KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Indiana Reports Fewer Preventable Medical Errors; Kansas Struggles To Meet Oral Health Needs

The Indianapolis Star: "Indiana's hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers reported a decrease in preventable medical errors last year -- including a 33 percent drop in the number of bed sores. Overall, 306 facilities reported 94 preventable medical errors in 2009, according to a report released Monday by the Indiana State Department of Health. That's down from 105 errors reported each year in 2008 and 2007. The 22 pressure ulcers, also called bed sores, reported for 2009 were the fewest since the state's medical-error reporting system began four years ago" (Lee, 8/31). 

Kansas Health Institute produced a three-article package on oral health needs in Kansas. "Five years ago, 1,402 dentists were practicing in Kansas. There are more today, but only 25. The failure thus far of state and local recruitment efforts to produce better results is a concern to Tanya Dorf Brunner, executive director of Oral Health Kansas, a statewide advocacy group. … Last year, the state Department of Health and Environment's Office of Local and Rural Health found that 91 of the state's 105 counties didn't have enough dentists to meet their populations' needs. … The Department of Health and Environment has started a task force to look for ways to attract more dentists and to gather data that both demonstrate the impact of the shortage and point the way to possible solutions" (Ranney, 8/30). In a separate piece, KHI reports on access issues with Medicaid recipients and in another article, KHI reports on the difficulties of trying to replace a dentist in rural areas.

The Associated Press/Boston Globe: "Attorney General Martha Coakley has reached an agreement with CVS Pharmacy, Inc., in which the pharmacy chain will repay the state and public entities $2.65 million for alleged prescription drug overcharges." Just over a million dollars of that amount will be distributed among about 200 cities and towns, as well as other public entities, "that allegedly had been overcharged since 2002 for prescriptions covered under the workers compensation insurance system" (8/30).

Los Angeles Times: "State and federal health officials were still negotiating two key pieces of state legislation late Monday that would add a five-year extension to a federal Medicaid waiver set to expire Tuesday. It would also ensure funding from a hospital provider fee levied by the state on private hospitals and matched by Medicaid. Los Angeles County's Department of Health Services, facing a $600-million deficit from this and last fiscal year, had been counting on both sources of money" (Hennessy-Fiske, 8/30).

The Boston Globe: "The Massachusetts Nurses Association today hailed a ruling by the state's Employment Relations Board as a 'complete victory' for its member nurses at Cambridge Hospital who are seeking to negotiate a labor contract with the hospital's operator, the Cambridge Health Alliance. In a statement, the Cambridge Health Alliance expressed disappointment and said it is reviewing its legal options in regards to its next step. The two sides have been locked in a dispute for several months" (8/30).

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