State Highlights: In Florida, Providers South Carolina VA Hospital Hires Surgeon Accused of Incompetence

State Highlights: In Florida, Providers South Carolina VA Hospital Hires Surgeon Accused of IncompetenceState Highlights: In Florida, Providers’ Medicaid Payment Complaints Decrease; South Carolina VA Hospital Hires Surgeon Accused of Incompetence

News outlets report on health care developments in Florida, South Carolina, California, Virginia, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri and Connecticut.

Health News Florida: Medicaid Complaints From Health Providers Drop In Florida The number of health care providers complaining about the state’s Medicaid insurers is on the decline. The report comes in response to complaints of providers who say they aren’t getting paid. First, a quick primer: Florida privatized its health care program for 3 million poor residents in 2014. (Aboraya, 12/21)

The Des Moines Register: VA Hires Ex-Iowa Surgeon Accused Of Incompetence A former Des Moines-area surgeon accused of incompetence by Iowa regulators has been hired by a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in South Carolina. Alan Koslow recently agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and undergo re-training to settle allegations of incompetence and disruptive behavior. He is the second former Des Moines surgeon to take a job with an out-of-state VA hospital in recent years after being accused of incompetence by Iowa regulators. (Leys, 12/21)

California Healthline: State Urged To Protect Consumers In Proposed Centene-Health Net Merger Consumer advocates are urging the Department of Managed Health Care to “use its full authority to impose comprehensive requirements to protect consumers before allowing the merger between Centene and Health Net to move forward.” (Lauer, 12/21)

The Washington Post: Three Virginia Lawmakers Propose Changes In Pre-Approval Of Hospital Expansions The move reflects a national push to eliminate regulations that require state pre-approval of hospital expansions, surgery centers and certain medical services. Some hospitals say that the regulations, known as “certificate of public need” laws, prevent providers from artificially increasing prices and protect facilities that care for indigent patients. (Portnoy, 12/21)

The Associated Press: Wisconsin Officials Get OK To Extend Prescription Program Wisconsin officials say the state has received federal approval to extend a prescription drug assistance program for older residents. The state Department of Health Services said in a statement Monday that SeniorCare helps about 60,000 people each month by reducing prescription costs for low-income state residents who are 65 or older. DHS spokeswoman Claire Yunker says the action from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will allow SeniorCare to operate through 2018. (12/21)

The Kansas Health Institute News Service: Security Concerns Central To Halted Medicare Payments For Osawatomie Hospital The reported rape of an employee at Osawatomie State Hospital in October exposed security concerns that federal officials cited when they decided last week to stop sending Medicare payments to the facility after Monday. Osawatomie had submitted a correction plan for the security issues to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but federal inspectors who visited the hospital Dec. 15 and Friday to follow up decided to proceed with cutting payments, said Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. (Marso, 12/21)

Health News Florida: FL Cancer Lab Pays $20M Over False Bills A Fort Myers-based integrated cancer care services provider accused of billing for tests that were not needed will pay nearly $20 million to the federal government to settle allegations from a whistleblower that it violated the False Claims Act, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. (12/21)

St. Louis Public Radio: The Ones Who Survived: Study Looks At Firearm Injuries Among Children In St. Louis For a long time, physicians at the major trauma centers in St. Louis say they have cared for an alarming number of people with gunshot wounds — including many children. “Some weeks we’ll operate more on gunshot wounds than we will for simple things like appendicitis,” said Dr. Pamela Choi, a surgery resident at Washington University.(Bouscaren, 12/21)

The Courier-Journal: Glitch Blocks Plan To Increase Child Care Funds A last-minute plan by Gov. Steve Beshear to increase child care assistance for poor working parents has collapsed because state officials failed to enact it before his administration ended Dec. 7. Beshear announced Dec. 3 that his administration planned to use about $15 million in surplus federal money to boost payments to centers that accept children whose parents qualify for help through the Kentucky Child Care Assistance Program. The higher payments were supposed to begin Jan. 1. (Yetter, 12/21)

The Kansas City Star: Independence Becomes Third Area City To Raise Legal Smoking Age To 21 Independence on Monday banned the sale of tobacco products to anyone younger than 21, the third metro city to do so in less than a month. By a 6-1 vote, the Independence City Council passed the ordinance to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 years old. Karen Deluccie cast the only dissenting vote. “I believe that if you’re 18, you’re an adult, you have to make decisions including the decision to buy a product that people don’t agree with but it’s a product,” Deluccie said before the vote. (Cronkleton, 12/21)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

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