KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Roundup: Calif. County Mum On Probe Of Medicaid Managed Care Firm

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

Los Angeles Times: Ventura Country Seeks To Keep Healthcare Plan Audit A Secret
A Ventura County commission is trying to keep secret the details of a state-ordered investigation into the management and claims procedures of a healthcare plan designed to serve the county's neediest residents. Complaints about alleged late payments and poor management prompted the Department of Health Care Services to request that auditors step in and examine the plan's financial condition and claims practices. Gold Coast Health Plan was launched last year to switch an estimated 110,000 Ventura County Medi-Cal beneficiaries into an HMO-style healthcare plan (Saillant, 3/7).

The Washington Post: D.C. Council Passes Bill Expanding School Mental Health Services
The D.C. Council agreed Tuesday to increase behavioral health services and testing for city youths to try to keep students in schools and out of jail, but officials caution that the District still has to find money to pay for some key provisions of the bill (Craig, 3/6).

Kaiser Health News: Electronic Intensive Care Unit Expands In Alaska
Frances Lynch is used to the active life of a bedside nurse. But lately, she spends half of her shifts at a simple office desk stacked with six computer monitors. The familiar squiggles of a heart beat roll across one screen (Feidt, 3/6).

Arizona Republic: Arizona Inmates Denied Adequate Medical Care, Lawsuit Says
Arizona's Department of Corrections was accused in a lawsuit filed Tuesday of unconstitutionally denying adequate medical and mental-health care to inmates in state prisons and of routinely keeping mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement under brutal conditions. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix by a coalition of human-rights groups, lists myriad shocking allegations of prisoners suffering serious, preventable injuries, disfigurements and death, and it seeks to force the state to improve prison health care (Ortega, 3/6).

Modern Healthcare: Duke LifePoint Plans To Acquire Mich. Hospital
Duke LifePoint Healthcare, Durham, N.C., has signed a memo of understanding to acquire 275-bed Marquette (Mich.) General Health System. ... Officials expect to sign a definitive agreement in two to four months and then submit it to the Michigan attorney general's office for review (Selvam, 3/6). 

California Healthline: Survey: Californians Concur On Need For Prevention
At a joint Assembly and Senate health hearing yesterday, results of a Field Poll unveiled a few days shy of the official release indicate that an overwhelming majority of Californians (about 80% of those surveyed) believe government and schools need to pitch in to fight childhood obesity and that preventive health programs pay for themselves in reduced health care costs to the state (Gorn, 3/7). 

The Associated Press/Missoulian: Federal Prosecutors Seek Settlement Of Blue Cross Antitrust Case
Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to approve an antitrust settlement involving two Montana health insurers now that one of the companies has been broken up as part of the deal. U.S. Justice Department attorneys filed their request Monday asking U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull to sign the final judgment in the case against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana "as soon as possible." "The court should find that the proposed final judgment is in the public interest and should enter the final judgment without further hearings," prosecutors Scott Fitzgerald and Claudia Dulmage wrote (3/6).

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