A selection of health policy stories from Mississippi, Oregon, Connecticut and California.
The Associated Press: Healthy Officials Trying To Save Jobs
Top officials at the Mississippi State Department of Health say they're trying to prevent layoffs for 41 employees and 41 contract workers who were part of a program to help women with high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Mary Currier, the state health officer, said Friday that the social workers were told April 15 their jobs could be eliminated July 1 (4/28).
The Lund Report: For-Profit Hospitals Skimp On Charity Care
Oregon's two for-profit hospitals are among the stingiest hospitals in the state when it comes to providing care for the poor. Willamette Valley Medical Center spent less than 1 percent of patient revenue on charity care in 2011, a tenth the average of its peers, according to a Lund Report review of the state's major hospitals. And McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, the only other major for-profit hospital in Oregon, spent 3.2 percent of patient revenue on charity care (Sherwood, 4/26).
Kaiser Health News: Oregon's Dilemma: How To Measure Health?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to track the health of a population: the average blood pressure of a large group of people, the rate of mental illness, the average weight. Epidemiologists have been collecting this kind of data for years, but now, in Oregon, there is cold, hard cash riding on these metrics (Foden-Vencil, 4/26).
CT Mirror: Hospitals Working Together To Reduce Surgical Complications
Connecticut hospitals traditionally considered competitors have been quietly teaming up to share techniques to reduce surgical infections and complications. The idea is to improve patient care and efficiency in a landscape of skyrocketing health care costs and pressure from the federal Affordable Care Act to improve performance. On Friday, surgeons, hospitals, health plan providers, physicians and politicians gathered at the state Capitol for a symposium to raise public awareness of hospitals' efforts to contain costs and to discuss challenges that lie ahead in health care reform (Merritt, 4/26).
HealthyCal: 'Show Me The Money'
Imagine taking a job without knowing how much you'll be paid. Or having your car fixed without knowing the cost. That's how state health insurers and our most vulnerable patients -- the old, sick, and poor -- feel about California's latest plan to squeeze them into a new managed care program that may be woefully unprepared for a transition scheduled for the fall (Perry, 4/28).
California Healthline: Legislature OKs First Special Session Bills
The Assembly and Senate yesterday voted to approve two similar bills that would reform the individual health insurance market and ban pre-existing conditions as a reason for denying health insurance. They are the first bills from the special session on health care reform to pass legislative floor votes. The bills now must pass a procedural vote by both houses of origination before heading to the governor's desk. The governor's office has expressed support for the bills, so both are expected to be signed into law (Gorn, 4/26).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.