A selection of health policy news from Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, Georgia, California and Louisiana.
Chicago Sun-Times: 10,000 Additional Employees Join Emanuel's Wellness Plan
Ten thousand more employees at five city agencies have signed on to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to raise monthly health insurance premiums by $50 for employees who fail to participate in a "wellness program" to manage chronic health problems. Emanuel hopes to save $20 million in 2012 -- and $240 million over four years -- by riding herd over costly, but controllable problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma (Spielman, 3/20).
WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Mass Docs Not Exactly Ready For Global Payments, Survey Finds
While intense debate continues about how effective this lump-sum, per-patient budgeting system really is, there's no doubt that it's starting to take hold. So it's slightly unnerving that a survey conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health for the Massachusetts Medical Society found that only 29 percent of doctors said they were ready to enter into such payment arrangements (Zimmerman, 3/20).
The Lund Report (an Oregon news service): A Single Coordinated Care Organization Could Emerge In The Tri-County Area
As transformation moves ahead, an unlikely group of competitors have come together to create what many believed was impossible – a single coordinated care organization (CCO) for the Portland tri-county area. By April 2, the Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative intends to file a letter of intent with the Oregon Health Authority to coordinate healthcare for the 200,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan. (Lund-Muzikant, 3/21).
Georgia Health News: Bill To Monitor Nurse Competency Advances
The Secretary of State's Office, which licenses health professionals in the state, said at the committee hearing that Georgia is one of only 10 states with no requirement for nurses to show "continuing competency." ... Under Senate Bill 368, sponsored by Sen. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler), nurses would have five ways to demonstrate competency (Miller, 3/20).
The Associated Press/Times-Picayune: Advocacy Group Alleges Neglect At Louisiana Group Homes
More than a dozen state-funded group homes for the developmentally disabled are unsafe, unclean and unhealthy for residents ... The review by the Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization that visited group homes and licensing and certification data over three years, said disabled residents too often weren't given the mental health treatment, medical care and protection they should receive (Deslatte, 3/20).
San Francisco Chronicle: Free Medical Clinics In Oakland, Sacramento
A volunteer medical corps of doctors and nurses that provided free health care for about 7,000 patients last year in Oakland and Sacramento is back this week with plans to help even more people. Remote Area Medical - or RAM, as the group is known - will hold two, four-day clinics (Colliver, 3/21).
Minnesota Public Radio: Dayton, Legislators To Fix Budget Deal Problems That Hurt Health, Human Services
A House committee today will take up a bill that aims to fix some of the problems that resulted from the budget deal that ended the state government shutdown last summer. ... [Gov. Mark] Dayton wants to restore $28 million of the $1 billion cut from health and human services last year to settle the budget stalemate. ... Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, who oversees the health and human services finance committee, said the money Dayton wants to spend is not available without tax increases, which GOP leaders oppose (Dunbar, 3/21).