State Roundup: Panels Formed To Fight Federal Powers, Health Law

A selection of health policy stories from Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, California, Colorado and Maryland.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: In Oklahoma And Other GOP States, Lawmakers Form Special Panels To Fight Federal Powers
One bill would make it a felony to enforce the new federal health care law, punishable by up to five years in prison. Another prohibits a physician from asking a patient about firearms. Yet another is designed to curb the possible influence of the United Nations in local government. While provocative bills aren't particularly unusual in state legislatures, so many have been offered by conservatives in Oklahoma this year that GOP leaders have established a special committee to handle what is now a major category of business: measures to combat the federal government's influence in the states (3/5).

The Associated Press: About 3,000 People Who Were Eligible Lost Medicaid In Pennsylvania
About 3,000 people who had been bumped off the state's Medicaid rolls amid a case review that alarmed advocates for the poor were found to be eligible for the health care program, Gov. Tom Corbett's top public welfare official told senators on Tuesday. Bev Mackereth, the Department of Public Welfare's acting secretary, told a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing that her agency made the discovery after sending more than 100,000 letters to people who'd had their cases closed after the review began in August 2011 (3/5).

The Associated Press: Pa. Court Directs Tobacco Money To Health Care
Pennsylvania government officials were trying to determine the impact of a judge's ruling Tuesday that a portion of the state's unspent tobacco settlement money go to the defunct adultBasic health insurance program for lower-income adults or a similar plan, rather than be used to help balance the government budget. Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini, applying a previous and related court ruling, declared unconstitutional two state laws that siphoned the money from adultBasic and Medicaid for disabled workers (3/6).

Los Angeles Times: Officials Consider Adding More Beds To County/USC Medical Center
Faced with severe overcrowding and emergency room wait times that average 12 hours, Los Angeles County officials are considering adding 150 more beds to County/USC Medical Center. The county opened a new state-of-the-art hospital in 2008 to replace an aging general hospital tower. But even before the doors opened, officials worried that it wouldn't be big enough. The new hospital has 600 inpatient beds, 224 fewer than its predecessor (Gorman, 3/5).

NPR: For Elderly Midwife, Delivering Babies Never Gets Old
Increasingly, people are continuing to work past 65. Almost a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are working, and among those older than 75, about 7 percent are still on the job. In Working Late, a series for Morning Edition, NPR profiles older adults who are still in the workforce. Sometimes you can't retire even if you want to. For Dian Sparling, a certified nurse midwife in Fort Collins, Colo., there's no one to take over her practice. But at 71, she's finding that staying up all night delivering babies is harder than it used to be (Jaffe, 3/6).

Baltimore Sun: Health Employees Seek Legislation To Address Workplace Violence
Bernice Troy, a geriatric nursing assistant in Baltimore for the past 20 years, has been spat on and cursed, scratched and punched on the job. A patient once slammed Jo Samrow, a nurse in Southern Maryland, into a wall so violently that she developed a large hematoma on the back of her head. In recent weeks, these nurses and other health care workers have shared their stories before lawmakers in Annapolis with one goal in mind -- reducing assaults in Maryland health care facilities. "All I want is for my facility to care about my safety," Troy told the House Economic Matters Committee during a recent hearing on a proposed bill that would bolster violence prevention standards at health facilities across the state (Rector, 3/5).

California Healthline: Oversight Hearing On CBAS Transition Generates Sparks
A legislative oversight hearing last week on the transition of about 37,000 frail and elderly enrollees from the Adult Day Health Care program, which was eliminated by the state, into the Community Based Adult Services managed care program was marked by skepticism and criticism. One year after the settlement of a lawsuit led to the creation of the CBAS program, legislators and advocates for the elderly questioned the state's handling of the transition at a hearing of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. Department of Health Care Services Director Toby Douglas testified that 80 percent of the ADHC enrollees were found eligible for CBAS (Gorn, 3/5).

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