A selection of health policy news from Mississippi, Kansas, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Colorado.
The Associated Press: Miss. Governor Says He Could Run Medicaid Program
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he thinks he can run Medicaid even if lawmakers don't reauthorize the program or set its budget by the time the state's new fiscal year starts July 1. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported Bryant's remarks and said he spoke about Medicaid after taking part in a tourism event at the state Capitol (5/9).
Kansas Health Institute: More Than 1,000 Rally At Statehouse For DD Carve-Out
A Statehouse rally today that coincided with the start of the Legislature's wrap-up session drew about 1,100 people from across the state to protest Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to include long-term supports for the developmentally disabled in KanCare. ... [Protestors] at the rally did not believe that the insurance companies hired by the state to manage its Medicaid program had the experience to handle long-term services for the developmentally disabled (Shields, 5/8).
Los Angeles Times: California Ranks 11th In Hospitals With A Grades For Safety
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center improved slightly from an F to a D in a national hospital safety report released Wednesday, while Cedars-Sinai Medical Center stayed at a C grade. Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit health care quality organization, based the scores on an analysis of infections, injuries, medication errors and other problems that cause patient harm or death. The organization publicizes the scores in an effort to inform patients and reduce safety problems, said Leah Binder, its president and chief executive (Gorman, 5/8).
The Associated Press: SF Eateries Pay $845K To Settle Health Care Claims
San Francisco's city attorney says his office has recovered nearly $845,000 from 19 restaurants that allegedly charged customers for the cost of complying with the city's universal health care law but did not use most of the money for that purpose. City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Wednesday that the money had come from eateries that took advantage of a one-time amnesty program his office announced in January (5/8).
Georgia Health News: A Prescription To A Fun Place Could Be A Lifesaver
Overweight patients are being encouraged to take a walk, if not a hike. A unique collaboration between the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants (GAPA) and Georgia State Parks seeks to promote physical fitness in a fresh-air way. For a day trip to one of Georgia's state parks, there's normally a $5 parking fee. But nowadays, physician assistants in the state can hand out "Rx For Fitness" prescriptions that allow that charge to be waived (Kanne, 5/8).
MPR News: Growth Continues At Mayo Clinic's Three Campuses
In his pitch to state legislators for $500 million to help Mayo Clinic with its $5 billion expansion, Mayo Clinic President and CEO Dr. John Noseworthy has repeatedly said if Minnesota does not provide a taxpayer subsidy, other states would be eager for Mayo Clinic to expand. Two of the most logical places would be Florida and Arizona, where existing Mayo Clinic campuses are growing steadily. Mayo Clinic is investing hundreds of millions of dollars at all three of its campuses to strengthen each as a major regional medical hub (Baier, 5/8).
HealthyCal: Ballot-Mandated Drug Treatment Cut, Despite Success
In 2000, California voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 36, a ballot measure that offers non-violent drug offenders treatment instead of jail. But now the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act is on life support, if not altogether dead, despite data that shows it has saved taxpayers money and tamped down recidivism among its participants (Urevich, 5/9).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Assembly Passes Measure That Changes What Doctors Must Tell Patients For Diagnoses
The Assembly approved a bill Wednesday changing the standard for what doctors must tell patients when they diagnose them, which Republicans said was necessary in light of a state Supreme Court decision that they see as creating too many problems. Also, the Assembly passed a bill that would delay trials in cases where people are exposed to asbestos. Both measures now go to the Senate, which like the Assembly is controlled by Republicans (Marley, 5/8).
Boston Globe: Massachusetts To Require Labs To Test Marijuana For Medicinal Use
Massachusetts is the first state that will require independent labs to test the safety and quality of marijuana sold for medical use, under final rules that regulators unanimously approved Wednesday. The tests will screen for contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and mold. They will also identify and measure the active chemical compounds in the marijuana (Lazar, 5/9).
Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Pedaling For Health
In an ambitious new health agenda, Gov. John Hickenlooper is pledging to cut the number of uninsured people in Colorado by 520,000, prevent 150,000 Coloradans from becoming obese and reduce Medicaid costs by $280 million. Hickenlooper this week released a report called The State of Health as part of his commitment to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. … The report centers on four key areas of focus: wellness and prevention, expanding health access and coverage, improving health systems and boosting value while cutting costs (Kerwin McCrimmon, 5/8).
This 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.