Highlights: New health care oversight laws in Md.; Texas hospitals negotiate over uncompensated care payments; Colo. considers psychiatric hospital for homeless

Published on May 4, 2013 at 1:30 PM · No Comments

A selection of health policy stories from Maryland, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, California, Oregon, Florida and Massachusetts.

The Washington Post: Three New Md. Health Laws Offer More Patient Protection
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed three laws Thursday that will give more protection for patients. The measures provide more state oversight of cosmetic surgery centers, pharmacies that make sterile medications and staffing agencies that find temporary jobs for health care professionals (Sun, 5/2).

Texas Tribune: Public, Private Hospitals To Negotiate With Dewhurst
Officials from more than a dozen hospital systems -- some private, some public -- will gather at the Capitol with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Friday afternoon to try to iron out a solution to how they are reimbursed for uncompensated care. ... The House version of the budget includes a rider private hospitals support: It calls for the state to fully maintain the Disproportionate Share Hospital program, or DSH, under which the state's large public hospital systems use local taxpayer dollars to draw down federal matching money to cover indigent care at both public and private hospitals. The Senate version of the budget, preferred by the public hospitals, does not contain such a measure (Ramshaw, 5/2).

Kaiser Health News: Colorado Weighs Reopening A Psychiatric Hospital To Serve The Homeless
Last summer's mass shooting at the movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., led Gov. John Hickenlooper to call for stricter gun control and big new investments in mental health care. Several significant gun bills passed, and a package of mental health reforms are moving forward, but there may not be enough support to win funding for 300 new in-patient psychiatric beds (Whitney, 5/2).

The New York Times: Park Slope Food Co-op Takes Up New Cause: Saving A Hospital
In a letter written "on behalf of the 16,000 members" of the co-op, its general manager, Joseph Holtz, and a member, Dr. Saul Melman, call on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to "take a leadership role" in developing a plan to save the money-losing hospital, known as LICH, which serves a large swath of food co-op territory from its perch in Cobble Hill in northern Brooklyn (Hartocollis, 5/2).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: NJ Gov. Signs Good Samaritan Bill to Help Overdose Victims; Bon Jovi Says It Will Be Lifesaver
The New Jersey law seeks to assure timely medical treatment for overdose victims by encouraging people to seek help without fear of being arrested for drug possession (5/2).

The Associated Press: CA Prison Mental Health Spends More On Anti-Psychotic Meds Than Other States
California's prison mental health system has been spending far more on anti-psychotic drugs than other states with large prison systems, raising questions about whether patients are receiving proper treatment. While the amount has been decreasing in recent years, anti-psychotics still account for nearly $1 of every $5 spent on pharmaceuticals purchased for the state prison system, according to figures compiled by The Associated Press (Thompson, 5/2).

The Lund Report: Nurse Practitioners And Chiropractors Want More Workers' Comp Patients
People who suffer an injury on the job will get better access to a nurse practitioner or their favored chiropractor under a Senate bill that should become law. Senate Bill 533 extends the time that a nurse practitioner can provide services to an injured worker from 90 days to 180 days; it also allows injured workers to use their regular doctor or chiropractor, even if the provider is not a member of the worker's assigned managed care organization (Gray, 5/2).

Texas Tribune/KUT News: Bill Would Give Foster Kids a Say in Medication Use (Audio)
Texas lawmakers are weighing a bill that would allow some teenagers in foster care to refuse medication. The legislation comes amid reports that despite recent reforms, rates of psychotropic drug use among Texas foster children remains high (Zaragovia, 5/2).

Health News Florida: Hospital Chain Under SEC Investigation
Fast-growing Health Management Associates has received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Naples-based hospital company told  investors on Thursday. HMA was already under investigation by the Justice Department, a probe announced last summer that allegedly involved emergency room admissions. Now the SEC wants information on the chain's accounting practices. The agency asked for documents related to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, the company said in a news release (Gentry, 5/3).

Boston Globe: Beth Israel Deaconess, Cambridge Health To Partner
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Boston hospital aggressively courting health providers in the suburbs, has formed a partnership with Cambridge Health Alliance, the two hospital systems announced Thursday. The collaboration gives doctors with the Cambridge health system greater bargaining power with health insurance companies and a formal relationship with a major teaching hospital that provides many services they do not, such as advanced cancer care and neurosurgery (Conaboy, 5/3).

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