State Highlights: Officials Say Medi-Cal Autism Coverage Still Taking Shape
A selection of health policy stories from New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, Michigan and Florida.
California Healthline: Autism Details To Come After Rollout
At the first stakeholder meeting last week to review California's new autism Medi-Cal coverage, state health officials said many details have yet to be worked out. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program. New benefits, which include coverage of applied behavior analysis -- also known as ABA therapy -- begin next week. Department of Health Care Services officials said many details -- including the crucial figure of what the reimbursement rates will be -- still need to be worked out. Rates will be discussed at the next stakeholder meeting Oct. 16, officials said (Gorn, 9/8).
The Associated Press: NY Lawmakers: Reauthorize 9/11 Compensation Law
Days before the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, elected officials from New York called on Congress to reauthorize federal legislation to compensate first responders who became ill working at ground zero. On Monday, standing in the shadow of the nearly completed One World Trade Center, Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand led the bipartisan push to renew the Zadroga Act, which provides medical treatment and compensation for the workers. The two main components of the law are set to expire in 2015 and 2016 (9/8).
Chicago Sun Times: Chicago Attorney General Proposes Monitoring Cameras In Nursing Homes
Families concerned about the treatment their elderly relatives receive in nursing homes could be allowed to monitor their loved ones by video camera, from afar, under a proposed law unveiled Monday by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The proposed law, if approved by lawmakers, would explicitly allow families to install video cameras or audio recording devices in their relative’s nursing home room. Madigan said complaints of elder abuse in nursing homes spurred her to push the proposal this coming legislative session. A bill will be sponsored by Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, who flanked Madigan at the news conference Monday (Slodysko, 9/8).
Houston Chronicle: Judge To Hear Texas Abortion Case Has Upheld, Rejected Similar Laws
Two of the three federal appeals court judges appointed Monday to decide whether Texas can immediately enforce parts of its tough new abortion law have ruled recently on similar abortion restrictions — one in favor and one against. Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, an appointee of President George W. Bush, voted on a panel in March to uphold a similar provision in Texas’s tough new law known in House Bill 2. Judge Stephen A. Higginson, an appointee of President Obama, voted on a panel in July to strike down a nearly-identical provision in a Mississippi law. The potential tie-breaker is a longtime judge who gained fame in 2012 for assigning homework to the federal government after Obama said it would be “unprecedented” for the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the president’s major health care law. Judge Jerry E. Smith, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, demanded that Justice Department attorneys submit a three-page letter explaining whether they believe courts have the right to strike down laws (Rosenthal, 9/8).
St. Louis Public Radio: Legislature Tells Federal Appeals Court Why He Objects To Birth Control Coverage
The lawyer for state Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, predicts that his suit against mandated contraceptive coverage will help launch an avalanche of court challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring insurance companies to offer such benefits. But first Wieland needs to persuade a federal appeals court to reinstate his case. A lower court had tossed it out. On Monday, Wieland's lawyer Tim Belz – a special counsel with the Thomas More Society -- told a three-judge panel with the federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that the Wielands are unfairly being required to obtain insurance coverage that includes coverage for contraceptives (9/8).
The Associated Press: Lawsuit Says Computer Glitch Is Stopping Medicaid
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of potentially thousands of immigrants who have been rejected for full Medicaid coverage in Michigan because of computer problems. The lawsuit in Detroit federal court says the state has known about the problem for weeks but is moving too slowly to fix it. Attorneys are asking a judge to issue an injunction to get things moving. The Center for Civil Justice in Flint says many immigrants are approved only for emergency services. The group says federal law typically grants full health coverage under Medicaid to low-income refugees and poor lawful permanent residents (9/8).
Reuters: University Of Miami’s Donna Shalala, Former Clinton Official, To Step Down
University of Miami President Donna Shalala, a former Clinton administration official who was considered a major catch by the school when she joined in 2001, said on Monday she plans to step down at the end of the academic year. Shalala, 73, took over at Miami's top private university after serving as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services for eight years under President Bill Clinton, longer than any other person has held the post. While the announcement came as a surprise, Shalala said she felt she had accomplished her mission of securing Miami's place "as the next great American research university," according to a statement on the university's website (Adams, 9/8).