State Roundup: Helping Hand For Safety-Net Clinics; Conn. Tries Medical Homes

A selection of health policy stories from Kansas, Connecticut, the Washington D.C. area and California

The Washington Post: CareFirst To Give $8.5 Million In Grants To Safety-Net Clinics
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the largest private insurer in the Washington [DC] region, plans to announce Tuesday that it will give $8.5 million to a dozen safety-net clinics to help them use a coordinated primary-care approach to treat their most vulnerable patients, executives said. ... One of the recipients is the Arlington Free Clinic, which provides free health care to about 1,600 low-income, uninsured residents (Sun, 2/27).

The Connecticut Mirror: Through Pilot Program, Small Practices Become 'Medical Homes'
A pilot program has helped 13 small Connecticut primary care practices achieve recognition as patient-centered medical homes from the National Committee on Quality Assurance, a certifying organization. ... Practices that use the model take a more active role in their patients' health, coordinating care received from other health care providers, following up with patients who need more work managing their health (Levin Becker 2/27). 

The Connecticut Mirror: State Seeking Nursing Home To Take Sick, Disabled Prisoners
Like many states, Connecticut has a growing population of older prisoners whose care, officials say, could be provided less expensively outside prison. The state already has legal mechanisms to parole inmates who are "physically incapable of presenting a danger to society," but they're rarely used. ... Many states facing budget woes have contemplated ways to parole inmates who need long-term or hospice care, but research suggests that few have been released (Levin Becker, 2/27). 

Kansas Health Institute News: Kansas Officials To Sit Down With Feds Over Waiting List Concerns
Advocates for the disabled say they believe the federal government is close to taking action against the state of Kansas for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. ... Since President Obama took office, the U.S. Department of Justice has joined or filed more than 25 lawsuits alleging discrimination against the disabled in 17 states. ... Might Kansas be next? (Ranney, 2/27).

KQED's State of Health blog: Proposed Ballot Measure Seeks Tougher Health Insurance Rate Regulation
In more than 30 states, government insurance departments have the authority to reject what they determine to be excessive rate hikes for health insurance. But not in California. Earlier this month, consumer advocates launched a drive to put an initiative on the November ballot to let voters decide if California's Insurance Commissioner should have this power (Aliferis, 2/27). 



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