State Highlights: Parents Of Disabled Kids Blast Minnesota Gov.; N.Y. Reins In Tanning Salon Claims
A selection of health policy stories from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota and New York.
Minnesota Public Radio: Parents Of Disabled Kids Push Back At Dayton Over Medical Marijuana Comments
Gov. Mark Dayton came under fire Wednesday from an unexpected source: parents of children with disabilities who want access to medical marijuana. They accused Dayton of standing in the way of legislation to legalize medical marijuana and of bowing to law enforcement opposition. Dayton claimed the advocates misunderstood his recent comments, and said that he still wants to find a compromise this session (Pugmire, 3/26).
MinnPost: Tearful Mothers Take Issue With Gov. Dayton Over Medical Marijuana
A tearful mother, one of several who testified at a State Capitol press conference Wednesday to make an impassioned plea for a medical marijuana law, said that Gov. Mark Dayton had earlier suggested to her and others that they obtain the drug illegally. Jessica Hauser, of Woodbury, said the suggestion came during a private meeting March 13 at the governor’s mansion with family members and others advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana.
The New York Times: Settlement Bars Misleading Health Claims By Tanning Salons In New York State
New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, will announce a settlement on Thursday that bars Hollywood Tans NYC, an indoor tanning salon in Chelsea, from making misleading health claims, such as “sunlight prevents skin cancer” and “the American Cancer Society doesn’t want you to know the truth about tanning beds” (Tavernise, 3/26).
Reuters: U.S. Database For Tracking Medicaid Frauds Falls Short, Auditor Says
A federal data-sharing system meant to prevent healthcare providers banned from one state's Medicaid program from billing another state's program isn't working as intended, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. Two years after its creation, the data-sharing system contained no records from 17 states or the District of Columbia of doctors, nurses or other healthcare providers who had been "terminated," or banned from billing Medicaid, for fraud or other offenses, the independent auditor said in a report to be released Thursday (Pell, 3/27).
The Washington Post: Md. Lawmakers Seek Deal On Pay For Workers Who Care For Developmentally Disabled
A compromise could soon be reached on how Maryland compensates workers who care for developmentally disabled people, an issue that has complicated passage of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s minimum wage bill. A key state senator and a leading advocate for the disabled community said Wednesday that they are optimistic that a resolution will be reached in coming days, allowing the Senate to advance an amended version of the minimum wage bill being championed by O’Malley (Wagner, 3/26).
North Carolina Health News: Lawmakers Get Glimpse Of Potential Medicaid Budget Shortfall
After months of asking for data from the Department of Health and Human Services about this year’s Medicaid budget, legislators on an oversight committee finally received an answer: the program that provides health care for more than 1.59 million North Carolinians will be over budget by anything ranging between $68 million to $131 million. Lawmakers also heard several very big “buts” to those estimates and hints that the number could climb higher as the fiscal year draws to a close on June 30 (Hoban, 3/27).
McClatchy: Even As Prosecutions Rise, Medicare Fraud Often Runs RampantDespite some recent successes in combating fraud, Miami continues to be ground zero in Medicare fraud, as criminals morph their schemes to stay ahead of the law, a key South Florida enforcement agent told a Senate panel Wednesday. Brian Martens, assistant special agent in charge based in Miami for the government’s Medicare agency, said that fraud schemes quickly evolve – and that as enforcement efforts target certain ones, others pop up. They switch between different parts of the Medicare program, they move from area to area, and they often rely on the muscle of organized crime (Adams, 3/26).
Georgia Health News: Familiar Names On List Of Healthiest Counties
Once again, suburban counties are the healthiest in Georgia, while rural counties remain the least healthy, according to a 2014 ranking released Wednesday. Forsyth is ranked the healthiest county in Georgia in 2014, followed by Fayette, Oconee, Gwinnett, and Cherokee. The rankings were reported in the fifth annual County Health Rankings, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The same five counties were also at the top, and in the same order, in the 2013 rankings (Miller, 3/26).
The California Health Report: Virtual Dentistry Could Bring Better Care To Underserved
Doctor Paul Glassman has spent his 40-year dentistry career looking for ways to make going to the dentist more affordable and accessible. As technology has evolved, so have his strategies. Glassman and his team at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry think they’ve found a way to serve millions more clients through virtual dentistry. The only problem is that current laws don’t allow it (Shanafelt, 3/27).
Health News Colorado: Republicans Furious As Dems Kill Exchange Audit Bill
Republicans are blasting Senate Democrats for killing an exchange audit bill that had won nearly unanimous support in the House. Today the bill failed on a party line vote with Democrats on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voting 4 to 3 to kill the bill. Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, blasted Democrats for burying a bill that had even won support from Democratic Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino…Colorado’s auditor is already conducting a narrow audit of millions of dollars that have flowed into Connect for Health Colorado, including $177 million in federal funds. House Bill 1257 would have given Auditor Dianne Ray the authority to conduct a much more extensive review of how the exchange conducts its business (McCrimmon, 3/26).