KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Round-Up: New Jersey Hospitals, Utah’s Medicaid Troubles, And More

Wednesday's state news includes a hospital demonstration in New Jersey, Medicaid fraud in Utah, an abortion ruling in Oklahoma, and a White House decision to maintain Wisconsin's unique drug program for seniors.

The (New Jersey) Star-Ledger: New Jersey hospitals will test a concept called "gainsharing" in a new Medicare demonstration that will launch in 12 facilities. The project will cut hospitals in on a share of the savings if they are able to reduce medical costs, in part by reigning in doctors who treat patients at the hospitals, but are paid for each service they provide (Rothman, 8/18).

The Associated Press/Los Angeles Times: "An Oklahoma judge on Tuesday overturned a state law that required women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound and a doctor's description of the fetus." The judge overturned the law because it "violated constitutional requirements that a legislative measure deal only with one subject," she said, rather than ruling on the validity of its substance (8/19).

The (Salt Lake City) Deseret News: Utah is losing millions of dollars to unchecked Medicaid fraud because the Department of Health's Bureau of Program Integrity failed to follow its own guidelines, a state legislative audit has found. The department only examined 38 percent of providers for inappropriate claims and its system misses about 78 percent of inpatient records. Lawmakers hope improvements in efficiency would yield $20 million in new recoveries (Groves, 8/18).

The Chicago Tribune: "President Barack Obama's administration agreed Tuesday to extend Wisconsin's unique and popular prescription drug program for seniors through 2012." The Bush administration attempted to close the program, which it said was no longer necessary after 2006 because of the new Medicare Part D program. Wisconsin officials, however argued that the program was cheaper to run, simpler for enrollees, and offered better coverage at lower rates. It costs $588 per enrollee compared to $1,700 in Part D, and is financed by both the federal and state governments (Foley, 8/18).

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