State highlights: Calif. counties stand to lose $2.5B as state shifts Medicaid costs; Odd bedfellows push for hospital payment equity in Mass.

Bloomberg: California Counties May Lose As Brown Shifts Health Costs
California counties may lose as much as $2.5 billion in state funding over the next three years for indigent health care as the state assumes responsibility under the federal Affordable Care Act, Gov. Jerry Brown said. The most populous U.S. state plans to cut $300 million this year from counties as its [Medicaid] program expands, Brown told local officials yesterday in Sacramento. The governor projected that figure will grow to $900 million next year and $1.3 billion in the year beginning in July 2015 (Nash, 5/29).

Boston Globe: New Push To End Inequities In Payments to Hospitals
An unusual alliance led by the state's fastest-growing health care company and its largest health care union will press for higher payments to community and safety net hospitals, saying Massachusetts faces a widening gulf between the quality of care in affluent and low-income areas. The group, the Massachusetts Healthcare Equality and Affordability League, is being launched Thursday by Steward Health Care System, a for-profit cluster of community hospitals, and Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 47,000 workers in the state (Weisman, 5/30).  

MPR News: Evaluating Mental Health Of Crime Suspects A Tough Task
Legislators in Minnesota and around the country have responded to recent mass shootings by passing laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of people who have mental illnesses and may be dangerous. Experts say most people with mental illness are non-violent. Still, each year in Minnesota, dozens of people accused of committing gun-related crimes are evaluated to determine if they are mentally competent enough to stand trial (Williams, 5/29). 

Idaho Statesman: Idaho Gov. Otter Wants More Personal Accountability In Medicaid 
Gov. Butch Otter wants to make it harder for people to benefit from Medicaid unless they make healthy choices. It's one of the options he's weighing as he ponders whether to add Idaho's poorest adults to the program. A plan in the works by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare carries the same theme -- personal responsibility -- but takes a different path (Dutton, 5/30).

Boston Globe: Mental Services For Teens Avert Cuts
Cambridge Health Alliance officials said Wednesday they will not shrink services to children and teens with acute mental illness this year, as they had planned. The hospital system backed off a proposal to consolidate psychiatry units serving children and teens and to cut the total number of beds from 27 to 16, a week after the state Department of Public Health issued a letter saying those services were critical to Eastern Massachusetts (Conaboy, 5/29).  

Oregonian: Oregon Hospitals Use 'Grass Roots' Group To Promote Tax
As a bill renewing the Oregon hospital tax became locked in late-session legislative brinksmanship earlier this month, a lobbying group representing hospitals mobilized support for the tax using a "grass roots" group it set up months ago. A May 13 e-mail went out to followers of the group Our Health Our Community, urging them to click on a link to send a letter to their lawmakers supporting the tax. "Without this bill, critical services to thousands of Oregonians are in danger of disappearing," it said (Budnick, 5/29).

Lund Report: Oregon Medical Association Backs ONA's Pay Equity Bill For Nurse Practitioners 
The Senate Health Committee has passed a nurse practitioner pay parity bill that has found consensus between the Oregon Medical Association and the Oregon Nurses Association, bringing to a resolution one of the most divisive issues in the state medical community this legislative session. "I'm so happy we have these two organizations up here in a very nice 'Kumbaya,'" said Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, the chairman of the Senate Health Committee, before the vote last week (Gray, 5/29). 

Health News Florida: Health Clinic Offers Free Care To Uninsured
For nearly 25 years, the Brandon Outreach Clinic has provided free health care to people who can't get care any other way. … Watts says about 80 percent of the people who call the clinic actually qualify for help somewhere else, either through the Hillsborough County Health Care Plan or Florida's Medicaid program (Watts, 5/30).

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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