Roundup: Texas spends $1.25M fighting federal government; Minn. doctor training money slashed; Kan. seeks to cut nursing home population

News outlets report on a variety of health policy issues in Texas, Minnesota, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.

The Texas Tribune: Interactive: The Cost Of Texas Vs. The Federal Government
What are Texas' lawsuits against the federal government costing the state? $1.25 million and counting. This interactive breaks down the costs of the 24 lawsuits that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has brought against the federal government during his 10 years in office. ... [T]wo recently filed lawsuits, involving the Women's Health Program and the so-called Contraception Rule, are included in the graph but don't show any associated costs. Lawyers and other staff members have not yet filed billing reports for their work (Aaronson, 4/17).

The Dallas Morning News: Texas Health Aims To Transform Care With Healthways Partnership
Texas Health Resources, one of the largest health care providers in North Texas, wants its patients to become active participants in their well-being rather than just consumers of health services. Such collaboration, Texas Health says, will make people healthier and reduce overall health care spending, which now absorbs roughly one-sixth of the nation's gross domestic product. To help accomplish that goal, the Arlington-based health system will announce on Tuesday a 10-year agreement with Healthways that Texas Health says will transform the way it delivers care (Jacobson, 4/17).

Minnesota Public Radio: State Funds For Medical Training In Limbo
State and federal funds pay most of the training costs for doctors. But in reaching a budget deal last summer to resolve the state government shutdown, Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders slashed training funds from about $58 million to about $31 million. Health leaders say it's important to restore the funding because to have enough doctors, Minnesota must ... train its own (Dunbar, 4/16).

Georgia Health News: For Uninsured Georgians, Specialty Care Can Be Hard To Come By
Primary care is cheaper and can be obtained at a retail clinic, a doctor's office, a charity clinic or a community health center. ... Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy organization, says that for many uninsured Georgia adults, specialty care services are virtually non-existent, because these people usually don't have the cash to pay upfront (Miller, 4/16). 

Kansas Health Institute News: New Policy Aims To Reduce Number Of Kansans In Nursing Homes
The Kansas Department on Aging has put together a list of 800 nursing home residents who officials believe might be able to move to less expensive, less institutional settings. ... Kansas, with its disproportionately elderly population, has a higher percentage of people in full-care nursing homes than all but a handful of other states. KDoA officials have pledged to pay the case manager's employer $2,000 for each Medicaid-funded nursing home resident who is able to move out of the nursing home (Ranney, 4/16). 

Boston Globe: Partners In Talks With Hallmark Health
For obvious reasons, Partners Healthcare System Inc. sat on the sidelines during the early innings of the hospital merger and acquisition binge in Massachusetts. The nonprofit medical giant was already seen as too big and powerful to win state permission to expand another inch by acquisition. The presumptive response from Attorney General Martha Coakley to any such idea could be summed up in three words: No, no, no. But the rules may be changing. Partners is at the center of three potential health care deals that have already been disclosed. Now this: Partners is in talks with Hallmark Health System about yet another possible combination (Syre, 4/17).

Reuters: Molina Protests Ohio Medicaid Contract Loss
Molina Healthcare Inc said on Monday it filed a formal protest of a decision by the state of Ohio not to renew its Medicaid contract. Molina shares plunged 25 percent earlier this month after the state said the company was not among five plans selected to serve Ohio's Medicaid health care program for the poor (Kelly, 4/16).

The Miami Herald/News Service of Florida: Number Of Children On Medicaid Grows In Florida
The number of children covered through Medicaid, Florida Healthy Kids and other state health programs hit two million in March, according to totals released Monday by Florida KidCare. That was the first time the combined enrollment reached that level (4/16).

WBUR's CommonHealth blog: For Decisions On Dying, Today's The Day
Consider: Who do you want responsible for making decisions for you in case you're ill? ... Do you want aggressive treatments to prolong life or palliative care to provide comfort measures, increasing the quality of life in your final days? ... National Healthcare Decisions Day encourages people to fill out an advance directive (Siddiqui, 4/16).

Related, earlier KHN story: Oregon Emphasizes Choices At Life's End (Foden-Vencil, 3/8). 

MSNBC/PhillyBurbs: Bill Would Guarantee That Health Professionals Can Share Fracking Info
A Pennsylvania senator plans to introduce a bill this week that would give doctors explicit permission to share "trade secret" fracking chemicals with patients and others, including the public in the event of a health emergency. In its current form, Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Delaware/Montgomery, believes the law "effectively" bars health care professionals from sharing critical information with patients and leads to "unnecessary confusion" (Ciavaglia, 4/17).

California Healthline: State Wins Case to Cut Adult Day Provider Rates
After four similar cases went against the state in the past few months, the Department of Health Care Services won in court late Friday, when a federal judge refused to issue a preliminary injunction against Medi-Cal cutbacks. The lawsuit, brought by the Adult Day Health Care Association, challenged the department's plan to cut Medi-Cal provider rates by 10 percent (Gorn, 4/17).

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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