State Round-up: Warnings, Coverage And Violations In Health Care

Kaiser Health News presents a round-up of state health news from around the United States:

Modern Healthcare: "States would have up to one year to repay the federal government a share of the money they recoup from fraudulent or improper Medicaid payments, under an amendment approved by the Senate Finance Committee. Under current law, once state inspectors identify fraudulent practices, they have 60 days to return a portion of the federal dollars back to the government. Under the new amendment, states would instead have a full year to make those payments while expanding the role of recovery audit contractors" (DoBias, 9/24).

The Miami Herald: "The president of Jackson Health System — Miami-Dade's government safety net for healthcare — cautioned members of Congress on Thursday that some healthcare-reform efforts could penalize the state's largest Medicaid provider. Eneida Roldan, president and CEO of Jackson, said proposals to cut the disproportionate-share program, designed to protect hospitals that provide significant uncompensated care, would be devastating to the healthcare system that already faces a $168 million shortfall" (Clark, 9/25).

WAPT, an ABC affiliate in Jackson, Miss: "More allegations have arisen that the state Division of Medicaid is removing children from getting speech therapy to save money. WAPT broke the story in July after the agency changed its policy with little public notice and said unless there is a medical necessity for it, the state will no longer pay for the therapy it has covered for years. After WAPT’s stories aired, the agency revised its policy but still won't grant anchor Scott Simmons’ request for an on-camera interview with agency director Bob Robinson. According to spokesperson Frances Rullan, the agency won't do an interview because it wants to put the story to bed" (9/24).

The Los Angeles Times: "Eleven California hospitals have been fined $25,000 each in administrative penalties for violations that, in some cases, led to death or serious injury, according to a statement released this morning by officials at the state Department of Public Health. The list includes eight Southern California hospitals. Coast Plaza Doctors Hospital in Norwalk and L.A. County-USC Hospital were fined for failing to follow proper surgical procedures, requiring a second surgery to remove surgical equipment or supplies left behind" (Hennessey-Fiske, 9/24).

The Boston Globe: "Facing criticism from a health workers union, a physicians group has decided to drop its late-night surcharge for emergency room patients at five Massachusetts hospitals. Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians said yesterday that it would no longer add $30 to bills for emergency care delivered between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. The fee was attacked this week by a health care union that is trying to organize workers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, with which the doctors are affiliated" (Cooney, 9/25).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.