Florida Public Hospitals A Likely Target For New Governor; Two People Appointed To Create Calif. Health Exchange

McClatchy: Florida's New Governor Likely To Target Public Hospitals
Florida's government-owned hospitals will be in the political cross hairs after Tuesday's inauguration of Rick Scott, once leader of the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain. The governor-elect's transition team has recommended creation of a panel to study whether government-owned hospitals -- Miami-Dade's Jackson Health System and Broward's two hospital districts among them -- are necessary (Dorschner, 1/2).

Minnesota Public Radio: Dayton Plans Public Signing Of Medicaid Order
Dayton announced today that he will sign an executive order to pursue the federal health care funding during a public ceremony on Jan. 4, in the Capitol Rotunda. Dayton says the move will provide new or improved health care coverage to more than 95,000 Minnesotans (Pugmire, 12/30).

The Sacramento Bee: Governor Appoints Pair To Help Create Health Benefit Exchange
The heavy lifting in the state's work to establish a new health insurance marketplace is about to begin, and two key people were named Friday to help lead the effort to expand access to health coverage for small businesses and the millions of uninsured (Calvan, 1/1).

Connecticut Mirror: New State Health Commissioner: Not More With Less, But 'Differently' With Less
[Gov.-elect Dan Malloy] has not signaled any intention to cut the health department's budget, and has spoken about the need for a more robust public health system and a desire to beef up the state's efforts to prevent tobacco use and lead paint exposure in children. But with the state facing a massive budget deficit, knowing how to deal with dwindling resources is almost certain to be a key skill for his commissioners (Levin Becker, 12/30).

Minnesota Public Radio: Gov't Wants More Whistleblowers For Medicare Fraud
This year, Medicare will pay out around $500 billion to 46 million beneficiaries, and Chad Blumenfield, an assistant U. S. Attorney in Minneapolis, says the program has been viewed as an easy target for fraud (Olson, 12/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Vanguard Set To Acquire Detroit Hospitals
Detroit Medical Center will pay a $30 million fine to the federal government, in a settlement that clears the way for the takeover of the ailing hospital system by Vanguard Health Systems LP ahead of a critical Dec. 31 deadline (Linebaugh, 12/21/10).

The Sacramento Bee: First State Report On Hospital Infections Disappoints
California's first attempt to shed light on the prevalence of potentially lethal superbugs in hospitals was roundly dismissed as a disappointment Thursday, when state public health officials released long-awaited data on hospital-borne infections (Calvan, 12/31).

Denver Post: Group Counting On Baby Boomers To Help Others Navigate Health Care
[Non-profit Boomers Leading Change in Health] hopes to enlist 300 to 500 people age 50 and older to do everything from help others navigate evolving health care reform to perform educational outreach or advocate on health care issues (Simpson, 1/2).

The Arizona Republic: Arizona Transplant Policy Personal For Legislator
Tovar, a Democratic representative from Tolleson, is preparing a bill to be introduced on the first day of the legislative session next week to reinstate transplant coverage for patients on the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's version of Medicaid (Pitzl, 1/2).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Health Care Tops Contract Debates
After years of watching escalating health insurance costs eat up and even surpass the savings provided by early retirements, some public school districts are getting tough in contract negotiations to reduce benefit levels (Hetzner, 1/1).

The Dallas Morning News: Texas Social Services Chief Blunt On Severity Of Cutbacks On Children, Elderly
As lawmakers gear up to hunt for every penny they can use against an unprecedented budget gap, Texas' safety net for the poor and vulnerable figures to get a lot of scrutiny (Garrett, 1/1).

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