KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Employees’ Insurance Rates, A Hospital Merger, Florida And Mass. Public Health Issues

Today's roundup of state news includes changes in insurance rates for Kansas state employees, problems with EMT certification in Massachusetts and a hospital merger in the Washington D.C. area. 

In Oklahoma, "[a] bill that would change how the state administers health insurance for employees now heads to the governor," The Oklahoman reports. "Under Senate Bill 2052, the state's health insurance plan would be competitively bid, and one vendor would insure all employees who chose an HMO insurance plan. The move is expected to cut health costs for state employees who receive money to pay for their health insurance. … Lawmakers hope by going with one HMO provider the state can get more competitive rates, said Sen. Cliff Aldridge, R-Midwest City" (Bisbee, 5/28).

The Kansas Health Institute reports that the "forecast for the state employee health insurance plan 'isn't pretty.' That's according to Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, a member of the group that sets the design and rates for insurance plans offered to state workers and their families." Among the changes: "Premiums will increase 8 percent for employees and 15 percent for the agencies for which they work," and deductibles could double on one "from $150 to $300 for a single person and from $300 to $600 for a family" (Green, 5/27).

Also in Kansas, Gov. Mark Parkinson, D-Kan., signed into law a budget compromise but vetoed a section "that would have blocked Planned Parenthood from accessing part of a federal grant that supports family planning services," The Wichita Eagle reports (5/27). 

The Washington Post: "Sibley Memorial Hospital and Johns Hopkins Health are in talks to have the District-based hospital become a subsidiary of the Baltimore-based health system, officials announced Thursday." The deal would "give the $4.5 billion Hopkins system a greater presence in the region, with a foothold in a part of affluent Washington where patients have insurance. Officials of both systems say it is anticipated that Sibley will join Johns Hopkins Health in early fall" (Sun, 5/28).

The Boston Globe: Massachusetts public health officials "are reviewing EMT certification procedures after discovering that more than 200 emergency medical responders in a dozen communities, including Boston, had obtained recertification without attending medical training. As state health officials continued to investigate new tips yesterday, they said the state's process for biannual recertification training is more lax than for initial licensing and may need to be revamped" (Slack, 5/28).

Health News Florida: "The nurse accused of causing an outbreak of hepatitis C in Hillsborough County last year through sloppy practice has finally been identified by state health authorities in an order suspending her license. … The 'emergency' suspension of [Brandy Elizabeth] Medeiros, who is both a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse, is dated May 7, almost a year after the outbreak was discovered at the Wellness Works Clinic in Brandon and about six months after health authorities traced it to Medeiros" (Clear and Gentry, 5/27).

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