KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Calif. Report Card Shows Improved Care For Kids

The latest developments in health policy from California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas.

Los Angeles Times: California Issues Annual Ratings For Health Plans, Physician Groups
Kaiser Permanente was the only HMO to earn a top four-star rating for providing recommended care on California's annual report card, while Cigna and UnitedHealthcare led the way with three-star ratings among PPO plans. The report issued Wednesday on California's biggest HMOs and other health insurance plans showed improvement in care for children, but mixed results for treating adults with chronic medical conditions (Terhune, 3/27).

San Jose Mercury News: Health Plans In California Rated In New State Report Card: Which Ones Got The Most Stars? The Least?
California's largest health plans are now immunizing more children and meeting other quality measures, but many patients report they are not able to get the care they need quickly and easily. These are among the findings of the 12th annual report card released Wednesday by the state Office of the Patient Advocate. The report is designed to enable consumers to compare the quality of care delivered by the state's 10 largest commercial health maintenance organizations, six largest preferred provider organizations and 209 medical groups (Kleffman, 3/27).

The Washington Post: Maryland Officials Outline Huge Changes To Payment System For State Hospitals
Maryland health officials on Wednesday outlined major changes to how hospital costs are paid in an effort to keep the state’s unique Medicare waiver agreement with the federal government — a deal that has provided enormous financial benefits to the state in recent decades (3/28).

Kaiser Health News: Audit Finds Shortcomings In Minn. Verifications Of Income, Other Information
An audit released Tuesday shows Minnesota's Department of Human Services has not been adequately verifying the eligibility of participants in some of its public assistance programs. Such verifications are a requirement of state and federal law, and the legislative auditor says his office first alerted the department to some of the problems more than a decade ago (Stawicki, 3/27).

Georgia Health News: Baldwin County, Groups Go To Bat For Kids
One of every five children in Baldwin County is obese. Faced with that stark statistic, health organizations, elected officials and schools in the Middle Georgia county have formed Live Healthy Baldwin, a coalition that is fighting the area's childhood obesity problem. The group’s projects include starting community and school gardens; making roads safer for bicyclists and pedestrians; building trails; and supporting farmer's markets. Area schools in the fall will offer 60 minutes of physical activity for students (Miller, 3/27).

The Washington Post: Three Firms Picked For D.C. Medicaid Contracts
City officials have chosen three firms to receive some of the city's largest contracts, to provide health care to low-income D.C. residents enrolled in Medicaid and other government health programs (DeBonis, 3/27).

MPR News: Mayo Adds Shriners Hospital To Its Network
The Mayo Clinic is adding Shriners Hospitals for Children-Twin Cities to its Clinic Care Network, the health care provider announced Wednesday. The 90-year-old Shriners Hospitals for Children-Twin Cities specializes in orthopedic medicine for children. It'll be the 15th member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, and the first standalone pediatric hospital in the group (Shenoy, 3/27).

The Lund Report: In Health Insurance, Unhappy Customers Don't Mean Lower Revenue
The number of confirmed consumer complaints made against an insurer doesn't affect that insurer's market share, according to a multiyear analysis of complaints registered with the Oregon Insurance Division. While the insurance division classifies dozens of insurers – small and large – as health insurers in its statistics reporting, many of those are smaller insurers, life and dental plans, said Ron Frederickson, manager of the complaints department for the Insurance Division (McCurdy, 3/27).

The Texas Tribune: Texas Project Targets Patients With Behavioral Disorders
Texas' health department has embarked on a $10 million project aimed at preventing people with mental health or substance abuse issues from developing chronic diseases (McGee, 3/28).

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