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State highlights: Audit says $93M in Medi-Cal payments could be fraudulent; Mass. insurers press on Medicaid pay

A selection of health policy stories from the District of Columbia, California, Massachusetts and Minnesota. The audit released Tuesday reviewed billing data from July 2008 to December 2013 for Medi-Cal's Drug Treatment program, which reimburses rehabilitation clinics. [More]
First Edition: August 21, 2014

First Edition: August 21, 2014

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including reports about a new "Obamacare" ad in the Arkansas Senate race and a California poll measuring how the state's voters feel about a ballot initiative that would expand the state's ability to regulate health insurance rates. [More]
Viewpoints: Threat to drug development; GOP's Obamacare criticism tempered; finding doctors for seniors

Viewpoints: Threat to drug development; GOP's Obamacare criticism tempered; finding doctors for seniors

An invasive species has been introduced into the U.S. health innovation ecosystem, with a growing danger of permanent damage to the development of specialty drugs. [More]
Majority of states not measuring up on legislative solutions that fight cancer, shows report

Majority of states not measuring up on legislative solutions that fight cancer, shows report

A majority of states are not measuring up on legislative solutions that prevent and fight cancer, according to a new report released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). [More]
Newborn screening for SCID holds promise that affected children can lead healthy lives

Newborn screening for SCID holds promise that affected children can lead healthy lives

Using population-based screening outcomes of approximately 3 million infants, a team of scientists across 14 states, including four researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, have shown that newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) can be successfully implemented across public health newborn screening programs. [More]
Regular blood transfusion therapy reduces recurrence of strokes in kids with sickle cell anemia

Regular blood transfusion therapy reduces recurrence of strokes in kids with sickle cell anemia

Vanderbilt-led research, as part of an international, multicenter trial, found regular blood transfusion therapy significantly reduces the recurrence of silent strokes and strokes in children with sickle cell anemia who have had pre-existing silent strokes, according to study results released today in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). [More]
GOP candidates make late-term abortions campaign trail issue

GOP candidates make late-term abortions campaign trail issue

Republicans who see potential on the Senate political map are turning to this issue as a counter-attack to Democrats' messaging on birth control and personhood. [More]
Risk of urinary tract infections after prostate biopsy highest in men with prior infections

Risk of urinary tract infections after prostate biopsy highest in men with prior infections

Risk of Urinary Tract Infections after Prostate Biopsy Highest in Men with Prior Infections or Significant Comorbidities, Report Swedish Researchers in The Journal Of Urology® [More]

Health law's medical device tax falls short of revenue target

An IG report concludes that the Internal Revenue Service continues to face problems implementing this tax, including difficulties in identifying the companies that owe it. [More]

Big support for insurance rate regulation measure in California

A proposal to randomly drug test doctors and increase the limit on medical malpractice lawsuit awards also has a strong show of support in the poll. [More]
Internet security is growing concern at health care sites

Internet security is growing concern at health care sites

The recent hacker attack against Community Health Systems highlights concerns about patient privacy as hospitals, doctors and other providers move to use more electronic records. [More]
Survey of veterans receiving mental health services finds general satisfaction

Survey of veterans receiving mental health services finds general satisfaction

A survey of U.S. veterans receiving mental health services from the Veterans Health Administration finds general satisfaction, but also significant room for improvement among all areas studied. [More]
Advocates decry closing of mental health clinics in Chicago

Advocates decry closing of mental health clinics in Chicago

But officials say the closings, which planned to shutter six of the city's 12 mental health clinics, actually expanded care for those with mental illnesses. [More]
Study: Patients with 2 or more ED visits in one year account for disproportionate costs

Study: Patients with 2 or more ED visits in one year account for disproportionate costs

Almost one-third of acute heart failure syndrome patients seen in hospital emergency departments (EDs) in Florida and California during 2010 had ED visits during the following year, findings that suggest a lack of appropriate outpatient care. [More]
Deep sequencing technique opens up new possibilities for finding genetic causes for brain disorder

Deep sequencing technique opens up new possibilities for finding genetic causes for brain disorder

Not every cell in the body is the same genetically, and disease-causing mutations don't necessarily affect every cell—making these mutations easy to miss even with next-generation genomic sequencing. [More]
Cigna HealthCare, NCH team up to deliver quality care related to cancer

Cigna HealthCare, NCH team up to deliver quality care related to cancer

New Century Health (NCH) and Cigna HealthCare of Arizona today announced an alliance focused on delivering quality care related to cancer. Cigna customers covered under Arizona Medicare Advantage plans who receive care through the Cigna Medical Group (CMG) are included in this new program with NCH. [More]
Hartford/VA Scholars Program selects three geriatric social work researchers

Hartford/VA Scholars Program selects three geriatric social work researchers

The prestigious Hartford/VA Scholars Program has selected three geriatric social work researchers for a two-year award that provides career development and mentorship for projects that will improve health outcomes not only for older veterans, but for all older adults. [More]
First Edition: August 20, 2014

First Edition: August 20, 2014

Today's headlines include a report from California that Anthem Blue Cross is being sued again regarding its narrow-network health plans as well as a prediction from Maryland officials regarding the state's online insurance marketplace. [More]

Self-reported health measures can predict Medicaid adults who need intensive health services

Just three types of simple self-reported health measures can predict which Medicaid-eligible adults are more likely to access intensive and costly health services over the next year, a new study in Health Services Research suggests. The findings could provide a new way to save a substantial amount of money while also providing better care for Medicaid's neediest patients. [More]
Study helps explain why sleep becomes more fragmented with age

Study helps explain why sleep becomes more fragmented with age

As people grow older, they often have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and tend to awaken too early in the morning. [More]