A selection of health policy stories from California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Delaware, Oregon and Florida.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Philly Takes $42M Hit In New Budget
Gov. Corbett's new budget proposal would cost the city $42 million in mostly mental health and addiction treatment funding, but city officials say the impact will be worsened by ensuing needs for emergency shelter, child welfare, and other services. … The city Health Department faces an additional $7 million in state cuts. That would reduce the number of beds in the city nursing home and cost hospice beds for AIDS victims, officials said (Warner, 2/22).
Los Angeles Times: Health Plans Get Mixed Reviews In Annual California Report Card
California's annual report card on many of the state's HMOs and other health insurance plans gave most of those rated high marks for customer satisfaction but said they need to improve treatment for lung disease, attention-deficit disorder and throat infections in children. ... [The report] rated California's nine largest health maintenance organizations, six largest preferred provider organizations and 212 medical groups representing 16 million consumers with private health plans (Terhune, 2/22).
San Jose Mercury News: State Rates Health Plans On Quality Measures
California's largest health plans have improved their care for diabetic patients, but many need to do better at treating children with throat infections, testing for lung disease and helping people overcome drug and alcohol addictions (Kleffman, 2/22).
The Texas Tribune: Opinions Mixed as Managed Care Comes To [Rio Grande] Valley
Advocates of managed health care say the program has proven to be cost-effective in parts of the state where it has been implemented. But others say ... unique conditions made the Valley unsuitable for managed care, citing the region’s high rate of chronic, expensive-to-treat illnesses such as diabetes, and also said managed care would put economic pressure on the Valley’s already scarce physicians (Heinrich, 2/21).
NPR Shots Blog: The Big Squeeze: Calif. Weight Loss Clinics Under Investigation
A group of weight-loss clinics in Southern California is under fire for an aggressive advertising campaign and the death of five patients. The 1-800-GET-THIN marketing campaign and its affiliated surgical centers are being investigated by local, state and federal agencies ... And according to a spokesman at the California Department of Insurance, the agency has initiated an investigation into allegations of insurance fraud (Kahn, 2/21).
The Lund Report (Oregon): State Overbilled The Feds for Family Planning
A federal audit recently found the Oregon Health Authority improperly claimed $1.7 million in federal reimbursement for a program that offers family planning services to low-income Oregonians. A routine audit by [HHS] found the state had not properly verified the income or social security numbers of enrollees to an expanded Medicaid program known as Oregon Contraceptive Care (Rosenfeld, 2/22).
The Lund Report: Oregon House and Senate Unanimously Agree on New Changes to HIV Testing
Both the House and Senate have unanimously passed a bill that will make HIV testing a part of routine blood work and other lab tests performed by a physician or hospital. That change is expected to reduce the social stigma associated with HIV, transmission of the disease, as well as increase the number of people who are tested (Waldroupe, 2/22).
Modern Healthcare: Delaware's Acute-Care Hospitals All Join HIE
All Delaware acute-care hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities have enrolled in the state's health information exchange, according to the Delaware Health Information Network. ...
To date, the Delaware exchange has received $4.7 million through the federal program that aims to spur the development of such state systems, according to HHS (Daly, 2/21).
Health News Florida: Consumers May Retain Medical-Board Seats
The state’s association for physician assistants has agreed to drop its request for one of the consumer slots on each medical board, the group’s chief lobbyist said today. Consumers currently hold three of 15 seats on the Florida Board of Medicine and just two of seven on the Board of Osteopathic Medicine (Gentry, 2/21).