State Capitol Briefs — Friday, October 10, 2014

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MASS. HEALTH CARE WAIVER EXTENSION DOWN TO ONE WEEK
The Patrick administration and the Obama administration may be winding down secret talks over a multi-year health care deal critical to funding for state government programs, health care reform efforts and the revenue bases of several Massachusetts hospitals. The state’s last three-year waiver expired on June 30 but the federal government has agreed to numerous extensions while considering Gov. Deval Patrick’s request for a five-year waiver deal. The Massachusetts waiver has attracted the attention of Republican Congressmen who this week expressed concern that the Obama administration may be giving Massachusetts more favorable treatment than other states. The latest extension was due to expire on Friday and a spokeswoman for Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz confirmed Friday that another extension has been granted. Unlike the previous extensions, which ran for a month or two weeks, the latest extension only runs through next Friday, Oct. 17. – M. Norton/SHNS

BAKER WANTS TO “SLOW-ROLL” REST OF CASINO LICENSING
Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker said he would not seek to keep the proposed Everett casino or Plainville slots parlor if voters repeal the gaming law. Baker has said he would seek to allow the proposed Springfield casino to open even if voters repeal the law that authorized it. Baker has previously deferred on whether he would do the same for Everett and Plainville, where Wynn Resorts and Penn National Gaming were granted gaming licenses by the Gaming Commission. “I’m not going to be interested in restoring all of the other proposals,” Baker told Jim Braude on Boston Public Radio Friday. Baker, who said he is voting against the Question 3 referendum that would repeal the casino law, has long been a proponent of only one casino in Massachusetts. The 2011 law permitted up to three casinos and one slots parlor. In the southeastern region where licensing is complicated by tribal efforts to establish a casino, the Gaming Commission anticipates an August 2015 award of a casino license. Asked if he would seek to delay the remaining licenses in keeping with his one-casino preference, Baker said, “I think we should probably slow-roll the rest of the process.” Casino proponents are running TV ads featuring Plainridge construction workers pleading to keep their jobs. It does not appear Baker, if elected, would mount a fullcourt press for a Springfield casino in the event the casino law is repealed. Baker indicated he would not want a drawn-out debate on the topic. “I would like at least to have a conversation for a short period of time – I’m not going to make it one of those things that goes on and on and on. I do want to have one conversation about the Springfield proposal,” Baker said. – A. Metzger/SHNS

STATE BOARD TAKES ACTIONS AGAINST TWO DOCS
A state board this week accepted the resignation of the medical license of a doctor who formerly practiced at Massachusetts General Hospital. The Board of Registration in Medicine on Wednesday described the medical license resignation as a form of discipline against Dr. Edwin Prien, who is board-certified in internal medicine and has been licensed to practice in Massachusetts since 1971 following his graduation from Harvard Medical School in 1962. In announcing the action, the board did not elaborate on Prien’s case. The board also approved a consent order admonishing the medical license of 1984 Harvard Medical School graduate Dr. David F. Righi, who has been licensed to practice in Massachusetts since 1989 and currently practices in Arizona. The board said Righi represented on his license renewal application that he had completed the required number of continuing professional development credits “when he had not done so.” The actions were taken at a board meeting on Wednesday. – M. Norton/SHNS

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

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