A year after hospitals began discouraging Medicaid patients from making unnecessary emergency room visits, the results are promising. A new state report shows the number of unnecessary visits to ERs in Washington fell by 10 percent last year.
“A 10 percent reduction is almost unprecedented,” said Dr. Nathan Schlicher, an ER physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma.
Steve Scher talks with Linda Grant, CEO of Evergreen Manor, about potential funding cuts to drug treatment programs for low-income patients in Washington state. Evergreen Manor is a non-profit drug and alcohol treatment center in Everett.
Washington residents who tried to buy health insurance through the health exchange weren’t the only ones to experience technical difficulties.
About 20,000 Medicaid recipients encountered similar problems when they went to the exchange in November, preventing them from renewing their coverage. That’s roughly a third of Medicaid patients for that month.
Washington state has been trying to cut medical costs associated with Medicaid beneficiaries. This month it launched a new program called Health Homes. It’s part of the Affordable Care Act and is designed to help people who are not able to manage their chronic health conditions on their own.
Medicaid expansion is one of the key decisions state lawmakers in Olympia face this session. Proponents say it would expand coverage to the uninsured, save the state money and boost the economy. Critics say it’s not clear how much the expansions will eventually cost state taxpayers. Ross Reynolds takes a closer look at Medicaid expansion with University of Washington public health-expert Aaron Katz.
Democrat Jay Inslee made his first public appearance since he won the election. The Governor-Elect spoke Wednesday at a health care policy conference in SeaTac. He reiterated his commitment to change health care in Washington state through the Affordable Care Act.
Low-income parents will soon have a way to get treatment for their children with autism. Starting in January, Washington state will cover applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for kids with Medicaid coverage. The new benefit is part of a legal settlement between the state and a local advocacy group for children with autism.
Whoever is elected as governor this fall could change the course of Washington state's Medicaid program. When the US Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act in June, it determined that the law went too far when it required states to expand Medicaid. The ruling left it up to states to decide whether or not to open up the program to cover people without insurance.