Health policy news from Oregon, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Ohio and California.
The Texas Tribune/New York Times: Providers Push Back On Medicaid Inquiries
It has been nearly a year since Texas officials accused Dr. Glenn Wood of overbilling the state's Medicaid system by $17.9 million through his business, Carousel Pediatrics. Dr. Wood denies the accusations ... The Texas Health and Human Services Commission's Office of Inspector General is trying to reclaim hundreds of millions in misspent Medicaid money. But after months of investigations, more medical providers are saying publicly that they have been wrongly targeted. (Aaronson, 11/15).
North Carolina Health News: Thousands In Group Homes Face Losing Their Homes As January Deadline Looms
Robert Bullock has lived in his group home in Cary ... Bullock and thousands of other people with mental health problems who live in small group homes face possible eviction on Jan. 1, 2013 if state lawmakers don’t find money to make up what for the homes will lose as the result of a change those same lawmakers made to the state’s Medicaid program earlier this year. Dozens of group home residents and their advocates sat in on a legislative committee Wednesday and then rallied outside (Hoban, 11/15).
The Oregonian: With Bulge Of Aging Boomers Approaching, Oregon Reconsiders How It Provides Long-Term Care
Oregon pioneered the notion of assisted living and other means of helping people stay out of nursing homes, but state officials believe that's old school when it comes to publicly-funded long-term care for the elderly and disabled. A new planning process, which includes a bill for the 2013 Legislature to consider, is wrapping up after a statewide series of public meetings. ... Among other things, a draft bill directs the department to establish home- and community-based care, rather than nursing homes, as the new long-term care "entitlement" (Mortenson, 11/15).
Politico Pro: Ohio Proves Planned Parenthood Fight Isn't Over
A bill that would essentially defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio was approved in the Ohio House Health and Aging Committee on Wednesday, and is now on its way to the full state House. Republicans who support anti-abortion policies have majorities in both the state House and Senate, and look likely to approve the bill. ... The organizations' defunding battles aren't finished -- and Planned Parenthood says it's ready to keep on fighting (Smith, 11/15).
California Healthline: 'California's Budget Situation Has Improved Sharply'
Yesterday's long-term budget forecast for sunnier skies in California by the Legislative Analyst's Office could also mean good things for the state's health care programs, according to the LAO and health experts. ... The state still faces a $1.9 billion deficit for the fiscal year 2013-14. ... It is unlikely any previous cuts to health care programs would be restored, [Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California said] ... "The big risk with [implementation of] the Affordable Care Act was the state's fiscal uncertainty. So this should help that, as well" (Gorn, 11/15).
Health News Florida: Would Expanding Medicaid Pay Off For Florida?
Florida could gain a badly-needed economic boost and thousands of new jobs each year if state officials accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, three new studies say. One study calculates the payoff at 16-to-1. The studies -- two by university researchers, one by a hospital association -- all took a decade-long view of the fiscal impact of enlarging Florida's health program for the poor. All found a significant net gain (Gentry, 11/15).
The Lund Report (an Oregon health news service): Malpractice Legislation Nearly Ready To See Daylight
After months of negotiations between trial lawyers and physicians, legislators are optimistic about reaching a consensus on medical malpractice reform when they gather in Salem next month. All along the goal has been to find a way of reducing lawsuits while creating a safer patient environment (Lund-Muzikant, 11/15).
The Lund Report: Naturopaths Given Reprieve By Oregon Health Authority
Naturopathic doctors are "cautiously optimistic" that they will have a place within Oregon's coordinated care organizations (CCOs) after officials threatened to cut them out of the primary-care system and seemingly ignore non-discrimination language in Senate Bill 1509 (Rendleman, 11/16).