Regional Digest

New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson last week signed a bill that will change the Medical Practice Act to allow home health agencies and hospice care providers to give services to New Mexico patients whose care was ordered by out-of-state physicians. The bill was effective May 17, reported the Santa Fe New Mexican.

According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, West Virginia ranks second in the country, behind only Florida, in the percentage of its population covered by Medicare – 18%, compared to 14% nationally. And the recent cuts in Medicare reimbursement have deemed more than 5,400 patients in the state ineligible for home care, the Union-Tribune reported. Twenty home health agencies have closed in the state, and the West Virginia Council of Home Health Agencies said the state’s remaining 71 home health companies are each losing about $180,000 a year.

Massachusetts legislators met recently with clients of Montachusset Home Care (Worcester, MA) as part of the agency’s Home Care Family Week. "We like to get these legislators to meet with our clients directly," Margaret Woovis, Montachusset executive director, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "This the time of year when the state budget is being set, and we need them to know how the money allotted to us is being spent." The legislators viewed the Senior Supportive Living Program and a congregate care unit at a facility and with clients of both programs, reported the Telegram & Gazette. The legislators told the Telegram & Gazette that participating in the program gives them "insights into the workings of elder care agencies that will help them in defining the state budget."

Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Marois unveiled the areas in which her ministry will use the $2.7 billion set for healthcare in last week’s provincial budget. According to the Globe and Mail, a portion of the money, $739 million, will be used in what Marois called a major reinvestment plan to improve healthcare services. The plan, reported the Globe and Mail, includes spending $200 million to improve home care for the elderly.