State Highlights: Dartmouth Joins N.H. Medicaid Managed Care

A selection of health policy stories from New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois and California.

The Associated Press: Dartmouth Signs Onto NH Medicaid Managed Care
New Hampshire's largest health care provider signed contracts Monday with three health care plans to join the state's managed care network for Medicaid -- a key to getting the network operating. Dartmouth-Hitchcock announced it will work with Well Sense Health Plan, Granite State Health Plan and Meridian Health Plan of New Hampshire to provide coordinated care for eligible Medicaid beneficiaries (Love, 7/1).

Oregonian: Oregon Health Policy Board To Meet Tuesday, Consider New Reforms
The Oregon Health Policy Board will meet Tuesday in Portland to consider, among other things, a process to prepare additional health reforms that will be proposed to the Legislature next year, potentially affecting people who buy commercial insurance as well as teachers and state employees. The plan is being developed in response to a request from Gov. John Kitzhaber. In a June 3 letter, he asked the policy board to develop recommendations that will shift reforms already underway in the Oregon Health Plan to other types of insurance, including that offered by the Public Employees Benefit Board, the Oregon Educators Benefit Board, and policies sold in Cover Oregon, the state's insurance exchange (Budnick, 7/1).

The Lund Report: House Passes Bill To Study Universal Health Care In Oregon
The House passed a universal healthcare study bill 37-23, clearing the way for private money to fund a comprehensive study into what advocates consider the most equitable and cost-effective means of financing health care for all Oregonians. "We need to take a better look at financing different healthcare systems in this state," Rep. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, told his House colleagues Friday (Gray, 7/1).

Kaiser Health News: Pennsylvania Among 17 States Turning Over High-Risk Insurance Pool Responsibility To Feds
Pennsylvania and 16 other states are handing over their special insurance programs for people with pre-existing health conditions to the federal government Monday. Consumers enrolled in the so-called high-risk pool, PA Fair Care, have received letters telling them the transfer is automatic but that they may see "changes to benefits, treatment plans, deductibles and access to provider networks" (Gordon, 7/1).

The Lund Report: Autism Bill Sails Through Legislature Without Opposition
The House and the Senate have unanimously approved the landmark autism bill that Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, ushered toward a consensus agreement between child advocates and health insurance companies. The bill paves the way for all public and private health plans to cover applied behavioral analysis over the next three years (Gray, 7/1).

The Denver Post: Colorado's New VA Hospital Will Be Pricier Than Planned
The $800 million regional VA hospital under construction in Aurora will be later than promised and likely over budget again, according to members of Congress who asked for an extraordinary briefing on the project. While Veterans Affairs construction officials have been promising a spring 2015 opening date for their Rocky Mountain showcase hospital, the builder is saying June 2016, said U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado (Booth, 7/2).

Oregonian: Not Enough Tobacco Settlement Money Dedicated To Anti-Smoking Programs, Public Health Advocates Say
For the first time since the money started flowing, some of the $120 million Oregon receives every two years as part of a settlement with large tobacco companies is expected go toward anti-smoking programs. But the amount -- $4 million -- is far short of the $86 million public health advocates say is needed to adequately fund a strong anti-smoking campaign. This spring, they lobbied lawmakers, created a website and ran a radio ad asking for at least $12 million for anti-tobacco programs (Zheng, 7/1). 

Chicago Sun-Times: Sacred Heart Hospital Closes After Execs Charged In Kickback Scheme
Sacred Heart Hospital, which recently came under a federal microscope for medical fraud that included charges of performing unnecessary tracheotomies, abruptly closed Monday. After hearing the news Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health moved quickly to ensure patient safety at the hospital (Dudek, 7/1).

California Healthline: Green House Grows New Model Of Care
When California's first Green House Project opens this summer at the senior community of Mt. San Antonio Gardens, it will represent four years of effort in search of a better way to age. The facility -- dubbed Evergreen Villas -- is on the border of the college towns Pomona and Claremont. Green House Project founder Bill Thomas, a physician and eldercare expert, said Green House is an "intentional community" -- a "culture change" that reconfigures operations and environments, offering person-centered care that focuses on relationships and people. … Green House facilities are self-contained residential environments designed around what proponents call "warm, smart and green" elements (Stephens, 7/1).

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.