JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.-A bill introduced in the Missouri Senate earlier this month would establish a Medicaid Reform Commission, a signal that the Legislature would debate cuts to the program that Gov. Matt Blunt proposed in his fiscal 2006 budget. The Republican governor proposed about $580 million in cuts to the state's $5 billion program, which has grown 108% during the past seven years, according to the budget proposal. The bill, proposed by Michael Gibbons, a Republican, was referred to the Senate Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws Committee. It calls for House and Senate members and representatives of the state's Mental Health, Social Services, and Health and Senior Services departments to form a commission that would provide Medicaid reform recommendations by Sept. 1.
LANSING, Mich.-Some 85% of Michigan hospitals that participated in a survey released earlier this month said they met threshold volume guidelines for performing cardiac catheterization procedures. Ninety-three Michigan hospitals participated in the third annual consumer report sponsored by the Michigan Health and Safety Coalition, a group of 15 organizations that includes labor unions, major employers, health plans and healthcare professional associations, such as the 144-hospital Michigan Health & Hospital Association. The study surveyed hospitals about patient-safety and quality measures in seven patient conditions, including cardiac bypass surgery, and physician staffing in intensive-care units. Diana Valade, the coalition's activities director, praised the hospitals for embracing the survey and for "responding phenomenally well." Valade said the coalition has seen a gradual improvement in results. For example, she said, the percentage of hospitals meeting the minimum volume thresholds and scoring at least 80% on meeting quality guidelines jumped from 47% to 65% over three years. But Valade said hospitals need to work harder to meet minimum volume thresholds in some areas, such as in esophagectomies for cancer (38%) and abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs (32%). The hospitals voluntarily completed the 2004 survey, which allowed them to benchmark their comparative performance in seven medical conditions relating to patient safety and quality against hospitals across the state and in their region. The hospitals receive copies of the survey results, which are posted on the coalition's Web site, mihealthandsafety.org.