A selection of health policy news from Virginia, Arkansas, Minnesota, California, Missouri and Colorado.
MPR: Dayton, Jesson Press For U.S. Health Money
Gov. Mark Dayton and his Human Services commissioner will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to lobby for federal money for MinnesotaCare. MinnesotaCare is a state-subsidized health plan that insures about 130,000 people under age 65. Dayton and Commissioner Lucinda Jesson are scheduled to meet Tuesday in Washington with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The governor and Jesson will press Sebelius to let the state use federal health care law money to fund MinnesotaCare. The state program serves people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but still have difficulty affording commercial insurance (Stawicki, 2/3).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Arkansas Judge Orders Johnson & Johnson To Pay $181 Million In Legal Fees In Risperdal Suit
An Arkansas judge says Johnson & Johnson must pay $181 million in fees to attorneys who successfully argued that the pharmaceutical company committed Medicaid fraud in the marketing of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal (2/1).
The Associated Press: Gov. Nixon Proposed $10M For Mo. Mental Health
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing to spend $10 million to help get mental health care sooner for those who need it. The funding is included in the state budget released this past week by the governor's office and is part of Nixon's response to recent gun violence (2/3).
The Associated Press: Analysis: Nixon’s Plan Could Boost Pay For Doctors
In the American health care system, some patients are worth more money than others. As cold and clinical as that may sound, it has long been the reality under a government-run Medicaid system that pays doctors less money to treat the poor than those same physicians receive for treating the elderly covered by Medicare or middle- and upper-income individuals who have private insurance (Lieb, 2/3).
Los Angeles Times: Medical Clinic Workers Struggle With Burnout
The jobs are demanding -- providers spend long hours treating patients who have multiple chronic illnesses and often have gone years without care. Administrators have trouble finding enough doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to staff their clinics. That is expected to cause a major roadblock next year, when the bulk of the national health care reform law takes effect, aiming to help 30 million uninsured Americans gain coverage. In preparation, clinics -- expected to get an influx of new patients -- are stepping up recruitment and trying to hold on to the care providers they have. But burnout is common, and staff members often leave for less-stressful, higher-paying positions elsewhere (Gorman, 2/3).
Los Angeles Times: L.A. County Removing Metal Detectors From Some Hospital Facilities
Now, 20 years after the attack, officials want the metal detectors removed from parts of county hospitals to make them more welcoming to patients in the newly competitive marketplace being created by the Obama administration's health care overhaul. The machines in the emergency rooms will remain, but the others are to be taken out by summer. The proposal comes at a time when high-profile shootings have put the nation on edge and prompted emotionally charged debates about the availability of assault weapons and the presence of armed officers in schools (Gorman, 2/3).
Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Less Money For Health, More For Preschool
Spend less on health care and much more on preschool. That’s the prescription that an international expert on health disparities gave Thursday in Denver to help reverse inequities that leave low-income racial and ethnic minorities much sicker and facing shorter life expectancies than wealthier whites. … A new report from The Trust has found that racial and ethnic minorities make up more than 346,000 of Colorado’s 829,000 uninsured people. Not only are minorities less likely than the general public to have insurance and access to health care, but they also suffer worse health outcomes, the report found (Kerwin McCrimmon, 2/1).
California Healthline: First Step In Reform: Primary Care
The heart of a successful reform effort under the Affordable Care Act will be the creation and implementation of the patient-centered medical home model of care, according to testimony at an Assembly Committee on Health hearing in the Capitol Tuesday. "We need to look at better management of chronic conditions," said Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), chair of the Committee on Health. "It's one of the greatest cost factors in our health care system." How much cost? The numbers are "astounding," according to Sophia Chang, director of the Better Chronic Disease Care Program at the California HealthCare Foundation and one of the panelists at yesterday's hearing (Gorn, 2/1).