KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Ore. Lawmakers Petition For Separate Dental Care

A selection of health policy stories from Oregon, Colorado, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Kentucky and California.

The Oregonian: Dental Petition Would Slow Integration With Oregon Health Reforms: State Seeks Comment
The state is inviting public comment on how dentists fit with reforms of the Oregon Health Plan. Last week, two lawmakers and a dental executive submitted a petition to the Oregon Health Authority asking that dental care remain separate until 2017 from the state's new coordinated care organizations (CCOs), provider networks set up to integrate services, manage spending and reward prevention in the care of low-income members of the Medicaid-funded system. As a result, CCOs could only provide dental care through existing dental care organizations. The petition was signed by Mike Shirtcliff, President and CEO of Advantage Dental Services, as well as Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, and Rep. Tim Freeman, R-Roseburg (Budnick, 10/17).

The Denver Post: Drug Registry Often Ignored Despite Growing Painkiller Abuse
Despite growing concerns about an epidemic of opioid painkiller overdoses, doctors and pharmacies are checking a Colorado registry meant to deter abuse only 10 to 15 percent of the time before dispensing the dangerous drugs, a local DEA official said. The state pharmacy board said it has no way of knowing how many people check the registry before issuing painkillers, and the DEA said it could not disclose how it is counting (Booth, 10/17).

The Associated Press: Senior Issues At Center Of RI Congressional Race
Medicare, Social Security and health care reform are taking center stage in the race to represent Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District. Incumbent Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, 51, blasts congressional Republicans, who have proposed holding down Medicare costs with a voucher system and for voting repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which reduced prescription drug costs for those on Medicare while also reforming the nation’s health care system. Republican Brendan Doherty, 53, the former head of the state police making his first run for political office, says he wants to give more benefits to those on Social Security while slightly raising the retirement age and has pledged to vote against cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits (Smith, 10/17).

Modern Healthcare: N.C. Blues Teams With Walgreens On Telehealth
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Durham, is offering telehealth services to its employees through a partnership with Walgreens Take Care Health Systems and telehealth company American Well. The health insurer, which has thousands of employees in North Carolina, said in a news release that the program will allow it to offer more convenient and cost-effective care. Close to 40 percent of N.C. Blues employees are enrolled in a consumer-driven health savings account plan, according to the release. Through the telehealth service, known as OnlineCareNC, the health plan's employees will be able to consult with a Take Care Health System nurse practitioner, health coach or nutritionist from their home or office (Kutscher, 10/17).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Provider To Terminate Contract With State
A Medicaid managed care provider will terminate its contract with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services after only a year, a move that would cut some 200 jobs in Lexington. Kentucky Spirit Health Plan, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Centene Corp., announced Wednesday that it is exercising its right to end the contract effective July 5, 2013 (10/17).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Public Housing Project A National Model For Supporting Health
In 2009, when developers from the Denver Housing Authority worked with neighborhood partners, residents and consultants to dream up a new master plan for the Lincoln Park/La Alma neighborhood, they became one of the first 20 or so entities in the U.S. to conduct what’s known as a Health Impact Assessment (HIA). Long popular in Europe but new to the U.S., HIAs aim to identify how a project or redevelopment will impact health. Then in 2010, as reconstruction began, DHA developers ignited another health revolution. They decided to hold themselves accountable for improving health with every decision they made. They wanted to measure their success or failure and became on of the first in the country to use what’s called the Healthy Development Measurement Tool (HDMT) (Kerwin McCrimmon, 10/17).

California Healthline: Health Policy And Winnie The Pooh
Richard Gottfried, chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Health and [moderated] a well-attended panel on payment reform Tuesday at the National Academy for State Health Policy's annual conference. … Gottfried's session, "Pay it Forward: Innovative State Payment Reforms," attracted an overflow crowd of about 200 policy leaders in a room designed for 150. They heard representatives from three states explain new approaches to paying for health care (Lauer, 10/17).

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