A selection of health policy news from Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota and California.
Reuters: Judge Overturns Arizona Law Barring Planned Parenthood Funding
A federal judge has overturned an Arizona law that sought to block funding through the state for Planned Parenthood's health care clinics because the group also performs abortions. U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake ruled that the controversial measure signed into law last May by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, unlawfully robs individuals on Medicaid of the ability to choose health care services (Schwartz, 2/11).
Arizona Republic: Judge Sides With Planned Parenthood In Suit Vs. Arizona
A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a 2012 Arizona law restricting funding to abortion providers is unconstitutional, in a case that is headed for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Neil Wake issued an order Friday in the Planned Parenthood lawsuit challenging House Bill 2800, which prohibits any health care provider that performs abortions from getting Medicaid funding, even for non-abortion related care. Wake had already issued a temporary order, preventing the law from going into effect as scheduled in August. Wake ruled the law violates the federal Medicaid Act, which allows eligible individuals to seek medical care from "any institution, agency, community pharmacy, or person, qualified to perform the service" (Rau, 2/11).
Georgia Health News: Talks Break Down On Mega-Contract For Medicaid
State officials have halted negotiations on a multimillion-dollar contract for a new electronic eligibility system for Medicaid and other health programs. The state canceled its request for proposal (RFP) last week after months of negotiating with the highest-scored vendor, which industry officials identified as Deloitte. Now seemingly back at Square One, the Department of Community Health says it will do much of the work to set up a new eligibility process on its own (Miller, 2/11).
The Associated Press: Florida Enhances Program For Disabled Children
Florida health officials said Monday they will assign care coordinators to about 1,600 children with disabilities amid allegations from federal health officials that the state was cutting in-home services and essentially forcing kids into adult nursing homes. An individual care coordinator will work with no more than 40 disabled children at a time who are receiving in-home nursing services and ensure they have continued access to those services (Kennedy, 2/11).
Kansas Health Institute: KanCare Pilot Project Launched But Opposition To DD "Carve-In" Persists
After months of advisory committee haggling over what it should look like, state officials say they are ready to launch the pilot program that will pave the way for including long-term services for the developmentally disabled in the new KanCare program. Now, all they need to start the pilot are participants (Shields, 2/11).
Kansas Health Institute: Bill Introduced To Prohibit Health Departments From Seeking Accreditation
A bill to prohibit county health departments from seeking accreditation has been introduced by Sen. Michael O'Donnell, a Wichita Republican. At least 12 Kansas health departments have been working for months on becoming nationally accredited and it wasn't immediately clear why O'Donnell, a freshman, would seek to slow or impede the process (Cauthon, 2/11).
Georgia Health News: 'Pill Mill' Ban Clears House Committee
A bill intended to crack down on "pill mills" in Georgia passed a key House committee unanimously Monday, after stirring testimony from a northwest Georgia coroner and a suburban Atlanta police chief. House Bill 178 would put pain management clinics under the regulation of Georgia's medical board, which would issue licenses to their operators. And after June 30, any new pain clinic would have to be physician-owned -- a requirement similar to other states' laws (Miller, 2/11).