Governor Bill Haslam’s new budget proposal would increase funding for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, which has come under fire recently for refusing to turn over records in the cases of child deaths. Haslam’s spending plan would boost DCS funding by nearly $7 million--money The Tennessean reports would be used to hire 62 more caseworkers and investigators, while boosting pay for those already on staff.
Tennessee lawmakers are scheduled to hold hearings into why more than 70 children died last year after having some contact with the department. A group of media outlets in the Volunteer State is suing the DCS for refusing to make public agency documents concerning child deaths.
Last week, A Davidson County Chancery Court Judge ruled the DCS must provide more information regarding the causes of death, the department’s prior involvement with the children, and the results of prior contact provided to those who later died.
Pressure is building on Kentucky lawmakers to refine "pill mill" legislation.
Since it was enacted last year some physicians, pharmacists and other health care providers have complained its provisions are overly cumbersome. But Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Director Van Ingram says almost two-thirds of abusers don't get medications from doctors. He says they often steal medications from homes.
Still, Ingram believes the state's crackdown on prescription drug abuse through the pill mill law is working. He says it's prompted almost all pain clinics in the Commonwealth to shut down, leaving only eight now applying to meet the new regulatory process.
Activists said Thursday after a board meeting for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange that they are supporting a bill to require legislative approval of the exchange, which was created by executive order of the governor.
Meanwhile, exchange executive director Carrie Banahan told board members that progress is being made in setting up a website that's supposed to make picking health insurance similar to buying an airline ticket from an online travel site. The site will allow consumers to compare costs and benefits.
Exchanges are a key part of the President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul. Banahan predicts about 300,000 people will purchase insurance through Kentucky's exchange.