State Highlights: N.Y. Seeks Payments From Disabled Who Were Abused; Cancer Surgeries In Calif.
News outlets report on health care developments in New York, California, Iowa, Georgia and New Jersey.
The Associated Press:
NY Bills For Costs Of Care After Alleged Cases Of Abuse
Bill Liblick was shocked to learn that his sister, a disabled woman with the mind of a 1-year-old, had repeatedly been sexually assaulted at a state-run group home. Then, after her death, he was astonished again when he received a $1.6 million bill from the state for the cost of her care. Liblick says it was a coldhearted attempt by the state to get its hands on the money her estate eventually won in a lawsuit over her abuse. ... At least three times in recent years, New York has pursued Medicaid reimbursement of $1 million or more from those who allegedly suffered devastating, even deadly, mistreatment while in state care. In two of those cases, the state eventually dropped its claims after the families contested them. (Virtanen, 11/23)
Colorectal Screening Up, Racial Disparity Down In New York City
Through the efforts of a coalition of New York City health officials in 2003, colon cancer screening rates there rose dramatically, and by 2014 there were no longer differences in screening rates by race or ethnicity. “Nationally colon cancer screening rates have been increasing and mortality has been decreasing, but the overall decline in mortality is not equal by race,” said Lina Jandorf of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, senior author of a publication detailing the success of the NYC program. (Doyle, 11/23)
Report Examines Cancer Surgeries In California Hospitals
A report released last week looked at 11 types of cancer surgeries and reviewed how often they were performed at hospitals across California. In general, hospitals performing a higher volume of some of those kinds of surgeries have better outcomes, so patients could potentially use the new information to find hospitals that do more of those surgeries. (Gorn, 11/23)
Kaiser Health News:
Small Coastal California Town Fights To Keep Hospital Afloat
Board meetings for the Mendocino Coast District Hospital are usually pretty dismal affairs. The facility in remote Fort Bragg, Calif., has been running at a deficit for a decade and barely survived a recent bankruptcy. ... Now it’s barely hanging on. And some locals are worried that the only hospital in the area might close for good. "Nobody can live here without that hospital," says Sue Gibson, 78, a Mendocino resident. "I mean, the nearest hospital is an hour and a half away on treacherous mountain roads." It’s not only her family’s health and the community’s that Gibson is concerned about. She’s afraid the local economy would be wrecked: The hospital is the largest employer. (Dembosky, 11/23)
Des Moines Register:
Another Medicaid Math Puzzler: Who Has The Contracts?
The Iowa Hospital Association on Monday questioned whether Iowa has reached agreements with heath care providers on more than 12,000 contracts to provide Medicaid services through for-profit management companies. Federal officials will not allow Iowa to move forward with Gov. Terry Branstad’s privatization plan on Jan. 1 unless the state has an adequate number of health care professionals who agree to accept Medicaid. At least 560,000 poor or disabled Iowans depend on the $4.2 billion annual program for their health care. (Clayworth, 11/23)
Iowa Public Radio:
Palmer Hopes Medicaid Privatization Lawsuit Settled 'Sooner Rather Than Later'
Iowa Department of Human Services Director Chuck Palmer says the state is proceeding with a controversial plan to privatize the state’s health care program for the poor and disabled, in spite of a legal challenge by unsuccessful bidders for the contract. (Russell, 11/23)
Georgia Health News:
Shock As Mayo Clinic Cuts Loose Waycross Hospital
Mayo Clinic’s startling decision to pull out of its “integration agreement’’ with Satilla Health Services has left the South Georgia hospital with an uncertain future. Officials with Mayo’s Florida operation said Friday that they ended the deal with Satilla in Waycross to focus on expanding specialty care for people with complex medical needs. (Miller, 11/23)
The List: NJ Hospitals With The Most Commercially Insured Patients
Some New Jersey hospitals face a constant fiscal challenge as they provide care to a high number of patients who are uninsured or are covered through the lower-paying Medicaid program. On the other end of the spectrum, however, are those that thrive financially, thanks to a large number of patients who have commercial health insurance. Statewide, only 33.6 percent of admitted patients are insured through commercial plans – typically through their employer, although a rising number of New Jerseyans have commercial insurance through the federal marketplace. (Kitchenman, 11/23)