State roundup: Health officials in Calif. draw high pay

News outlets examine a variety of state health policy issues.

The Associated Press: Kan. Abortion Rules Spur Fear Over Patient Privacy
Abortion-rights supporters worried Tuesday that regulations Kansas is trying to enact would give the state health department unfettered access to patient medical records and suggested it could endanger the privacy of women who have terminated pregnancies (Hanna, 7/5).

Los Angeles Times: California Pays More Than 1,400 Workers In Excess Of $200,000
More than 1,400 state employees were paid in excess of $200,000 last year, according to compensation data made public for the first time Tuesday on Controller John Chiang's website. Of those, 790 were prison doctors, dentists or nurses. More than 300 others were psychiatrists and other medical professionals working for the Department of Mental Health (Dolan, 7/6).

San Francisco Chronicle: Hundreds Of Calif. State Workers Earn 6 Figures
As California's elected leaders took drastic steps to cut spending last year, the state was paying hundreds of its workers six-figure earnings that far exceeded base salaries, according to newly released compensation data for public employees. The data, compiled by state Controller John Chiang, show that more than 500 state employees made more than $240,000 before taxes in 2010. The controller listed last year's pay for all 256,222 state workers on his website, but did not include their names. At least nine state workers made more than $500,000 last year -- most of them prison doctors and other medical staff. The top 10 earners, combined, collected more than $5.8 million in 2010 (Lagos, 7/6). 

Des Moines Register: Iowa Drug Donation Program Growing
Shipments of unused prescriptions fill the back room of the Iowa Prescription Drug Corporation, ready to be inspected and sent to Iowans who can't afford their medications. A few years ago, those piles of medications would have been destroyed. The Iowa Prescription Drug Repository Program aims to eliminate that waste, while helping Iowans get the medications they need to avoid costly hospitalizations. The program has helped more than 15,700 Iowans since it began in 2007, said Jon Rosmann, executive director of the Iowa Prescription Drug Corporation, which administers the program through the Iowa Department of Public Health (Villanueva-Whitman, 7/5). 

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Nevada Workers Lacking Coverage
Nevada employers are paying less of their workers' health insurance premiums, causing more employees to pass on coverage. That's part of a national decline in employer coverage that health care reform law may help reverse, according to new research. Increased costs for workers has been one of the reasons 7.3 million fewer people in the U.S. get coverage through employer health insurance plans now than a decade ago, said Lynn Blewett, a professor at the State Health Access Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota (Miller, 7/6). 

The Associated Press: Ind. AG Says WellPoint To Pay $100K Over Data Breach
Health insurer WellPoint Inc. will pay $100,000 fine and take other steps after admitting it waited months to notify 32,000 Indiana customers that their Social Security numbers, health records and other personal information might have been exposed online, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Tuesday. The Indianapolis-based parent of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield also agreed to provide up to two years of credit monitoring and identity-theft protection to 32,000 affected Indiana consumers and reimburse them up to $50,000 each for any breach-related losses under the agreement filed last week in Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis, Zoeller said (7/5). 

Stateline: Arizona Medicaid Cuts To Go Into Effect
Arizona's generous Medicaid program will become significantly less generous this Friday (July 8), when the state will begin denying health insurance coverage to childless adults, Capitol Media Services reports. An estimated 100,000 residents will be affected in the first year alone (Gramlich, 7/6).  

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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