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State Highlights: States Seek Health Care Autonomy; LA Nursing Home Audit; Promoting Overdose-Reversal Drug

McClatchy: 9 States Sign Compact To Run Health Care Without Congress
Kansas, Missouri and seven other states have signed on to a movement that would wrest regulation of most of the nation’s health care insurance systems from the federal government. Those state legislatures want to be part of a proposed interstate Health Care Compact. The compact would let participating states use federal funds — in the form of block grants — to design and operate their own Medicare, Medicaid and other health care programs, except the military’s (Stafford, 8/28).

Earlier KHN coverage: Some States Seeking Health Care Compact (Gugliotta, 9/18/11).

Los Angeles Times: Audit Finds Some L.A. County Nursing Home Cases Prematurely Closed
Los Angeles County auditors have found problems with the way the public health department investigates nursing home complaints involving issues of safety, neglect and other problems that could jeopardize the well-being of residents. After reviewing a sampling of cases from 2012 to this year, they found that some were “inappropriately” closed without a full investigation, according to an audit report released this week. In others — including five that involved patient deaths — inspectors wrote up problems or issued citations, but the findings were downgraded by department supervisors, sometimes without discussing the changes with the issuing inspector (Sewell and Brown, 8/28).

California Healthline: Statewide Rural Health Association Returns
The numerous far-flung health care providers and community organizations that make up California’s rural health landscape may soon once again have a single, integrated association working to bring a cohesive voice to all. After closing last year with insufficient funding and soaring debt, the California State Rural Health Association is slowly becoming active again. A website was launched this week, a 13-member board has been established and the group is planning a conference by the end of the year (Mack, 8/28).

PBS NewsHour: On The Front Lines Of Care For Undocumented Children Who Cross The Border
The U.S. Border Patrol has apprehended nearly 63,000 unaccompanied children at the southwest border just this year.  Many of them are then relocated to various cities across the country, creating a growing need for health care and education (8/28).

Kaiser Health News: Calif. Bill Would Protect Estates Of Many Who Received Medicaid
A bill passed by the California legislature this week is putting Gov. Jerry Brown in a delicate position: Sign the measure and support consumer demands for a change in the state’s policy on recovering assets from Medicaid enrollees or keep the current system that generates about $30 million used to provide Medicaid benefits to more residents (Bartolone, 8/28).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: In Texas, New Doctor-Restrictive Abortion Law Could Kick In Monday
A federal judge in Austin, Texas, will issue a decision in the next few days about whether clinics that perform abortion in the state must become outpatient surgery centers. The Texas law is part of a national trend, in which state legislatures seek to regulate doctors and their offices instead of women seeking abortions” (Feibel, 8/28).

The Wall Street Journal: States Expand Access To Overdose-Reversal Drug
Faced with an unrelenting epidemic of heroin and pain-pill deaths, many states are pushing to make more widely available a drug called naloxone that can reverse overdoses from such opioid drugs within minutes. … There are now 24 states, along with the District of Columbia, that have passed laws expanding access to naloxone, 17 of them in the last two years, said Corey Davis, deputy director of the Network for Public Health Law’s Southeastern region, who tracks such policies. The measures vary, but common provisions include allowing doctors to prescribe naloxone to a drug user’s friends and family members, and removing legal liability for prescribers and those who administer the medication (Campo-Flores and Elinson, 8/28).

The Washington Post: Justice Officials Call For Release Of Monitoring Of St. Elizabeths
The Justice Department said Thursday that St. Elizabeths Hospital has made “significant improvements” in the care of its patients and asked a federal judge to discontinue the agency’s monitoring of the facility (Alexander, 8/28).

Miami Herald: Low-Income Patients Face Hurdles To Care At Public Hospital In Miami
Demanding onerous paperwork from low-income applicants is just one way that Jackson has barred eligible Miami-Dade residents from accessing the charity care program, according to administrative complaints filed this week with the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The complaints lodged by Florida Legal Services and the National Health Law Program, nonprofit groups that provide civil legal help to the indigent, allege that Jackson fails to meet new requirements for nonprofit hospitals under the Affordable Care Act and other laws (Chang, 8/28).

Georgia Health News: State Health Agency Outlines Spending Increases
A state health agency is budgeting an extra $24 million this fiscal year, and a similar amount next year, to pay for costly hepatitis C drugs in Georgia’s Medicaid program. The state is also expected to pay $14.1 million more this year, and $37.9 million in fiscal 2016, for lengthening the time between eligibility reviews for Medicaid and PeachCare beneficiaries, as required by the Affordable Care Act (Miller, 8/28).

Boston Globe: Boston EMS Workers OK Pay Raise
Workers in Boston’s Emergency Medical Services will receive a pay raise of nearly 15 percent over six years under a newly settled contract with Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The deal will cover roughly 315 paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and their supervisors. It includes 14 percent in raises spread over six years in addition to a 0.75 percent increase in weekly compensation for hazardous duty pay in July 2016 (Ryan, 8/29).

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