KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Roundup: Kansas Medicaid Announcement; Pilot Projects For Nursing Homes, C-Sections; Calif. Marijuana Clinics

Kansas Health Institute News: Medicaid Makeover Plan Coming Tuesday 
Gov. Sam Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer and three Cabinet officials have scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Tuesday to describe details of their plan for making over the Kansas Medicaid program. ... The plan is expected to include a significant expansion of managed care  (11/7). 

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Nursing Homes To Treat More Ailments
With the state's financial blessing, 49 of Minnesota's 384 nursing homes are launching a three-year pilot program that could save millions of dollars by sharply reducing the number of times sick or failing residents are sent to a hospital. The project will give nursing home staff a set of tools to assess patients and reconsider before sending them to hospital emergency care for common conditions such as dehydration, fevers and infections, as well as disease end-stages that might best be treated with palliative care (Wolfe, 11/7).

The Miami Herald: Some ALFs Pay Kickbacks For Residents, Task Force Told
During the final meeting of the state’s [assisted-living facility] work group Monday afternoon, owners and advocates for residents — many from South Florida — said the practice of paying kickbacks to fill their homes was rampant throughout the state, even though so-called “patient brokering” has been illegal in Florida since 1996. ... One provider explained it this way: Contractors handling patient discharges for clinics will agree to place the patients in an ALF in exchange for secret payments (Miller and Sallah, 11/7).

California Healthline: Chronic Care Becoming a Chronic Problem
To lower costs and increase quality of care, policymakers in California need to address how to better treat the chronically ill -- those patients at the center of health care spending in the state. That was the conclusion of a health care panel discussion last week in the Capitol Building in Sacramento (Gorn, 11/8).

Detroit Free Press: Statewide Project Helps Mothers Avoid C-Sections
The Michigan Health and Hospital Association Keystone obstetrics project has triggered major changes at the 65 Michigan hospitals as they move to eliminate many Caesarean births and use of labor-induction drugs before the 39th week of pregnancy. Under the project, elective or scheduled C-section births are discouraged unless the mother has a chronic disease or is carrying more than one baby, or her baby is small and developing slower (Anstett, 11/8).

The Baltimore Sun: Treatment Problems, Fear Found In State's High-Security Mental Hospital, Workers Say
Workers at Maryland's maximum-security psychiatric hospital in Jessup, where two patients were slain recently, are calling on the state to address what they describe as problems in treatment and a pervasive climate of fear. In the letter to state officials, workers said some patients at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center "are under-medicated and others are over-medicated" (Cohn and Walker, 11/7).

KQED/The California Report: Venture Capital Flows to Cost-Effective Health Care Companies
Hospitals and doctors are facing a lot of heat these days to clean up their act. Medicare and some health plans are beginning to withhold payments for medical mishaps, preventable infections and re-admissions. The federal health law also forces them to pay more attention to how much they're spending -- and all of this has a direct effect on the kinds of investments Silicon Valley venture capitalists are betting on (Varney, 11/7).

Georgia Health News: Kennestone Becomes Level 2 Trauma Center
The state approval makes the hospital the only trauma facility in the heavily populated northwest Atlanta suburbs. ... The news marks a return for the Marietta hospital to the state’s trauma network, which it dropped out of in 2001 due to rising costs of uncompensated care (Miller, 11/7). 

HealthyCal:  More Ag Firms Offering Health Care To Workers
Business profits and social justice are slowly merging in the harsh agricultural fields of California, as progressive new company-sponsored clinics emerge to provide direct healthcare to farm workers – including undocumented immigrants. Agribusiness owners are opening the clinics to provide no-hassle health access to a population who often avoid seeking healthcare even when covered by insurance (Perry, 11/7).

Sacramento Bee: New Clinic's Name Honors Medical Leader
Community health provider The Effort's newest clinic will be named after a longtime area medical leader. The Tom Gagen Community Health Clinic will open inside Mercy Housing's affordable housing development … he Effort Inc. has teamed with Sutter Medical Center on programs to provide care to the uninsured and chronically homeless and operates clinics across the Sacramento area (Smith, 11/8).

HealthyCal: Education Helps Low-Income Families Make Better Health Choices, Advocates Say
Food stamp recipients shouldn’t be relegated to a limited selection of nutrient-poor foods. That idea is the cornerstone of a recent project designed to improve the health of Santa Ana adults and schoolchildren. The Network for a Healthy California — a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, California Department of Public Health and Orange County — is geared towards cultivating long-term lifestyle changes in the low-income population (Afrasiabi, 11/8).

California Watch: Drug Use Highest Among American Indian Teens, Lower Among Blacks
A national analysis of drug abuse among teens released yesterday – among the most comprehensive to date – found that Native American, Latino and white adolescents have the highest rates of drug-related disorders. In culturally diverse California – where recent illicit drug use among teens has climbed to nearly 11 percent – the findings have implications for the state’s prevention and treatment policy (Yeung, 11/7). 

The New York Times: California Dispensaries Moving To Block U.S. Marijuana Crackdown
Lawyers for the medical marijuana industry said on Monday that they would seek court orders to halt a threatened federal crackdown on marijuana dispensaries, their landlords and marijuana growers (Eckholm, 11/7).


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