KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Roundup: Mental Health Hospital Woes; N.Y. Medicare Scam Bust

Today's state news includes reports from Kansas, Georgia, Minnesota, New York and Michigan.

McClatchy: Abuses In Assisted-Living Facilities Come Under Senate Panel's Spotlight
[A Miami Herald series "Neglected to Death,"]  focused this spring on critical breakdowns in Florida's enforcement system, including failures by the state's Agency on Health Care Administration to fully investigate deaths or to shut down some of the worst offenders among Florida's 2,850 assisted-living facilities. ... Although more states are using Medicaid money to pay for some portion of assisted living care for the poor, the federal government has a limited role in the facilities their oversight has been and will likely continue to be a state duty (Bolstad, 11/2).

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Lawsuit Settlement To Provide $8.3 Million For Clinics For Poor And Underinsured
The New Orleans-area system of primary care clinics for the poor and underinsured will receive an $8.3 million infusion as part of the settlement in a long-running class-action liability suit against health care and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson. ... Daughters of Charity will receive $1 million toward construction of a permanent primary-care clinic. ... The remaining $7.3 million will be transferred to the nonprofit Louisiana Public Health Institute (Barrow, 11/2).

Kansas Health Institute News: State Hospital Faces Major Patient Influx
Wichita's leading mental health center has informed state officials that it expects to refer an additional 1,250 people to Osawatomie State Hospital next year, which would mean a large influx of patients at a facility that already is frequently overcrowded. COMCARE officials said they must begin diverting more patients to Osawatomie because recurring state budget cuts have left the center no longer able to afford the costs of providing inpatient care in Wichita (Ranney, 11/2).

Georgia Health News: Kids' Mental Health Programs Still Lag In Georgia
Last year's settlement agreement between Georgia and federal officials over improving the care of people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities has won widespread praise from consumer advocacy groups, both here and nationally. ... [But] Georgia children with mental illness are still stuck in government and educational systems that are not coordinated and often don’t meet the young patients' needs, consumer advocacy groups say (Miller, 11/2).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: HealthPartners, Allina Form A 'Lab' For Health Reform
An unusual partnership in the northwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities is claiming early progress toward the Holy Grail of health care reform: better treatments, lower costs and more satisfied patients. In its first year, the joint effort between rival health systems HealthPartners and Allina Hospitals and Clinics was able to shave $6 million from medical costs for patients in Anoka and Sherburne counties, compared with what had been projected (Crosby, 11/2).

Earlier, related KHN story: Minnesota Health Systems Try Partnering, Not Competition, To Boost Their Bottom Lines (Stawicki, 10/31).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: 12 Charged In NYC With $95 Million Medicare Fraud
Federal authorities in New York City charged 12 people — including several doctors — with scheming to submit more than $95 million in false Medicare claims. The 12 were charged Wednesday with participating in Medicare fraud and money-laundering offenses in Brooklyn and Queens (11/2). 

MSNBC: Medicare Scheme Traded Goodies For Info
[C]linics allegedly gave the freebies so that they could use the personal information to bilk the federal government out of millions in improper Medicare bills (Dienst, Prokupecz, Valiquette, 11/2).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Drug Monitoring Program Gets $400,000 Grant
Georgia has secured a $400,000 grant needed to implement a prescription drug monitoring program, which supporters say will help curb abuses that have spurred an increase in accidental drug overdoses. … Thirty-seven states have prescription drug monitoring systems, and 11 more, including Georgia, have passed legislation to establish the program (Simmons, 11/2).

Detroit Free Press: DMC CEO Mike Duggan To Make $2.41 Million In Pay, Bonuses, Stock Options
Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan's total compensation this year from Vanguard Health Systems, the private health care company that bought the DMC, is $2.41 million in pay, bonuses and several years of stock options, up from the $1.98 million in 2009 when DMC was a nonprofit, according to public documents (Anstett, 11/3).

Earlier, related KHN story: Hospitals Hope To Improve Outlook By Turning For-Profit (Gold, 7/13/10) 

Detroit Free Press: Salaries Of Michigan's High Ranking Health Care Executives
Here is what some of Michigan’s highest-ranking health care executives earned in 2010 (11/3).

The Seattle Times: Virginia Mason, Evergreen Healthcare Team Up
Both hospital systems say the partnership is not a merger and will not affect governance, management or financial independence of the two organizations. They say the partnership will give Seattle-based Virginia Mason increased Eastside presence, and vice versa for Kirkland-based Evergreen, and will allow them to collaborate, rather than duplicate, services each now offers (Ostrom, 11/2).

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