KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Kansas Medicaid ‘Imperiled,’ Says Lt. Governor

Meanwhile, an audit finds La. Medicaid providers received improper payments; Texas pharmacists are lining up against the state's push to put more people in Medicaid managed care; and payment arrangements for Connecticut's Medicaid medical homes programs are drawing debate. 

The Wichita Eagle: Without Big Changes, Medicaid Is Imperiled, Kansas Lieutenant Governor Says
Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer on Monday described a bleak future for Kansas' Medicaid program unless reforms drive down costs and people begin making healthier lifestyle choices. ... Colyer said Medicaid, the health program for low-income residents, should do what some insurance companies do and reward patients who quit smoking, work their way out of obesity and take their medicine. And the 40-year-old program should work to transition users to private health insurance. "This (Medicaid) is the most complex thing I've seen in government," he said. "And we aren't going to fix it in one year" (Wistrom, 9/19).

Times-Picayune: Audit Finds Millions In Improper Payments By Louisiana For Medicaid Providers
From 2005 to 2010, Louisiana's health agency paid more than $4.32 million in improper claims by Medicaid vendors who provide in-home and community-based care to elderly and disabled patients, according to a new state audit. ... The audit reviewed billing activity in three service areas: the Long-Term Personal Care Services Program; the Elderly and Disabled adults waiver program; and the New Opportunities waiver program (Barrow, 9/19). 

The Dallas Morning News: Pharmacies Blast Texas' Push For More Medicaid Managed Care
A pharmacists' advocacy group said Monday that Texas' request to put many, many more Medicaid recipients into privately run managed care plans, such as health maintenance organizations, "will devastate pharmacies in the state." Tammy Gray, a Buda pharmacist and spokeswoman for a group called Pharmacy Choice and Access Now, said Texas wants to save more than $400 million on Medicaid over the next two years, by placing more recipients on managed care plans, but it will do very bad things (Garrett, 9/19).

The Connecticut Mirror: State, Advocates Differ On Payment Plan For Medical Homes
As state officials prepare to expand the use of so-called "medical homes" to care for Medicaid patients, consumer advocates who have long supported the change are raising concerns about the program's design. Medical homes are practices in which doctors and other health care providers play a more active role in monitoring patients' health. ... Much of the extra work involved isn't typically billable (Levin Becker, 9/20). 

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