State highlights: Complaint says Fla. plans tried to keep out AIDS patients; Ill. restores some Medicaid services; Fla. Gov. to sue feds

Published on May 30, 2014 at 8:17 AM · No Comments

Miami Herald:  Health Insurers Used High Drug Co-Pays To Discourage HIV/AIDS Patients From Enrolling
Four Florida insurance companies offering Affordable Care Act policies are discriminating against people with HIV or AIDS, according to two health-rights organizations that plan to file a formal complaint with the federal government Thursday. The complaint by the AIDS Institute and the National Health Law Program -- nonprofits advocating for the health rights of the poor and those living with chronic diseases -- cites CoventryOne, Cigna, Humana and Preferred Medical for creating prescription-drug policies that the groups say discourage people with HIV/AIDS from enrolling in their Florida healthcare marketplace plans (Borns, 5/29).  

The Associated Press:  Illinois House Restores Some Medicaid Services 
The Illinois House has voted to expand Medicaid despite Republican concerns about how to pay for it. Lawmakers voted 75-37 on Wednesday to restore funding for adult dental and podiatry services. Those services were cut in 2012 as a cost-saving measure. But Democratic Rep. Greg Harris says the cuts didn't save the state money because people wound up in the emergency room, where care is more expensive (5/28).  

Miami Herald:  Gov. Rick Scott To Sue Feds For Stonewalling State Health Inspectors From VA Hospitals 
Florida will sue the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because the agency is "stonewalling" state healthcare inspectors who have been denied access to veterans' hospitals, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday. The announcement sets up a legal fight between Florida officials who say they need access to VA facilities and records to protect veterans and VA leaders who insist no state has oversight of federal hospitals (5/28).

The New York Times: Cool And Calm At Center Of An E.R. Maelstrom In The Bronx
Dr. Jara has become an expert at juggling patients while running what may be the single busiest emergency room in New York City. As chairman of the emergency medicine department at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, he and his staff handled a staggering 173,000 visits in 2013, from patients who showed up with everything including gunshot wounds and chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes and hypertension. Many of them had no health insurance, no access to regular checkups and nowhere else to turn (Hu, 5/28).

Kaiser Health News: Georgia Looks To Reopen Some Closed Rural Hospitals As E.R.s
Four of Georgia's 65 rural hospitals have shut down over the past two years. A dozen more have cut services in response to shrinking budgets. There just wasn't enough money to keep Charlton Memorial going, says Doug Gowen, who stayed and is in charge of what's left of the defunct hospital. ... The state of Georgia just threw him a lifeline, offering a new kind of license to allow struggling hospitals and those that have closed in the past year to become rural freestanding emergency departments (Capelouto, 5/29).

Reuters:  Deadly 2012 Outbreak at 'Medical Spa' Linked To Workers 
Outbreaks of group A Streptococcus infections at weight loss clinics in Maryland and Delaware in 2012 were probably caused by poor infection control practices on the part of the staff, according to a new study. All of the patients had undergone liposuction, in which doctors suction excess fat out of the body using special surgical equipment. The outpatient treatment centers where they had the surgery were part of a chain of so-called medical spas, with licensed doctors or nurses, but not subject to state regulation (Doyle, 5/28).

MinnPost:  One Woman's Effort To Understand The Problem Of Nursing And Addiction 
Marie Manthey is celebrating 78 years of life, 37 years of recovery, and 50 years as a nursing administrator and care-delivery consultant. Her work is never done, not even now in semi-retirement, and she's more than OK with that. No. 1 on her to-do list these days is helping to found a nonprofit peer-support group for nurses who are struggling with substance use disorders. ... Though nurses are not statistically more likely than the general population to become addicted (about 1 in 10 for both), they have unusually high-risk and high-stress environments, easy access to painkillers, and "privileged access" to vulnerable people (Williams, 5/28).

The Associated Press:  Nebraska Hospital May Lose Medicare Funding After Patient Died
The Winnebago Indian Health Services Hospital in northeast Nebraska has been put on notice that it is set to lose Medicare funding within the next week, after an investigation found problems with the care of a patient who died there in April. A public notice from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says the hospital's Medicare agreement will be terminated June 4, the Sioux City Journal reported Wednesday. That means the hospital would no longer be reimbursed for treating patients enrolled in the health care program for the elderly and disabled (5/28).  

The Denver Post:  Denver Wins Grant From Drink-Makers To Combat Childhood Obesity 
A Denver pilot program focused on reducing childhood obesity will tap a $150,000 grant from a trade group representing the makers of sugary drinks. The program will enlist five to 10 child care centers in west Denver neighborhoods where children have among the highest obesity rates in the city, says the Denver Department of Environmental Health. The centers will get training and materials on ways to integrate healthy eating and active living into their programs from the University of Colorado School of Public Health (Murray, 5/28).  

WBUR: Report: Mass. Child Welfare Agency Underfunded, Understaffed 
The final report on the internal failings of the embattled Massachusetts Department of Children and Families concludes that the agency should not be held responsible for last year's death of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver. Released on Wednesday, the report -- written by the Child Welfare League of America at Gov. Deval Patrick's request -- also identifies continuing problems with the agency, including under-staffing and outdated policies and protocols (Pfeiffer, 5/28).  .


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis 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.

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