State Highlights: S.F. Suing Nevada Over 'Dumped' Patients

A selection of health policy stories from California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Georgia and Oregon.

Los Angeles Times: S.F. Sues To Recoup Costs For Patients 'Dumped' By Nevada Hospital 
The San Francisco city attorney on Tuesday filed a class action lawsuit against the state of Nevada on behalf of all California local governments where patients have allegedly been bused from a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital in recent years (Romney, 9/10).

The Associated Press: San Francisco Sues Nevada Over Psychiatric Patient Moves
The San Francisco city attorney filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the state of Nevada, claiming it has wrongfully and intentionally bused psychiatric patients to the city and declined to pay the costs connected with their care. City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed the case in San Francisco Superior Court a day after a deadline he had set for Nevada to strike an agreement with the city (Rindels, 9/10).

Modern Healthcare: San Francisco Sues Nevada Over Alleged Patient Dumping
In a class-action lawsuit, the city of San Francisco claims Nevada state-hospital officials secretly bused hundreds of homeless patients from a psychiatric hospital to California, sometimes with little more than a few days' worth of pills and instructions to call 911 on arrival (Carlson, 9/10).

The Associated Press: Feds To Pa. Governor: Switch CHIP Kids To Medicaid
Gov. Tom Corbett's administration is being told it must shift tens of thousands of Pennsylvania children from a state-subsidized health insurance program to Medicaid, although the Republican governor is not saying yet whether he will comply with the federal directive. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Corbett in a Friday letter that the switch is required by the 2010 federal health care law and that it will simplify coverage for families by aligning children under the same program as their parents (Levy, 9/10).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Judge Lifts Stay In Fired Medicaid Contractor Lawsuit Against State, Jindal Administration
A Maryland company can move forward with its wrongful termination lawsuit against [Louisiana] Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration for canceling the firm's $200 million Medicaid contract with the state, a judge ruled Tuesday (9/10).

Stateline: 'Peers' Seen Easing Mental Health Worker Shortage 
Peer programs such as Georgia's could become especially important once the Affordable Care Act takes effect early next year. The federal health law will require Medicaid and all other health plans to cover mental health services on par with insurance coverage of physical illnesses. ... That surge in demand, combined with an already severe shortage of mental health workers, has many worried there won’t be enough providers to serve everyone in need. States have deployed a variety of strategies to alleviate the longstanding shortage of mental health professionals. But experts agree peer specialists are the most successful (Vestal, 9/11).

The Associated Press: Ore. Looks At Beefing Up Insurance Premium Reviews
Oregon health officials are considering whether to use the state's authority to approve or reject health insurance premiums as a tool to drive down health care costs. The idea is one of several suggestions for improving the health care system that Gov. John Kitzhaber has asked the Oregon Health Policy Board to consider before state lawmakers return to Salem in February (Cooper, 9/10).

California Healthline: Deadline Nears For U.S. Supreme Court Appeal Of 10 Percent Medi-Cal Provider Cut
Last week, state officials began phased-in implementation of a 10 percent reduction in Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, but that doesn't mean efforts to rescind or reverse the cut have subsided, according to provider groups. Legislative efforts to undo the decision appear to have stalled, with two bills currently sitting in committee as the state Legislature begins its final week of the session. If the week passes without action by the Legislature, that leaves one big card left to play -- appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court (Gorn, 9/10).

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