The Federal Trade Commission on Monday requested 60 days beyond a previous deadline to decide whether to sign off on its 2013 antitrust settlement with an Albany hospital system. Monday was the FTC’s deadline to finalize the agreement with Phoebe Putney Health System.
About 70 percent of the overall budget for the Department of Public Health comes from federal grants. And that federal money has seen significant reductions. From fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2013, across all programs, Public Health lost about $25 million in federal money. And that drop has continued.
Although Colorado has become a popular destination for families seeking medical marijuana to treat children’s seizures, that state’s public health chief has some strong words of caution for parents. He said more data are needed on the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol oil, a non-psychoactive marijuana derivative, to treat seizures in children.
Last year, a bill that would renew a financing mechanism for the state’s Medicaid program hurtled irresistibly through the Georgia General Assembly. Gov. Nathan Deal signed it into law almost as soon as it was passed. The main part of the provider fee was eventually approved by the feds last year. But a second part of that provider fee, aimed at helping hospitals that were financial “losers’’ under the original distribution formula, has still not been approved.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Wednesday that parents in Georgia should not have to fear prosecution if they use medical marijuana derivatives to treat their children who suffer from intractable seizures. He called on the state’s prosecutors not to charge families who possess the derivative.
Georgia’s high-profile hospital antitrust saga may not be over after all. The Federal Trade Commission is asking a state agency whether a potential divestiture of the Albany hospital that Phoebe Putney acquired in 2011 would require regulatory approval. Last August, the FTC and Phoebe Putney Health System announced they were settling the agency’s long-running antitrust suit over the hospital acquisition. But that deal has not yet been finalized.
The final enrollment day for the ACA insurance exchange was marred by computer glitches. The problem was a frustrating reminder of the much worse technical problems that plagued the website for weeks after it debuted in early October and November.
State insurance officials said Wednesday that 177,668 Georgians have completed applications for coverage in the health exchange as of March 15. That number, reported by health insurers in the state, reflects a recent surge in enrollees from the latest figures released by the federal government.
During its journey through the General Assembly, a bill that would require drug testing for some applicants for food stamps and welfare generated controversy and drew fierce opposition from Democrats. Ultimately, though, House Bill 772 was approved on the final day of the legislative session last week. It would require people applying for this government assistance to be tested if they raise “reasonable suspicion’’ of illegal drug use.