KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Health Coverage Drops Again In Fla.

News outlets report on a variety of state health policy issues.

The Associated Press/Orlando Sentinel: Health Insurance Coverage Continues To Drop In Florida
Enrollment in commercial health insurance is continuing to decline in Florida. An annual market report adopted Tuesday by the Florida Health Care Insurance Advisory Board shows enrollment dropped by 4.3 percent during 2010. That's the fifth straight year it's gone down (12/21).

NPR: How Do You Hold Mentally Ill Offenders Accountable?
Mental health and law enforcement officials in California are trying to find ways to hold violent psychiatric patients accountable without punishing people for being sick. It's a response to escalating violence in the state's mental hospitals, where thousands of assaults occur annually. Only a tiny fraction of them, however, result in criminal charges. One case that did was the attack on Jill Francis, a psychiatric technician. She was punched by one of her patients at Atascadero State Hospital on California's Central Coast. Months after the incident, there's still a bruise under her left eye from reconstructive surgery. (Part of an ongoing series) (Jaffe, 12/21).

KQED: State Wrestles With Treatment Of Mentally Ill Offenders
Many people inside and outside California's Department of Mental Health have been calling for reforms to address violence against patients and caregivers at state-run hospitals. NPR's Ina Jaffe has been exploring the growing controversy. Guest: Ina Jaffe (12/20).

California Healthline: Disabilities Case Waits On Supreme Court Ruling
A federal judge last week issued a stay of a court case challenging the freezing of some provider reimbursement rates for services for the developmentally disabled in California — effectively putting off the case until February or March, after the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling in a similar case it is currently hearing. U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. denied the state's request to dismiss the case. He also denied the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction on the rate freeze (Gorn, 12/20).

HealthyCal: Keeping Primary Care Afloat In Santa Ana
The federal government is considering cutting programs like Small Community Health Grants, totaling $62 million, because it hasn't produced health outcome measures that are scalable at a national level, according to the Office of Management and Budget. [California] has filled in a bit of the gap. UCI Family Health Center has gotten one grant this year from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development’s (OSHPD) Song Brown fund, which favors clinics in underserved communities that have diversity in their clinical staff. The grant was created for increasing the primary care workforce and will pay one resident's salary at the health center, which totals between $45,000 and $52,000 per year. But the money doesn't help to meet other pressing needs (Afrasiabi, 12/30).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Council OKs Pact with Police Union
Turning aside the pleas and threats of dissident officers, Milwaukee aldermen on Tuesday approved a police union contract that boosts both wages and health care premiums. … The health care change will more than triple annual health insurance premiums for most single employees, from $240 to $779, and increase most family premiums from $480 a year to $1,228 to $2,455, depending on the number of adults and children in the household. City negotiators considered the health care provision a key victory (Sandler, 12/20).

(Oregon) Statesman Journal: Lawmakers' Views Differ On State Health Care
Though they represent neighboring counties and sat on the same panel Tuesday, Commissioners Janet Carlson and Craig Pope offered differing views of a shift in how state-supported health care is delivered to more than a half-million low-income Oregonians. Lawmakers heard them and others as they consider the next steps in the shift from managed-care organizations — under which 85 percent of Oregon Health Plan recipients now receive care — to community networks of doctors, hospitals and other providers. The new coordinated-care organizations would focus their efforts on the most chronically ill patients, who account for a disproportionate share of the costs of care (Wong, 12/20).

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