State Highlights: Md. Submits Plan To Tie Hospital Charges To State's Economy

A selection of health policy stories from Maryland, California, Missouri and Florida.

The Baltimore Sun: Md. Submits Plan To Overhaul Hospital Charges
Maryland health officials on Friday turned over to the federal government a plan that would overhaul how hospitals are paid for treating patients to promote lower admissions and better care. The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene plan would replace a model in which hospitals are reimbursed for care based on numbers of hospital admissions with one that instead ties that spending to the state economy (Dance, 10/11).

The New York Times: Gov. Brown Of California Vetoes Biotech Drug Bill
The first year of skirmishes in state legislatures over bills that would govern the use of cheaper versions of expensive biotechnology drugs is nearly over. Health insurers and generic drug companies have prevailed in most states over brand-name pharmaceutical companies (Pollack, 10/13).

The Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill To Give Medi-Cal Interpreters Union Rights
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation Sunday that would have given thousands of Medi-Cal interpreters the right to join a public employee union and bargain collectively with the state. Assembly Bill 1263, by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, would have established a certification process and registry of medical interpreters, a measure proponents said would better regulate a service that is critical to patients who do not speak English. But the bill was also significant to labor unions that believe implementation of the federal healthcare overhaul will result in a wave of new patients and medical professionals they hoped to add to their union ranks (Siders, 10/13).

California Healthline: Governor Signs Midwives Bill
A bill removing barriers for licensed midwifes to deliver children in normal births and improving communication between physicians and midwives if a hospital transfer is necessary was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown (D). … The law removes the requirement that a licensed midwife be under a physician's supervision, a provision since 1999 that some considered unworkable and not enforced by the Medical Board because of an administrative judge ruling (Norberg, 10/11).

Los Angeles Times: Mental Health Court Helps Save A Troubled Talent From The Street
Kim Knoble's past tracks an arc of promise, mental illness and descent into what her parents call "living hell." But Knoble is not homeless, in prison or dead — outcomes common with stories like hers. Instead, on Wednesday, the woman with a head of wild red curls plans to walk into the St. Francis Yacht Club, tell her tale of recovery and lift the instrument she did not touch for a decade to play Massenet's "Meditation From Thais" (Romney, 10/13).

St. Louis Beacon: SLU’s Student-Run Clinic Emphasizes Prevention, Healthy Living
Each Tuesday evening, some of the most medically underserved residents in St. Louis gather at a clinic in the Victor Roberts Building on the north side for generous access to medical advice. The discussions focus less on pills and prescriptions and more on wellness and prevention, with primary emphasis on measures the patients can take to improve their health (Joiner, 10/14).

Modern Healthcare: Hospitals Play With Medicare Patients’ Status
A growing number of senior citizens are ensnared in a Medicare crackdown on hospitals over costly inpatient admissions. Hospitals nationwide are responding by classifying more overnight visitors as outpatients held for observation. Caught in the middle are senior citizens, who aren't warned about the consequences of observation and can't appeal, patient advocates say (Schorsch, 10/13).

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