State Highlights: Pastoral Provider Licenses Stoke Concern In Texas; Pilot Medicare Program Helped Cut Costs In Arkansas

News outlets report on health issues in Texas, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington, New Hampshire and Missouri.

Pastoral Medicine Credentials Raise Questions In Texas

You’ve probably heard of the credentials M.D. and R.N., and maybe N.P. The people using those letters are doctors, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. But what about PSC.D or D.PSc? Those letters refer to someone who practices pastoral medicine – or “Bible-based” health care. It’s a relatively new title being used by some alternative health practitioners. The Texas-based Pastoral Medical Association gives out “pastoral provider licenses” in all 50 states and 30 countries. Some providers call themselves doctors of pastoral medicine. But these licenses are not medical degrees. That has watchdog organizations concerned that some patients may not understand what this certification really means. (Silverman, 4/25)

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Savings Seen In New Care Program

Paying doctors to better coordinate care for Medicare beneficiaries in Arkansas and seven other states helped hold down the cost of patients’ medical care over a two-year period, although the savings didn’t fully offset the cost of the extra payments, a report found. Still, the authors of the report by Mathematica Policy Research said the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative’s effect on medical expenses was bigger than they expected. (Davis, 4/24)

New Hampshire Public Radio:
State Issues Update On PFOA-Contaminated Wells

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has announced updated drinking water well test results for the water contaminant PFOA in Southern New Hampshire. So far, the state has tested over 350 wells, mostly within a 1.5 mile radius of the Saint-Gobain performance plastics plant. Of those, 52 private wells have tested above the state’s threshold of concern: which is 100 parts per trillion of the contaminant. The well with the highest concentration came in at 1600 parts per trillion. So far, these wells are located in Merrimack and Litchfield, with one Manchester well testing above the threshold. (Corwin, 4/22)

St. Louis Public Radio:
What’s Next, After Defeat Of Medical Marijuana Bill?

Supporters of legalizing marijuana for medical use in Missouri now have only one option this year – the ballot box. That comes after the state House last week defeated House Bill 2213. In its original form, the measure would have allowed for medical cannabis centers in Missouri, which would have sold medical cannabis to patients with a “debilitating medical condition.” (Griffin, 4/24)

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