State Roundup: Court To Hear Calif. Inmate Mental Health Case

Topics: Hospitals, States, Medicaid, Mental Health, Insurance, Politics

Mar 27, 2013

News outlets report on health care developments in California, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Texas.

The Associated Press: Court Considers Calif. Prison Mental Health Care
A federal judge in Sacramento is set to hear arguments Wednesday over Gov. Jerry Brown’s push to regain state control of inmate mental health care after 18 years of federal oversight and billions of dollars spent to improve treatment. Lawyers representing the state argue that California is now providing a constitutional level of care to its prison inmates, while attorneys for the inmates say more improvement is needed (Thompson, 3/27).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: La. Health Secretary A No-Show At His Department’s Budget Hearing Amid Ongoing Investigations
Lawmakers seeking more information about the Jindal administration’s cancellation of a nearly $200 million Medicaid contract amid an ongoing criminal investigation were told Tuesday that administration leaders were advised against discussing it. The now-scrapped contract for Medicaid claims processing and bill payment had been awarded to CNSI, a Maryland-based company that once employed Gov. Bobby Jindal’s health secretary, Bruce Greenstein (3/26).

Kaiser Health News: Economic Changes Hurt The Bottom Line For Rural Ga. Hospitals
In the small Georgia town of Demorest, Habersham Medical Center, like many rural hospitals, has seen its patient base change in a way that hurts its bottom line. As unemployment in the northeast Georgia mountains remains stubbornly high, more of the hospital’s patients have no health insurance. Among those patients with private coverage, an increasing number have high-deductible policies, which means that patients must pay all or a large portion of the bills out of pocket. And a large share of patients have Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people that often doesn’t reimburse enough to cover the cost of services, hospital officials say (Miller, 3/27).

The Texas Tribune: House Budget Spends More On Schools, Less On Medicaid
More than $1.6 billion and disagreements on how much Texas should spend on public education and Medicaid separate the budgets proposed by the House and Senate. The Senate budget proposal, passed 29-2 by the upper chamber last week, spends $195.5 billion, a 2.9 percent increase from the current two-year budget (Batheja, 3/27).

The New York Times: Plan To Allow Investment In 2 Hospitals Is Dropped
A proposal to allow for-profit investment in two hospitals in New York State has been dropped from the budget, an unexpected setback to a push to open health care systems to private investors for the first time (Bernstein, 3/26).

Pioneer Press: Legislative Auditor Assails MinnesotaCare Verifications
The state Department of Human Services has failed for years to comply with federal and state requirements to verify income and Social Security numbers reported by recipients of MinnesotaCare health insurance, the legislative auditor concluded in a report released Tuesday, March 26. The requirements are in place to guard against fraud (Belden, 3/26).

MPR News: Possible Fairview Health Takeover Raises Alarms
University of Minnesota officials are raising concerns over a possible merger between Fairview Health Services and South Dakota-based Sanford Health. Sanford, which has facilities in eight states, has expanded into parts of Minnesota in recent years. Fairview controls the University of Minnesota’s hospital. “The university educates and trains about 70 percent of the medical doctors in Minnesota, We are the only school in Minnesota that has schools of dentistry and pharmacy,” said Mark Rotenberg general counsel for the university (Mador, 3/26).

MPR News: Mayo’s Saint Marys Hospital A Priority For Expansion
Saint Marys Hospital is usually a busy place, so much so that it is chronically short of administrative and research space. Doctors hustle across the Mayo Clinic hospital, which extends more than a city block, and emergency room nurses push carts from one patient room to another. Shared offices are the norm. … To solve its space woes, the Mayo Clinic plans to spend $3 billion to expand in Rochester in the next 20 years. It’s asking the state of Minnesota to pitch in $500 million to pay for public parking, transportation, transit, utilities and other improvements. (Baier, 3/27).

The Oregonian: Washington Health Care Bills That Would Benefit Vancouver Residents Move Out Of Committee
The House Health Care and Wellness Committee on Tuesday approved two bills aimed at making health care easier to obtain for those who live in border communities like Vancouver. Senate Bill 5524 would allow Washington pharmacists to fill prescriptions written by out-of-state physician assistants. Currently, Washington pharmacies may fill prescriptions written by doctors, dentists and others who are not licensed in the state. The legislation would expand this list to include physician assistants (Marum, 3/26).

The University campus of the University of Min...

The University campus of the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

State Roundup: Federal Audit Calls For N.Y. Medicaid Program To Repay Funds

English: Newsroom of the New York Times

English: Newsroom of the New York Times (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Delivery of Care, Health Costs, Hospitals, Medicaid, Mental Health, Politics, Women’s Health, States

Mar 26, 2013

News outlets report on health care developments in California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Texas.

Boston Globe: Report Hails Mass. Biotech Spending As Job Creator
Halfway through a decade of investment promised by Governor Deval Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion life-sciences initiative, launched in 2008, the state has spent only about a third of the money targeted to promote the biotechnology and medical device industries in Massachusetts. But the authors of a report set to be released Tuesday by the Boston Foundation, a philanthropic group, say the effort has helped stimulate a key sector of the state’s economy, creating more than 8,000 jobs through capital grants, tax incentives, and business loans. They urge state government leaders to continue funding the initiative in the face of stepped-up competition from other life-sciences hubs, such as California, Maryland, and New Jersey (Weisman, 3/26).

The New York Times: U.S. Wants State To Pay After Audit Of Youth Care
In another critical assessment of New York’s multibillion-dollar Medicaid program, a federal audit says the state improperly claimed $27.5 million in reimbursements for services to mentally ill and emotionally disturbed children and teenagers (McKinley, 3/26).

The New York Times: Caregiver For Disabled People Sues New York State
A New York State-employed caregiver for people with developmental disabilities sued the state on Monday, accusing it of retaliating against him for whistle-blowing. The employee, Jeffrey Monsour, has brought to light a number of questionable practices by the state, as varied as routinely falsifying fire drills and turning a blind eye toward abuse of those in the state’s system of care for people with developmental disabilities. He was one of the people interviewed and featured in a 2011 series of articles by The New York Times examining problems of abuse and corruption within the system (Hakim, 3/25).

Georgia Health News: Senate Limits Abortion Coverage In State Health Plan
A bill that would allow the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to provide its own insurance plan added an amendment Monday that would restrict abortion coverage for state employees. The amended legislation passed on a 34-15 vote in the Republican-dominated Senate. It would bar coverage for abortion in the 650,000-plus-member State Health Benefit Plan. The only exception would be for situations in which the life of the mother is in danger or it’s needed “due to the mother’s medical necessity.” The bill still must be reconciled with the House version of the legislation, which does not address abortion (Miller, 3/26).

The Texas Tribune: Senate Approves Overhaul Of Long-Term Medicaid Care
The Texas Senate unanimously approved an overhaul of long-term and acute care Medicaid services on Monday in an effort to expand care to more Texans with disabilities while saving millions of state dollars. … SB 7 is expected to save $8.5 million in Medicaid costs in the 2014-15 biennium by expanding managed care services, establishing pilot programs to try to provide services at capitated costs and implementing measures to ensure more efficient monitoring of services (Aaronson, 3/25).

Health Policy Solutions: Colorado Third State To Ban Discrimination Against LGBT Patients
Colorado is the third state to prohibit discrimination in health coverage. California and Oregon have barred the practice along with the District of Columbia. The federal Affordable Care Act calls for equity in LGBT health care, but very few states have taken action thus far to codify these rights (Kerwin McCrimmon, 3/25).

San Jose Mercury News: Fremont’s Washington Hospital: Joint Replacement Patients, Doctors Excluded From New Facility
When Robert Cantley needed both knees replaced in August, he was expecting to recover from the surgery at Washington Hospital’s fancy, new $42.7 million Center for Joint Replacement. According to hospital marketing brochures, the center offered “A Higher Level of Care” in a 20,000-square-foot space featuring 25 private patient rooms, a “breathtaking physical therapy space” and a beautifully landscaped therapy garden. Instead, Cantley did his physical therapy sessions in a dimly lit hallway on the sixth floor of the main hospital in what he described as “a miserable set of circumstances.” What Cantley and many other patients at the public hospital didn’t know was that access to the new center, the only facility of its kind in the Bay Area, is restricted to just two orthopedic surgeons at the hospital — the only ones on the Washington staff who met 24 criteria set by the hospital (McGlone, 3/25).

North Carolina Health News: Medicaid Schools’ Tout High Numbers Of Primary Care Grads, But The Numbers Tell A Different Story
Medical schools in North Carolina are touting the high numbers of students they graduate who go on to primary care specialties. But those numbers aren’t the whole story. … In North Carolina, numbers released by the state’s four medical schools claim that from each, upwards of 42 percent of students will be headed into primary care. But Morris-Singer said matching for primary care doesn’t mean those doctors will practice in primary care (Hoban, 3/26).

California Healthline: California Rural Health Association Closes Shop
The California State Rural Health Association, a unifying voice for the state’s disparate rural health care providers for almost two decades, has laid off staff and closed its Sacramento office. The 16-member board of directors hopes to keep the trade association alive and active, “but it’s becoming more difficult in this environment,” said Dave Jones, president of the volunteer board (Lauer, 3/25).

State Roundup: Nurses Press For Broader Responsibilities

Issues in Mental Health Nursing

Issues in Mental Health Nursing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: States, Hospitals, Women’s Health, Public Health, Mental Health

Mar 25, 2013

A selection of health policy stories from California, New York, Maryland and Texas.

The Washington Post: Nurses Can Practice Without Physician Supervision In Many States
For years, nurses have been subordinate to doctors — both in the exam room and the political arena. But aided by new allies ranging from AARP to social workers to health-policy experts, nursing groups are pressing ahead in a controversial bid to persuade state lawmakers to shift the balance of power (Aizenman, 3/24).

Baltimore Sun: Bill Would Offer More Protection To Pregnant Workers
When Peggy Young became pregnant with her third child, she said a supervisor told her she was a liability and not to come back to work as a UPS package delivery driver in Landover [Md.] until she had the baby … Her midwife had written a letter saying she couldn’t lift more than 20 pounds, but Young said she was willing to do her regular duties if management wouldn’t give her less strenuous work. Young sued UPS six years ago for discrimination and to recoup money for lost health benefits the company denied her while not working, but lost. Most recently, judges in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against her in January, saying there was no discrimination. Young plans to petition the Supreme Court, but in the meantime, her case caught the eye of Maryland lawmakers who hope to remedy the problem at the state level (Walker, 3/22).

The Associated Press: Calif. Wants Control Of Prison Mental Health Care
Nearly two decades after a court takeover of California’s prison mental health system, a federal judge is set to consider this week whether the billions of dollars invested by California taxpayers have improved conditions enough that he can return control to the state. Gov. Jerry Brown has aggressively moved to end the long-running lawsuit (3/23).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Town Eyes Hospital Reopening Months After Sandy
Of the more than half-dozen hospitals in the New York area forced to close because of damage from Superstorm Sandy, only one has yet to reopen, idling hundreds of workers for months and forcing thousands of residents to travel farther for emergency health care (3/23).

Baltimore Sun: Fort Meade VA Outpatient Clinic Advances Effort To Serve Women Veterans
When retired Master Sgt. Sheryl A. Webb left the U.S. Army in 1997, she was scarcely aware of services that U.S. Veterans Administration hospitals offered specifically for women. That was well before women became the fastest growing demographic group within the U.S. veteran population, and before VA hospital officials made a concerted effort to get the word out about its women’s services. On Friday, Webb marveled as she walked through the Women Veteran’s Clinic inside the new $4.7 million Fort Meade VA Outpatient clinic. … The clinic provides veterans with outpatient medical care, preventive health and education services, screenings, social work and mental health clinics, as well as referrals to specialized programs and inpatient services (Burris, 3/24).

The Texas Tribune: Communities, State Lawmakers Take Aim At Obesity Rates
With obesity rates still soaring in parts of the state, lawmakers and local communities are looking at ways to combat the health crisis, especially among the state’s fast-growing Hispanic population (Zaragovia, 3/25).

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.

Colorado, Maryland Make Progress On How To Fund State-Run Health Exchanges

Health Insurance Does Not Insure Health

Health Insurance Does Not Insure Health (Photo credit: SavaTheAggie)

Topics: Insurance, Marketplace, Politics, Health Reform, States

Mar 25, 2013

Also in the news, reports about early efforts in Connecticut to find and enroll uninsured people in the state’s health insurance marketplace and about emerging details for a call center in California.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Officials Unveil More Details Of Colo. Exchange Funding
A week after approving a tax on health insurance policies, Colorado officials are offering more details of their plans to fund the states health insurance exchange after federal backing runs out in 2014 (Whitney, 3/22).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Maryland House Advances Measure To Pay For Health Care Exchange
The House of Delegates has advanced a measure to expand Medicaid eligibility and create a funding stream for Maryland’s health benefit exchange as part of the federal health care overhaul. The House gave the bill initial approval on Saturday. A vote is expected early next week (3/23).

Kaiser Health News: Connecticut Races To Reach Uninsured, Open Health Insurance Marketplace
In the nation’s insurance capital, the hunt to find uninsured people and get them enrolled in the state’s new online health insurance marketplace has already begun. Officials working for Access Health CT, created under the federal health law, have collected names of more than 1,300 people needing coverage at recent town-hall meetings across the state. This spring and summer, they plan to use booths at festivals and street fairs to gather thousands more. Come fall, they’ll also pay community groups and small businesses, such as barbers and beauticians, in New Haven, Bridgeport and other cities with high uninsured rates to reach out to people and sign them up for coverage on the spot (Galewitz, 3/25).

Sacramento Bee: California Health Exchange To Create 500 Call Center Jobs In Rancho Cordova
California’s emerging health care exchange will bring a new call center — and 500 local jobs — to Rancho Cordova. City and state officials confirmed Friday that Covered California, the organization instrumental to carrying out the federal health insurance overhaul in California, has signed a local lease to open a state service center on White Rock Road in Rancho Cordova. “We welcome them,” said city economic development director Curt Haven. “They complement our other companies located in Rancho Cordova. We have a ready and willing workforce that will easily fill those jobs” (Hecht, 3/23).

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.

Medicaid News: Texas Transition To Managed Care Plan Hurts Caregivers

Image representing Associated Press as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

Topics: Medicaid, States

Oct 05, 2012

Meanwhile, California develops plans to move 875,000 kids from its Healthy Families program to the state’s Medicaid rolls.

The Texas Tribune/New York Times: Medicaid Patient Shift Squeezes Home Caregivers
The abrupt exodus of thousands of South Texas Medicaid patients from one managed care health plan is putting a financial strain on home health providers already struggling to stay in business after the state’s transition to Medicaid managed care (Aaronson, 10/4).

The Associated Press: 65,000 SC Children To Be Enrolled In Medicaid
South Carolina’s Medicaid agency announced Thursday that 65,000 children in the state’s poorest households will be automatically enrolled in the government insurance program by month’s end. The state Department of Health and Human Services is enrolling children whose parents receive food assistance or welfare payments through the Department of Social Services, meaning their children are well under eligibility limits for Medicaid. The agency is informing parents of the enrollment in letters, starting this week in Richland County. All 65,000 children should be signed up by month’s end (Adcox, 10/4).

California Healthline: Ambitious Transition Plan For Health Families
State officials this week submitted a four-phase strategic plan to eventually move 875,000 children from the Healthy Families program into Medi-Cal managed care plans. Health care advocates have expressed some reservations and concerns about the transition. State officials have said they’re confident they’re ready to meet the deadlines that have been set for it. The new plan hopes to simultaneously improve quality of care for children and save the state money. It will happen quickly. On Jan. 1, the state plans to launch the first phase of the transition, shifting 415,00 of the Healthy Families kids to a managed care plan (Gorn, 10/4).

California Healthline: Why The Future Of Health Care May Be On The Line With Prop. 30
There is a hidden risk buried inside Proposition 30 that goes far beyond cuts to education, according to Hope Richardson, policy analyst for the California Budget Project. … According to a report from the Health and Human Services Network of California, the state has cut $15 billion from health and social service programs in just the past three years. That does not include the budget reductions made this summer, including the planned conversion of Healthy Families to a Medi-Cal managed care program and another $2.5 billion in social service cuts, said Michael Herald, a public benefits advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program (Gorn, 10/4).

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.

The seal of the United States Department of He...

The seal of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The symbol represents the American People sheltered in the wing of the American Eagle, suggesting the Department’s concern and responsibility for the welfare of the people. The colors are reflex blue and gold. This seal is now just used for mainly legal purposes; the department has a separate logo which is used for its visual identity. More information here and here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

State Highlights: Free Calif. Health Care Clinic A Big Draw

Topics: States, Uninsured, Health Reform, Delivery of Care, Aging, Women’s Health, Insurance, Marketplace

Sep 28, 2012

A selection of health policy stories from California and North Carolina.

Los Angeles Times: Free Health Care Clinic At LA Sports Arena Draws 4,800
Many of the 4,800 people seeking care at the annual massive free clinic this weekend will become eligible for health insurance in 2014 when the national law takes effect. Organizers said raising awareness about the health care changes is crucial (Gorman, 9/27).

San Francisco Chronicle: Law May Encourage Mammogram Alternatives
A new law that will require California doctors to tell women if they have highly dense breast tissue is expected to increase demand for alternatives to mammography to screen patients for breast cancer. The potential market is huge: About 40 percent of women have tissue that is dense enough that cancer may be missed through conventional mammography. The law says that beginning in April, patients must be told a “range of screening options” are available, but it does not specify those methods or require health insurers to cover them (Colliver, 9/27).

California Healthline: New Attention To End-Of-Life Care
Partnership HealthPlan of California, a health insurer covering roughly 200,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries in six Northern California counties, has decided to offer the optional benefit of palliative care to its members. … The state doesn’t currently offer the enhanced benefit, in part due to budget concerns, but [Partnership HealthPlan’s medical director] said the cost of palliative care is offset by less necessity to provide other types of care that may not actually benefit the patient or the family, he said (Gorn, 9/28).

North Carolina Health News: Public Health Workers Express Frustration With New Law
With the passage of a new law this past year, county public health agencies could look very different — and some public health professionals are making their unhappiness about it known. At a meeting of the N.C. Public Health Association last week at the New Bern Convention Center, state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Cabarrus) was forced to defend a bill he shepherded through during this year’s legislative session that allows county boards of commissioners to disband local boards of health and assume their powers. The new law also allows for county commissioners to consolidate public health and social services agencies, and creates incentives for smaller counties to join together to provide services across county lines (Hoban, 9/27).

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.

English: California OPA Health Care Quality Re...

English: California OPA Health Care Quality Report Card on HMOs for 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roundup: Flurry Of Health Bills As Calif. Legislature Winds Down; Kansas City Health Data Exchange Opens Up

English: Photo of California Attorney General ...

English: Photo of California Attorney General (and former California Governor) Jerry Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Topics: Health Costs, Health IT, Hospitals, Women’s Health, Insurance, States, Public Health, Politics, Mental Health, Medicaid, Delivery of Care

Aug 31, 2012

California Healthline: Health-Related Bills Pass Legislature, Healthy Families In Limbo
The window to save the Healthy Families program is narrowing to a small slit, with just a single day left to pass bills. … Today — until midnight tonight — is the last day for legislation to be passed this year. The governor has until the end of September to veto or approve bills. There is still a chance that SB 301 by Senate member Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and AB 826 by Assembly member Sandré Swanson — two identical bills that would reinstate the Healthy Families program and help the state recoup about $184 million from an extended MCO tax — could pass the Legislature in today’s final session of the year, but that prospect is looking less likely now (Gorn, 8/31).

Sacramento Bee: Whether Smokers Should Pay More Is Among The Questions In California Health Care Debate
Should smokers pay more for health insurance? The issue was one of several that California lawmakers considered this week as they sent Gov. Jerry Brown bills that carry out the federal health care overhaul by 2014. Health organizations successfully won provisions that prohibit insurers from charging tobacco users higher premiums on the individual market (Yamamura, 8/31).

The Wall Street Journal: California Bill Bans Gay-Conversion Therapy
California’s state legislature on Thursday passed the nation’s first law banning professional psychological therapy aimed at turning gay and lesbian youth straight. The legislation, which will next go to Gov. Jerry Brown for review, prevents licensed psychologists and therapists from seeking to change the sexual orientation of children under 18 (Fowler, 8/30).

Los Angeles Times: California Lawmakers Approve Medical Parole For County Jail Inmates
With county jails packed to bursting throughout California, state lawmakers gave final legislative approval Thursday to a measure allowing inmates to be released early if they are medically incapacitated. The “compassionate release” bill sent to the governor was requested by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and was modeled after a state program that releases inmates from prison if they are deemed to be so ill or injured that they are not a threat to public safety (McGreevy, 8/30).

AP/San Jose Mercury: Bill Extends Abortion Test Program For Non-Doctors
A bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown would extend a pilot program allowing non-doctors to perform abortions in California. The Senate approved SB623 on a 22-16 vote Thursday. It extends until Jan. 1, 2014, a program that lets nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants provide aspiration abortions. The process involves using a tube to empty the uterus with suction. The statewide program has provided for 8,000 first-trimester abortions. Without the extension, the authority will expire this year (8/30).

Kansas Health Institute News: Heartland To Begin Sharing Control Of Health Information
The Heartland Health board approved a plan Wednesday to begin sharing control of the Kansas City area’s largest developing digital health information exchange, with the goal of getting more area hospitals and health care providers to join the network by the end of the year. Heartland began in 2008 funding and steering the development of the Lewis and Clark Information Exchange, or LACIE. It was envisioned to be an independent, non-profit regional network for secure electronic exchange of patient records among health care providers in the KC area and beyond (Cauthon, 8/30).

The Lund Report: Campaign For Single-Payer Building Up Steam In Oregon
The effort to establish a single-payer system in Oregon isn’t dead. A group called Health Care for All Oregon has existed in Oregon for about 20 years, but its corporate identity was passed on to a newly formed group this January, said Dr. Mike Huntington, a Corvallis oncologist who serves as the organization’s chair. So far the group includes a board and a coalition of 53 groups – including healthcare organizations, community groups and labor organizations – devoted to educating the public and eventually attempting to pass legislation guaranteeing healthcare for all of Oregon’s citizens (McCurdy, 8/30).

The Associated Press: Judge To Rule Soon On Christian Health Ministry
A Christians-only health care ministry will likely learn in the next two weeks whether it will be held in contempt of court for continuing to pay medical bills for Kentuckians. Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate said he expects to rule within 10 to 15 days on the contempt motion filed by the Kentucky Department of Insurance against Medi-Share, a Florida-based cost-sharing ministry that helps pay medical bills for churchgoers who pledge to live Christian lives that include no smoking, drinking, using drugs or engaging in sex outside of marriage (Alford, 8/30).

The Associated Press: Governor Opens New State Government Primary Health Care Clinic
(Montana) Gov. Brian Schweitzer promised Thursday at the launch of a new state government employee health clinic that the program will improve care and save money. The governor also issued a longshot request of federal officials to let him import cheaper Canadian drugs for use at the clinic — reviving an issue Schweitzer has championed with no success for more than a decade (Gouras, 8/30).

The Associated Press: NY Grants Get Docs Into Needy Areas
The state Health Department is awarding $2 million to 21 hospitals, health centers, medical practices, and physicians to address the need for qualified health care providers in underserved communities. The grants announced Thursday were awarded under the Doctors Across New York program. The program aims to get doctors into rural and inner-city areas where a shortage of health care providers has been identified (8/31).

Georgia Health News: Public Health Nurses: Vital To Georgia, But All Too Few
The many issues that public health nurses deal with, Miller said, include disaster response, immunizations, infectious diseases, family planning, sexually transmitted diseases, women’s and child health services, and stroke and heart attack prevention. Their work affects entire communities, not just the individuals who use local health department clinics. But public health nurses like Tanner are in severely short supply, according a report released by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). Georgia currently has 1,400 public health nurses, said Carole Jakeway, chief nurse and director of the division of district and county operations at DPH. Nearly 20 percent of public health nurse positions are vacant, she said (Avery, 8/30).

St. Louis Beacon: Roosevelt High Opens Area’s First Major School-Based Health Clinic
School-based health clinics are relatively new to Missouri, but they have been common for years in many other states, beginning in Massachusetts in 1967. The bay state, which has a “been-there, done-that” reputation when it comes to health reform, has built a system that offers students a range of primary-care and behavioral-health services inside schools. Students don’t have to miss school to see a doctor or make expensive after-school visits to emergency rooms for conditions such as untreated asthma. Officials gathered at Roosevelt High School in St. Louis this morning to mark the opening of one of the few comprehensive school-based health clinics in Missouri (Joiner, 8/30).

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.