State Highlights: Calif. Dems Propose Alternative Prison Care Plan

A selection of health policy stories from California, New York, Georgia, Massachusetts and Kansas.

Los Angeles Times: State Senate Democrats Propose Alternative To Brown's Prison Plan
Democratic leaders of the state Senate on Wednesday proposed an extra $200 million annually for rehabilitation, drug and mental health treatment as an alternative to Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for reducing prison crowding (McGreevy, 8/28).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: N.Y. Taking Steps To Curb Rising Medical Costs
With medical expenses among the nation's highest, New York has begun cutting Medicaid costs by replacing pay-as-you go services with managed care for prescription drugs. And plans are in the works to extend that approach to acute care, long-term care, addiction services and mental health services. Nearly half the $53.5 billion health care budget for 5.3 million low-income New Yorkers goes for fewer than 700,000 chronically ill, elderly patients (8/28).

Georgia Health News: Enrollments For Medicaid, PeachCare Hits New High
Georgia enrollment in Medicaid and PeachCare has jumped to almost 1.9 million, a new record, state officials said Wednesday. Put in perspective, that’s nearly one of every five Georgians. It's more than the population of several U.S. states (Miller, 8/28).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Federal Authorities Settle MRI Case For $3.57M
Federal prosecutors say they've settled allegations of false reimbursement claims for radiology scans against a company's ex-owners and radiologist for $3.57 million. They say New York-based Imagimed LLC, its former owners, William B. Wolf III and Dr. Timothy J. Greenan, and former chief radiologist Dr. Steven Winter agreed to the civil settlement (8/29).

Kaiser Health News: Don Berwick's Newest Phase: Candidate, But Still Dr. Quality
Dr. Donald Berwick might be running for governor of Massachusetts, but he's still got a foothold in his former life. Berwick, most recently known as the acting chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, had a long record as the leading authority on health care quality, including being founder and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. And it was more in that capacity that the British Prime Minister David Cameron asked Berwick for his recommendations for improving safety and restoring confidence after higher-than-expected death rates at one hospital rocked the country (Bebinger, 8/29).

Kansas Health Institute: Regional Mental Health Hubs Poised To Begin Services
A new, "regional" initiative aimed at keeping mentally ill people out of jails or hospitals is expected to begin operating as soon as next month. Angela Hagen, director of behavioral health at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said that draft plans for the five regional "hubs" where treatment services will be offered or coordinated should be finalized and approved by KDADS within the next several days and that the hub operations likely would begin in early September (Shields, 8/28).

California Healthline: Stakeholders Assess Delayed Duals Project
The Department of Health Care Services last week delayed the launch of its duals demonstration project. Cal MediConnect, previously scheduled to start Jan. 1, is now slated to launch no sooner than April 2014. Cal MediConnect aims to integrate Medicare and Medi-Cal services and funding for about one million Californians who are eligible for both programs. The duals demonstration project begins that process in eight California counties (Gorn, 8/28).

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