State Roundup: Mass. Health Law Success; Penn. Medicaid Cut Reversed
A selection of health policy stories from California, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
The Associated Press: Mass. Health Law May Bode Well For Federal Law
Massachusetts has the nation's highest rate of residents with health insurance. Visits to emergency rooms are beginning to ease. More residents are getting cancer screenings and more women are making prenatal doctors' visits. Still, one of the biggest challenges for the state lies ahead: reining in spiraling costs (LeBlanc, 7/3).
McClatchy Newspapers: Judge Overturns Florida Law Prohibiting Physicians From Asking Patients About Guns
A federal judge has blocked the state of Florida from enforcing a law pushed by firearms advocates that banned thousands of doctors from discussing gun ownership with their patients. U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, who had already issued a preliminary injunction last September, made her decision permanent late Friday when she ruled in favor of groups of physicians who asserted that the law violated their free speech rights (Weaver, 7/2).
Philadelphia Inquirer: Pennsylvania's Budget Restores Funding For Hospitals, Nursing Homes
Hospitals and nursing homes were happy to see millions in proposed cuts restored in the budget that Gov. (Tom) Corbett signed Saturday. The $27.66 billion budget reversed Corbett's proposed 4 percent cut in Medical Assistance payments to the 600 nursing homes that accept (Medicaid). ... But even with the level funding compared with the previous year, nursing homes will continue losing $20 per day on each resident, (Stuart Shapiro, president and chief executive of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, a trade group for nursing homes,) said (Brubaker, 7/3).
San Francisco Chronicle: Hospital Deal In Danger As Paper Suggest Breaches
Mayor Ed Lee's deal with California Pacific Medical Center on a $2.5 billion overhaul of its San Francisco medical facilities is in jeopardy after internal financial documents were leaked showing hospital officials considered cutting hundreds of jobs, paying substantially less in charity care than envisioned in the deal, and could close a hospital despite pledging to keep it open. A medical center spokesman said the documents were "drafts that were discarded and not used." But the revelations made public Monday raised the ire of members on the Board of Supervisors, where the agreement is being considered (Coté, 7/2).
Kansas Health Institute News: Kansas Hospitals Ready To Get On With Federal Health Reform, Spokesman Says
The head of the Kansas Hospital Association said today that most of the group's member hospitals have accepted the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act and are ready to embrace reform. "The number one thing I'm hearing from my people is 'Oh my gosh, are we going to have to go through this health reform political debate again?'" said Tom Bell, noting that he and other healthcare officials had hoped the ruling would give them a clearer picture of the future. So far, he said, that’s not happened (Ranney, 7/2).
(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Accretive Health: Minnesota Attorney General Is Just Plain Wrong
Chicago-based Accretive Health Inc. has moved to dismiss a second amended complaint that Attorney General Lori Swanson filed in June against the health care consulting firm. ... "Many of these so-called 'facts' are simply wrong," lawyers for Accretive Health wrote in the filing. "They amount to a rehashing of allegations already publicized by the Attorney General as a part of her ongoing media campaign against Accretive Health." In January, Swanson sued Accretive Health, alleging that it violated state and federal privacy laws, state debt collection laws and state consumer protection laws through its work with Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services (Snowbeck, 7/3).
Sacramento Bee/CHCF Center For Health Reporting: Bill Grants Some Low-Income Children Access To More Flexible Dental Care
Under a budget bill signed last week by the governor, some low-income Sacramento children who have tried unsuccessfully to get dental treatment will be able to leave managed care for a program that offers more flexibility. Under the new provisions ... parents who haven't been able to get appointments for their children's dental care can contact the state Department of Health Care Services. If the department cannot set up an appointment within a reasonable time – to be determined on a case-by-case basis – the child can move into the "fee-for-service" Medi-Cal dental program (Bazar, 7/3).