State Roundup: Consumers Dispute Iowa Rate Hike; Fla. Criticized On Nursing Homes
San Francisco Chronicle: California Pacific Spends Far Less On Poor, Report Says
California Pacific Medical Center, including its St. Luke's campus, is San Francisco's most profitable hospital, yet it spends proportionately far less on care for poor residents than other private nonprofit hospitals in the city, according to a new report. ... the report released Thursday by UC Hastings College of the Law found the hospital, which is affiliated with the Sutter Health network, spends considerably less than other hospitals on charity care when compared with the amount of money received per patient (Colliver, 12/9).
Earlier, related KHN story: California Hospitals: Prices Rising Rapidly, But Quality Varies (Rau, 10/17/2010)
Des Moines Register: Wellmark To Hear From Customers On Rate Increase
The company, which dominates the state’s health insurance industry, will face some of those customers Saturday in a public hearing on its proposed rate increases. Wellmark wants to raise premiums by an average of 9.4 percent for 86,000 Iowans who buy their policies on their own instead of obtaining them through an employer. If the state insurance commissioner approves the request, those customers’ premiums will have risen by an average of more than a third over three years (Leys, 12/8).
KHN's Capsules blog: States Cut Community Health Center Funding
Just as demand for services at community health centers is projected to increase — both because of the recession and the health law’s expansions in access to medical care – state funding for these centers has reached a seven-year low for fiscal year 2012, according to a new report (Torres, 12/8).
HealthyCal: Community Clinics, County Battle Over Healthcare Reform In Fresno
About 7,700 low-income Fresno County residents will miss an opportunity to gain medical care due to a dispute between the county and the private hospital that provides care for the county’s medically indigent adults. ... Fresno became the state's first county to opt out of the expansion of healthcare to low-income adults (Moran, 12/8).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker To Seek Extension To SeniorCare
Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday he would seek an extension of the state's popular prescription drug program for seniors. The SeniorCare program depends on authorization from the federal government that runs out at the end of 2012. … Introduced in 2001, SeniorCare serves 87,700 eligible state residents who are 65 or older as an alternative or complement to the federal Medicare Part D benefit (Stein, 12/8).
The Connecticut Mirror: North Haven Nursing Home Could Be Next To Close
Last month, the operator of Wethersfield Health Care Center applied for approval to close the 210-bed nursing home, citing financial losses, too few residents, Medicaid payments that fail to cover costs, reduced Medicare payments and a state and federal initiative to move nursing home residents into the community (Levin Becker, 12/7).
The Miami Herald: Grand Jury Demands Florida Get Tough On Home Operators
A Miami-Dade grand jury blasted the state for allowing troubled assisted living facilities to stay open instead of reaching into its arsenal to crack down on the worst abusers, including imposing steeper fines, shutting down troubled homes and weeding out rogue operators. The report, released Thursday, put the blame squarely on the Agency for Health Care Administration for permitting dangerous homes to keep their doors open (Sallah and Miller, 12/8).
The Baltimore Sun: Medical Alert Company Accused Of Taking Advantage Of Elderly
A company that makes emergency alert devices has been ordered by the Maryland attorney general to stop operating for defrauding the elderly. ... The devices were supposed to connect people with an emergency alert center if they fell or had other medical emergencies (Walker, 12/8).
Modern Healthcare: University Of Louisville Hospital Ordered To Provide Merger-Related Documents
Officials seeking records pertaining to the proposed three-hospital merger involving the University of Louisville's hospital are celebrating after a judge ordered the hospital to provide merger-related records. ... There's been an ongoing legal battle over University Hospital and the state's open-records law. Hospital officials maintain the facility is a private institution, making the law inapplicable to them (Selvam, 12/8).
California Healthline: Diabetes Project Tries To Reach Valley Hmong Community
An estimated 80,000 Hmong live in the Central Valley, one of the most concentrated immigrant populations in the state. ... Officials hope that by tracking lifestyle changes among Hmong residents, they can help manage and prevent diabetes. As many as two out of five adult Hmong are estimated to have Type 2 diabetes (Daniel, 12/8).
Times-Picayune: Appeal Court Rejects Media Request To Open Files On Memorial Medical Center Investigation
The records from a state probe into whether 34 patients were euthanized at Memorial Medical Center can remain secret, a state appeals court ruled Thursday. The First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge ruled against The Times-Picayune and CNN, which have been fighting in court for four years to unseal the records of former Attorney General Charles Foti's explosive investigation into whether doctors and nurses euthanized patients as they prepared to evacuate after Hurricane Katrina (12/8).
The Baltimore Sun: State Suspends Doctor's Right To Prescribe Most Pain Killers
State health officials took the unusual step Thursday of suspending the authority of a Salisbury pain doctor to write prescriptions for opiates, narcotics and all other controlled dangerous substances commonly used to treat pain (Cohn, 12/8).