A selection of health policy stories from New York, Kentucky, Texas, Connecticut and California.
The New York Times: Report Details Medicaid Overpayments To New York State
The federal government paid New York State $700 million more in 2009 than the state needed to care for residents with developmental disabilities who lived in its institutions, according to the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington (Hakim, 5/18).
Connecticut Mirror: Report Says State's Unfunded Health Care Liabilities Down, But By How Much?
The Malloy administration Thursday announced a "dramatic" reduction in Connecticut's future unfunded employee and retiree health care liabilities, but Republicans said the state should count on only a fraction of that. The figures at issue are part of an actuarial report by The Segal Co., which said the state has a $17.9 billion unfunded liability for health care costs, referred to as "other post-employment benefits." That's down $8.7 billion from the previously reported value, and $13.3 billion less than had been expected, according to the report (Becker, 5/17).
The Associated Press: Ky. Weighed Politics, Medicine In Inmate's Surgery
A condemned killer's fight to receive surgery for agonizing hip pain pushed Kentucky officials into an uncomfortable debate over security, politics and even the possibility of inviting scorn from Fox News pundits. E-mails and memos obtained by The Associated Press show corrections officials struggling for a year to reconcile their duty to provide medical care with the political ramifications of spending tens of thousands of dollars for surgery on a man they plan to execute (Barrouquere, 5/17).
The Dallas Morning News: Construction On Parkland's New Emergency Room Put On Hold While Officials Consider Redesign
Construction on the emergency room of the new Parkland Memorial Hospital remains in limbo as officials struggle to redesign the space to satisfy government regulators. Lou Saksen, Parkland's senior vice president for new development, said Wednesday it would probably take several months to complete the redesign after federal regulators found extensive patient-safety problems in the current ER. The main problem involved inadequate medical screening of ER patients, who were being sent to other areas of the hospital for treatment, a violation of federal law (Jacobson, 5/16).
San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. To Replace Lost Federal AIDS/HIV Funds
Mayor Ed Lee announced Thursday morning that he will use city money to backfill $6.6 million in federal cuts to AIDS and HIV care in the city for the new fiscal year that starts July 1. "Despite continuing local budget issues, we remain committed to funding critical care services for people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco," Lee said. … Still not resolved is the reduction of $8.1 million in federal funding for HIV and AIDS services that will hit the city in the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2013 (Gordon, 5/18).
KQED: SF Supervisors Urge Mayor To Increase HIV/AIDS Funding
San Francisco supervisors are pressuring Mayor Ed Lee to fill in a federal funding gap for HIV/AIDS care in the city. The city is losing about $8 million in federal funds for preventing HIV and treating low-income HIV patients. Supervisor Scott Wiener says the cuts will limit access to care, and that's a serious long-term problem (Hawkings, 5/16).
KQED's State Of Health: Bridge to Health Reform "Undoable" In San Luis Obsipo
California's "Bridge to Reform" program is intended to do exactly that: provide a bridge to the 2014 roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. Right now, 47 of California's 58 counties have already provided health care to more than 335,000 people. San Luis Obispo is a case study in one county that is not participating. … In San Luis Obispo, Health Agency Director Jeff Hamm said he made the decision to withdraw from participation reluctantly. For years, the county has slashed its health budget and outsourced its medical safety net. It reached the point, Hamm said, of not having the start-up funds, or medical infrastructure, needed to implement the Bridge to Reform (Gonzales, 5/17).