State Highlights More State Legislatures Push Drug Industry To Disclose Costs Penn

first_img Should drug makers be required to disclose their costs to justify rising prices? This is what a growing number of state legislatures are considering. Over the past several weeks, lawmakers in a handful of states stretching from California to Massachusetts have introduced bills in a bid to force the pharmaceutical industry to conduct an economic striptease. (Silverman, 4/24) The case against Dr. Alwin Lewis started with a patient’s complaint about his unorthodox diet plan. But it landed at the California Supreme Court with a much broader issue at stake: Whether regulators should have unrestricted access to a state database detailing doctors’ prescribing practices. (Tillman, 4/27) The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Why Pregnant Women In Mississippi Keep Dying Hoping to finally close a significant gap in the region’s emergency medical network, Los Angeles County officials are proposing a new trauma center to serve residents of Pomona and the eastern San Gabriel Valley. Officials have been trying for years to put a trauma center in the area, saying patients now travel too far to receive care for the most critical injuries. The nearest trauma center to Pomona is 28 miles away, at County-USC Medical Center in Boyle Heights. (Karlamangla, 4/26) The Wall Street Journal’s Pharmalot: Angry Over Drug Prices, More States Push Bills For Pharma To Disclose Costs A union claimed victory Friday in its effort to organize 20,000 home health aides in Pennsylvania, even as two pending lawsuits seeking to block the union drive may not be resolved for months. Home health aides voted 2,663 to 309 in favor of being represented by the United Home Care Workers of Pennsylvania, according to the union, which is a joint partnership of the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. (Maher, 4/24) Los Angeles Times: Pomona Valley Hospital Chosen As L.A. County’s Newest Trauma Center Reuters: Doctor Pleads Guilty To Writing False Home Healthcare Referrals Kaiser Health News: California High Court To Consider Limits On Regulators’ Access To Prescription Database This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. The Wall Street Journal: Pennsylvania Home Health Care Aides Vote To Unionize Los Angeles Times: Health Plan Adds Option Of Payment In Cash At Local Stores Blue Shield of California fired a top executive last month after he spent more than $100,000 on his corporate credit card, the company says, including on trips with girlfriend and “Sharknado” actress Tara Reid. The details surfaced in a countersuit the health insurance giant filed Tuesday alleging fraud by Aaron Kaufman, the company’s former chief technology officer. (Terhune, 4/24) State Highlights: More State Legislatures Push Drug Industry To Disclose Costs; Penn. Home Health Aides Vote For Union News outlets cover health care issues in Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Oregon, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Washington. There’s a quiet medical crisis going on in this country: the number of women dying in childbirth. The United States is the only advanced economy in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate. Deaths related to childbirth in the United States are nearing the highest rate in a quarter-century. An estimated 18.5 mothers died for every 100,000 births in 2013, compared with 7.2 per 100,000 in 1987. This means a woman giving birth here is twice as likely to die than in Saudi Arabia and three times as likely than in the United Kingdom. (Paquette, 4/24) The Wall Street Journal: Federal Officials Issue Alert On Indiana HIV Outbreak center_img With Obamacare in its second year, health officials are still working out the kinks in expanding health coverage to millions of Californians. In the latest fix, members of a health plan for low-income Los Angeles County residents now can pay their premiums with cash at neighborhood stores, a more convenient option for some people without bank accounts. (Karlamangla, 4/24) Nearly two decades after voters passed a medical-marijuana law that often left police, prosecutors and even patients confused about what was allowed, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Friday attempting to clean up that largely unregulated system and harmonize it with Washington’s new market for recreational pot. Among the law’s many provisions, it creates a voluntary registry of patients and, beginning next year, eliminates what have become in some cases large, legally dubious “collective gardens” providing cannabis to thousands of people. (LaCorte and Johnson, 4/24) The number of cases of HIV tied to injection drug use in a rural Indiana county has continued to climb, and federal officials on Friday alerted health departments, hospitals and doctors across the country to be on the lookout for similar outbreaks in their communities. “Urgent action is needed” to prevent further HIV and hepatitis C transmission in Indiana and to control any similar occurrences elsewhere, according to a health advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Campo-Flores, 4/24) The Texas legislature is working on reforms to crack down on overprescribing and prescription drug dealing, which contribute to the toll. … Last summer, Dr. David Lakey, then the Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner, told a Senate committee studying the problem that Texas has one of the nation’s lowest prescription drug fatality rates and that his data showed deaths had peaked in 2006. But Lakey was referring only to deaths involving certain painkillers, not all prescription drugs. His report did not include information from medical examiners, who use drug screens to identify many more overdoses, according to a joint investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman. (Olsen and Roser, 4/25) A year after the children of radio personality Casey Kasem had to seek court action to see their ailing father, a new law in Iowa aims to ensure that adult children can see their sick parents — granting them visitation rights unless the person’s guardian goes to court to stop them. Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bill into law Friday. (Lucey, 4/24) Los Angeles Times: In Suit, Blue Shield Cites Extravagant Spending By Fired Executive Oregonian: Pay For Soldiers, The Capitol’s History And Local Elections: This Week In New Oregon Laws The Associated Press: Iowa Law Tries To Ensure Adult Children Can See Sick Parents [Gov. Kate] Brown signed the overwhelmingly bipartisan House Bill 2395 on March 23, extending a $1.9 billion tax on hospitals for the next four years to make sure Oregon receives an additional $5.4 billion in federal matching money over that same span. Two years ago, Republicans had sought to use the extension as a bargaining chip in the debate over public employee pension reforms. But this time, only three, between the House and the Senate, voted no. (Theriault, 4/24) The Associated Press: Washington State Governor Signs Overhaul Of Medical Marijuana Market A Hammond, Louisiana doctor has admitted to writing false home-healthcare referrals as part of a multimillion-dollar Medicare fraud scheme, Louisiana federal prosecutors announced Thursday. Winston Murray, 62, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and two counts of healthcare fraud. (Pierson, 4/24) Houston Chronicle/Austin American Statesman: Prescription Drug Deaths In Texas Vastly Undercounted Reuters: Florida Senate Passes Bill Requiring 24-Hour Wait For Abortions The Florida Senate approved a bill on Friday mandating a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats opposed. The bill is now headed to Republican Governor Rick Scott, who is expected to sign it into law. (Cotterell, 4/24) last_img read more