State News: Several Mass. Hospitals Tie Part Of Doctor Pay To Size Of Practice

News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.

Boston Globe: Doctors' Pay Rises With New Patients
Getting in to see a primary-care doctor at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women's hospitals has for years been notoriously hard, with many popular practices closed to new patients. But now, reflecting dramatic shifts in health care, the prestigious hospitals are paying doctors more if they agree to accept new patients. The Harvard-affiliated hospitals are tying about 10 percent of doctors' salaries this year to the size of their practice and the complexity of their patients' illnesses (Kowalczyk, 3/6).

Boston Globe: City's Plan Aims To Cut Down ER Visits
Public health officials are pushing to alleviate crowds at Boston's emergency rooms by redirecting patients without life-threatening ailments to one of the city’s 25 community health centers, where care can be tailored to individuals and is significantly less expensive. The initiative has established guidelines to facilitate communication between hospitals and community health centers to encourage emergency room patients to seek follow-up care at neighborhood medical facilities (Ryan, 3/6).

Health News Florida: Surgeon Gen. Farmer Resigns, Cites Wife's Illness
Dr. Frank Farmer, a former military officer who led a massive, rapid-fire overhaul at the Florida Department of Health, has resigned effective Monday, March 9. Farmer said he needs to go home to Ormond Beach to be with his wife Peggy, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The diagnosis came before Christmas and she has already been through surgery and radiation, Farmer said in his resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott, dated Friday but released today (Gentry, 3/5).

Georgia Health News: Georgia's War On A 'Really Scary' Drug
The Georgia Meth Project aims to prevent teenagers and young adults from [becoming addicted to methamphetamine] by using advertisements, social media campaigns, and community action. ... Methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant that can cause health problems such as memory loss, aggression, psychotic behavior, heart damage, malnutrition and severe dental problems. Jim Langford, executive director of the Georgia Meth Project, said meth abuse and dealing are problems throughout Georgia -- in urban, suburban, and rural areas. There are meth busts almost daily in Georgia. In fact, Atlanta is now the leading East Coast distribution center for the drug (Patel, 3/5).

Healthy Cal: Health Care Reform Helps Oakland Clinic Meet Huge Demand
Asian Health Services is a thriving clinic in the city’s Chinatown. The health center is a long-trusted community hub for established residents and new immigrants alike. ... Asian Health Services had a list of more than three thousand people waiting for their primary care services in 2010. They were serving more than twenty-five thousand people with more than one hundred thousand visits a year, and their clinic on Webster Street in Oakland’s Chinatown just couldn’t fit in any more patients. Now, with the help of stimulus funds, money from federal health care reform grants and private investors, the clinic has opened two new locations. They’ve also acquired the historic Silver Dragon restaurant building in Chinatown. That will become a new clinic serving up to 10,000 clients in 2013 (Shanafelt, 3/5).

Kaiser Health News: Atlanta's Grady Hospital Chief Sees Major Threat In Medicaid Cuts
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Georgia Health News' Andy Miller spoke with John Haupert, the president and CEO of Grady Health System in Atlanta. While he wouldn't discuss his former position at the embattled Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, he did talk about Grady's financial status, potential Medicaid changes in Georgia, the health care overhaul and government funding, such as the disproportionate share (DSH) program for hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients (Miller, 3/5).

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