News outlets report on a variety of health policy issues from around the country.
Texas Tribune: State Cuts Squeezing Elderly Poor And Their Doctors
(Dr. Javier Saenz's) troubles reflect a statewide problem for doctors who treat a disproportionately high number of the reported 320,000 low-income Texans who are fully and dually eligible for Medicare, the federal insurer of the elderly, and Medicaid, the joint state-federal health care program for indigent children, the disabled and the very poor. On Jan. 1, the state reduced its share of co-payments for such patients. Physicians who treat them are seeing revenue disruptions. Many, like Saenz, are not sure they can stay in business (Tan, 3/9).
Des Moines Register: Advocates For Brain-Injured Patients Seek Better Services, Weigh Lawsuit Against State
Advocates for Iowans with brain injuries have prepared a federal civil rights lawsuit to try to force the state to provide better services. The advocates haven't decided whether to file the lawsuit, but they say the state is violating a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring that disabled Americans have a right to live outside institutions if they're capable of doing so. Too many of Iowa's 95,000 brain-injured people wind up in nursing homes, jails or psychiatric wards because they lack services that would help them live in their homes or in small group homes, the advocates say (Leys, 3/7).
Kaiser Health News: Oregon Emphasizes Choices At Life's End
Oregon has been in the forefront of trying to make sure a person has as much control over the end of his or her life as possible. The state pioneered a form known as a POLST, for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, that has been adopted by 14 states and is being considered in 20 more. The form offers many more detailed options than a simple "do not resuscitate" directive (Foden-Vencil, 3/8).
Lund Report: Budget Rebalance Largely Spares Oregon Health Authority
The state's rebalanced budget, one of the last bills the Legislature passed before adjourning Monday evening, largely spares the Oregon Health Authority from deep cuts. Out of an $11.9 billion budget passed by the Legislature last year, $26 million general fund dollars were cut. But $15.4 million in other funds were added to the budget, meaning there was less than a $10 million cut (Waldroupe, 3/8).
Kansas Health Institute: New Caucus Told Of Oral Health Success In SEK
Members of the Legislature's newly formed oral health caucus heard today how a school district in southeast Kansas reduced student tooth decay by half in five years, even though most of the students had no dental insurance (Cauthon, 3/8).