A selection of health policy stories from New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia and California.
The Associated Press: NY Awards $21.5 Million Toward Health Overhaul
New York's health department has awarded more than $21.5 million in grants to 43 hospitals, medical centers and health systems to explore redesigning their approaches to patient care to reduce avoidable hospital use and costs (8/7).
Modern Healthcare: Partners HealthCare Blames Medicaid Underpayments, Sovaldi For Loss in Insurance Division
Partners HealthCare blamed ongoing underpayments from Massachusetts' Medicaid program for contributing to an $89 million operating loss in its insurance division during the quarter ended June 30. The Boston-based system, which has both insurance and hospital operations, said the challenges facing Medicaid managed-care organizations offset income growth in its hospital division during its fiscal third quarter. After adding in non-operating gains, Partners booked a surplus of $46.9 million on $2.8 billion in the quarter compared with a surplus of $69.5 million on revenue of $2.6 billion in the prior-year period (Kutscher, 8/7).
The CT Mirror: A Hospital Contract Dispute In A Changing Health Care Landscape
Connecticut's largest hospital network and largest insurer are in the midst of a contract dispute. It's a type of clash that's become familiar, but it's occurring in a new context, against the backdrop of significant changes in health care: the consolidation of hospitals into larger networks and efforts by insurers to change how they pay for care. The dispute pits Hartford HealthCare, the parent company of five Connecticut hospitals, against Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The two say they’ll sever ties Oct. 1 if they can’t reach a deal on new contracts (Becker, 8/8).
The Boston Globe: Steward Health Care Expanding Psychiatric Facilities
Steward Health Care System is spending millions to open new psychiatric units in its Massachusetts hospitals, filling a gap in mental health care and marking a reversal from the recent years in which hospitals had little interest in expanding these services. Psychiatric care has long been considered a drain on hospital finances, but Steward executives said sweeping changes in the way health care is paid for are shifting that calculation. The for-profit company, which owns 10 hospitals in Massachusetts, has added 40 beds for adults with mental illness or substance abuse disorders in the past nine months, and plans to expand by another 30 beds this year — a total increase of 21 percent (Kowalczyk, 8/7).
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Two Plead Guilty In Massive Medicaid Scam
Two people have pleaded guilty to receiving money for Medicaid-related patient referrals to hospitals in Atlanta and on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Tracey Cota, 50, of Dunwoody, and Gary Lang, 58, of Atlanta, both admitted to conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute by taking and receiving payment in exchange for Medicaid patient referrals to hospitals (Shaw, 8/7).
The California Health Report: UCSF Team Works To Meet Physical Care Needs Of Mental Health Patients
While staff at the Progress Foundation have been helping Sheila manage her mental health, nurse practitioners in the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing’s faculty practice -- Primary Care Outreach for the Mentally Ill (PCOM), which delivers primary care to Progress Foundation residents during their stay, have worked with Sheila to help her lower her blood sugar and prevent her condition from progressing to type 2 diabetes. They also want to ensure that Sheila, and other patients, continue to receive both medical and psychiatric care after they leave the residential care program (Childers, 8/8).