KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Georgia To Review Medicaid Changes; Calif. Judge Rules Against Freeze On Payments For Disability Services

News Service of Florida: In Huge Year In Health, Winners And Losers
In any other year, a historic overhaul of the Medicaid system would have overshadowed every health issue in the Legislature. But when lawmakers went home early Saturday morning, Medicaid might not have even been the noisiest health-related debate of the 2011 legislative session. Lawmakers passed a nearly $70 billion budget that included deep cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and dozens of other health programs. They also squabbled for weeks before approving a last-day deal to try to combat pill mills. And they spent hours arguing about issues such as abortion and medical malpractice (Saunders, 5/9).

Georgia Health News: Georgia To Study States' Medicaid Changes
Georgia, meanwhile, is ramping up a review its own managed care program, which covers more than 1 million Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids beneficiaries. The commissioner of the agency that runs Medicaid in the state, David Cook, has said he wants to take a comprehensive look at alternatives to the HMO-like structure that was instituted by former Gov. Sonny Perdue. The state currently pays the three "care management organizations" a total of more than $2.5 billion a year to serve Medicaid and PeachCare. Georgia's planning effort will coincide with the run-up to a huge expansion of the Medicaid program, which would add more than 600,000 Georgia residents to the program if health reform is fully implemented, beginning in 2014 (Miller, 5/9).

California Healthline: Round One Goes To Services For Developmental Disabilities
California facilities for residents with developmental disabilities have been squeezed by state budget cuts - including a Medi-Cal freeze on some reimbursement rates. But just because California is low on cash, that doesn't give the state the right to freeze those rates, U.S. District Court judge Christina Snyder said. She issued a preliminary injunction on Friday that halted some budget-cutting measures that don't follow the law. ... A new challenge is looming - the state made another 10 percent cut in Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, independent of the rate freeze of 2008 (Gorn, 5/9).

Modern Healthcare: Hawaii Hopes To Save With Medical Home Model
Hawaii is moving toward a medical home model for Medicaid patients, integrating electronic health records to help coordinate services and improve provider communication, top state officials announced. The new program begins in January 2012 and will qualify Hawaii to receive $9 in federal funding for every dollar spent on implementation in the first two years, according to the governor's office (Vesely, 5/9).

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