News Headlines for August 29, 2014

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NFP Hospitals’ Revenue Growth at ‘All-Time Low’
HealthLeaders Media

Marking a second consecutive year of weak financial performance at not-for-profit hospitals, 2013 expenses outpaced revenue growth in the sector and similar results are expected this year, according to Moody’s Investors Service. In a median report released this week, Moody’s says “operating revenue growth dropped to an all-time low of 3.9 percent and was outpaced by expense growth for a second consecutive year, an unsustainable trend.” NFP hospitals posted 5.1 percent revenue growth in 2012.

News Headlines Article

Electrical brain stimulation ‘boosts memory’
BBC News

Exciting a specific part of the brain with electromagnetic pulses could boost our ability to remember certain facts, a study in Science suggests.

The US trials involving 16 volunteers found they made 30% fewer mistakes in memory tests after the procedure.

Scientists are now investigating whether the technique could help people with memory disorders and reduce memory loss in later life.

Independent researchers describe the method as “ingenious”.

News Headlines Article

Transforming Cancer Care
HealthLeaders Media

The National Cancer Institute designates 41 U.S. hospitals as comprehensive cancer centers, with each required to demonstrate excellence in laboratory, clinical, behavioral, and population-based research, and to set high standards for outreach and education. This puts the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in the same category as the Mayo Clinic, M.D. Anderson, and other leading cancer centers.

News Headlines Article

What If EMRs Worked Like Wikipedia?
The Health Care Blog

I’ve been thinking about EMRs, electronic medical records, lately. It’s a subject, despite some professional experience, I don’t feel particularly close to. In fact, if anything, they are a source of consternation. As an industry insider, I see them as an expensive albatross around our collective neck. As a human centered design advisor, I see them as an encumbrance for both providers and patients.

News Headlines Article

Reform Update: Facing ACA mandates, insurers diversify into technology
Modern Healthcare

Health insurance companies, now required to spend the lion’s share of premium revenue on patient care, are looking for higher investment returns elsewhere. As a result, they’re increasingly putting money into technology ventures where they expect to realize higher returns.

The medical-loss ratio standard under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires insurers to spend at least 80% of what they earn from premiums on patient care and related quality improvements.

News Headlines Article

Covered California adds dental benefits
Sacramento Business Journal

Covered California will launch stand-alone family dental benefits in 2015 — but vision benefits are nowhere in sight. Vision-care heavyweight VSP Global, based in Rancho Cordova, has been unable to get traction on efforts to offer policies to the millions of uninsured Californians who seek coverage from the state health-benefit exchange. This is true even though the company threatened to leave the state two years ago when it was first excluded from the mix.

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Viewpoints: Be warned: Costs for Californians under Obamacare about to spike
Sacramento Bee

Obamacare had a “Mission Accomplished” moment earlier this month. The California Department of Insurance announced that health care plans on Covered California would see premiums increase by 4.2 percent for 2015.

Only in the post-Obamacare world does this constitute good news. We’ve forgotten that the law was initially supposed to lower health care premiums for California families by as much as $2,500 a year. Instead, it’s raising them for the second year in a row.

News Headlines Article

Narrow Networks Bill Passes Floor Vote
California Healthline

The Assembly this week approved a bill to limit narrow networks in California’s health plans. The legislation already passed a Senate vote and is expected to get concurrence today on the Senate floor and move to the governor’s desk for final approval. SB 964 by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) directs the Department of Managed Health Care to develop standardized methodologies for health insurers to file required annual reports on timeliness compliance, and requires DMHC to review and post findings on those reports.

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Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones: The man who would be king
Sacramento Business Journal

Health-care premiums in California have risen more than five times the rate of inflation over the last decade. Annual rate hikes for most employers have hit double digits. These figures alone make Proposition 45 an easy sell. The Nov. 4 ballot measure would give California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones authority to regulate rates for about 6 million people with individual and small-employer health plans — and reject those considered “excessive.”

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Hospital admission – inpatient or observation?
Redlands Daily Facts

It’s been four years since his father died in a Eureka skilled nursing facility, but Mark Gatzke is still angry over a Medicare billing technicality that haunted his parents for his father’s final weeks, his mother for more than a year, and a growing number of beneficiaries since then.

The technicality has to do with whether a hospital patient is admitted as an inpatient or for observation.

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Hospital to offer healthier living workshop
Red Bluff Daily News

Living with or caring for someone with chronic conditions can be difficult. The Healthier Living workshops offered by Mercy Medical Center in Redding are designed to educate individuals and promote self-management of any chronic disease.

Classes are scheduled to begin 9-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 at Shasta Senior Nutrition Program, 100 Mercy Oaks Drive, Redding.

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Autism in Girls Study Launched in California
Rocklin & Roseville Today

Autism is far more common in boys than girls – affecting 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls – but little is known about biological differences between boys and girls with autism. A new study, called the ‘Girls with Autism – Imaging of Neurodevelopment’ or GAIN Study, led by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute will explore those differences in very young girls with autism.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser, nurses extend contract through Sept. 30
Sacramento Business Journal

Kaiser Permanente and the California Nurses Association have agreed to extend their current contract — set to expire Sunday — through Sept. 30. This means all the terms in the current contract, including a no-strike provision, will remain in effect for another month, Kaiser says. Meanwhile, the union railed about a recruiting email from a large nurse staffing agency that appears to show Kaiser is gearing up in case there is a strike.

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Hospital explores an ‘affiliation’ of sorts with Loma Linda
The Record Gazette

Construction of a San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital’s planned six-story, 133,720 square-foot patient building would cost roughly $211 million, furnished. It’s a sum that, on its own, the hospital does not have. Enter Loma Linda University Medical Center, which the hospital already has a working partnership with: both entities are in exploratory negotiations to extend their relationship and take it a step further.

News Headlines Article

Sutter Health facilities make national ‘Best Places to Work’ list
Sacramento Bee

Sacramento-based Sutter Health placed two facilities on Modern Healthcare magazine’s list of the top-100 “Best Places to Work” in health care. Sutter Davis Hospital was the only medical center in Northern California to make the 2014 list, and the Sutter Center for Psychiatry in Sacramento was the only mental health facility in the nation on the list. The Sutter facilities were among seven California sites.

Sutter Davis made the list for a sixth consecutive year. The Sutter Center for Psychiatry was on the list for a third time.

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