State Roundup: $2.8M In Fraudulent Public Assistance Given In Mass.
A selection of health policy stories from Oregon, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, New York and California.
The Lund Report: Disclosure Approach Could Limit Malpractice Claims
Lawmakers are expected to take up tort reform when the Oregon Legislature convenes next February. To get those discussions moving, a Patient Safety and Defensive Medicine Workgroup is developing draft legislation that includes issues such as confidentiality, mediation, dispute resolution, litigation, discovery and patient safety. Disclosure -- informing patients when a serious medical event has occurred in a hospital setting -- is also on the table. Such an approach has been successful at Mercy Medical Center, Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer, a Roseburg pediatrician, told the workgroup earlier this week (Jorgensen, 8/17).
The Boston Globe: Auditor Documents $2.8M More In Fraudulent Public Assistance
People scamming the state's public assistance programs collected more than $2.8 million in fraudulently obtained welfare and health benefits in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, the state auditor's office found. The newly uncovered fraud brings the total to more than $5.5 million for the year, according to Auditor Suzanne Bump's office, which released a report Wednesday documenting the fraud (8/23).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown To Make Health Exchange Announcement
[Maryland] Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is scheduled to make an announcement about Maryland's health benefit exchange. Brown is making the announcement on Thursday in Baltimore. Under the federal health care law, Maryland's exchange is due to be operational by October of next year (8/22).
Chicago Sun-Times: Nearly Half Of City Workers And Spouses Sign Up For Mayor Emanuel's Wellness Program
The threat of a $50 increase in monthly health insurance premiums is apparently enough to convince the city's work force to shape up. Nearly 50 percent of eligible city employees and their spouses -- a pool of 22,420 participants -- have joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wellness program, a running start on the mayor’s projected $20 million savings. Roughly 25,500 employees and spouses have yet to either accept or decline with the Aug. 31 deadline fast approaching. But, of the more than 22,000 employees and dependents who did respond, all but 54 chose to join. That's an acceptance rate of 99.8 percent (Spielman, 8/22).
Modern Healthcare/Crain's New York Business: What Will Heal Brooklyn Health Care? Fuggedabout Mergers
Long before health planners tried to solve some of Brooklyn's myriad health issues by recently suggesting that Interfaith, Brooklyn and Wyckoff Heights hospitals merge, they commissioned a comprehensive study in 2009 of northern and central Brooklyn's health system. The resulting analysis, released yesterday, provides a framework for regional health care planning in Brooklyn. More significantly, the Brooklyn Healthcare Improvement Project paints a grim picture of health care patterns among an inner-city population (8/22).
California Watch/The Bay Citizen: State Struggles With Limiting Felons In Home Health Care Jobs
Three years after the state barred felons from serving as publicly funded home health caretakers, people with criminal histories in theft, prostitution and drug possession have continued to care for the state's most vulnerable and frail residents. The situation has led to calls for tougher laws from some district attorneys and lawmakers, who worry the In-Home Supportive Services program is rife with loopholes (Gollan, 8/23).
California Healthline: One Stage Down, Many More To Come
Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley summed up the state of health care in California pretty succinctly at Tuesday's health task force forum: "With the economy down in California, there are more people needing services," Dooley said, "and less money to provide it." That conundrum is at the heart of the creation of the Let's Get Healthy California task force, which finished its first stage of discussions Tuesday (Gorn, 8/23).
The Associated Press/San Jose Mercury: Calif. Bill Would Lower Cost Of Chemotherapy Pills
Patients undergoing chemotherapy would pay less for pill-based treatments under legislation sent to the governor Wednesday over the objections of some health plans and insurers. The state Assembly passed AB1000 on 51-12 vote. It would prohibit health plans and insurance policies from charging more for covering oral chemotherapy than for the intravenous treatment (8/22).