Health

Holland is the latest city in Michigan planning to file a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield over variable fees. The fee is a 13.5% administrative access fee Blue Cross charged the city on any insurance claims filed by employees.  The city claims the insurer didn’t tell them about the fees for 17 years.

Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra says,

Nursing students
wkimediacommons

Health care leaders throughout the state are preparing for changes under federal health care reform laws. Dozens gathered at Grand Valley State University Tuesday to take part in a national discussion on how nurses can ease the transition.

Sparrow Hospital nurses are supposed to start voting today on a new contract.

Last minute negotiations headed off a threatened lockout at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital ten days ago.

Hospital administrators threatened to lockout Sparrow’s 21 hundred nurses and support staff if they didn’t agree to the hospital’s final offer. 

Earlier, the nurses union authorized a strike and walked away from contract talks.

In the end, the two sides hammered out a tentative deal that included a modest wage hike and increase nurse staffing levels. 

Brian Calley
Gophouse.com

Supporters are pushing the Michigan legislature to pass a bill that would expand health care coverage for autism treatment before the measure dies at the end of the lame duck session. The bills would force health insurance companies to offer coverage for behavioral therapies for autism.

CT scan machine
user NithinRao / Creative Commons

No doubt CT scans have improved a doctor's ability to make diagnoses. The ability to see inside the body without cutting it open has meant better treatment.

But CT scans can deliver high doses of radiation, which can lead to cancer later in life, or in severe cases, can cause severe burns and even death.

No Smoking sign
capl@washjeff.edu / Creative Commons

At first glance, there's not much new about another hospital in Michigan going "smoke free" - more than 90% of Michigan hospitals can already claim that status. Here's how the Michigan Health and Hospital Association defines "smoke free":

John Ter Beek has 12 plants in his grow room.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A medical marijuana patient and attorney is filing suit against a west Michigan city set to ban portions of the state's new medical marijuana law.

The city of Wyoming is poised to adopt a ban on growing medical marijuana next month through zoning regulations. If it does, it would join about 30 other Michigan cities with similar rules.

Attorney and medical marijuana patient John Ter Beek spent about $3,000 to create his small grow room for 12 plants. It's in the basement of his modest two-story home in Wyoming. He intends to keep it.

Joseph Casias with his ACLU attorneys after Friday's hearing in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A federal judge in Grand Rapids heard arguments today in the case filed by a medical marijuana patient who was fired from Wal-Mart in Battle Creek.

(lky luciano/Google Creative Commons)

DETROIT, MICH. (Michigan Radio) - A federal judge in Grand Rapids will hear arguments tomorrow in a suit challenging the firing of a medical marijuana patient.
Joseph Cassias was fired from a Walmart in Battle Creek a year ago after he tested positive for marijuana.
Dan Korobkin is an attorney for the ACLU who's representing Cassias. He says employers from across the country are watching the case.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter speaks at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Muse
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Rosalynn Carter is in Grand Rapids raising awareness of mental illness. She's promoting her new book about how to end what she calls a "national mental health care crisis."

 The National Weather Service issued numerous tornado warnings this afternoon, as severe storms rolled across Michigan.  No actual tornados were confirmed.

 A Michigan State University researcher says it’s time to reconsider how severe weather warnings are issued.

 Research Bob Drost says only about 63 percent of people take weather warnings seriously. 

Dean of MSU's College of Human Medicine Marsha Rappley with the presidents of Ho
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University is partnering with three private colleges in west Michigan to give undergraduate students a head start in medical school.

It's not easy to get into medical school. Last year more than 6,000 students applied for 200 open seats at MSU's College of Human Medicine in downtown Grand Rapids.

Department of Justice building in Washington D.C.
user cliff / Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice along with the Michigan Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

U.S. Department of Jusitice Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney Holds said:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 Federal and state prosecutors are suing Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan.

 The non-profit health insurance company is accused of violating anti-trust laws. 

When Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan negotiates a contract with a hospital, it includes a provision giving it a discounted rate compared to other health insurance companies. 

Blue Cross insists that allows it to provide its members with discounted hospital stays.    But the US Justice Department and Michigan’s Attorney General’s office disagree.

 The number of adults over 50 entering into substance abuse treatment nearly doubled in Michigan during the past decade, according to a new state health department study.

 The Department of Community Health compared data on substance abuse treatment admissions from 2000 and 2009. 

Alcohol was and is the main reason most older adults ended up in treatment Michigan.

A decade ago, alcohol was the reason 85% of older Michiganders ended up in substance abuse treatment.  But by 2009,  that percentage dropped to 59%.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that U.S. District Judge George Steeh refused to issue a preliminary injunction to stop "preparations for putting federal health reforms into full effect in 2014. He also dismissed the key points of the suit — requiring Americans to buy health insurance and penalizing those who don’t starting in 2014."

 President Obama discusses patient bill of rights in backyard
White House

New census data says 16.7% of Americans are without health insurance:

The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 46.3 million in 2008 to 50.7 million in 2009

But starting today, that will change for many without coverage, including young adults and kids with pre-existing conditions.

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