KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medicaid News: Ore. Competitors Work Together; Calif. ‘Duals’ Project Launches

A selection of Medicaid news from California, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and Colorado.

The Oregonian: Portland-Area Competitors Try Working Together To Cut Costs For Oregon Health Plan
A new push to reshape health care in greater Portland is reminiscent, its biggest booster says, of the race to land a man on the moon.  Erstwhile health care competitors hope to set aside their differences to care for the region's 200,000 Oregon Health Plan members, says Legacy Health CEO George Brown. The task is happening in a timeline -- Brown snaps his fingers -- "that's like that long. It's a moon shot for sure. What we're trying to do, to my knowledge, has not been attempted any place in the country" (Budnick, 4/4).

The Lund Report (an Oregon news service): Medicaid Collaborative Emerges To Create Coordinated Care Organization in Tri-County
"This is something we must do together," said Brown, CEO and president of Legacy Health System who's brought together leaders of five competing health plans to create the Tri-County Medicaid Collaborative – CareOregon, FamilyCare, Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health Plans and Tuality Health Alliance. On Monday, the collaborative filed its letter of intent with the Oregon Health Authority to become a coordinated care organization (Lund-Muzikant, 4/4). 

California Healthline: State Names Four Counties for Duals Project
California took a big step yesterday, officially unveiling the four counties that will kick off the three-year project to eventually convert 1.1 million dual eligibles -- Californians eligible for both Medi-Cal and Medicare -- to a Medi-Cal managed care program. The first four participants in the Coordinated Care Initiative are Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and San Mateo counties (Gorn, 4/5). 

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: NC Medicaid Program Averts A Pair Of Fiscal Crises 
North Carolina's Medicaid program will dodge two immediate fiscal crises because federal regulators agreed Wednesday to extend the deadline to carry out new personal care service requirements and state officials outlined ways to close a projected $150 million shortfall. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services wrote the state Medicaid office that it would have until January to enforce new regulations to ensure people living at home and residents of adult care homes receive comparable personal care services. The paid assistance helps people with disabilities, older adults and the mentally ill with activities such as bathing, dressing and cooking (Robertson, 4/4).

Reuters: European Hackers Suspected In Utah Medicaid Files Breach
A data security breach at the Utah Health Department, believed to be the work of Eastern European hackers, has exposed 24,000 U.S. Medicaid files bearing names, Social Security numbers and other private information, state officials said on Wednesday. The intrusion initially appeared to have affected claims representing at least 9 percent of the 260,000 clients of Medicaid in Utah (Nelson, 4/4). 

Denver Post: Colorado Pharmacy Board Denies Medicaid, Insurer Access To Prescription Drug Registry
Colorado Medicaid officials and a private insurer have quietly sought access to the state's prescription drug registry to help stop doctor-shopping and pharmacy-hopping for pain pills, but a state board denied them. The health care interests wanted access as part of wider efforts to slow an epidemic of painkiller overdoses and opioid misuse, which has resulted in a doubling of Colorado deaths and addicts seeking treatment (Booth, 4/5).

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