State Highlights: Caremark To Pay MassHealth $2.6M After Not Reimbursing Claims

A selection of health policy stories from Massachusetts, Oregon, Kansas and North Carolina.

WBUR: AG: Caremark To Pay MassHealth $2.6M For Not Reimbursing Pharmacy Claims 
This just in from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley: Caremark, the national pharmacy benefits manager that also operates mail-order pharmacies, will pay $2.6 million to MassHealth -- and $4.25 million in a multistate settlement -- for failing to reimburse claims. "This settlement is the result of an investigation into allegations that Caremark failed to properly handle and reimburse pharmacy claims for certain customers in the Commonwealth, leaving MassHealth to foot the bill," AG Coakley said. "Our office will continue to safeguard the taxpayers' investment in programs designed to provide care and treatment to our most vulnerable citizens" (Zimmerman, 12/3).

The Oregonian: Oregon Bill Would Force Lawmakers To Get Health Insurance Through Cover Oregon
An Oregon lawmaker wants to make sure legislators and statewide elected officials in Oregon know firsthand what enrolling for benefits through the state’s insurance exchange is like. Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, plans to introduce legislation next year that would boot her and her colleagues from the state-provided health plan they have now and send them to Cover Oregon. Under current law, legislators have access to the same health care coverage other state employees are provided through the Public Employees Benefit Board. All but one lawmaker is enrolled in at least one part of the state insurance package (Gaston, 12/3).

Kansas Health Institute: KC-Area School Districts Hoping New Wellness Center Pays Many Dividends
Four Kansas City-area school districts are partnering on a wellness clinic with the goal of making treatment more accessible to their employees while reducing worker absenteeism and health insurance costs. The wellness center is at the Blue Springs School District's Paul J. Consiglio Education Center (Sherry, 12/3).

North Carolina Health News: A Health-Monitoring Program Charts Success, Seeks Funding
Nurse Rhonda Cotton worked face to face with patients for 23 years at Vidant Roanoke Chowan Hospital, plus 10 years in a surgeon's office and a few more in hemodialysis and home health. But two years ago, she gave up bedside nursing to take a job with Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center (RCCHC) in Ahoskie. Her new position put her on the phone and in computer contact with patients in remote towns (Ellis, 12/4).

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