Massachusetts set to vote on dental insurance overhaul

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Voters in Massachusetts will be offered a question about new rules for dental insurers requiring them to spend no less on patient care than 83% of premiums collected. Also: Penalties for fentanyl in Alabama, increased funding for labor and delivery care in New Hampshire, and more.

The Boston Globe: Orthodontist Vs. Insurer: How Question 2 Could Bring Radical Changes to the Dental Industry

When Massachusetts voters head to the polls in November, they’ll have the chance to settle a murky dispute that could upend the dental industry. In summary: Question 2 would require dental insurers to spend at least 83% of the premiums they collect on patient care. That would be a sea change for an industry with no minimum threshold today, and one that could affect not only insurers doing business here, but also dentists in the state – not to mention anyone with dental insurance. It could even become a model replicated in other states. (Chesto, 9/26)

In other news from around the United States –

AP: Alabama considering fentanyl sanctions; Critics say they won’t work

Alabama lawmakers could consider tougher penalties for traffickers and distributors of illicit fentanyl next year, but some say a comprehensive approach should also include more health services and help drug users reduce overdoses . Republican Reps. Matt Simpson of Daphne and Chris Pringle of Mobile tell Al.com they expect bills next year to increase penalties for distributing the deadly drug that accounted for 66% of all overdose deaths in the United States in 2021. (9/26)

New Hampshire Public Radio: NH is increasing funding for labor and delivery care. Will this be enough to stem the closures?

State lawmakers and health officials are increasing funding for childbirth services, as labor and delivery unit closures have made it harder for many New York residents to access such care. Hampshire. (Cuno Booth, 09/26)

KHN: In this recovery center, the police face mental health costs from work

Ken Beyer can’t think of a day in the last few months where his phone hasn’t buzzed with calls, texts and emails from a police department, sheriff’s office or a fire station seeking help for an employee. A patrol officer threatens to commit suicide with his service weapon before roll call. A veteran firefighter drowns in vodka until he collapses. A deputy overdosing on fentanyl in his police cruiser. “This is the worst I’ve seen in my career,” said Beyer, co-founder and CEO of Harbor of Grace Enhanced Recovery Center, a private mental health and addiction recovery and treatment center for first responders in the waterfront town of Maryland. Harbour Grace. Established in 2015, Harbor of Grace is one of only six treatment centers in the United States approved by the Fraternal Order of Police, the world’s largest organization of law enforcement officers. (Ridderbusch, 09/27)

On West Nile Virus —

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: First human case of West Nile virus discovered this year in Sheboygan

The first human case of West Nile virus in Wisconsin this year has been confirmed in a resident of Sheboygan County, prompting state health officials to once again stress the importance of preventing mosquito bites. Earlier this year, the virus was found in three animals: a horse in Trempealeau County, a horse in Monroe County and a bird in Milwaukee County. (Shastri, 9/26)

WMFE: Volusia County Reports Another Human Case of West Nile Virus

The Volusia County Florida Health Department reported its second human case this year of mosquito-borne West Nile virus on Friday. (Byrnes, 9/26)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.

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