MONTPELIER, Vt.-A Vermont Superior Court judge ruled last week that the state cannot cut into two Medicaid programs that provide home healthcare to 1,800 residents. In his ruling Judge Matthew Katz said the state must provide public notice and submit the changes to the Legislature for review, which the state had not done. The state Legal Aid Office's Senior Citizens Law Project had filed a class-action lawsuit against the state, saying it had not performed the required steps. The state had planned to put a 5.5-hour-per-week cap on care such as housekeeping and laundry. It had also planned to cut into a program that provides bathing assistance. The cuts would have saved Vermont $2 million annually.
VALHALLA, N.Y.-Officials in Westchester County, N.Y., earlier this month proposed refinancing debt related to tobacco settlement proceeds to infuse $27 million into Westchester Medical Center, with more aid promised over the next 25 years. The 516-bed hospital has had annual deficits of as high as $80 million in recent years. The proposal involves refinancing "tobacco securitization bonds" sold in 1999 after the settlement of national lawsuits against tobacco manufacturers. After this year's payment, the refinancing is projected to yield about $4 million for the medical center next year and a total of $240 million over the 25-year life of the bonds, officials said. In February, the hospital unveiled a one-year plan for financial stability that called for $20 million contributions each from the county, state and federal government, along with $20 million in concessions from the hospital's unions and $20 million in cost-saving measures.
BANGOR, Maine-The pharmacy benefit management industry lost a round this month in its fight against Maine's Unfair Prescription Drug Practices Act, which, among other obligations, requires PBMs to disclose any arrangements with drug manufacturers and notify customers of direct or indirect conflicts of interest. U.S. District Court upheld a lower court ruling against the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association. A spokesman for the association said it would immediately appeal the decision to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The PBM group argues that enforcing the act would represent a "regulatory taking" of trade secrets, revenue and contractual rights.