A selection of health policy stories from New York, California, Washington and Georgia.
The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: Medicaid Waiver Called Essential For NY Hospitals
New York's health commissioner says the state has been waiting 18 months since requesting a $10 billion federal Medicaid waiver he calls essential for eight struggling hospitals in Brooklyn and others around the state. Dr. Nirav Shah says Tuesday nearly half New York's 227 hospitals are financially distressed. Waivers exempt states from federal program requirements, for example letting them move beneficiaries away from fee-for-service treatment into managed care (1/21).
Los Angeles Times: Legislator Introduces Bill To Guarantee Paid Sick Days
A bill unveiled Tuesday would guarantee at least three paid sick days a year for California workers. "It’s time to have this discussion, to seriously engage on the rights of everybody to take a day off when they’re sick or be able to take their child to the doctor," said the measure's author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) in an interview Tuesday (Mason, 1/21).
The Seattle Times: Kirkland Hospital To Change Procedures For ‘Boarding’ Mentally Ill
Federal regulators are forcing a Kirkland hospital to change how it treats mentally ill patients in its emergency room, a move that could lead to better conditions for involuntarily committed people languishing in ERs across the state. EvergreenHealth Medical Center agreed this month to provide mental health-care training to ER staff, ensure more patients see a psychiatrist and deploy more case managers in response to a rare investigation by The Joint Commission, a national organization whose accreditation is needed for hospitals to receive Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements (Rosenthal, 1/21).
Georgia Health News: Contract Fight Always An Anxious Time For Patients
Contract battles between hospitals and insurers are often fought right up to the deadline for a deal. The typical scenario is that during the last month a contract between a health insurers and a health system is in effect, both sides announce publicly that the agreement is about to expire. The pressure builds on the negotiating parties. Consumers get caught in the middle, fearful that they won’t be able to go to their usual doctors and hospitals (Miller, 1/21).
The Center For Investigative Reporting: Officials, Advocates At Odds Over Handling Of Caregiver Abuse Cases
Officials from the California Department of Public Health and long-term care advocates clashed today at an Assembly oversight hearing over regulators’ ability to process complaints of abuse against nursing assistants. They couldn’t even agree on the number of abuse allegations that have yet to be investigated. Evon Lenerd, a state health department official whose branch oversees investigations into caregiver abuse, said the state has a backlog of about 700 complaints that are more than a year old (Bale, 1/21).