Roundup: Mass. Officials Wrestle With Municipal Health Care Issues

The Associated Press/Boston Globe: Patrick, Lawmakers Discuss Municipal Health Care
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says he and legislative leaders are in fundamental agreement over what should be included in a municipal health care bill, even while there remains disagreement on the specifics. The House approved a measure last week that would largely strip public employee unions of collective bargaining rights over health care benefits. The Senate is expected to act in the coming weeks (5/2).

National Journal: Debate Over Migrant Workers Arises In Vermont Health Care Bill
More than 2,000 people showed up at the Vermont Statehouse on Sunday to protest an amendment to the universal health care bill that would exclude undocumented workers. Vermont is on a fast track to becoming the first state to have a single-payer health care system. Both chambers of the Legislature have passed universal health care bills and a conference committee is hashing out differences in amendments before a final measure is sent to Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin (Fung, 5/2).

The Associated Press/Boston Globe: Lawmakers Resume Meetings On Vt. Health Care Bill
A conference committee of the Vermont House and Senate is resuming its efforts to work out differences between the two chambers' versions of a bill designed to bring universal health care to the state (5/2).

Georgia Health News: Pharmacists Take Wider Role In Health Care
Immunization, medication management, cholesterol screening, patient monitoring and helping detect patterns of disease are some of the ways pharmacists are contributing to better community health, experts say. ... Large patient loads and staff shortages make small-town physicians more receptive to working with pharmacists. [Pharmacist John] Moorhead provides flu shots as needed, as well as shingles vaccines by prescription. Medical office practices often don't stock the latter because there's not enough demand or because they don't accept payment from Medicare Part D, which covers the vaccine (Smith, 5/2). 

The Miami Herald: Miami-Dade Starts Specialized Drug Court For Military Veterans
On Friday, facing a cocaine possession charge, (Terrell Copper) became part of a fledgling Miami-Dade court program designed specially for veterans with drug problems like his. … The Veterans Court is part of a growing nationwide movement of courts designated specifically for veterans, allowing them to avoid jail or prison by entering intense court-monitored drug rehabilitation. The concept is an extension of drug court, which first started in Miami more than two decades ago (Ovalle, 5/2).

The Connecticut Mirror: Planned Parenthood Funding Enters Connecticut's Budget Debate
One month after Congressional House Republicans attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, that same debate has come to Connecticut's State Capitol as the [D]emocratic-controlled Senate moves forward with adopting a final budget. State Sen. Leonard Suzio, R-Meriden, is planning to introduce an amendment that eliminates all $1 million the state spends on Planned Parenthood each year. "I look forward to defeating this," said Sen. Terry Gerratana, D-New Britain, chairwoman of Public Health Committee (Rabe, 5/2). 

The Texas Tribune: Abortion Sonogram Bill Clears Another Hurdle
Senate lawmakers have tentatively passed a controversial measure to require women seeking abortions to receive sonograms — and have the details of the fetus described to them — prior to the procedure. Pending a final vote tomorrow, the bill will head back to the House so the lower chamber can sign off on the Senate's changes. The vote on House Bill 15 came after compromise was reached on the biggest point of contention — whether women seeking abortions should be required to have a sonogram 24 hours in advance, or two hours in advance (Aaronson, 5/2). 

California Healthline: Counties Face New, Expanded Health Care Challenges
For years, California's [58] disparate county governments -- as different and far removed from each other as some of the United States are from each other -- have played a leading role in providing medical and mental health care for low-income, underserved and uninsured populations. That role -- interpreted differently by each county using a patchwork of federal and state programs and funding -- is about to become more complex, if not more difficult. The influx of millions of newly insured Californians along with added tasks from the state and what appears to be a long-term financial pinch make for rocky roads ahead. ... We asked stakeholders and experts to predict what strategies might help policymakers navigate health care challenges (5/2)

Minneapolis Star Tribune/AP: Minn. Senate Panel Looks At Abortion Restrictions Including Ban Starting Midway In Pregnancy
A Senate panel is expected to vote on two proposals to restrict abortion in Minnesota. The Judiciary and Public Safety Committee's Tuesday agenda includes a ban on abortion starting about midway through pregnancies at 20 weeks of gestation (5/3).

The Baltimore Sun: Doctors To Push For Control Of Patients' Access To Care
MedChi, the Maryland state medical society, adopted principles Saturday that the group's leaders say will protect patients' access to care. The principles will guide the group's legislative efforts. The doctors' group, which tussles with cost-conscious insurers over coverage, wants to establish itself as the primary decision makers for patients (Cohn, 5/2). 

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