State Roundup: N.H., Kansas Move Towards Health Care ‘Compacts’
A selection of health policy news from Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Kansas.
The Associated Press/New England Cable News: House Passes Health Care Compact Bill
The [N.H.] House has voted to form an interstate health care compact, rejecting an effort to instead study the cost implications for New Hampshire if the state assumed control for health care within its boundaries. Under the bill, the states would receive block grants from the federal government and would take over Medicare and Medicaid (3/28).
Kansas Health Institute News: Health Care Compact Bill Not Taken Up By Conference Committee
Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, asked senators if they would be interested in taking up House Bill 2520, which would authorize Kansas participation in the Interstate Health Care Compact. ... Similar bills have passed and been signed into law in six states: Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah and Indiana. Governors in Arizona, Montana and North Dakota have vetoed compact bills (Cauthon, 3/28).
Related, earlier KHN story: Some States Seeking Health Care Compact (Gugliotta, 9/18/11)
(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Minnesota Senate OKs Bill Creating Accounts For Part-Time Workers To Pay For Health Insurance
After a debate that featured lots of talk about the federal overhaul of the health care system, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill that its author suggested would address a much more limited problem - the challenge of part-time workers' search for health insurance. The bill that passed Wednesday, March 28, would create what are called "personal health premium accounts," in which individuals could amass funds from part-time employers and other sources to pay health insurance premiums, said Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie (Snowbeck, 3/28).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Walker Signs Three Health Bills
Gov. Scott Walker signed three bills involving electronic prescriptions, physician assistants and licensing anesthesiologist assistants on Wednesday … Senate Bill 421 expands physician assistants' scope of practice (Boulton, 3/28).
WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Mass. Health Plans Report: Payment Reform Won't Fix Prices
The latest Massachusetts Association of Health Plans annual report is out, and it offers some very colorful visual reminders of a point many in the state have been making: To stem the growth in health care costs, payment reform is not enough; something must be done about the "market distortion" that allows some hospitals to charge far higher prices than others (Goldberg, 3/28).
WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Health Policy Insiders Propose What They Call 'Smart Tiering'
Some of our friends and neighbors in Massachusetts pay a lot more to go to Massachusetts General or Children’s Hospital Boston than they do for Metro West or Tufts Medical Center. They have insurance that assigns hospitals to a high, medium or low cost tier with co-pays to match. ... Some health care insiders are also wondering if it makes sense to label a hospital “high cost” for everything they do (Bebinger, 3/28).
The Baltimore Sun: Good Samaritan Hospital Settles Claims It Defrauded Health Programs
Good Samaritan Hospital agreed to pay $793,548 to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to federal health benefit programs for four years ending in December 2008, federal Department of Justice officials reported Wednesday. The hospital denied any wrongdoing, but federal officials say the MedStar Health System hospital listed some patients admitted to the hospital as suffering from malnutrition when they were not diagnosed or treated for that condition (Cohn, 3/28).
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Kitchen Opposes Roxborough Hospital Buyer
Pennsylvania State Sen. Shirley M. Kitchen (D., Philadelphia) lashed out at the new owner of Roxborough Memorial Hospital in a letter to the director of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, urging Eli Avila to help stop Prime Healthcare Services from taking over the 140-bed facility. Based in Ontario, Calif., Prime Healthcare is reportedly under investigation by federal authorities over aggressive Medicare reimbursement requests, though a company spokesman denies such reports (Sell, 3/29).