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What We're Reading: Retroactive Medicaid; Ethical Physician Conduct; Nebraska Mental Health Care


A fourth state has chosen to roll back retroactive Medicaid benefits; the American Medical Association releases guidance for ethical physician conduct in the media; and Nebraska struggles to fund mental health services.

States Roll Back Retroactive Medicaid

A benefit in Medicaid that allowed the program to pay some retroactive medical bills for patients who qualify for Medicaid but weren’t enrolled at the time of care is being taken away in some states. According to Kaiser Health News, Iowa has joined Arkansas, Indiana, and New Hampshire in rescinding the benefit—all 4 states had to get the decision approved by the federal government. The benefit would pay medical bills going back 3 months for eligible but not enrolled patients, which protected hospitals, too.

Guidance for Ethical Physician Conduct in Media

At the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA), physicians approved new ethical guidance on physician conduct in the media. The guidance was recommended to help physicians who speak to the media navigate their roles as clinician, consultant, pundit, journalist, and media personality, the AMA reported. Among the recommendations are that physicians should encourage audience members to seek out qualified physicians and that physicians refrain from making clinical diagnoses about public individuals they have not personally examined.

Nebraska Struggles to Offer Mental Health Services

As Nebraska moves from state-run regional psychiatric centers to locally-run operations, the state is struggling to provide mental health services. The AP reported that the state has saved money by closing regional centers, but hasn’t fully funded the local programs. Currently, the state is projected to have a $195 million revenue shortfall for 2017-2019. People needing mental health services can wait months before treatment, or can end up in prisons or the state-run center instead of receiving treatment.

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