State Highlights: Calif. Malpractice Bill; Conn. Braces For Mental Health Cuts
A selection of health policy stories from California, Connecticut, Florida and Arizona.
Los Angeles Times: New Bill Brings Medical Malpractice Fight To The Legislature
Seeking to avert a costly initiative battle, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has introduced a bill to serve as a vehicle for a legislative compromise on California's medical malpractice law. The measure is brief: just one sentence stating the Legislature's intention to "bring interested parties together to develop a legislative solution to issues surrounding medical malpractice injury compensation" (Mason, 2/24).
The CT Mirror: CT Mental Health Clinics Brace For State Cuts Tied To Obamacare
While Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has touted a proposal to increase spending on mental health services, agencies that run mental health and substance abuse clinics are bracing for more than $10 million in cuts to state grants starting July 1. And they say the cuts could mean treating fewer people at a time when demand for care is growing. The Malloy administration proposed cutting the money last year as part of its two-year budget, arguing that the state funding would no longer be necessary because most uninsured Connecticut residents would gain new coverage options Jan. 1 as part of the federal health law. That means the agencies that provide services would be able to bill their newly insured clients’ coverage, the thinking goes (Becker, 2/25).
Health News Florida: Senate Pres.: No On Nurses’ Bill
Don Gaetz, president of the Florida Senate, could present a formidable obstacle to passage of a bill that would increase the powers and independence of nurse practitioners. News Service of Florida, which interviewed Gaetz last Friday, reported he opposes a House bill that would give advanced-practice nurses more authority, including prescribing of controlled substances (Gentry, 2/24).
The Arizona Republic: Medicare IDs Erroneously Published
Banner Health printed Medicare recipients’ identification numbers, which often are identical to their Social Security numbers, on the address labels of more than 50,000 issues of its magazine mailed in Arizona late last week. The 16-page quarterly magazine, titled Smart & Healthy, began arriving in mailboxes in Maricopa and Pinal counties on Monday, alarming residents who spotted their personal information displayed on the magazines. Each recipient’s personal information was printed above the person’s name and address on labels that were affixed to the winter 2014 edition of the magazine (Giblin, 2/24).
The San Francisco Chronicle: Walgreens, UCSF To Help Manage Prescriptions
UCSF and pharmacy chain Walgreens are launching a joint effort to help patients smoothly, safely and accurately fill their prescriptions, the two will announce Tuesday. The most visible aspect of the partnership will take place in a renovated, 1,200-square-foot section of a Walgreens across the street from UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, where pharmacists from both the university and the pharmacy chain will help customers side by side. In addition, UCSF and Walgreens will seek to reduce medication errors by sharing electronic patient records with primary care doctors (Lee, 2/24).