KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Ga. Waits For Fed Approval On Provider Fee

A selection of health policy stories from Missouri, Georgia, Massachusetts, California, Virginia, West Virginia, New York and Minnesota.

Georgia Health News: Wait On Provider Fee Makes Industry Officials Uneasy
The wait continues for federal approval of the Georgia hospital provider fee -- a delay that's increasingly worrisome to some in the hospital industry. The financing mechanism is designed to fill a nearly $500 million hole in the state's Medicaid program. Legislation to ease the renewal of the current hospital fee sailed through the General Assembly early this year, with a push from Gov. Nathan Deal (Miller, 8/14).

Modern Healthcare: Reform Update:  Mass. Contracts Require Providers To Absorb Financial Losses, Study Finds
In Massachusetts, the state's health care giants are heavily involved in contracts that require hospitals and doctors to absorb financial losses when health care spending exceeds spending targets, according to a new report. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which dominates the state's health insurance sector with 45 percent of the market, made half of its payments to providers under global budget contracts last year, a newly released snapshot of the state market done by the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis (Evans, 8/14).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Report: Mass. Residents Paying More, Getting Less From Health Insurance
If Massachusetts residents have the feeling they're getting less coverage from their health insurance even though it's costing more, there's now evidence that they're right. A state report says Bay State premiums rose 9.7 percent between 2009 and 2011, while the value of that coverage shrank 5.1 percent (Bebinger, 8/14).

The Wall Street Journal: Nurse Practitioners Seek Right To Treat Patients On Their Own
Nurse practitioners in five states are fighting for the right to treat patients without oversight from doctors, as they can in many parts of the country. The battle is particularly pitched in California, where a bill that would let some nurse practitioners do their work independently passed a key legislative committee this week. California doctors strenuously oppose the idea, arguing that it could jeopardize patient safety (Beck, 8/14).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: 2 Southwest Va. Prosecutor Offices Receive $1.3M From National Medicaid Fraud Settlement
The money comes from the $1.5 billion Abbott Laboratories agreed to pay to settle allegations that it promoted the drug Depakote for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation shared $200 million in forfeited funds (8/14).

The Associated Press: WV CHIP Eliminates Enrollment Waiting Period
A waiting period for enrollment in West Virginia's Children's Health Insurance Program has been eliminated. The Children's Health Insurance Agency board voted Wednesday to eliminate the 90-day waiting period prior for enrollment in the program for West Virginia children who are uninsured. The changes are effective Oct. 1 (Raby, 8/14).

ProPublica: New York Promised Help For Mentally Ill Inmates -- But Still Sticks Many In Solitary
When Amir Hall entered New York state prison for a parole violation in November 2009, he came with a long list of psychological problems. … Multiple studies have shown that isolation can damage inmates' minds, particularly those already struggling with mental illness. In recent years, New York state has led the way in implementing policies to protect troubled inmates from the trauma of solitary confinement (Thompson, 8/15).

MPR: Survey: Patients Satisfied With Medical Providers, But Want Easier Access
Minnesota patients are satisfied with the way their medical providers interact with them, but many would like easier access to their doctor, according to a patient experience survey released today. The independent ratings group Minnesota Community Measurement announced the findings after compiling data from 230,000 patient surveys completed at 651 Minnesota clinics from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30 of last year (Benson, 8/14).

Richmond Times Dispatch: Pediatricians Weigh In On Plan For VCU Children’s Hospital
Twenty years ago, when pediatrician Gayle Smith began her medical career in Richmond, she said there was the promise of a children's hospital in the near future. … About 200 people attended the meeting, held at the Richmond Marriott, the second of a series of public meetings being held to get feedback on the VCU proposal announced in June. VCU's plan calls for building a children's hospital with its own governing board and open to community doctors but still part of the VCU Health System (Smith, 8/15).

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