KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Boston Hospitals Increasingly Scrutinized For Costs While Buffalo Hospitals Will Receive More Medicare Funding

The Boston Globe: Officials in Gov. Deval Patrick's administration, "seeking to pressure hospitals as well as insurers to rein in costs, say they will more closely scrutinize plans for new medical buildings and technologies to determine how they might affect the cost of health care in Massachusetts. The move is intended to halt what some call an escalating 'medical arms race,' in which Boston teaching hospitals vie with suburban hospitals to establish new outpatient care centers and buy expensive imaging and detection equipment that can draw hefty reimbursements from Medicare and private insurers" (Weisman and Kowalczyk, 6/4).

Buffalo Business First: "Rural hospitals in Western New York will gain $2.68 million over two years in new Medicare funding from the federal government, part of a $400 million allocation to hospitals nationwide through the federal health reform legislation. The funds are among $46.4 million allocated to hospitals statewide through the proposed geographic variation adjustment calculation to be used for adjustments to Medicare spending in low costs areas. New York ranks No. 1 among the states in both the number of hospitals that qualify and the award value" (Drury, 6/4).

The Associated Press/San Jose Mercury News: "Lawmakers approved about a dozen bills as they started the complex task of remaking the California health care market to conform with federal reforms passed earlier this year. The bills approved in the Legislature this week would prohibit health insurers from denying coverage because of a preexisting condition, create an exchange through which individuals could buy health insurance, and extend maternity coverage to more women. The legislation also would force insurance companies to obtain state approval before raising fees. Opponents said the Legislature was acting too quickly, noting the federal government might change its requirements over the next few years. They also were concerned about runaway costs. … Supporters said the changes were so complex that it's important to start early, especially on the exchange" (Bussewitz, 6/3).

Health News Florida: "As Gov. Charlie Crist gets ready to sign a bill to crack down further on Florida's pill-mill industry, state health officials say they expect to meet a Dec. 1 deadline for creating a database to track prescription drugs. Lawmakers in 2009 required developing the database but did not set aside money for the project. That has led state officials and a non-profit foundation to scramble to raise an estimated $1 million to start the database by Dec. 1 and operate it during the rest of the 2010-11 fiscal year" (Saunders, 6/3). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.