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State Highlights: Wis. AG Says Hospitals Can’t Deny Admitting Privileges To Abortion Docs

A selection of health policy stories from Wisconsin, New York, Oregon, Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

The Journal Sentinel: Wis. Hospitals Can’t Deny Admitting Privileges To Abortion Doctors, AG Says
Plans by three Catholic hospital systems in Wisconsin to deny admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions would “be in active violation of federal law,” state Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen’s Department of Justice said in a court filing last week. Federal law “provides that hospitals accepting federal funds may not discriminate against a physician because that physician has participated in or refused to participate in abortions,” the state Justice Department said in its filing in federal court (Ahmed, 8/7).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: NYC’s Neighborhood Hospitals Closing As Financial Pressures Mount, Part Of Larger Trend
There was a time when the neighborhood hospital was a cornerstone of New York City life. But for a growing number of city residents, the trip to have an appendix taken out or get treatment for a broken leg is increasingly being measured in miles rather than blocks. Since 2000, 19 hospitals across the city have closed due to financial pressures, and nos. 20 and 21 are underway (8/6).

The Lund Report: Oregon Health Authority Mulls Background Check Rule
A proposed rule that would require community health workers to undergo background checks as a condition of licensure is the subject of backlash from the addictions and mental health community — and even the workgroup tasked with creating regulations and licensure. Health care organizations have used community health workers — initially called Non-Traditional Health Workers and now called Traditional Health Workers — for decades (McCurdy, 8/6).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: House Panel Probes NY Oversight Of Nursing Group
A congressional committee investigating New York’s $56 billion Medicaid program is questioning why the state Medicaid oversight agency’s audit of a visiting nurses’ group has taken years and whether the Cuomo administration improperly intervened (8/6).

Kaiser Health News: My Place CT – Connecticut’s Plan For Long-Term Care
Kaiser Health News staff writer Kelsey Miller talked with the Connecticut Department of Social Services’ Dawn Lambert about Connecticut’s efforts to address residents’ long-term care needs while also minimizing the strain on the state’s Medicaid budget (Miller, 8/7).

California Health Report: The Price Of Parity: Why Low-Income Kids With Autism Don’t Get Costly Care
Cherie has autism — but it’s not easy to see signs of the disorder in the exuberant 4-year-old. She only needs a gentle prompt from her mother, Jenny, before she says hello to the strangers in her living room. … Earlier this year, Jenny found out that she might lose coverage for the therapy that she says brought her daughter back from the fog — all because she cannot afford private insurance. Starting this year, California requires children like Cherie, who receive private insurance subsidized by the state through a program called Healthy Families, to switch to Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, the publicly funded health insurance for low-income children and adults (Gilligan and Shanafelt, 8/6).

California Healthline: State Officials Deny Cover-Up Claims
A Kaiser Family physician and the mother of a child with autism claim state officials knew coverage would change when California moved children from the Healthy Families program into Medi-Cal coverage but wanted to keep the information hidden. State officials said the assertions are simply not true. In a January letter to beneficiaries of the Healthy Families program, state officials assured families they would retain “all of the same services” after the switch to Medi-Cal managed care plans (Gorn, 8/6).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Hospitals Vary Widely In ER Waiting Times
If you show up to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s emergency room but aren’t in serious trouble, get ready to wait. New federal data show that the prestigious university hospital has the highest median ER wait times in the city at 81 minutes to see a doctor. … ER wait times across the country have been trending up over the last decade as more patients seek emergency care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year found a 32 percent rise in ER visits over the last decade and the median wait to see a physician rose from 27 minutes to 33 minutes from 2003 to 2009 (Skinner, 8/6).

The Sacramento Bee: Nevada Legislative Panel OKs $2.1 Million For Mental Health System
A Nevada state legislative committee on Tuesday unanimously approved $2.1 million in emergency spending to shore up the state’s mental health system. The funding will be used largely to add staffing and beds at Las Vegas’ Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital and surrounding facilities (Reese, 8/7).