State Highlights: Texas Waits For Feds' OK On Higher Medicaid Payments

A selection of health policy stories from California, Texas and Michigan.

Los Angeles Times: Schools Can Administer Insulin Without Licensed Nurses, Court Says
California schools may give students insulin injections and other medications without having to call in licensed nurses, the state's highest court ruled Monday. … The unanimous decision was a defeat for the powerful California Nurses Assn., which had argued that only licensed health care workers could administer medicine under a state law that bars the unauthorized practice of nursing (Dolan, 8/12).

The Associated Press: Calif. Supreme Court Rules In School Insulin Case
Trained school employees can administer insulin shots to diabetic students if a nurse is not available, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday. The ruling reverses a lower court decision that said California law allows only licensed professionals to administer the shots (8/12).

Texas Tribune: State Awaiting Feds' OK To Boost Medicaid Payments
Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, payments to primary care doctors under Medicaid -- the joint state-federal insurer of children, the disabled and the very poor -- are supposed to rise to the same level as rates for Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly. It's an increase intended to encourage more physicians to take on Medicaid patients (Luthra, 8/13).

Los Angeles Times: State Senators Urge Maker Of OxyContin To Turn Over Names Of Physicians
Two state senators on Monday called on the maker of OxyContin to turn over the names of California physicians it suspects recklessly prescribed its pills to drug dealers and addicts. The lawmakers were responding to an article in The Times on Sunday that described a decade-long effort by Purdue Pharma to identify potentially problematic prescribers of its potent and addictive drug (Glover and Girion, 8/12).

Texas Tribune: More Hospitals To Collect Sexual Assault Evidence
Victims of sexual assault will no longer have to travel to potentially far-off hospitals to have forensic evidence collected, following the implementation of a new law this fall. Starting Sept. 1, all Texas hospitals with emergency rooms will be required to have staff trained in at least basic collection of forensic evidence from sexual assault victims (Luthra and Lai, 8/13).

California Health Report: Laws Expand Birth Control Access
Recent federal and state laws strive to make it easier for women to access birth control in California, but clinics and insurers say that the changes have not increased demand for contraceptives. A state law passed earlier this year allows registered nurses to dispense hormonal contraceptives to expand access to women in rural areas, where doctors and nurse practitioners are harder to come by than in urban areas. Federal Affordable Care Act provisions also went into effect in August 2012 requiring private insurers to cover all Federal Drug Administration approved methods of contraception (Flores, 8/13).

USA Today/Detroit Free Press: Prosecutors Seek $9 Million Bond For Cancer Doctor
If a $170,000 bond sounds too high, try $9 million. That's the latest predicament facing Farid Fata, the Oakland County, Mich., doctor charged with, among other things, intentionally misdiagnosing healthy patients with cancer and pumping them with chemo to make money (Baldas, 8/12).

California Healthline: Mid-Levels’ Bill Clears Assembly Floor Vote
The Assembly last week voted unanimously to approve a bill to allow California nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants to supervise medical assistants, even when physicians are not on the premises. SB 352 by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) expands the authority of mid-level practitioners, but Assembly member Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park), who presented the bill on the Assembly floor Thursday, said it does not expand scope of practice for anyone (Gorn, 8/12).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.