KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Roundup: Calif. Revokes Medi-Cal Payments; Md. Hospital Sued By Feds

A selection of stories about health care in California, Michigan, Maryland, Kansas and Oregon.

California Watch: State To Clinics: Send Back Payments For Dental Care
California's health program for the needy is approaching the state's clinics with a controversial request: Send back those checks for root canals, tooth extractions and other dental services rendered within the last year. State coverage for Medi-Cal patient dental and podiatry services was cut amid budget shortfalls in mid-2009, but reinstated by court order after clinics sued in October of last year. Clinics offered the services again until May, when the state met the procedural hurdle to eliminate state coverage of benefits such as dental care and podiatry, which are considered optional under the state and federal Medicaid program  (Jewett, 10/19).

The Baltimore Sun: Kernan Hospital Faces $8.1 Million Lawsuit
The lawsuit filed by the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense accuses the rehabilitation hospital in Baltimore of falsely manipulating its computerized billing system so that it looked like patients had a severe form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor. Hospitals are compensated more for a patient who has a more severe and complex diagnosis. A spokeswoman for the University of Maryland Medical System ... said the medical system doesn't agree with the government's findings (Walker, 10/18).

Kansas Health Institute News: Exchange Planning Group To Meet
The group, formed by Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, has been meeting regularly since January despite Gov. Sam Brownback's rejection in August of a $31.5 million federal grant to help launch a state exchange. ... But Praeger and the planning group chose to move forward with their work and will present their recommendations to the Kansas Legislature (10/18). 

The Lund Report / Crosscut: Swedish-Providence Questions Remain After Planned Parenthood Move
Swedish Health Services has announced it will help fund and support a new Planned Parenthood clinic adjacent to its hospital on First Hill, following protests over its plan to stop performing abortions at its facilities as part of its proposed affiliation with Catholic-based Providence Health & Services. The plan is for Swedish to outsource to Planned Parenthood elective abortions and other reproductive health services that violate Catholic doctrine. But Swedish says it will continue to provide all necessary emergency services to pregnant women, including abortion if necessary (Meyer, 10/18).

California Healthline: Many Opt Out Of State's ADHC Plan
In August, a letter and application packet went out to about 26,000 people in the adult day health care system, a program slated for elimination as a Medi-Cal benefit on Dec. 1. ... Of those 26,068 patients, 654 chose a managed care plan, and another 10,297 people did nothing and were automatically enrolled in a managed care plan. The majority -- 15,117 people -- chose to remain in their fee-for-service plans (Gorn, 10/18).

California Healthline: Getting Business Involved In Health Discussion
[A report due out today from the Bay Area Council] analyzes the sources of rising health care costs in California and outlines choices to lower those costs. ... Solutions for costs include moving toward the medical home model, accountable care organizations, bundled payments and value-based hospital purchasing, according to the report. The report also calls for a Medicare oversight board and establishment of a quality-innovation center (Gorn, 10/19). 

Detroit Free Press: Detroit Casino Union Talks Get 1-Day Extension
Unions for thousands of Detroit casino workers angry that the companies want them to pay more for health care when the local gambling market has performed well apparently agreed to another bargaining extension Tuesday that pushes a contract deadline to midnight tonight (Helms, 10/19).

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