State Highlights: Conn. Hospitals Must Tell Patients Of Observation Status; Wis. Eliminates $93M Budget Hole
Connecticut Health Team: Hospitals Required To Tell Patients Of Observation Care Status
Starting Wednesday, a new state law requires Connecticut hospitals to tell all patients when they are being kept in the hospital for observation instead of being admitted and to warn them about the financial consequences. Anyone who goes to the hospital can be placed on observation status, so that doctors can determine what’s wrong, and decide whether the patient is sick enough to be admitted or well enough to go home. Observation patients may receive diagnostic tests, medications, some treatment, and other outpatient services. Depending on their insurance, they can be charged a share of the cost (Jaffe, 9/30).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State Eliminates $93 Million Budget Hole For Health Programs
Gov. Scott Walker's administration is no longer expecting the nearly $100 million hole that had been forecast for the state's health programs for the needy through June of next year. ... The improved forecast reflects in large part the decision by the Walker administration to shore up the Medicaid budget using $51.2 million in money that drug companies have paid to settle large lawsuits brought against them by states around the country alleging improper practices (Stein, 10/1).
Kaiser Health News: Calif. Law Bolsters National Effort To Give Workers Paid Sick Time
With federal legislation continuing to prove elusive, California in September joined a growing number of states and cities that require employers to provide paid sick time off for their workers (Andrews, 10/3).
California Healthline: Provider Points To ‘Crisis’ In Dental Care For Some Medi-Cal Patients
Fewer facilities across the state want to deliver dental care to special needs patients, largely because of concerns about reimbursement. In June, Sutter Health Sacramento announced it would no longer offer dental surgery facilities for Medi-Cal patients, as of July 2014. About half of Sutter's 1,100 general anesthesia dental clients last year were Medi-Cal patients, according to state officials (Gorn, 10/2).
CT Mirror: Anthem, Hartford HealthCare Reach A Deal
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the parent company of five Connecticut hospitals announced late Thursday that they had reached an agreement on a new contract, allowing the hospitals to return to the insurer’s network. Anthem and Hartford HealthCare had been unable to reach a deal before their previous contracts expired Oct. 1, leading the hospitals to exit Anthem’s network. Hartford HealthCare is the largest hospital chain in the state, the parent company of Hartford, Windham and Backus hospitals, MidState Medical Center and The Hospital of Central Connecticut. Anthem is the state’s largest insurer (Levin Becker, 10/2).
Chicago Sun-Times: Federal Appeals Court Rules Against City Retirees On Health Care
Federal appeals court has given Mayor Rahm Emanuel the green light to save $27 million in 2015 by forging ahead with a three-year phase-out of the city’s 55-percent city subsidy for retiree health care. ... [Workers] wanted the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to force Emanuel to roll back their monthly health insurance premiums to 2013 levels. That’s when Emanuel announced plans to phase out the 55-percent subsidy by January 2017 — but continue that coverage for the 5,500 oldest retirees — and force the younger retirees to make the switch to Obamacare (Spielman, 10/2).
Bloomberg: Nursing Homes For Sale As N.Y. Counties Cut Costs
New York municipalities are getting out of the nursing-home business, ridding themselves of a financial burden just as baby boomers head into old age. Four publicly owned homes for the elderly are on the block, after at least 11 of the 40 counties outside New York City that owned the safety nets for the poor sold or closed them since 1997, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and the Center for Governmental Research in Rochester. The municipalities are contending with pension costs for unionized nursing-home workers that are climbing more quickly than Medicaid reimbursements (Klopott, 10/2).