State Highlights: Ohio Medicaid And Senior Annuities; Mich. Extends Medicaid Dental Coverage For Kids
Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Under Fire For Blocking Medicaid For Seniors Whose Spouses Bought Annuities
A war is being waged in Ohio over whether elderly couples with one person in a nursing home can buy an annuity to keep the other from going broke -- and still apply for public assistance. Elder-law attorneys say the state isn’t following federal laws regarding Medicaid-compliant annuities, and that’s hurting middle-class seniors who worked hard and saved for a rainy day. Several courts seem to agree, with one judge recently putting the state on notice that it could lose millions of dollars in federal funding if it doesn’t change its ways (Pyle, 10/6).
The Associated Press: U-M Gets $1.6M Grant To Investigate Health Care Failures
The University of Michigan has received a $1.6 million federal grant to investigate communication technologies and their failures in health care. The Ann Arbor News reports the grant through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will fund a research team of seven doctors studying communication practices and work relationships. The researchers will recommend design changes to improve health information technology. Lead researcher Dr. Milisa Manojlovich says communication breakdowns are some of the most common factors that negatively impact patients (10/6).
The Associated Press: Michigan Gov. To Mark Dental Care Boost To Medicaid Kids
Gov. Rick Snyder is helping to mark the expansion of dental coverage for Medicaid-eligible children in Macomb County. The state budget that went into effect last week includes the addition of Macomb and Kalamazoo counties to Michigan’s Healthy Kids Dental program. It’s now available to more than 555,000 children in 80 of 83 counties. Snyder’s administration says studies show children in the program are more likely to receive dental treatment than those with traditional Medicaid dental coverage. More dentists participate in the program than the regular Medicaid program and the larger network of providers makes scheduling appointments easier for families (10/6).
Des Moines Register: Planned Parenthood New Chief Up To Challenge
Suzanna de Baca acknowledges that the prospect of applying to lead Planned Parenthood of the Heartland was daunting. The agency is a large, complicated organization, facing unpredictable shifts in the health care market. Its new president would have to fill the shoes of a nationally known leader who was retiring after 30 years at the helm. And whoever took the job would instantly become the public face of Iowa's abortion-rights movement. Iowa Right to Life has crowed about Planned Parenthood's closure of several small Iowa clinics in recent years (Leys, 10/3).
Kansas Health Institute News Service: New Approach To Prevent Heart Disease, Stroke May Become National Model
A new health care partnership, looked upon as a potential model for the rest of the country, is taking direct aim at heart disease and stroke in northwest Kansas. The federally funded initiative -- the Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative -- encompasses the University of Kansas Hospital along with 13 rural health centers and hospitals, including Hays Medical Center. Heart disease and stroke are responsible for about 20 percent of the deaths in the state. The model of the consortium to have separate organizations maintain their independence while formalizing a relationship aimed at better coordination of care for patients. One aspect is establishing a shared-savings program where the partners benefit financially from improved outcomes that lower the cost of care (Sherry, 10/3).
The Associated Press: Mishawaka Aims For Savings WIth Employee Clinic
A northern Indiana city hopes to rein in rising health care costs by opening a clinic for its employees, officials said. Mishawaka proposes to spend $1 million from its 2015 budget to start the clinic but the city could save that much each year in health care costs, Controller Rebecca Miller said. Prescriptions and tests will cost less through the clinic, and because employees won't owe a co-payment for clinic visits, as they do now. ... The school corporation's medical and prescription claims dropped by $981,000 in the first year and its overall health plan costs were $1.6 million less than anticipated (10/5).
California Healthline: Duals Project Sign-Ups Hit Halfway Point
The state has sent enrollment notices to almost half the 456,000 people eligible for California's duals demonstration project. So far, about 36 percent have opted to be excluded, according to state officials. Extrapolating on those numbers, if the rest of the eligible recipients of Medi-Cal and Medicare opt out at a 36 percent rate, it would mean roughly 300,000 Californians would be enrolled in new Medi-Cal/Medicare managed care plans. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Gorn, 10/3).
Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Mental Health Relief -- Without Having To Wait
Almost 91 million adults live in areas where a small number of mental-health professionals makes finding treatment difficult, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nationwide, the problem is getting worse as more psychiatrists retire without enough graduates in the pipeline. During a recent five-year span, as the U.S. population grew nearly 5 percent, the number of psychiatrists hardly budged, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. So experiments with delivering care in new ways are sprouting. ... Hennepin’s program recently was honored as a “model practice” by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (Shah, 10/6).
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: From Howards Grove Roots, HSA Bank Grows Into Major Player
What once was a little bank in Howards Grove is solidifying its place among the nation's biggest providers of health savings accounts. HSA Bank recently struck a deal to acquire the health savings account business of JPMorgan Chase & Co., a transaction that will more than double the accounts it oversees (Gores, 10/4).
CT Mirror: Ten Things Dan Malloy Thinks About Health Care
As governor, Dannel P. Malloy said he's managed to avoid major cuts to health care and social services while grappling with a massive budget deficit. He says the care of those who rely most on the state weighs heavily on his mind (Levin Becker, 10/6).