KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Marketplace News: UnitedHealthcare Flexes Its Muscle In Iowa, Nebraska

UnitedHealthcare expands its reach in Iowa and gets the go-ahead to intervene in a Nebraska lawsuit.

Des Moines Register: UnitedHealthcare Now Covers All 99 Counties
UnitedHealthcare has made a deal with Fort Dodge-based Trimark Physicians Group that will expand the health insurance provider's footprint into 13 new counties in rural northwest central Iowa. The deal allows UnitedHealthcare to lay claim to covering all 99 counties in Iowa. UnitedHealth has more than 5,400 physicians and 130 hospitals (Belz, 4/24).

The Associated Press/Modern Healthcare: United Healthcare Can Intervene In Neb. Lawsuit
A judge has ruled that United Healthcare can intervene in a lawsuit filed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska over the state's planned switch to United Healthcare for health insurance administration. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Judge Steven Burns on Monday approved United Healthcare's request to intervene in the action against the state. Blue Cross had sued earlier this month, alleging improper lobbying on United Healthcare's behalf (4/24).

Also in the news, an Alaska hospital demonstrates results based on quality improvement measures and a state hospital for the mentally ill in Kansas seeks additional funding to offset staffing shortfalls.

Alaska Public Radio: Quality Improvement Measures Get Results At Providence
In a bright room on the Cardiovascular Unit at Providence, Genaro Reyes is perched on the edge of his bed in hospital issued pajamas. ... Today, he's talking to a brand new type of health worker at Providence. Nurse Maike Henning became the hospital’s first Clinical Heart Failure Coordinator in 2008. One of her main jobs is to help keep heart failure patients like Reyes from coming back to the hospital within 30 days (Feidt, 4/24). 

Kansas Health Institute News: Larned State Hospital Seeks Additional $2.1 million
Larned State Hospital officials say they need an additional $2.1 million to offset staffing shortfalls cited during a recent accreditation survey. ... Larned State Hospital is one of three state-run hospitals for the mentally ill. The request for additional funding comes on the heels of The Joint Commission, a national organization that accredits hospitals, last month citing the hospital for 30 deficiencies, most of which were tied to understaffing (Ranney, 4/24). 

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