State Highlights: Ore. Targets Waste With Uniform Credentialing

A selection of health policy stories from Oregon, California, Minnesota, Louisiana, Georgia and North Carolina.

Lund Report: Oregon To Pioneer Electronic Credentialing System To Cut Waste
The Oregon House passed a bill with unanimous support Monday that supporters say could save the economy $150 million in administrative waste by crafting a single credentialing process that all insurers, hospitals and coordinated care organizations can share for thousands of health care providers. If Gov. Kitzhaber signs Senate Bill 604 into law, Oregon will also be the first state to have a uniform, electronic credentialing database where each provider can be quickly accessed. SB 604 passed the Senate unanimously last week. Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, told The Lund Report that with his medical practice he has to be credentialed each year by up to 40 different insurance companies as well as two different hospitals (Gray, 6/25).

CQ HealthBeat: California Experiment With Managed Care Offers Lessons
When California managed care plans took on the challenge in 2011 of caring for seniors and people with disabilities, the insurers initially didn't know which providers had been caring for the beneficiaries or even how to contact the new enrollees, according to panelists at a Kaiser Family Foundation forum on Tuesday. The session examined lessons from the transition that could apply to other states now shifting patients to such plans (Adams, 6/25).

The New York Times: Poll Finds Rural Voters Are Divided On Federal Role
With the economy rebounding slowly in some areas, 59 percent said the federal government had at least some responsibility to help the "working poor advance economically." At least 8 in 10 supported job training, Medicaid for health care, and tax refunds for low-income Americans (Yaccino, 6/25).

MPR News: The Fight For Rural Health Care Funding In Washington
It's harder to find allies for rural health care in a polarized Congress in Washington, a rural health policy official told attendees of the Minnesota Rural Health Conference here this morning. "We have lost a lot of the moderates," said Maggie Elehwany, policy vice president of the Kansas-based National Rural Health Association. "We've always found our greatest champions to be moderates in both parties." That's because those on the far left tend to be more urban and those on the far right might be primarily concerned with reducing budgets. She did say that Minnesota's rural hospitals and clinics are better represented than those in many states, by Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar. "You don't have to do a lot of selling," she said (Vogel, 6/25).

The Associated Press: Report: La. Has Too Few Dentists For Its Residents
Louisiana has one of the worst dentist shortages in the country, according to a new national report released Tuesday, only days before the state will slash its Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental care. The analysis, released by the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts, says more than 24 percent of Louisiana's population is underserved by dentists and living in an area with a shortage of dentists, second only to Mississippi and tied with Alabama (Deslatte, 6/25).

Georgia Health News: Blue Cross Incentive Plan Focuses On Primary Care
Primary care doctors could earn as much as 30 percent more in a medical quality incentive plan that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia will launch July 1. The president of Blue Cross of Georgia, Morgan Kendrick, said the incentive pay program will begin in Athens, Rome, Columbus and Savannah, with more than 250 physicians serving 58,000 patients. The company will roll out the program in the Atlanta market and elsewhere in the state over the rest of the year, Kendrick said. Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in Georgia, with more than 2 million members (Miller, 6/25).

North Carolina Health News: NC Legislators Wade Into Debate Over Breast Cancer Screening
Legislators are poised this week to require physicians to talk to their mammogram patients about dense breasts. But the policy may not be keeping pace with the science (Hoban, 6/25).

California Healthline: Transparency Sought For Health Care Department
The Senate Committee on Appropriations yesterday unanimously approved a bill aimed at creating greater transparency and accountability at the state's Department of Health Care Services. "This bill is inspired by information we gathered at an oversight hearing last October and by seeing the way the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board conducts its business," said Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), author of AB 209. The oversight hearing last fall dealt with the transition of children from the Healthy Families program (which had been overseen by MRMIB) to Medi-Cal managed care plans (which are administered by DHCS). The contrast in transparency between the two state agencies was the impetus for the bill, Pan said (Gorn, 6/25).

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.