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Overview

CHA News
The core of CHA member benefits: the latest information for members

CHA provides timely information to its members on a daily basis through CHA News, issued at 3 p.m. every day, Monday through FridayThis section contains a chronological listing of CHA News articles. For information by topic, please visit the Hospital Topics section.

CHA News Article

EEOC Issues Final Rule on Employer Wellness Programs

On May 16, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final rule governing the treatment of wellness programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), providing employers much-needed clarification on developing workplace wellness programs that comply with the acts. The final rule also provides guidance on compliance with applicable provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as amended by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The final rule generally tracks the version proposed last year. Unfortunately, the EEOC did not modify the rule to make it consistent with ACA regulations governing wellness programs, further complicating the task of designing compliant programs.

CHA News Article

CHA Webinar Will Explain New Requirements for Sterile Compounding
Learn how to comply with new and upcoming state regulations and federal standards

New regulations and standards on hospital pharmacy compounding of hazardous and nonhazardous medications will significantly impact pharmacy processes and procedures, as well as facility structures. To help explain the upcoming regulations and standards, CHA will hold a webinar June 28 from 10 a.m. – noon (PT).

CHA News Article

DHCS Announces Webinar on Specialty Mental Health Services Waiver
Save the date for follow-up meeting in June

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will host a webinar May 26 from 3-4:30 p.m. (PT) addressing the 1915(b) Specialty Mental Health Services (SMHS) waiver’s special terms and conditions. The waiver, approved on June 24 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under Section 1915(b) of the Social Security Act, is effective for a five-year term from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2020, and grants DHCS authority to implement the Medi-Cal SMHS program. In the attached approval letter, CMS outlines various requirements that were a condition of the waiver approval, due to its overarching concerns about the SMHS program’s integrity and compliance.

CHA News Article

California Physician Leadership Program Launches 2016-17 Session
Enroll today for discounted tuition

Registration is now open for the California Physician Leadership Program’s 2016-17 session. A collaborative effort of CHA, the Regional Hospital Associations and the University of Southern California (USC), the comprehensive certificate program is designed to supplement clinical expertise with strategic leadership skills to help physicians successfully navigate the increasingly complex health care delivery system.

CHA News Article

Report Shows California’s Uninsured Rate Down to 8.1 Percent

A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals California’s uninsured rate fell to 8.1 percent at the end of 2015, a full percentage point lower than the national uninsured rate of 9.1 percent. The report, titled Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, 2015, presents selected estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), along with comparable estimates from the 2010–2014 NHIS.

Overview

News Releases and Media Statements
From the California Hospital Association

For past news releases and media statements, please visit the archive.

Media Statement

California’s Hospitals Applaud Bipartisan Legislative Action in Support of MCO Tax Package
Health Plan Financing Package Provides Needed Funding for Hospital-Based Skilled Nursing Units

The California Hospital Association (CHA) applauds today’s bipartisan passage in both the Assembly and Senate of the revamped Managed Care Organization (MCO) financing package. The reformed funding program will stabilize the state’s General Fund costs for Medi-Cal and provide much needed funding for hospital-based skilled nursing facilities as well as programs that support the developmentally disabled.

News Release

Southern California Hospital Leader Elected 2016 Board Chair of California Hospital Association
Redlands Community Hospital CEO James Holmes Will Guide CHA in Coming Year

SACRAMENTO (January 21, 2016 ) – James R. Holmes, President/CEO of Redlands Community Hospital, has been elected 2016 chair of the California Hospital Association (CHA) Board of Trustees. 

Media Statement

Filing of Harmful Ballot Measure by SEIU-UHW is an Abuse of California’s Initiative Process
New Ballot Measure Attacking Executive Compensation Violates May 2014 Agreement

Today’s  decision by SEIU-UHW (UHW) to file a harmful ballot measure that will negatively impact the operations of hospitals throughout California is an abuse of the state’s initiative process and violates a May 5, 2014 agreement negotiated between the California Hospital Association (CHA) and UHW. Artificially imposing a cap on compensation will result in a loss of qualified executives and undermine the ability of hospitals to meet the challenges ahead.

News Headlines

Today’s News Headlines

News Headlines Article

Opioid Epidemic Fueling Hospitalizations, Hospital Costs
Kaiser Health News

Every day, headlines detail the casualties of the nation’s surge in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse: the funerals, the broken families and the patients cycling in and out of treatment. Now, a new study sheds light on another repercussion — how this public health problem is adding to the nation’s ballooning health care costs and who’s shouldering that burden.

The research comes as policymakers grapple with how to curb the increased abuse of these drugs, known as opioids. State legislators in New York, Connecticut, Alaska and Pennsylvania have tried to take action by adding new resources to boost prevention and treatment. In addition, President Barack Obama laid out strategies last month intended to improve how the health system deals with addiction.

News Headlines Article

‘Inexpensive Old Drug’ May Prevent Brain Damage in High-Risk Newborns, Study Shows
UCSF Today

A 27-year-old drug for anemia may protect newborns at high risk for brain damage, according to the results of a multisite trial led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Each year more than 800,000 deaths worldwide and many thousands of cases of permanent brain damage in the U.S. are attributed to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a dysfunction of the nervous system caused by birth complications resulting in a drop in oxygen supply and inadequate blood flow to the brain and other organs.

News Headlines Article

An Online Program May Help Prevent Depression In Some People
National Public Radio

Working through a self-help program online can prevent or delay major depression disorder in people who are vulnerable, a study finds. Similar programs have been used to treat depression, but this may be the first one tested to prevent it, the researchers say.

Online programs for mental health problems can be as effective as face-to-face treatment and offer some advantages: Low cost, available at any time and customizable. But they’re not panaceas.

News Headlines Article

Politics In Real Life: Rising Health Care Costs Weigh On Voters
National Public Radio

When the health insurance premiums got to the point that they were higher than her mortgage, Renee Powell started to become cynical.

“There was something in me that just kind of switched,” said the mother of two from Bartlesville, Okla. “I was OK with paying $750, but when it became about $100 more than my housing costs, it upset me.”

Powell is an epidemiologist and used to work for the state in Oklahoma City.

News Headlines Article

Access to health-care prices doesn’t lower spending
Boston Globe

If people know how much health care services cost, they’ll shop for the best prices and spend less — or so the theory goes. That’s why the Massachusetts law intended to lower costs included a requirement that doctors, hospitals, and insurers provide cost estimates.

But a Harvard Medical School study published Tuesday casts doubt on whether such efforts can curb spending.

The study examined outpatient care sought by 149,000 employees of two large, national companies in 2011 and 2012. The employees were offered an online tool revealing how much they would pay out of pocket for services such as X-rays, lab tests, outpatient surgeries, and physician office visits.

News Headlines Article

More Americans have affordable insurance and can pay their medical bills since ACA
FierceHealthPayer

More Americans have healthcare coverage and access to medical care since the Affordable Care Act’s provisions took effect, according to a new research from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The report, “2015 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report and 5th Anniversary Update on the National Quality Strategy,” found the ACA has had the most far-reaching effort to improve access to care since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

The report measures access to care based on whether people have health insurance, a usual source of care, difficulty when seeking care and if they can receive care as soon as they want. After years without improvement, access to care has improved in several areas since 2010, according to the report:

News Headlines Article

Smokers’ Ranks Look Conspicuously Sparse In Obamacare
Kaiser Health News

Barred from restaurants, banned on airplanes and unwelcome in workplaces across America, smokers have become accustomed to hiding their habits. So it’s no surprise many may now also be denying their habit when they buy health coverage from the federal health law’s insurance exchanges.

Insurers — who can charge higher rates in most states to admitted smokers — are steamed.

They say the cheating that smokers do to escape tobacco surcharges on their monthly premiums means higher rates for everyone else.

Signs of smokers’ deceit:

News Headlines Article

Leader of Families USA, pivotal in passing Affordable Care Act, will step down
Washington Post

During a trip to Mississippi in the 1960s to work on civil rights issues, Ron Pollack visited a sharecropper’s shack in rural Sunflower County.

There was not a scrap of food in sight. A young boy lay on a blanket, his stomach distended from malnutrition and his skin covered with flies. “He had no energy even to swat them away,” Pollack recalled. “I thought, ‘How could this be happening in the United States?’ ”

News Headlines Article

Medical Errors Are No. 3 Cause Of U.S Deaths, Researchers Say
National Public Radio

A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States — and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.

The authors, led by Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. Martin Makary, call for changes in death certificates to better tabulate fatal lapses in care. In an open letter, they urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to immediately add medical errors to its annual list reporting the top causes of death.

Based on an analysis of prior research, the Johns Hopkins study estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. On the CDC’s official list, that would rank just behind heart disease and cancer, which each took about 600,000 lives in 2014, and in front of respiratory disease, which caused about 150,000 deaths.

News Headlines Article

Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States
Washington Post

Nightmare stories of nurses giving potent drugs meant for one patient to another and surgeons removing the wrong body parts have dominated recent headlines about medical care.

News Headlines Article

Harvard Study: Shopping For Health Care Fails To Lower Costs
WBUR

I hate it when there’s more bad news about the health care costs that are devouring our family, municipal and national budgets. (Latest number: $3 trillion, or 17.5 percent of America’s GDP.)

But here it is: A Harvard study just out in JAMA finds that when health care consumers use price-comparison tools, they don’t end up spending less. In fact, they may even spend a bit more, perhaps because they think higher prices mean better quality. So much for the idea that if you just let people shop for cheaper care, prices will surely go down.

News Headlines Article

How a tool to help patients save on health care backfired
Washington Post

First, the good news: We seem to be on the edge of a new age of price transparency in health care. All kinds of tools are being developed to give consumers the ability to answer how much health care will cost even before they decide where to go, ranging from a primary care doctor’s visit to a flu shot. Just last week, a Health Affairs study showed how dramatically prices for health care procedures can vary by geography. For example, a pregnancy ultrasound in the state of Ohio varied from $522 in Cleveland to $183 in nearby Canton.

Bringing light to health care prices, an area that is famously opaque and hard to navigate, offers for the first time the prospect that patients will truly be able to shop around and save themselves — and the health care system — money.

News Headlines Article

Study says health care pricing tools aren’t driving down costs
Marketplace

Here’s a key theory behind cutting health care costs: If consumers knew how much they’d have to pay for various medical services, they could be savvier shoppers, which would ratchet up competition among doctors and hospitals, to cut prices.

So, employers and insurers created online tools to help folks distinguish costly providers from less expensive alternatives.

But a new study out today, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), raises some doubts about whether these tools are working.

News Headlines Article

U.S. Spent $1.4 Billion To Stop HIV By Promoting Abstinence. Did It Work?
National Public Radio

In the past 12 years, the U.S. has spent more than $1.4 billion funding abstinence programs in Africa. They’re part of a larger program — called the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — aimed at stopping the spread of HIV around the world.

Many health officials consider PEPFAR a succes. It is credited with giving lifesaving HIV drugs to more than 5 million people and preventing nearly 1 million babies from getting HIV from their mothers.

But a study, published Monday in Health Affairs, finds the abstinence programs have been a failure.

News Headlines Article

Cost of cutting UC Berkeley program? Desperately needed doctors
The Mercury News

UC Berkeley’s plan to close a $150 million budget deficit has created great uncertainty across campus — and perhaps nowhere more than at a unique medical school program that mints some of the country’s most desperately needed doctors: primary care physicians.

The possible shuttering of the nearly 40-year-old Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program — which trains physicians for three years before they begin their clinical rotations at UCSF — comes as the state desperately seeks doctors to treat millions of Californians newly covered as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

News Headlines Article

California fines Anthem Blue Cross for violating customers’ grievance rights
Southern California Public Radio

The Department of Managed Health Care said Tuesday that it has fined Anthem Blue Cross $415,000 for violating some of its health plan members’ grievance and appeal rights.

The penalty levied against Anthem Blue Cross involved 83 violations in 40 cases. They include failure to adequately consider and resolve an enrollee’s grievance; failure to resolve a grievance within the 30-day time frame set forth under state law; failure to adequately explain the reason for denying treatment; and failure to respond in a timely fashion to Managed Health Care’s investigation.

News Headlines Article

Anthem Blue Cross fined for ignoring consumer rights
Sacramento Business Journal

California’s Department of Managed Health Care announced Tuesday it issued a $415,000 fine against Anthem Blue Cross for not responding to customer grievances.

The department found 40 cases involving 83 violations where Anthem deprived its customers of grievance and appeal rights. The department also cited Anthem for failing to identify, process and resolve grievances. It also cited Anthem for failing to provide timely information to the department during the investigation of complaints.

News Headlines Article

Shares of hospital operator HCA fall despite profit beat
Yahoo! News

Shares of HCA Holdings Inc, the largest U.S. for-profit hospital operator, fell about 3 percent on Tuesday after it posted a quarterly profit that exceeded analyst estimates on higher patient admissions but disappointed investors who had expected a stronger performance.

HCA said the first-quarter results were in line with internal projections.

“The first quarter was another quarter of solid volume growth for the company,” HCA Chief Operating Officer Sam Hazen said on a conference call.

News Headlines Article

Sutter among nation’s most profitable hospitals, study finds
Sacramento Bee

Sacramento’s Sutter Medical Center ranked No. 2 in the nation for highest profits from patient care, according to a study of 2,993 acute care hospitals released this week in the journal Health Affairs.

The report, which only covers 2013, lists Sutter, a not-for-profit hospital, with a total patient care services profit of $271.9 million that year.

News Headlines Article

Kaweah Delta’s Future Hangs On Tuesday Vote
KVPR

Today is the deadline for residents in Visalia to have their ballots postmarked in a big vote that could determine the future of the Kaweah Delta Hospital. The hospital is asking the community to tax itself to support a new acute care wing.

News Headlines Article

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland hits milestone for new outpatient center
San Francisco Business Times

It’s been a long time coming, but UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland “topped out” its new outpatient center’s six-story steel skeleton recently.

The pediatric hospital, part of UCSF Health under CEO Mark Laret, broke ground on the project last October, and expects the new ambulatory center to open in the fall of next year. It’s the first, $180 million phase of a $500 million, 10-year expansion and rebuild project designed to meet California seismic safety requirements and upgrade and modernize the campus.  The new structure is located at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and 52nd Street.

 

CHA News Article

CHA Releases 2014 Follow-Up Report on Allied Health Workforce

CHA is pleased to release the attached report, Critical Roles: California’s Allied Health Workforce (March 2014), a follow-up to an original 2011 publication. The report includes statewide information on select allied health occupation vacancy rates and age distribution, as well as other important information. The report is based on a 2013 statewide hospital survey that was designed to gather up-to-date data on the demand for health professionals in the short term and to identify hospital workforce concerns in the coming years. In addition to highlighting the survey findings, the updated document also includes key messages for policy makers and other stakeholders relevant to health workforce development in California. For a printed copy of the report, please contact info@calhospital.org.

Issue Paper

CHA Releases Allied Health Workforce Survey Results
Critical Roles: California's Allied Health Workforce

CHA is pleased to release Critical Roles: California’s Allied Health Workforce. This report highlights key findings from a recent CHA Allied Health Workforce Survey. The purpose of the survey was to gather up-to-date data regarding the effects of the economy on the demand for allied health professionals and to identify hospital workforce needs and concerns in the next one, three, and five years.

General information

AHA Report – ‘Workforce 2015: Strategy Trumps Shortage’

The American Hospital Association (AHA) recently released a report titled, “Workforce 2015: Strategy Trumps Shortage.” This report is the result of a year-long effort by the 2009 Long-Range Policy Committee to examine health workforce issues in the coming decade and to provide findings and recommendations for the field.

General information

Allied Health: The Hidden Health Care Workforce

Allied Health: The Hidden Health Care Workforce is the result of work completed by the CHA Healthcare Workforce Coalition. The coalition was established by CHA, and is sponsored in part by The California Endowment, in response to the need for a coordinated, statewide effort to develop and implement long-term strategies that will address allied health workforce shortages in the state. Members of this broad coalition include CHA member hospitals and health systems, as well as various stakeholders, including representatives from the University of California (UC), California State University, California Community Colleges, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, UC San Francisco Center for the Health Professions, Connecting the Dots Initiative, Campaign for College Opportunity, Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, and California Primary Care Association, among others.

Commands