State Highlights: Fla. Toughens Drug Compounding Laws; Conn. Hospitals Leave Largest Insurer
A selection of health policy stories from Florida, Connecticut, New York, Michigan, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Arkansas.
Health News Florida: Tougher Compounding Rules Finally Law
Stricter regulations in the state’s compounding pharmacy industry take effect Wednesday -- two years after a national outbreak of fungal meningitis killed 64 people, including seven in Florida. In 2012, when the New England Compounding Center outbreak happened, the state had hundreds of unregulated, non-resident facilities providing these specialized medications to Floridians. Now, the state will require permits for any pharmacies outside state boundaries that want to ship medications in state (Shedden, 9/30).
CT Mirror: With No Deal, Hartford HealthCare’s Five Hospitals Leave Anthem’s Network
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the parent company of five Connecticut hospitals failed to reach a new contract deal by their midnight deadline, leading Hartford Hospital and four others to exit the network of the state’s largest insurer Wednesday. That means that patients covered by Anthem will have to pay higher out-of-network rates if they seek care at one of the five hospitals owned by Hartford HealthCare -- Hartford, The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, MidState Medical Center in Meriden, The Hospital of Central Connecticut in Southington and New Britain, and Windham Hospital. The Institute of Living and Jefferson House are also no longer in Anthem’s network (Levin Becker, 10/1).
The New York Times: Freelancers Union To End Its Health Insurance Plans In New York
The Freelancers Union, which provides health insurance to 25,000 of its members in New York State, is ending an experiment in providing low-cost insurance to independent workers, saying the new landscape created by the federal Affordable Care Act makes it impossible to do so (Hartocollis, 9/30).
The Washington Post: ‘Death Doctor’ Who Profited From Unnecessary Chemotherapy For Fake Cancers Could Resume Practice In 5 Years
The Michigan state house health policy committee approved the proposal to tighten the rules. Next it will go before the full house for a vote. Fata pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court earlier this month to 13 counts of health-care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and two counts of money laundering. He will be sentenced in February and faces up to 175 years in prison (Sullivan, 10/1).
The Associated Press: Jindal Administration Rewrites LSU Hospital Deals
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services. The contracts govern the management transfer of hospitals in New Orleans, Lafayette, Bogalusa, Shreveport and Monroe and a deal that closed LSU's Lake Charles hospital and moved its inpatient services to a nearby private hospital. In May, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, rejected financing plans for those six privatization deals and sought a rewrite of the contractual arrangements. The Jindal administration's new proposal would change the way the hospital managers are paid, establishing a new payment category with a special reimbursement rate (DeSlatte, 9/30).
Philadelphia Inquirer: IBC Discontinues Drug Plan For 9K Customers
Independence Blue Cross, the biggest health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania, said it was discontinuing its stand-alone prescription drug plan for people who have traditional Medicare plans or a Medicare supplement plan. IBC said the stand-alone pharmaceutical plans were not cost-effective because they served so few people. The change will affect 9,000 customers, IBC said. Total membership in IBC's Medicare Advantage and supplement plans is around 180,000, the company said. IBC still has Medicare Advantage plans with Part D drug coverage. Open enrollment for Medicare plans starts Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7 for coverage starting Jan. 1 (Brubaker, 9/30).
Modern Healthcare: Managed Medicaid Report Sparks Debate On State Network Adequacy Standards
Patient-rights advocates are hopeful that a recent HHS Office of the Inspector General's report will prompt the CMS to clamp down on states regarding the adequacy of managed Medicaid plan provider networks. But state officials adamantly say that more rules from Washington won't remedy such basic issues as the availability of various specialists who will accept Medicaid (Dickson, 9/29).
The New York Times: Loss Of A Democratic Power Leaves Arkansas In Doubt
Mr. Beebe’s knack for knowing what his political opponent needed to get a deal done during his long tenure in the legislature has served him well in the governor’s office. He has been able to get past the kind of partisan impasses that plague Washington. No one tries to lump Mr. Beebe with Mr. Obama, but the same cannot be said for Senator Pryor, whom Mr. Cotton called “a loyal foot soldier for Barack Obama and his agenda.” And yet Mr. Beebe worked with Republican legislators to put together, and pass with the required three-fourths majority, a private-option health insurance program that has helped more than 200,000 poor residents get covered, without the stigma of being associated with the unpopular Affordable Care Act (Chozick, 9/30).
The Associated Press: [Montana] State Panel: No Confidence In Medicaid Contract
Members of a state legislative panel said last week they don’t believe Xerox Corp. will be able to fulfill its $70 million contract to create a new computer program to manage Medicaid payments. The Legislative Finance Committee unanimously supported a no-confidence resolution, more than two months after state officials resolved a breach-of-contract issue with Xerox. The project is more than two years behind schedule (Baumann, 9/30).