State Roundup: Iowa Weighs Mental Health Care Changes

News outlets provide a variety of stories about state health care issues.

Des Moines Register: Iowa Legislature: Complex Reforms On Priority List For 2012 Session
Republican and Democratic legislators and (Gov. Terry) Branstad have said they want to reform Iowa's mental health system to reduce waiting lists and provide more equitable services. Currently, each of Iowa's counties performs or contracts for mental health services for indigent residents. Critics contend the 99-county system has led to pockets of inferior, inequitable service, particularly in rural areas (Clayworth, 1/8).

Des Moines Register: What Will Cost More In 2012?
The average cost of health insurance rose 10 percent in Iowa from 2010 to 2011, according to David P. Lind Benchmark, a Clive research firm. ... Lind speculates that rates will keep rising, perhaps about 8 to 12 percent. "I see no major changes within the health care industry during the next 12 months that would provide any type of relief to rising health care costs," he noted (Belz, 1/8).

Arizona Republic: Clinic Aims To Boost Health Yet Cut Costs
St. Joseph's family-medicine medical-home program launched one year ago to track and help patients whose medical, psychological or social needs prompt them to take unnecessary or preventable trips to the hospital emergency room. The program aims to provide patients with better care and cut down on unneeded emergency-room visits (Alltucker, 1/6).

The Dallas Morning News: Texas AG Suit Over The Drug Risperdal Goes To Trial Monday
A routine inquiry a decade ago by an investigator for the Pennsylvania inspector general exposed a pattern in which pharmaceutical companies showered trips, meals and other perks on state officials in positions to influence which drugs would be used to treat patients under Medicaid. ... The case has been described by lawyers as the biggest lawsuit in Texas since the tobacco litigation in the 1990s (Elliott and Curriden, 1/8).

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