Health News Florida: Docs Want To Run Medicaid Plans
The Florida Medical Association, which has traditionally fought the notion of turning Medicaid into a statewide managed-care program with mandatory enrollment, now says it can live with that – as long as doctors are in charge (Gentry, 12/10).

The Connecticut Mirror: HUSKY Insurers Say They Won't Cut Provider Rates; Critics Still Skeptical
The heads of the three insurance companies in the HUSKY program said Friday that they are not attempting to lower the rates they pay doctors and hospitals below previously allowed levels, even though their contracts with the state now permit it (Levin Becker, 12/10).

Des Moines Register: Assisted Living Facilities Find Loopholes
Iowa's governor-elect, Terry Branstad, has said that he thinks assisted living centers shouldn't be allowed to avoid state inspections by forgoing licensure, but lawmakers were reluctant to act on the matter last year (Kauffman, 12/13).

The Seattle Times: Senior-Care Placement Companies Scramble To Cash In
Dozens of private agencies in Washington state promise to guide families through the labyrinth of options to an adult family home or assisted-living facility that best fits their needs - all for free. ... Placement companies, which rely on commission-only sales people, funnel the aged only to facilities that have agreed to pay thousands of dollars in finders' fees (Berens, 12/11).

The Baltimore Sun: State Looks To Improve Care, Cut Costs Through Patient-Centered Homes
Maryland will soon join a growing list of states in crafting a new way to deliver health care - one that pays doctors extra to both improve quality and cut costs. The pilot program, which involves 200 doctors and 200,000 patients, will test whether "patient-centered medical homes" can bolster primary care, particularly among the chronically ill, and avoid expensive treatments and emergencies (Cohn, 12/12).

The Washington Post: Recommendation Could Come This Week For Maryland's First New Hospital In 30 Years
Two health-care giants have spent the past two years waging a costly and intense battle to win state approval to build a new hospital in northern Montgomery County, the county's fastest-growing region (Sun, 12/12).

ProPublica: In Minnesota, Drug Company Reports Of Payments To Doctors Arrive Riddled With Mistakes
But a ProPublica analysis of drug company disclosures in Minnesota provides a cautionary lesson for the new federal plan [2], which will require drug and medical device companies to report all payments to U.S. physicians in 2013: The information submitted may not be accurate (Ornstein and Weber, 12/10).

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