State roundup: Fraud crackdowns, searching for more doctors, immigrant health care

Chicago Tribune: Quinn To Obama: Illinois Moving Ahead On Medicaid Fraud Crackdown
Illinois Democrats running state government have waited more than a year to win federal approval for a new plan to fight fraud in the health program for 2.7 million of the state's poorest residents. Facing increasing Republican pressure to put reforms in place, this week Quinn's team told the Obama administration that Illinois will wait no longer. ... [The] Healthcare and Family Services Department will start matching addresses of people enrolled in Medicaid against Illinois secretary of state driving records to ensure that care for the poor is going to people who actually live in Illinois (Long and Groeninger, 2/9).

KQED's State of Health blog: Medicare Fraud With A Twist
Two Los Angeles fraudsters, Eduard Aslanyan and Carolyn Vasquez, not only fraudulently used patient information, but also stole the identities of doctors themselves. ... Aslanyan and Vasquez submitted more than $18.9 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare (Aliferis, 2/9).

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: State Mobilizes To Restore Full Health Coverage For Legal Immigrants
The state is ready to resume full health coverage next month for the first group of legal immigrants who won a lawsuit in January. The state's highest court said Massachusetts must offer low income legal immigrants the same insurance options it offers full citizens. Almost 13,000 residents who are on a limited coverage plan will be eligible for full coverage March 1st (Bebinger, 2/9).

San Francisco Chronicle: UCSF Still May Do Jesus Navarro Kidney Transplant
UCSF Medical Center officials on Thursday said they would perform a kidney transplant operation on an Oakland man who had accused the medical center of denying him a kidney transplant because of his immigration status. But the hospital said Jesus Navarro must prove he can pay for his medications and follow-up care after surgery. Navarro, a 35-year-old father and illegal immigrant suffering from kidney disease, has received national attention (Colliver, 2/10).

California Healthline: Health Care May Play Part in California Political Makeover
This year could bring a sea change in California politics. Reshuffled congressional districts, new election rules and some key retirements set the stage for potentially significant changes in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento. A couple of key health care issues -- a controversial Medicare proposal in Congress and a state ballot initiative to regulate health insurance premiums -- could play a part in how those changes come to pass if they become volatile campaign issues (Lauer, 2/9). 

Los Angeles Times: Inmate Advocates Question State's Commitment To Prison Healthcare
The judge who once said California's dismal prison medical care constituted cruel and unusual punishment now says federal control could soon end. ... But advocates for inmates and some medical officials question whether the system will continue to improve without federal oversight (Megerian, 2/10).

The Texas Tribune: Key Players Drive Texas Medical Board's Stem Cell Rules
In draft rules floated in August and again in November, the [Texas Medical Board] suggested the [stem cell] treatment could only be offered if it was likely to have a favorable outcome. And it proposed patient consent forms listing the risks and benefits of the treatment ... But by last month, those elements had been stripped from the proposed rules ... What happened in between, records obtained from the medical board show, was an aggressive campaign by key industry leaders, an interested lawmaker and university researchers (Ramshaw, 2/9). 

The Texas Tribune/The New York Times: Fighting For Austin Med School
(State Sen. Kirk) Watson told them he wants to build a full-fledged medical program in Austin within 10 years, part of a larger health-related initiative. And he has pursued an unconventional route to that goal, forming an organizing committee with community institutions to develop public-private partnerships. ... The Texas Medical Association has warned of a critical shortage of doctors available to treat the state's fast-growing population (Tan, 2/10).

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: Why We Need More Minority Doctors
Dr. Alden Landry practices emergency medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, but he's more than just a doctor -; he's helping lead the movement to diversify medicine.  ... Later this month, Dr. Landry will join four other doctors, four medical students, a dentist, and a health professions advisor on a bus tour to five historically black colleges and universities in the South where he and the team will hold sessions about applying to medical school (Siddiqui, 2/9).

Kaiser Health News: Mass. Nurse-Midwives No Longer Need Physician OK To Practice
Under a new state law, nurse-midwives do not have to practice under a physician's supervision. Instead, they will be required to practice within a health care system and have a clinical relationship with an obstetrician-gynecologist (Barr, 2/9).

Medscape: Court Overturns Georgia Law Limiting Assisted Suicide
The Georgia Supreme Court this week unanimously held that a law limiting some assisted suicides is unconstitutional because it violates free speech rights. The ruling means that criminal felony charges will be dropped against 84-year-old retired anesthesiologist Lawrence Egbert, MD, from Baltimore, Maryland, and 3 other members of the Final Exit Network, a group that offers support to people who want to end their lives (Crane, 2/9).

The Connecticut Mirror: Concerned About A Senior? Call The Gatekeepers
[The Gatekeeper Program] aims to connect seniors who need assistance with programs that could help them, including medical, social and mental health services. It relies on neighbors, family, mail carriers, hairdressers and others who encounter seniors to make referrals, then dispatches social workers to assess the situation and refer people to any services that are appropriate (Levin Becker, 2/9).

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.Net.
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