A selection of state stories from California, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Florida and Kansas.
Los Angeles Times: Cedars-Sinai And UCLA Cut From Los Angeles Health Plan
Two of the most prestigious names in Southern California health care -- Cedars-Sinai and UCLA -- are getting shut out of a major insurance plan for being too expensive. In a bold cost-cutting move, Anthem Blue Cross has eliminated doctors affiliated with the hospitals from a health plan offered to about 60,000 employees and dependents at the cash-strapped city of Los Angeles (Terhune, 9/21).
Charlotte Observer: Prices Soar As Hospitals Dominate Cancer Market
Large nonprofit hospitals in North Carolina are dramatically inflating prices on chemotherapy drugs at a time when they are cornering more of the market on cancer care, an investigation by the Observer and The News & Observer of Raleigh has found. The newspapers found hospitals are routinely marking up prices on cancer drugs by two to 10 times over cost. ... It’s happening as hospitals increasingly buy the practices of independent oncologists (Alexander, Garloch and Neff, 9/23).
CBS: MD Anderson To Spend $3 Billion In All-Out "Moonshot" Push To Tackle 8 Cancers
The nation's largest cancer hospital, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is launching a massive "moonshot" effort against eight specific types of the disease, similar to the all-out push for space exploration 50 years ago. The center expects to spend as much as $3 billion on the project over the next 10 years ... Cancer death rates have been falling since the 1990s at an average of more than 1 percent per year but the disease remains a top killer worldwide (Marchione, 9/21).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: NYC Study: Harlem Has Most ER 'Super Users;' Upper East side, Fewest
About 20 percent of New York City residents visit hospital emergency rooms annually -- and in some neighborhoods, the rate is twice that, according to a new report. The study by the United Hospital Fund found dramatic variations in ER use across the city (Mogul, 9/24).
(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: From HMOs To ACOs: Meet The Newest Model In Health Care Management
When critics look at health care in America, many describe a system that's fragmented, inefficient and burdened with waste. … Enter "accountable care organizations," a new structure in health management that the federal government, health insurers and some physicians hope will tame the woes. … This push for accountable care organizations -- called ACOs -- is driving a consolidation trend among health care companies that's increasingly being felt in Minnesota (Snowbeck, 9/22).
Related, earlier KHN story: FAQ On ACOs: Accountable Care Organizations, Explained (Gold, 10/21/11)
Health News Florida: Old Labels Don't Apply To 'Hybrid' System
What, exactly, could one call the partnership proposed by University of South Florida and Lakeland Regional Medical Center, which the boards of both institutions will vote on in a few days? It's easier to say what it's not. It is not a typical affiliation between a medical school and a teaching hospital (Gentry, 9/21).
The Boston Globe: Rising Obesity Rate Could Drive Up To Bay State's Health Care Costs
The number of obese adults in Massachusetts, along with related diseases and health care costs, could rise dramatically over the next two decades if actions aren’t taken now to change the trend, according to a new report. Nearly half of adults in Massachusetts -- 49 percent -- are projected to be obese by 2030 if the current trajectory continues (Lazar, 9/24).
WBUR: Mass. Voters To Weigh In On 'Death With Dignity Act'
This November, Massachusetts voters will decide whether the state should allow so-called "assisted suicide" for some terminally-ill patients. For a closer look, WBUR’s Bob Oakes spoke with people on both sides. John Kelly, a disabilities activist and founder of the group Second Thoughts, opposes the ballot question. Dr. Marcia Angell, a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, supports it (Oakes, 9/24).
Medpage Today: Massachusetts Costs Controls Target Docs
Physicians will play a critical role in Massachusetts' latest attempts at controlling healthcare costs in the state, an analysis suggested. This summer lawmakers in the Bay State passed a much-anticipated cost control bill -- the state's third attempt to address health spending since its landmark 2006 universal health coverage law (Pittman, 9/21).
The Arizona Republic: Amid Arizona Cuts, Non-Profits Straight To Treat Uninsured
At the beginning of each shift at the Neighborhood Christian Clinic in west Phoenix, a staff member pulls tickets from a plastic container to decide who among the waiting patients will receive health care that day. Elsewhere around the Valley, some hospitals pay for uninsured patients to stay at nearby hotels, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers because it's cheaper than a hospital bed and because the patients are too frail to be sent home alone or to return to life on the streets (Reinhart, 9/21).
California Healthline: Exchange Considers Community Grants For Outreach
Stakeholders and board members mapped out marketing strategies focusing on community outreach for California's new Health Benefit Exchange at a board meeting this week in Sacramento. ... The exchange's staff is planning ways to use community-based grants to educate Californians on how and where to sign up for health care. The exchange is paying particular attention to communicating with populations it considers hard to reach, including rural and lower income Californians, according to Juli Baker, chief technology officer for the exchange (Nick-Kearney, 9/21).
California Healthline: Assembly Hearing Raises Questions About Adult Day Care Transition
An Assembly hearing today will examine the state's planned Oct. 1 transition from Adult Day Health Care to the Community Based Adult Services program. A growing chorus of concerns has been raised about the new program for seniors and disabled so it's important to examine plans closely before the transition begins, said Assembly member Mariko Yamada (D-Davis) (Gorn, 9/24).
Kansas Health Institute News: Group Working To Reduce Infant Mortality Troubled By Lack Of KanCare Details
Members of a panel working to reduce infant mortality today got their first, limited look at the prenatal programs coming under KanCare -- and many expressed apprehension at what they've seen so far. ... [Dr. Dennis] Cooley and other panel members were reacting to presentations on the basics of prenatal care to be offered by the three for-profit insurance companies awarded contracts under KanCare (Cauthon, 9/21).