KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Highlights: Minn. Tort Reform; Calif. Prepares – Or Not – For Newly Insured

A roundup of health policy news from Minnesota, California, Kansas, Connecticut, Oregon, Missouri, Washington D.C. and Colorado.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: A Tort Bill Makes It Into Law
Gov. Mark Dayton, who vetoed a package of GOP-backed tort overhaul bills last month, gave one tort-related bill his blessing Thursday. The governor signed into law an uncontroversial and obscure bill that will lower state and local governments’  liability to certain lawsuits (Brooks, 3/15).

California Healthline: Is California Ready for Millions of Newly Insured?
Three million to four million Californians will become eligible for health insurance in 2014 thanks to the Affordable Care Act ... In addition to the immediate need generated by the newly insured, California is expecting a 15% growth spurt over the next 20 years, putting added, sustained stress on the health care workforce. ... Those problems, according to the Center for the Health Professions at UC-San Francisco, are compounded by an increasingly diverse and aging population and by the growing burden of chronic illness (Edlin, 3/15). 

Oakland North/San Francisco Chronicle: Despite State Compromise, Some Seniors No Longer Eligible For Adult Day Healthcare
Workers at some Adult Day Healthcare Centers in Alameda County were initially relieved to hear that their state funding would not be entirely cut, thanks to a settlement reached in November between disability rights activists and the State Department of Health Care Service. But at LifeLong Medical Care in East Oakland, more patients have been found ineligible for the new Medi-Cal subsidized program set to replace adult day healthcare than LifeLong staffers expected (Capachi, 3/15).

Denver Post: Colorado Senate Panel OKs Task Force On Elder Abuse
A Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that would create a task force to study the reporting of abuse and neglect of at-risk adults ... Lawmakers have tried on five previous occasions to get such a bill passed. Each time it has been killed by either state lawmakers or the sitting governor, due largely to concerns about the increased costs for county human services departments and law enforcement (Burnett, 3/15).

Kansas Health Institute News: KanCare Oversight Committee Proposed
The Senate Ways and Means Committee has introduced a bill that would create a new joint committee to oversee implementation of Gov. Sam Brownback's KanCare Medicaid makeover plan. ... If the managed care companies fail the review, officials said, then KanCare's planned Jan. 1, 2013 launch date would be delayed (Shields, 3/15).

The Connecticut Mirror: State Employee Health Plan Now Open To Municipalities
The CT Partnership Plan grew out of a longtime effort to open the state employee and retiree health insurance plan to outside groups. A compromise last year between Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration and Democratic legislators led to legislation that opens the state employee health plan more narrowly, to public employers this year and some nonprofits next year (Levin Becker, 3/15).

Kansas Health Institute News: Federal Funding For Kansas REC Extended
The regional extension center created two years ago to help Kansas health care providers implement electronic health records has received extended funding from the federal government. But for now, the center won't be able to sign up additional providers to receive subsidized assistance (Cauthon, 3/15).

St. Louis Beacon: Study Finds Missouri Women Are Still Struggling In Income, Jobs, Health And Education
Here are a few eye-opening numbers regarding the status of women in the Show-Me State: More than one-third of Missouri women -- 36 percent -- live in poverty ... 32 percent of Missouri women who are poor or working poor have no health insurance (Leonard, 3/15). 

California Healthline: Counties, EDs Could Benefit from Pilot Project
California's emergency psychiatric demonstration project, approved this week by CMS, may help counties deal with financial stress from a payment system half a century old.... The project will provide "reimbursement to private psychiatric hospitals for certain services for which Medicaid reimbursement has historically been unavailable," [Norman Williams of DHCS] said (Gorn, 3/15). 

The Washington Post: At D.C. Superior Court Program, A Focus On Helping Minors With Mental Health Problems
In recent years, the District’s courts and social services agencies have increased mental health resources for young people, although advocates say the efforts still fall short of the need. Last week, the D.C. Council gave preliminary approval to legislation that would expand mental health services in the city’s public schools (Moyer, 3/15).

The Lund Report (an Oregon news service): OHSU Team Looks to Reduce the Number of C-Section Births
About 18 months ago, [Dr. Aaron Caughey, the director of Oregon Health & Sciences University Center for Women's Health] and his colleagues began holding weekly conferences to discuss birth statistics for the previous month, talking to OB/GYNs, midwives and family medicine doctors about each C-section, why it was performed, then they discussed alternatives.That discussion alone "makes individual clinicians think twice before they pull the switch on the C-section," said Caughey (McCurdy, 3/15).

Related, earlier KHN story: Top Maternity Hospitals in Mass. Stop Early Elective Deliveries (Bebinger, 12/23). 

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