State Highlights: Supreme Court To Hear N.C. Scope-Of-Practice Case
A selection of health policy stories from North Carolina, Alaska, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and North Dakota.
Politico Pro: Dentistry Case Could Influence Scope-Of-Practice
The Supreme Court on Tuesday will consider who can whiten teeth in North Carolina, a seemingly small decision that could have major implications for scope-of-practice throughout the country. In North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, the justices will weigh whether the state dental board’s decisions — in this case, a decision to not allow anyone but a dentist to whiten teeth — are immune from antitrust protections typically granted to state agencies (Haberkorn, 10/13).
Wall Street Journal's Pharmalot: Will 'Son Of Sovaldi' Cause State Medicaid Programs To Erect High Hurdles?
How might state Medicaid programs cope with a new and equally expensive hepatitis C treatment from Gilead Sciences A new report released just as the FDA late last week approved Harvoni, which will cost $94,500 for a 12-week regimen, may offer some insights, at least according to a trade group for the state programs (Silverman, 10/13).
The Associated Press: Report Details Rural Health Challenges
An aging workforce is among challenges of delivering health care to rural communities in Alaska, according to a new report. The study concludes there is a lack of professional expertise in the state's smaller communities, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. The report — called "Alaska's Community Capacity Review: A Statewide Public Health System Assessment" — was released Oct. 1. It is based on a performance review the public health system earlier this year. "A lot of our leadership is aging out," said state health promotion manager Jayne Andreen, who worked on the report. "We need to be very aware of the need to mentor and build the capacity." Northern and southwest regions of the state are most lacking in health care providers, the report states. The report notes a need to address root causes of health issues, such as alcohol and substance use. It also says there is a need to improve information and data sharing (10/13).
Modern Healthcare: GOP Questions Medicaid Oversight In Mass., Puerto Rico
Senior congressional Republicans have given CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner until Nov. 24 to answer questions about whether her agency is applying proper oversight of Medicaid spending in Massachusetts and Puerto Rico. ... In Massachusetts, because of multiple technical woes with its insurance exchange, the state has allowed residents who think they are eligible for Medicaid based on their income to enroll temporarily until their eligibility can be confirmed. ... Unlike the states, as a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico operates under a cap for Medicaid funds. The Republican lawmakers want the CMS to confirm that Puerto Rico hasn't exceeded its cap (Dickson, 10/13).
The Bismarck Tribune: 16-Bed Substance Abuse Clinic To Open In Bismarck In 2016
The Bismarck, North Dakota-based Heartview Foundation plans to open a facility near Cando following a three-year gap in substance abuse services available in the area. Heartview Foundation Cando is slated to open by January 2016 and will offer 16 beds for patients with substance abuse and co-occurring mental and physical disorders. The state’s booming population and the rise in drug overdose deaths nationally have led to an increased demand for substance abuse services, Heartview executive director Kurt Snyder said. The Center for Solutions occupied the facility until 2011, when a reduction in benefits for low-intensity residential treatment forced it to shut its doors, he said. Though the original Cando facility had 24 beds, the new one will have only 16 so that people on Medicaid are eligible for treatment, he said. A federal law prohibits Medicaid reimbursement for facilities like the one in Cando if they contain more than 16 beds (Sisk, 10/13).