KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: Mass. Bill Would Pay Spouses For Providing Care; Ore. Lawmakers Pass Midwife Regulations

WBUR: Bill Would Allow Spouses To Qualify For Personal Care Pay
If your spouse were disabled, or had a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer's, would you want to be paid to care for them at home? Under state law, residents who qualify for MassHealth benefits can hire a personal care attendant, or PCA, to help with daily tasks. They can choose a stranger, a sister, an uncle or most any other family member, but not their spouse. A bill in the Legislature would change that (Bever, 7/9).

The Lund Report: Lawmakers Regulate Midwives, Pot Dispensaries, Community Health Workers; Launch Health Care Study
The Legislature cleared through dozens of bills on Saturday, including a study of universal health care and the regulation of midwives, marijuana dispensaries and traditional health workers as lawmakers moved to close the session (Gray 7/8).

Boston Globe: State Board Gave Reprieve To Webster Pharmacy
Just months before a meningitis outbreak exposed major holes in the state’s oversight of pharmacies, regulators abandoned a plan to shut down a Massachusetts pharmacy whose medication error sent a teenager to the emergency room with a heart attack. They have yet to discipline the company for the mistake (Wallack, 7/9). 

California Healthline: Sorting Out The Dozens Of Health Care Bills That Passed And Failed This Year
Two high-profile legislative movements died in committee and now are in legislative limbo at least until the fall session. The first involved an attempt to eliminate all or part of the 10 percent Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rate that the Legislature imposed in 2011. The move had both Democratic and Republican support -- in fact, prior to hitting Appropriations in their house of origin, all of the committee votes were unanimous for AB 900 … The second major legislative push of the just-ended session was to expand scope of practice for non-physician practitioners -- physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, optometrists and pharmacists. Those efforts took the form of four different bills, and none of them passed this session (Gorn, 7/8).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Collaboration Targets Reducing Hospital Readmissions
It's much easier to develop innovative health care initiatives in Colorado because "we're not having the conversation about who’s the biggest Bolshevik," said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet at the opening of the Healthy Transitions Colorado collaborative Monday. The goal of the collaborative over the next few years is to save $80 million in health care costs, prevent 8,700 hospital re-admissions and keep people out of the hospital a cumulative 34,000 days, Bennet said, all the while providing “greater care for the people you serve and the people I serve” (Carman, 7/8).

The Lund Report: DHS Budget Bolsters Child Welfare, Person-Centered Care
The new budget for the Department of Human Services provides a windfall of funding for child welfare and helps further advance Oregon's lead in directing care to the state's elderly and people with disabilities through their homes and in their communities. The Senate approved the $9.1 billion budget 23-7 on Wednesday and the House followed suit with a special Saturday session on a 38-21 vote as the Legislature worked to wind up its work this summer, having blown its traditional July 4 deadline to adjourn (Gray, 7/8).

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