State News

Missouri | Nov 13, 2019 | News Story

Missouri's Refusal to Treat Mental Health like a Physical Condition Means Patients Wait Months

As the need for mental health treatment in Missouri grows, patient advocates say the state’s refusal to enforce mental health parity may worsen barriers to access, according to KCUR. Missouri remains one of the last holdouts in the battle against the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires insurers to cover mental healthcare no differently than treatment for physical conditions. The federal government intended for states to enforce the law, passed in 2008, but Missouri officials insist they lack the authority. Every other state, except for Oklahoma, actively upholds the law.


Missouri | Nov 13, 2019 | News Story

Missouri's Refusal to Treat Mental Health like a Physical Condition Means Patients Wait Months

As the need for mental health treatment in Missouri grows, patient advocates say the state’s refusal to enforce mental health parity may worsen barriers to access, according to KCUR. Missouri remains one of the last holdouts in the battle against the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires insurers to cover mental healthcare no differently than treatment for physical conditions. The federal government intended for states to enforce the law, passed in 2008, but Missouri officials insist they lack the authority. Every other state, except for Oklahoma, actively upholds the law.


New York | Nov 12, 2019 | News Story

Statewide Network for Clinical Data Sharing Reduces Healthcare Costs by an Estimated $160-195 Million Annually

Using methodology developed by HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator, a New York eHealth Collaborative (NYec) analysis revealed that the use of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York is reducing unnecessary healthcare spending in the state by $160-$195 million annually. The analysis estimates that were the network to be fully leveraged across all current participants, the state could save almost $1 billion annually by avoiding duplicative testing, avoidable hospitalizations and readmissions and preventable ED visits if current participants alone were to continue using the system’s full capabilities.


Connecticut | Nov 12, 2019 | News Story

Researcher IDs Connecticut’s Most Litigious Hospital; Thousands of Patients Sued Annually

One Connecticut hospital stands alone when it comes to pursuing patients in small claims court over unpaid medical bills, according to Hartford Business. Research from the UConn Health Disparities Institute revealed that Danbury Hospital filed nearly half of the 13,824 total medical debt cases in Connecticut in 2016. The hospital claimed $8.8 million in debt from these lawsuits, compared to $10.4 million claimed in lawsuits filed by all other Connecticut hospitals that sued patients for medical debt that year. The finding has prompted Danbury Hospital to review its debt-collection policies.


South Carolina | Nov 8, 2019 | Report

School-Based Telehealth Program Reduces ED Visits by Pediatric Asthma Patients

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina released a report in JAMA Pediatrics that associates a school-based telehealth program with reduced emergency department visits for children with asthma in a rural and underserved region of South Carolina, reports Healthcare Finance. Children with access to school-based telehealth were 21 percent less likely to visit the emergency department for asthma than those without access, but the three-year study showed no association between school-based telehealth and all-cause emergency department visits.


Wyoming | Nov 6, 2019 | News Story

Lawmakers Vote to Continue Database That Previously Showed Wyoming Has Among Highest Healthcare Costs

Lawmakers in Wyoming have voted to extend the state’s multi-payer claims database which revealed that the costs of healthcare are the highest in the region and among the highest in the nation, according to the Casper Star Tribune. For example, an appendectomy costs a Wyoming resident and their insurer is $21,287—nearly $7,000 more than the median national cost. In response to the data, the Labor, Health and Social Services Committee has also approved a bundled pricing bill that may reduce healthcare spending.


Washington | Nov 6, 2019 | Report

Washington Health Alliance Report Finds Downward Trend in Wasteful Healthcare Spending

A 2019 analysis by the Washington Health Alliance found a 10 percent decrease in wasteful spending in the state’s commercially insured population and a 24 percent decrease in wasteful spending in the Medicaid population from 2014-2017, reports State of Reform. Despite significant progress, wasteful spending continues to be an issue, as 51 percent of the 9.5 million services examined were deemed “low-value” and likely representing unnecessary spending. 


Massachusetts | Nov 6, 2019 | News Story

Years After the State Mandates Health Cost Transparency, Few Massachusetts Residents Taking Advantage of It

Few Massachusetts consumers know how to get price information before a procedure, despite the state’s 5-year old transparency provisions, according to a Becker’s Hospital Review analysis of a poll by the Pioneer Institute and DAPA Research. Indeed, seventy percent of respondents said they want to know the price of a medical service before obtaining it, though thirty-two percent of respondents said they don’t know whether their insurance company has a website or cost estimator tool that would allow them to compare out-of-pocket costs. Researchers believe this shows that though the public wants transparency in their healthcare prices, easy access is not yet a reality.


District of Columbia | Nov 6, 2019 | News Story

CMS Approves D.C. Waiver of Medicaid Exclusion Rule

D.C.’s Medicaid program is the first in the country to receive approval for a demonstration project that will use federal Medicaid money to pay for patients with severe mental illness to be treated in large residential psychiatric institutions and treatment centers, according to Modern Healthcare. Medicaid currently prohibits payments to institutions with more than 16 beds, which behavioral health advocates claim has contributed to the high unmet need for the treatment of both mental health and substance use disorders.


North Carolina | Nov 5, 2019 | Report

Hot-Spotting North Carolina's Big Medicaid Transformation

Researchers looking into North Carolina’s Medicaid program released a case study detailing the poor health outcomes and high-cost Medicaid beneficiaries in Graham County, North Carolina, and paired these stories with policy recommendations to reorient the Medicaid program around patient needs, according to a Health Affairs blog post. Graham County has seen a gradual decay of outpatient care delivery infrastructure, and patients suffer from a lack of providers and lack of transportation, often forcing them to use emergency medical services as primary care or for transportation. Policy recommendations include investing in telehealth, deploying the existing workforce more efficiently, and empowering local officials by providing them with adequate funding for the increased responsibilities they shoulder.