Medicare enhances Physician Compare website; California officials fine Kaiser $4 million for failure to provide access to mental health services;

News From Around the Web

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services redesigned a website to make it easier for patients to search for physicians and healthcare professionals, the agency announced today. With the redesign, the Physician Compare website will include more frequently updated information. Announcement

Health Insurance News

> California officials have fined Kaiser Permanente $4 million for failing to provide access to mental health services for its members. The penalty, which the California Department of Managed Health Care announced Tuesday, stems from a routine survey in March that found Kaiser wrongly denied members appropriate access to mental health, including subjecting them to long periods between appointments and providing inaccurate information about coverage. Article

> The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is stepping up its involvement in the rate-setting process for health plans sold on the federally-run health insurance exchanges. HHS maintained that exchanges would operate as an open market system that grants access to all health plans applying to sell policies as long as they meet federal standards. Article

Health Finance News

> Hard-nosed and extremely organized negotiations with its three labor unions bore fruit for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia: savings of nearly $19 million in its new contract with three unions representing non-medical staff. Such savings are critical at a time of tight operating margins, said executives with the hospital during a presentation at the Healthcare Financial Management Association's annual national institute in Orlando, Fla., last week. And the Jefferson executives accomplished this at a time when hospital-related work stoppages are fairly common. Article

And Finally... This is a bit more outdoorsy than Bike to Work Day in D.C. Article