State Roundup: Mass. Grapples With EHR Privacy Issues

A selection of health policy stories from Michigan, California, Massachusetts, New York and Florida.

Boston Globe: As Records Go Online, Clash Over Mental Care Privacy
Providers in separate networks are preparing to share patients' records more widely online -- to better coordinate care and cut wasteful spending. This will probably intensify the debate about what should and should not be shared, as well as fears about the unauthorized release of patient information. Both the House and Senate health care cost-control bills passed this spring require the state to create a system for sharing records across provider networks (Kowalczyk, 6/21).

Boston Globe: Children's Hospital Survey Finds Employers Using Limited, Tiered Networks To Cut Costs
Half of public employers and about one-third of private companies now offer plans that limit their workers' access to expensive hospitals and doctors, but many are confused about how these plans work, according to a survey and focus groups commissioned by Boston Children's Hospital (Kowalczyk, 6/20).

Florida Health News:  Electronic Health Records Provide $400M Payoff For FL
Doctors and hospitals in Florida have received over $404 million from the federal health agency as a reward for switching from paper to electronic health records, according to data released Tuesday. … Congress approved the incentive program separately from the Affordable Care Act, so it is not at risk in the pending Supreme Court ruling on the act, expected in the next 10 days (Gentry, 6/20).

The Associated Press/Detroit Free Press: Judge Blocks Law To Stop Health Care Union Dues
A judge blocked a new Michigan law Wednesday that's aimed at ending union dues paid by home health care workers who are private contractors and not public employees. The decision by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds was a defeat for Republican lawmakers and GOP Gov. Rick Snyder (White, 6/20).

California Watch: Consumer Groups Criticize SF Health Department's Lobbying Budget
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee spared the city's Public Health Department from cuts in his latest budget proposal, which benefited not just health care consumers, but also a lobbying group that consumer advocates say works against them. According to memos obtained by The Bay Citizen through the city's sunshine ordinance, the department plans to spend $330,000 for the California Hospital Association to lobby on its behalf -- by far the largest single recipient in the department's nearly $1 million lobbying budget (Smith, 6/21).

The New York Times: Albany Bill On Organ Donation Urges License Applicants To Act
The New York State Legislature passed a measure on Wednesday aimed at increasing the low number of organ donors in the state by encouraging driver's license applicants to make an active choice about their donation status. If the bill is signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New York will become the second state, along with California, to make such a change in its donor registration process (Sack, 6/20).

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