Roundup: D.C. Sued Over Medicaid Reimbursement; Vt. To Post Health Care Rates

The Washington Post: Specialty Hospital Centers Sue D.C. For Reimbursement Of Medicaid Costs 
Two facilities that treat severely ill poor patients could be forced to curtail services if the District does not fully reimburse them for Medicaid costs, according to a lawsuit filed this week. In the suit, Specialty Hospital of Washington Capitol Hill and Specialty Hospital of Washington Hadley claim the city has failed to reimburse them $24.7 million over the past four years (Craig, 3/29).

The Texas Tribune/New York Times: Texas Senate Bill Would Revise the State's End-of-Life Procedure 
Texas lawmakers have grappled year after year over whether families or medical professionals should decide when to end a terminally ill patient’s life-sustaining care. This year, they seem closer to a compromise (Aaronson, 3/30).

The Associated Press: Vt. To Be First State To Post Health Care Rates
Vermont is poised to become the first state in the country to let people without health insurance see how much they will have to pay to get coverage through the federal Affordable Care Act next year. On Monday, the state is going to post the proposed rates to be offered through the state's health insurance marketplace for various levels of coverage (Ring, 4/1).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Your Health: Virginia Graded "B" On Health Price Transparency
A recent report gave Virginia a grade of B on health care price transparency. What does that mean? The report graded states on whether consumers had access to public information that would allow them to compare prices of health care services. States' grades were based on whether there were state laws or policies requiring price information to be made available to consumers upon request or disseminated in a report or posted to a public website (4/1).

MPR News: 'Urgency Center' Clinic To Open In Blaine
A new facility opening soon in Blaine (Minnesota) will serve people with medical conditions that are not serious enough for an emergency room but still require care unavailable in most medical clinics. The new facility, called an urgency center, will open in partnership with a clinic in Blaine, said Dr. Amy Kolar, the director of the emergency room at North Memorial Hospital, which is opening the center. The urgency center will be ideal for people who break a bone or dislocate a shoulder but do not need to be admitted to a hospital, Kolar said (Williams, 3/31).

MPR News: $50K Grant Targets Overused Medical Tests
The Minnesota Medical Association, the state's largest doctor group, has received a $50,000 grant to educate physicians and patients about overused medical tests and procedures. The grant, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is one of nearly two dozen awarded to health organizations around the United States. The medical association's CEO, Dr. Robert Meiches, said that the initiative, called Choosing Wisely, encourages doctors and patients to select care that is supported by evidence; does not duplicate previous tests; and is free from harm (Stawicki, 3/30).

The Associated Press: Gov. Fallin Releases Health Care Documents, Withholds Others
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's office refused Friday to release dozens of documents surrounding decisions she made connected to the federal health care law, citing exemptions to the state's Open Records Act that media experts say do not exist. In response to a request from several media outlets, including The Associated Press, the governor’s office released in digital form more than 50,000 pages of documents relating to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (3/30).

EdSource: Schools Struggle To Provide Dental Health Safety Net
As California educators grapple with boosting student achievement across economic lines, the teeth of poor children are holding them back. Hundreds of thousands of low-income children suffering from dental disease, some with teeth rotted to the gum line, are presenting California school districts with a widespread public health problem. Increasingly, dental health advocates are looking to school districts to help solve the crisis (Adams, 3/31).

HealthyCal: School Clinics Put Emphasis On Wellness
Just in time for the advent of national health care reform next year, Los Angeles-area schools are opening their first campus-based wellness centers, offering services not just to students and their families, but to entire neighborhoods. On a recent day in Compton, the Dominguez High School Marching Band played and drill team dancers whirled and pranced to celebrate the opening of their new center (Richard, 4/1).

California Healthline: New Survey Offers First Data On Managed Care Shift 
A survey released yesterday revealed strengths and weaknesses in the state's 2011 transition of about 172,000 seniors and persons with disabilities into Medi-Cal managed care plans. Two-thirds of the responding beneficiaries said their care was the same or better than it had been before the transition but the survey raised concerns on several fronts, most notably a lower level of notification and communication, according to Carrie Graham, assistant director of research at Health Research for Action at UC-Berkeley School of Public Health. Health Research for Action conducted the survey in partnership with the California HealthCare Foundation, which publishes California Healthline (Gorn, 3/29). 

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