State Roundup: Moving Vets Off Medicaid; San Fran. Grapples With Loophole
News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.
The Oregonian: Oregon Prepares To Connect Vets With VA Benefits, Get Them Off Medicaid
About 9,500 veterans were removed from the Medicaid rolls under the Washington [state] initiative since the program began in 2003, saving the state $27 million, according to the National Coalition on Health Care. And now Oregon is taking baby steps toward imitating the success Now Washington's efforts have been copied in California and Texas and other states, including Oregon, have talked with Allman about smaller-scale efforts to shift veterans off Medicaid. The effort is gathering momentum because it offers a clear path to savings for the state, while benefiting veterans who receive more generous federal benefits (Francis, 8/2).
San Francisco Chronicle: S.F. Supes Shoot Down Fix In Health Care Loophole
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to shelve a controversial measure to close a business-friendly loophole in the city's universal health care ordinance. A recent city report found that 80 percent of the $50 million San Francisco businesses paid last year into city-required health care reimbursement accounts for their uninsured workers was never used and instead went back to employers. While there's near unanimous agreement there is a problem, the fight is over how to fix it without costing jobs or putting the city's landmark universal health care law in jeopardy (Cote, 8/3).
The Boston Globe: State Wins Judgment On Discount Health Plans
A Suffolk County Superior Court judge has ordered two companies accused of fraudulently marketing discount medical plans as if they were health insurance to halt the practice and to pay $2.4 million. The state filed a complaint in 2009 alleging that the companies, Consumer Health Benefit Association and National Benefits Consultants, LLC, sold the discount plans to people who thought they were buying health insurance that satisfied the state's insurance mandate. The plans did not meet state requirements (Conaboy, 8/2).
The Washington Post: Washington Hospital Center Safety Program Seeks To Catch 'Near-Misses'
As hospitals across the country are under growing pressure to reduce medical mistakes, the Hazard Alerting Loop system is designed to catch "near misses" before they turn into serious hazards. The shocking errors, such as operations on the wrong limb, get everyone's attention. What's harder to catch are the close calls that could hurt patients. The alert system encourages front-line personnel to report, anonymously if they prefer, even the smallest issues (Sun, 8/2).
California Healthline: Dental Trips Emphasized For Young Children
Low-income children are not getting good dental care, even though many of them have coverage through the state. Shelley Rouillard would like to do something about that. Rouillard, deputy director of benefits and quality monitoring at the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board (MRMIB), is leading an effort at MRMIB to get more young children to see the dentist -- as early in their lives as possible. ... Many low-income children don't get dental checkups, and have diets high in sugar (Gorn, 8/2).
The Lund Report (Oregon): Friction Heats Up Between Salem Hospital And Independent Physicians
Tensions are running deep in the Salem community, with independent physicians convinced Salem Hospital wants to create a monopoly by hiring providers and restricting the ability of independent physicians to care for their patients in the hospital. ... Salem Hospital insists it has no intention of creating a monopoly by only having employed physicians (Scharer, 8/3).
Related, earlier story from KHN: Hospitals Lure Doctors Away From Private Practice (Gold, 10/13/2010).
Kansas Health Institute News: SRS Won't Ask Judges To Slow Mental Hospital Commitments
The head of the state welfare agency has countermanded controversial comments made last week by a top deputy to a group of mental health advocates. Pedro Moreno, deputy secretary at the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, met last week with members of the Mental Health Coalition of Kansas. Moreno, who heads disability and behavioral services at the agency, told those at the meeting that he planned to ask the state's judges to take into consideration SRS' budget situation and the capacities of the state hospitals before committing persons to the facilities. ... But SRS officials have subsequently characterized Moreno's remarks as brainstorming and not representative of the agency's intentions (8/2).