State Roundup: Calif. High Deductibles Spark Lawsuit; New Ark. Medicaid Chief

A selection of stories from California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Arkansas.

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Blue Cross Sued Over Higher Medical Insurance Deductibles
For the second time in eight months, California health insurer Anthem Blue Cross is being sued over allegations that it has breached contracts with individual policyholders for hiking annual insurance deductibles in the middle of the year. The latest lawsuit, filed Monday by the group Consumer Watchdog, says that California's largest for-profit health insurance company used "bait and switch" tactics to raise deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for some customers May 1 (Helfand, 11/15).

Los Angeles Times: Two California Mental Hospitals Released From Federal Oversight
Two California mental hospitals have been released from federal oversight, ending a five-year, court-ordered reform effort that implemented major changes in patient treatment. ...  The court action comes as serious concerns remain about violence at the hospitals, particularly Napa, where a psychiatric technician was killed by a patient a little more than a year ago (Hoeffel, 11/15).

California Healthline: Settlement Expected in ADHC Lawsuit
Disability Rights California is close to settling its adult day health care lawsuit against the California Department of Health Care Services, according to a joint release from the two parties ... This is the first glimmer of legal hope providers of adult day health care have seen in a while. ADHC is due to be eliminated as a Medi-Cal benefit for 35,000 Californians on Dec. 1, a change expected to force most of California's 300 ADHC facilities to close (Gorn, 11/15).

KUAR (Arkansas): Arkansas Medicaid Program Gets New Chief 
Dr. Andy Allison currently serves as director of the Division of Health Care Finance for the Kansas Department of Health. Officials say Allison will play a major role in Arkansas's efforts to draft a proposal that would change the way Medicaid pays for services. Amy Webb with the Department of Human Services says Allison's expertise will be valuable as Arkansas switches from a fee-for-service model used by Medicaid (Glover, 11/14).

Boston Globe: Community Colleges Faulted On Health Studies
The state's community college system is failing to adequately prepare students for technical careers in high-demand health care fields because it is too disjointed for students and employers to navigate, according to the first sweeping report to lay out the problem and suggest solutions. The report, released yesterday, lists a litany of issues holding back potential employees and hindering one of the city's crucial industries (Carmichael, 11/15).

New Hampshire Public Radio: New Hampshire's Immigration Story: Immigration and Healthcare
Healthcare delivery is complicated enough without language barriers, financial difficulties and cultural misunderstandings. Being a newcomer in a strange country presents many new challenges but healthcare is one of the most difficult to overcome. We take a look at the myriad obstacles the foreign born population face, and what some local healthcare providers are doing to help overcome them (Knoy, 11/15).

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