Daily roundup: March 7, 2012

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

  • California: San Francisco Bay Area's John Muir Health has seen positive results from a patient-centered medical home pilot program that aims to rein in the cost of treating patients with chronic diseases. Specifically, the program—which began in 2010—has reported a 43% drop in hospitalizations and a 14% drop in ED visits among its patients. According to Michael Kern, senior vice president and medical director of the John Muir Physician Network, the organization likely saves twice what the program costs (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 3/5).
  • Florida: Physicians across the state increasingly are receiving legal training to help address their patients' health care needs. For example, such training could allow a physician to help the parents of an asthmatic child fight their landlord over a mold problem or ensure that a patient's living will is respected (Travis, South Florida Sun Sentinel, 3/5).
  • New Hampshire: A federal judge last week ordered the New Hampshire health commissioner to provide "adequate notice" of reduced Medicaid reimbursement rates for inpatient and outpatient services. According to the order, which resulted from a lawsuit filed last year by 10 New Hampshire hospitals, the commissioner must justify the rates and provide the "precise methodologies" used to determine them (Lee, Modern Healthcare, 3/5 [subscription required]). 
  • Vermont: Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) recently has compromised on plans to quickly transition the state into a universal health care program. Shumlin had wanted to quickly require as many state residents as possible to purchase coverage from the state's health insurance exchange being created under the federal health reform law. However, Shumlin and state lawmakers in late February said they will allow businesses employing between 51 and 100 workers to be exempt from participating in the state's health insurance exchange until 2016 (Trapp, American Medical News, 3/2).

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