State Highlights: Va. Governor Hopefuls Talk Mental Health, Medicaid Expansion

A selection of health policy stories from Virginia, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and California.

The Washington Post: Cuccinelli, McAuliffe Address Mental Health
Ken Cuccinelli II touted tax cuts and preschool vouchers while Terry McAuliffe embraced Medicaid expansion Monday night as the candidates for Virginia governor laid out different visions for improving mental health in Virginia. The rivals to succeed Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) appeared at a candidate forum for mental-health advocates and families affected by mental illness. Sponsored by a coalition of mental health organizations, the event drew several hundred people to an auditorium at Collegiate School in suburban Richmond (Vozzella, 8/5).

The Wall Street Journal: House Probes Cuomo Role In Audit Delay
A U.S. congressional oversight committee has opened an investigation into whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office interfered with a Medicaid audit of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the nation's largest nonprofit home-health company. The audit under scrutiny is one of the most intensive and time-consuming ever conducted by the state's Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, a state agency that supervises financial inspections of New York's $56 billion-a-year Medicaid program, according to two people familiar with the audit (Gershman, 8/5).

CT Mirror: Report: Strong Children's Mental Health Services, But Limited Access
When Jeffrey J. Vanderploeg goes to national conferences and talks about the mental health services available to children and adolescents in Connecticut, his counterparts from across the country let him know how the state compares (Becker, 8/5).

WBUR: Mass. Survey: Happy With Health Care, Concerned About Costs, ER Use Up
Last month, the Massachusetts Medical Society released its findings on how hard it is to get in to see a primary care doctor in the state. Reminder: Often pretty hard. Today, the society dropped the second shoe of its state-wide data on the health care system: So how are we feeling about it? (Goldberg, 8/5).

California Healthline: Central Valley Tries Anti-Obesity Tactics
The town of Ceres, near Modesto, is like many small towns in the San Joaquin Valley. The farmworkers who pick the fruits, nuts and vegetables or work in the canneries often don't have convenient ways to buy the produce they harvest. ... It's a story that can be told time and again in the small towns and unincorporated areas that dot the eight counties that make up the San Joaquin Valley. It's a story the advocates at the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Project, or CCROPP, are trying to rewrite (Daniel, 8/5).

California Healthline: Can Health Reform Help Reduce Violence?
The Affordable Care Act could present opportunities for cities and counties to implement policies aimed at reducing violence, according to community leaders and violence prevention experts at a forum last week in Sacramento. "In the context of health reform, I think there are opportunities we've never seen before that really emphasize the value of violence prevention," said Leslie Mikkelsen, managing director for the Prevention Institute, a not-for-profit based in Oakland that runs health and violence prevention programs (Hart, 8/5).

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