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Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

SALEM, Ore.— Ore­gon is seek­ing fed­eral ap­proval to shift Med­i­caid ben­e­fi­cia­ries into or­ga­ni­za­tions that will co­or­di­nate pa­tients’ health­care. Ore­gon Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law a bill that would es­tab­lish, with fed­eral ap­proval, “co­or­di­nated-care or­ga­ni­za­tions” to man­age med­i­cal care us­ing med­i­cal homes, if pos­si­ble, un­der a global Med­i­caid bud­get. “Just one week af­ter the bill was passed out of the Leg­is­la­ture, we sent the re­quest to fed­eral of­fi­cials to give us the ap­proval we need to im­ple­ment a smarter model for pro­vid­ing qual­ity care,” Kitzhaber, a physi­cian, said in a news re­lease. “Un­der our new de­liv­ery sys­tem, we will fo­cus our ef­forts and our dol­lars on im­proved health, not just billing codes for med­i­cal pro­ce­dures. Based on con­ver­sa­tions we have had with our fed­eral part­ners so far, we be­lieve they share this vi­sion.” Co­or­di­nated-care or­ga­ni­za­tions are en­cour­aged to de­velop pay­ment al­ter­na­tives to fee-for-ser­vice un­der leg­is­la­tion en­acted in 2011. Un­der al­ter­na­tive pay­ment mod­els, providers would be paid for the qual­ity of care pro­vided rather than the vol­ume of ser­vices. Co­or­di­nated-care con­tracts will in­clude qual­ity mea­sures and bench­marks for am­bu­la­tory care, in­pa­tient care, chem­i­cal de­pen­dency and men­tal health­care. The bill is pro­jected to save $1 bil­lion over three years, ac­cord­ing to the gov­er­nor’s of­fice. “To­day, we are ini­ti­at­ing a new era in Ore­gon where we will no longer be held fi­nan­cially hostage to an in­ef­fi­cient health­care sys­tem,” Kitzhaber said in the re­lease. “The dol­lars we save on health­care can be in­vested in our class­rooms, into eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and into the fu­ture of our state.” DOWNEY, Calif.— Downey Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter an­nounced that the hospi­tal has emerged from Chap­ter 11 re­or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­ceed­ings. A court ap­proved the hospi­tal’s Chap­ter 11 re­or­ga­ni­za­tion plan in mid-fe­bru­ary, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the med­i­cal cen­ter. The hospi­tal is­sued $32 mil­lion in tax­able bonds and se­cured an­other $20 mil­lion fa­cil­ity, the re­lease stated. The hospi­tal suf­fered “sig­nif­i­cant losses” un­der cap­i­ta­tion con­tracts and faced fur­ther fi­nan­cial strain af­ter soft­ware cre­ated in­ac­cu­rate in­voices, ac­cord­ing to court records. The hospi­tal paid down $17 mil­lion to cred­i­tors since it filed bank­ruptcy in Septem­ber 2009 and will con­tinue to pay off cred­i­tors, the re­lease stated. “With new health­care con­tracts in place and our fi­nan­cial house in or­der, the hospi­tal man­age­ment team is very ex­cited about the fu­ture, even as we face the un­cer­tainty of the fu­ture and chal­lenges in health­care,” Ken­neth Stro­ple, the med­i­cal cen­ter’s pres­i­dent and CEO, said in the re­lease. PO­CATELLO, Idaho— The Ensign Group, Mis­sion Viejo, Calif., has ac­quired Hill­crest Haven Con­va­les­cent Hospi­tal, a skilled-nurs­ing fa­cil­ity in Po­catello. Ensign sub­sidiary Mile­stone Health­care will op­er­ate Hill­crest. Terms of the cash deal were not dis­closed, but Mile­stone ex­pects Hill­crest op­er­a­tions to be di­lu­tive to earn­ings this year, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. The oc­cu­pancy rate at the skilled-nurs­ing fa­cil­ity was about 45% at the time of the ac­qui­si­tion, ac­cord­ing to the news re­lease. The trans­ac­tion was ef­fec­tive as of March 1. “This op­por­tunis­tic ac­qui­si­tion fur­ther so­lid­i­fies Ensign’s pres­ence in the im­por­tant south­east­ern Idaho area,” Christopher Chris­tensen, Ensign’s pres­i­dent and CEO, said in a state­ment. Ensign’s port­fo­lio now in­cludes 104 health­care com­pa­nies, five of which are in Idaho, in­clud­ing a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity al­ready in Po­catello. The group is ac­tively seek­ing ad­di­tional buys of both per­form­ing and strug­gling skilled-nurs­ing, as­sisted-liv­ing and other health­care fa­cil­i­ties across the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. PHOENIX— A fed­eral law­suit al­leges the Ari­zona Cor­rec­tions Depart­ment pro­vides in­ad­e­quate health­care ser­vices to the state’s in­mates. The law­suit was filed in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Phoenix by the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union and the Prison Law Of­fice, a Cal­i­for­nia-based not-for-profit law firm. The com­plaint seeks class-ac­tion sta­tus on be­half of in­mates who al­legedly were de­nied ap­pro­pri­ate care in vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tional pro­tec­tion from cruel and un­usual pun­ish­ment. The 78-page com­plaint re­counts the al­leged ex­pe­ri­ences of sev­eral named plain­tiffs who say the depart­ment’s pro­ce­dures for re­quest­ing med­i­cal care cause bar­ri­ers, de­lays and de­nials of care, and that the pris­ons lack suf­fi­cient staff and re­sources to pro­vide ad­e­quate emer­gency care. The Cor­rec­tions Depart­ment had not been served with the suit, spokesman Bill Lamore­aux said at dead­line. He added: “We’ve been ad­vised by the at­tor­ney gen­eral to re­frain from com­ment­ing on pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion.” The Prison Law Of­fice was in­volved in a Cal­i­for­nia law­suit that led a judge to put that state’s pris­ons into re­ceiver­ship and a U.S. Supreme Court opin­ion last year con­clud­ing that over­crowd­ing vi­o­lated in­mates’ con­sti­tu­tional rights, cit­ing in­ad­e­quate ac­cess to med­i­cal and men­tal health ser­vices.

Kitzhaber, shown sign­ing the bill that will cre­ate co­or­di­nated-care or­ga­ni­za­tions with fed­eral ap­proval, called the mea­sure the start of a “new era” in Ore­gon.

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