Top Stories

  • Oklahoma insurance commissioner meets with President Obama to discuss looming insurance rate hikes

    By Jaclyn Cosgrove, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    State Insurance Commissioner John Doak was among several state regulators who met with President Barack Obama and other senior staff to discuss a variety of pending healthcare issues.

  • Owner, manager of Chandler hospice charged with Medicare fraud in Oklahoma

    By Paul Monies, Business Writer | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    A federal grand jury has indicted the owner, a general manager and Prairie View Hospice Inc. with 39 counts in a fraud case involving false statements used to gain Medicare reimbursements.

  • Hundreds gather at Oklahoma Capitol rally for developmentally disabled

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Updated: 3 hr ago

    Officials say thousands of Oklahomans are on a waiting list for disabilities services.

  • Oklahoma nonprofit Variety Care focuses on role as medical home

    By Jaclyn Cosgrove, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    Variety Care is a nonprofit community health center with locations in Oklahoma City, Norman and several rural communities and provides medical, dental and behavioral health along with vision and prescription services.

  • Lawmakers approve final attempt to expand Medicaid

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — As the legislative session wound down on Thursday, Maine's Democratic-controlled Legislature approved a final attempt to expand health care coverage to about 70,000 low-income residents under the Affordable Care Act. But like past efforts to include more residents in the Medicaid program under the federal health care law, the measure faces continued opposition from Republican lawmakers, making it unlikely that it will survive a near-certain veto from GOP Gov. Paul LePage. The latest Medicaid expansion proposal came as lawmakers hurried to finish their work for the session, sending a flurry of proposals to LePage's desk, including $50 million in bonds for small businesses and water infrastructure projec

  • Oklahoma City-based nonprofit awarded $2.7M grant to promote healthy lifestyles

    By Silas Allen, Staff Writer | Published: Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    Schools for Healthy Lifestyles was awarded $2.7 million to promote healthy lifestyles in students, teachers and families.

  • Abortion doctors' admitting rights reinstated

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A judge has temporarily reinstated admitting privileges to two abortion providers at a Dallas hospital that had stripped the doctors of those rights. Dr. Lamar Robinson and Dr. Jasbir Ahluwalia had sued University General Hospital on Thursday, accusing the hospital of illegally stripping them of admitting privileges after a court upheld strict new Texas abortion restrictions. The two doctors performed abortions on their own time away from the hospital. Nevertheless, their lawsuit says they lost their privileges four days after a March 27 federal appeals court ruling upheld the constitutionality of the strict new state rules.

  • Colorado advances edible marijuana restrictions

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    DENVER (AP) — A Colorado proposal to widen a ban on certain types of edible marijuana advanced Thursday in the state House amid concerns that it could be too broad. What lawmakers are trying to prevent is accidental ingestion by children who can't tell the difference between a regular cookie or gummy bear and the kinds infused with cannabis. Lawmakers also worry that officials won't be able to know when students have marijuana at school when the drug is in the form of an edible. "They're hard to find, they're hard to identify, and they're hard to locate," said Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, one of the sponsors of the bill, which would prohibit edibles that mimic other foods or candies.

  • Nebraska lawmakers adjourn from 2014 session

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers finished their session on Thursday having passed major legislation to lower taxes, reduce prison crowding and pay for water conservation projects. But the session was also marked by drawn-out squabbles over seemingly trivial issues, and a failure to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law. Even on the largely ceremonial last day, Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha spent several hours railing against the lawmakers who rejected his bill to ban mountain lion hunting. His floor speech delayed final votes on more than a dozen bills, and postponed Gov. Dave Heineman's traditional end-of-year remarks.

  • What passed, what didn't in 2014 Nebraska session

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Despite long and often heated debates, Nebraska lawmakers approved major legislation this year in their 60-day short session. Here's a look at what passed and what didn't: What passed: SOME TAX-CUT MEASURES — Nebraska's tax brackets will expand to keep pace with inflation, property owners will see a slightly larger tax credit from the state, and farmers and ranchers will no longer have to pay sales taxes on machinery parts and repairs. Some recent military retirees and Social Security recipients will also receive a tax break. WATER PROJECTS — Water projects aimed at conservation, quality and flood control will receive about $11 million each year.

  • Vermont Senate hears challenge of opiate treatment

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — An estimated 50,000 people in Vermont need treatment for addiction problems every year and don't get it, and efforts to expand treatment options for people addicted to heroin and other opiates are expected to increase pressure on the treatment system, the head of an addiction-treatment center told a state Senate committee Thursday. "We know that this is a chronic disease. If you're fortunate, half your folks will succeed, but half won't and will come back to have to try again, sometimes, again and again," said Bill Young, the executive director of the Maple Leaf Farm residential drug and alcohol treatment and recovery center in Underhill. "If you're looking at demand, demand is not going to go down initiall

  • Court rejects attempt to alter initiative wording

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an attempt by opponents of Medicaid expansion and Attorney General Tim Fox to rewrite the language of a proposed ballot initiative and void all the signed petitions that backers have gathered to date. The justices said in a unanimous decision that delaying signature-gathering for further court proceedings would have the effect of ruling for the plaintiffs because the sponsors have only until June 20 to gather 24,175 voter signatures to place Initiative 70 on November's ballot.

  • Conn. enrolls total of 208,301 in health coverage

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's health insurance exchange announced Thursday it enrolled 208,301 people in health plans during the first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, more than double its original goal of 100,000. Access Health CT reported that 78,713 people signed up with private insurance carriers as of April 13. The rest enrolled in government-funded Medicaid. "Thanks to the hard work of AHCT, state agencies, community health centers and faith-based organizations, we far exceed our goal and as a result more people have access to more affordable health care," Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. When open enrollment ended March 31, Access Health CT had enrolled 197,878 people.

  • UPMC wants city to bill subsidiaries for taxes

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The city should send tax bills to subsidiaries of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center if officials really believe the hospital network shouldn't be a tax-exempt nonprofit, an attorney is arguing. That challenge was aired at an Allegheny County court hearing Wednesday about a lawsuit filed by the city, which contends the hospital network behaves more like a business than a nonprofit and should therefore pay city taxes on its properties and payrolls. But UPMC attorney William Pietrogallo, who has argued the hospital network itself doesn't have any employees, said the city should focus on whether to tax subsidiaries.

  • California health care sign-ups exceed projections

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A late surge of sign-ups pushed California's health insurance exchange nearly 100,000 enrollees beyond the original projections of the Obama administration, state officials announced Thursday. Nearly 1.4 million Californians selected a private policy through the state's exchange by Tuesday's open enrollment extension, and 88 percent were eligible for subsidies to reduce their monthly premiums. The announcement came the same day President Barack Obama said 8 million people across the nation had signed up through exchanges, 1 million more than initially projected. "That is a huge number," said Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee, announcing state enrollment numbers.

  • Auditor recommends penalties against Xerox

    Updated: 8 hr ago

    CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — An independent auditor has recommended Nevada levy penalties against Xerox, saying the company failed to achieve key performance benchmarks in operating the state's health insurance exchange. The auditor's review, discussed before the state's exchange board Thursday, found instances of incorrect subsidy calculations and more than 1,000 invoices in which people paid too much because tax credits were omitted. Additionally, about 11 percent of claims reviewed did not account for reduced out-of-pocket costs for participants based on income levels. The audit also noted that some premium information on the Nevada Health Link website was different than rates listed by the Division of Insurance.

  • Bill limiting Medicaid to 5 years sent to Brewer

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    PHOENIX (AP) — A proposal that could force able-bodied Medicaid recipients to get a job and limit some to a maximum of 5 years of insurance is on its way to Gov. Jan Brewer for consideration after the House gave final approval to Republican House Speaker Andy Tobin's bill on Thursday. House Bill 2367 requires the state's Medicaid program to apply for a waiver from federal regulators every year to allow it to impose the new rules. Federal officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reiterated Thursday that the work-rule and time-limit proposals may not be approved because they likely run counter to Medicaid's laws and regulations. Tobin, however, has said he believes Medicaid's position could change.

  • State offers training for blind, visually impaired

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for the Blind is set to start hosting a series of monthly training sessions focusing on assistive technology for people who are blind or visually impaired. Instructors will teach attendees how to use various types of hardware and software including jaws speech program, and iPad and iPhone with VoiceOver/Zoom. Officials say the classes are open to anyone with a visual impairment, but individuals must have some computer knowledge to participate. Students should also have access to the equipment of the subject area being taught. If the topic of the class, for example, involves an iPad, a student should have a tablet prior to attending the class.

  • Winners and losers in Tenn. legislative session

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    Here is a list of some of the winners and losers of the legislative session that concluded on Thursday. The following bills passed this session: — ANNEXATION: Bans cities from annexing land without a referendum. HB2371. — BALLPARK BEER: Allows sale of beer at new Nashville baseball stadium. HB2405. — BEER IN PARKS: Allows local governments to obtain licenses to sell beer in local parks HB2339. — CHARTER AUTHORIZER: Creates statewide authorizer to overrule local school board decisions on charter schools. HB0702. — COMMON CORE: Delays implementation of testing associated with Common Core education standards by one year. HB1549 — DEATH PENALTY: Allows electrocution if shortage of lethal

  • Paragould doctor held on $500,000 bond on charges

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    PARAGOULD, Ark. (AP) — A Paragould gynecologist and obstetrician charged with taking photographs of a nude female patient has been ordered held on $500,000 bond. Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington says Dr. Paul Becton made his initial appearance in Greene County District Court Thursday where bond was set. Becton did not enter a plea and his attorney did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Prosecutors have charged the 68-year-old Becton with five counts of video voyeurism. An affidavit says a female patient notified Paragould police that she believed Becton used a cellphone to take photos of her during an exam.