Aug 28, 2012
News outlets report on health policy news in California, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, Ohio, and Texas.
The Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle: Ohio Takes Steps To Better Coordinate Medical Care
Ohio is one step closer to implementing changes aimed at better coordinating medical care for some of the state’s sickest and most expensive patients. Gov. John Kasich’s administration wants to streamline the way health care is delivered to Ohioans enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare. The state submitted a plan this spring to the federal government to better coordinate care for almost 114,000 so-called “dual-eligible” individuals living in seven urban regions (Sanner, 8/27).
Fox Business/Dow Jones: Ohio Chooses Insurers Including Aetna, Molina To Cover ‘Dual-Eligible’ Patients
The state of Ohio has selected a handful of insurers including Aetna Inc. (AET), Molina Healthcare Inc. (MOH) and Centene Corp. (CNC) to divide up coverage of high-cost patients who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare starting next year. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services also picked UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) and an alliance between the nonprofit health plan CareSource and Humana Inc. (HUM), according to details issued on a state website. The five selected plans will divide coverage of about 114,000 “dual-eligible” patients in Ohio under a demonstration plan that will begin enrolling people April 1 (8/27).
(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Dayton Seeks Medicaid Changes That Could Save $151 Million Over 5 Years
The Dayton administration is asking the federal government to approve changes to Minnesota’s Medicaid program that could save the state $151 million over five years. The changes would include getting the federal government to pay for the mental health care that many receive at the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center. That change alone would save $30.7 million during the state’s current two-year budget cycle and $89 million over five years, according to a fact sheet issue by Dayton on Monday, August 27 (Snowbeck, 8/27).
The Associated Press: Ashland Community Hospital Loses $2.5 Million In Fiscal Year, Will Try To Join San Francisco’s Dignity Health
The Ashland (Ore.) Community Hospital says it lost $2.5 million in the last fiscal year. Officials say the loss was expected and shows why the hospital board is negotiating to join the San Francisco hospital system Dignity Health. The Ashland hospital’s development director, Janet Troy, attributed most of the loss to unreimbursed costs associated with treating Medicare and Medicaid patients, other unpaid medical bills and charity care (8/27).
Modern Healthcare/Crain’s Chicago Business: Cook County Hospital Makes Big Bet Big On Medicaid Expansion
For Dr. Ramanathan Raju, the only thing worse than patients without insurance is not having enough of them. The CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System is counting on a massive expansion of Medicaid to boost annual revenue 11 percent, to $712 million, for the fiscal year that begins Dec. 1. With the added revenue, officials hope to cover a projected $152 million shortfall while holding steady taxpayers’ annual subsidy to the financially strapped public health care network (Schorsch, 8/27).
The Washington Post: Some Texas Counties Want Medicaid Dollars
This is not shaping up as a dream week for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Monday morning headlines state the obvious: He won’t be playing a major role at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Meanwhile back home, there’s a small-scale mutiny afoot as some larger counties are openly resisting Perry’s pushback against President Obama’s plan to expand Medicaid as part of health care reform (Stahl, 8/27).
California Healthline: One More Shot To Keep Healthy Families
Over the weekend, legislators came up with two new bills designed to keep the Healthy Families program intact. California’s version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program is slated for elimination. The 873,000 children in the program are scheduled to be shifted to Medi-Cal managed care plans. Almost half of them — about 415,000 children — are scheduled to begin the transition Jan. 1. The transition timeline was too rapid for many legislators. The two new bills would halt the transition, for now (Gorn, 8/28).
California Healthline: Why Basic Health Plan Failed And Why COOPs May Succeed
No one knows exactly what the Basic Health Program would have looked like in California — and now we’ll likely never know. The state Legislature recently shelved the idea by relegating SB 703, by Senate Health Committee Chair Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), to the “holding committee” in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. That effectively killed the bill. Meanwhile, another Assembly measure (AB 1846), by Assembly Member Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park), would establish a legal framework to set up Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (COOPs). That proposal, like BHP, is an option under the federal health reform law with a lot of questions surrounding it. Unlike BHP, the COOPs bill is a floor vote away from the governor’s desk and appears to have widespread support (Gorn, 8/27).
This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.