$55M Fine Levied On LA County Health Plan For Delayed Treatments - freetxp

$55M Fine Levied On LA County Health Plan For Delayed Treatments

LA Care, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, is under fire for delaying care for lots of poor and at-risk members. Meanwhile, Microsoft is nearing a purchase of AI and speech recognition firm Nuance; the nursing home industry is pressing for staff agency regulations; and more.

Los Angeles Times: LA County Health Plan Found For Delays In Treatment

A cancer patient enrolled in a health insurance plan serving Los Angeles County’s poorest and most vulnerable residents was left untreated as their health rapidly deteriorated, according to state regulators. Another enrollee was left “suffering extreme pain” for weeks while waiting for treatment. Treatment for a third patient, diagnosed with lymphoma and given less than a year to live, was delayed for more than two months. That patient left the plan, LA Care, for other insurance in a desperate attempt to save their life. (Dolan and Mejia, 3/4)

AP: LA County Health Plan Found $55M For Health Care Failures

LA Care, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, was fined $55 million for failing to authorize care for thousands of poor and at-risk members, causing health-threatening treatment delays, California regulators announced Friday. The fines — by far the largest in state history — were levied against the Los Angeles County health plan by the state Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Health Care Services. (3/4)

In other health care industry news —

Stat: Microsoft Closes $16 Billion Acquisition Of Nuance

AI’s next big health care experiment can now begin. Microsoft closed on a $16 billion acquisition of Nuance Communications Friday, launching a plan to leverage its speech recognition software and other AI capabilities to seize what the tech giant sees as a $500 billion market opportunity. Executives told STAT the plan is to package Nuance’s software products with Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure to more seamlessly deliver AI tools to providers, payers, and life sciences companies. An early example is a medical imaging service Nuance launched using Microsoft’s technology last fall that combines an array of radiology tools into a single portal. (Ross, 3/4)

Modern Healthcare: Nursing Homes Lead State-Focused Push To Regulate Staffing Agencies

The nursing home industry is launching a lobbying offensive in several states to limit what healthcare staffing agencies can charge providers, but the efforts are facing fierce headwinds from agencies, lawmakers, nurses and, in some cases, hospitals. The wave of legislation in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania comes amid a pandemic that saw rates for traveling nurses soar, due to increased demand for their services. That means higher staffing costs for hospitals and nursing homes, who accused agencies of “price gouging” and taking advantage of a pandemic. Providers argue something needs to be done to rein in staffing agencies, and with action likely at the federal level, nursing homes are turning into state legislatures. (Hellmann, 3/4)

AP: Louisiana University Restores Psychiatric Nursing Master’s

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is now offering a graduate nursing concentration in psychiatric mental health, starting in fall 2022. Licensed registered nurses can apply for a master’s program that will qualify them to take a national certification exam, the university’s College of Nursing & Health Sciences said in a news release. (3/5)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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