State highlights: Mayo seeks Minn. help for Rochester expansion; Texas bill on end-of-life treatment offered; Milwaukee County board considers dropping employee coverage

Published on February 1, 2013 at 11:26 PM · No Comments

A selection of health policy stories from California, New York, Texas, Minnesota, Florida and Wisconsin.

MPR News: Mayo Clinic Seeks State Help For Rochester Expansion (Audio)
The Mayo Clinic is proposing more than $5 billion in investments in and around Rochester as part of an ambitious expansion plan to create what the clinic calls a "Destination Medical Center." Included in that plan is a request for more than $500 million in state taxpayer money to help fund infrastructure as the Mayo grows. Mayo claims the plan would create between 35,000 and 45,000 new jobs. Mayo is already Minnesota's largest private employer with 32,000 employees in the state (1/31).

The Texas Tribune: Bill Would Clarify End-Of-Life Treatment
Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, filed legislation Thursday that provides clarification to Texas' Advanced Directives Act, which sets out the end-of-life care for patients. Deuell's bill adds language that specifically addresses patients "for whom life-sustaining treatment would be medically inappropriate and ineffective," Dr. Arlo Weltge said. It also sets out a longer timeline for notifications and an appeals process for families or surrogates of terminally ill patients who disagree with the patient or the doctor's wishes for treatment (Schneider, 1/31).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee County Board Panel Sidetracks Proposal To Consider Dropping Health Insurance
Milwaukee County supervisors Thursday sidetracked a request for a staff report on the potential for savings if the county dropped its employee health insurance and instead encouraged workers to obtain their own coverage under provisions of the new federal health care law. In calling for the study, Supervisor Deanna Alexander noted the county faces a long-term funding gap and a looming crisis in transportation funding. She said the county could save up to $103.5 million in health insurance costs if it stopped providing health insurance and paid the $2,000 per employee penalty that would be assessed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Schultze, 1/31).

California Healthline: How Might Immgration Reform Influence Health Care Reform?
Immigrants -- both those who are documented and those who are not -- are less likely to have health insurance than their U.S.-born counterparts. Almost half the documented immigrants in the U.S. do not have health coverage, according to 2011 Employee Benefit Research Institute statistics. In California, which has one of the country's largest immigrant populations, immigration policies influence health care policies. Some contend that health care policies influence immigration. We asked policymakers, immigration experts and consumer advocates how immigration reform might influence health care reform in California (1/31).

Kaiser Health News: NYU Langone Has Reopened, But Can It Regain Market Share?
As of mid-January, most of NYU is up and running again, including the labor and delivery unit. But the question still looms whether NYU will lose some of the patients and even doctors who sought refuge at NYU's biggest competitors after the storm. If that happens, the storm could end up having a long term impact on NYU's valuable share of the fiercely competitive health care market in New York City (Gold, 2/1).

Los Angeles Times: Glendale Memorial Hospital Employees Protest Planned Layoffs
Nurses, technicians and other employees gathered outside Glendale Memorial Hospital on Thursday morning to protest planned layoffs. The hospital last week announced plans to lay off an undetermined number of employees, citing an increase in the number of uninsured patients caused by the lengthy economic recession and cuts in government insurance programs (Wells, 1/31).

San Francisco Chronicle: Dental Clinic Proves Importance Of Care
Jabari Kelly showed up at San Francisco General Hospital's dental clinic last Friday looking like he was hiding a golf ball in his left cheek. He had been in pain for three weeks. The 36-year-old San Francisco man had an infected wisdom tooth, and swelling had spread into his jaw and cheek. A few more days, he was told, and the infection could have advanced below his chin, possibly restricting his breathing. "You've got 32 teeth -- each one can kill you," said Dr. Newton Gordon, a dentist and UCSF School of Dentistry professor. Kelly lacks dental insurance and said he had not been to a dentist in two years. His dental problems were more extreme than most, but they illustrate the importance of preventive dental care and the larger ties between dental health and overall health (Joseph, 1/31).

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