KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Highlights: State Mental Hospitals Compared To Prisons; Johnson & Johnson Ruling; Va. Hospitals Pick New Leader

A selection of health policy stories from Virginia, Arkansas, New York and Florida.

The Associated Press: Arkansas AG Asks Court To Reconsider Drug Ruling
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to reconsider its decision tossing out a $1.2 billion judgment against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, saying justices did “significant harm” to the state and broke from 170 years of precedent. McDaniel filed a petition for rehearing over the high court’s decision last month that the state misapplied the Medicaid fraud law in its lawsuit against New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. over the marketing of the antispyschotic drug Risperdal (DeMillo, 4/7).

Kaiser Health News: Report: Jails House 10 Times More Mentally Ill Than State Hospitals
In 44 states and the District of Columbia, at least one prison or jail holds more people with serious mental illnesses than the largest state psychiatric hospital, according to a report released Tuesday by the Treatment Advocacy Center and the National Sheriffs’ Association. ... an estimated 356,268 people with mental illnesses including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are in prisons and jails, compared to just 35,000 in state hospitals ... That’s similar to the mental health system in 1830 (Gold, 4/8).

The Associated Press: Va. Governor Signs Mental Health Bill
A key part of Sen. Creigh Deeds’ efforts to fix Virginia’s mental health system is now law. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed legislation Monday that extends the length of time allotted for finding a psychiatric bed for those under an emergency custody order from six hours to 12 hours (4/7).

The Washington Post: Ex-Transportation Secretary Connaughton Picked To Lead Health Care Association
A prominent hospital association has picked former governor Robert F. McDonnell’s hard-charging transportation secretary to lead the organization as it continues to push House Republicans to expand Medicaid. The selection of Sean Connaughton as the next president of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association surprised and upset some people on both sides of the Medicaid debate (Vozzella, 4/7).

PolitiFact/Richmond Times-Dispatch: McAuliffe Says The Medicaid Fraud Rate In Virginia Is 0.47 Percent
The 0.47 is a computation of the percentage of Medicaid bills that were paid in 2012 for services that Virginians were ineligible to receive. Some of those errors resulted from deceit and some were simply caused by clerical errors. Neither the state nor the federal government offer a standard measurement of Medicaid fraud because much of the abuse is undetected. So the governor comes up empty. We rate his statement False (Gorman, 4/8).

The Associated Press: Bill Takes On Unlicensed Health Clinics
There is one simple way for a Florida medical clinic to avoid being licensed and undergoing an annual inspection: Don't accept insurance. A bill moving through the Legislature would close that loophole for so-called cash-only clinics, which can escape government oversight because the statutory definition of a clinic is interpreted as an operation that takes third-party insurance (4/7).

The Wall Street Journal’s Metropolis: New York Officials Restore Millions For Spinal Cord Injury Research
New York state budget officials have restored nearly $7 million in annual funding for spinal cord injury research after an influential lobby of paraplegics put pressure on Albany lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s administration. The group, New Yorkers to Cure Paralysis, had tried unsuccessfully since 2010 to restore about $8.5 million in annual state funding for the research, which they argued is required to be spent by state law (Kravitz, 4/7).

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