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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

Upcoming Conference Highlights Volunteer Involvement in Addressing Social Determinants of Health
Also highlights volunteer programs in behavioral health settings

The 2015 California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference will showcase in more than 30 sessions many new programs and resources to help hospital volunteer leaders support the population health movement. Among the offerings is a presentation exploring how hospital cross-collaboration – including innovative use of volunteers – can boost efforts to recognize the social determinants of health, as well as calling on volunteers to help determine patients’ social needs. Another conference session will explain how to integrate volunteers in inpatient and outpatient behavioral health settings.

CHA News Article

CMS Plans to Modify EHR Incentive Programs to Reduce Provider Burden

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today in a blog post that it intends to engage in rulemaking this spring to revise the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs to make them less burdensome for providers. CMS states it is considering proposals to shorten the 2015 reporting period to 90 days, realign hospital reporting periods to the calendar year, and modify additional aspects of the program to match long-term goals, reduce complexity, and lessen providers’ reporting burden. CHA supports the goals that CMS has laid out and is looking forward to engaging members in responding to the specifics proposed in future rulemaking.

CHA News Article

Report Outlines Findings From 50-State Survey on Medicaid,CHIP Policies

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a report titled Modern Era Medicaid: Findings from a 50-State Survey of Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost-Sharing Policies in Medicaid and CHIP as of January 2015. The report provides a snapshot of state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) policies in place one year after key Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid provisions took place, including the Medicaid expansion to low-income adults and new rules for streamlined enrollment and renewal processes that coordinate across insurance affordability programs (including Medicaid, CHIP and the health insurance marketplaces). The report finds there have been significant gains in coverage opportunities for low-income adults, most notably with increased eligibility levels for parents and childless adults in states that have expanded Medicaid.

CHA News Article

Little Hoover Commission Reports on Mental Health Services Act

Yesterday, the Little Hoover Commission — a bipartisan and independent state agency charged with recommending ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs — released a report on the state’s Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), titled Promises Still to Keep: A Decade of the Mental Health Services Act. The report calls on the state to better validate how the $13 billion raised through the act has been used to help Californians with mental illness recover and find stable housing or jobs, and how it has prevented others from developing a serious mental illness. The Commission urges the Governor, Legislature and state agencies responsible for overseeing the act to take several actions, including expanding the authority of the MHSA oversight commission and improving financial reporting to ensure progress toward outcomes. The report is available on the Commission’s website at www.lhc.ca.gov/studies/225/report225.html.

CHA News Article

Coalition of Health Care Stakeholders Announces Commitment to Move Toward Value-Based Payment

Following this week’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about its goals to shift more Medicare payments to alternative payment models — such as accountable care organizations and bundled payment models — a coalition of health systems and payers announced the formation of the Health Care Transformation Task Force. The task force includes a coalition of providers, insurers, purchasers and patients, led by Dr. Richard Gilfillan, former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and now chief executive of Trinity Health. The group has committed to placing 75 percent of its business under value-based payment arrangements by 2020. The task force’s goal is to find consensus on payment models that work and that don’t need multiple arrangements with various payers. The next steps of both the administration and this newly formed task force will be watched closely. Few details are known at this time, but momentum continues to build around more aggressive transformation from fee-for-service to more performance-based payment models. More information about the task force is available at www.hcttf.org.

Media Statement

Hospitals and Nurse Leaders Urge CNA/NNU to Abandon Strike, Not Patients
The following statement was issued today by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO of the California Hospital Association and Patricia McFarland, MS, RN, FAAN, CEO of the Association of California Nurse Leaders

“The so-called National Day of Action by the California Nurses Association (CNA) and National Nurses United (NNU) is a politically motivated effort to exploit public concern about Ebola to promote their own agenda. Their recommendations are not supported by clinical evidence or consistent with medical experts and recognized authorities on infectious diseases, including the federal Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and the nation’s four high-level biocontainment unit hospitals.

Media Statement

California Hospitals Applaud Brown Administration’s Leadership in Ebola Preparedness Efforts
by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO, California Hospital Association

The California Hospital Association applauds the leadership of Governor Jerry Brown and his Administration to ensure that patients and the health care workforce are protected and that hospitals are prepared to respond if an Ebola case occurs in California. The designation of UC Hospitals to receive and treat patients is the latest step in what has been a comprehensive response by health care leaders, hospitals, physicians, nurses, public safety and other stakeholders. Communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration are critically important and hospital leaders are working with the Administration to expand the network.  A statement will be released next week identifying additional hospitals that will accept and treat patients with a confirmed Ebola diagnosis. 

Media Statement

CA Hospitals, Nurse Leaders Issue Statement in Response to Ebola Outbreak
by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO of the California Hospital Association, Tricia Hunter, Executive Director of the American Nurses Association-California, and Pat McFarland, CEO of the Association of California Nurse Leaders

“The California Hospital Association, the Association of California Nurse Leaders, American Nurses Association-California, and other professional health care organizations, are working to ensure that patients and the health care workforce are protected and that hospitals are prepared to respond if an Ebola case occurs in California. This is a serious issue that requires a comprehensive response by health care leaders, hospitals, physicians, nurses, public safety and other stakeholders. Communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration are critically important.

News Release

New Study by Economist and Former Finance Director Tom Campbell Shows Access to Care At Risk from Mandates
Thousands of Californians Could be Shut Out From Needed Health Care if Legislation Is Passed

(SACRAMENTO – January 16, 2014) – Former Congressman and State Finance Director Tom Campbell released results today of a new study that warns that thousands of Californians could be shut out of the health care they need, even if they have health coverage, if new regulations and mandates are approved by the state Legislature.  

Media Statement

Hospitals, SEIU-UHW Reach Visionary Agreement on Future of Health Care Policy, Relationships in California

OAKLAND – The California Hospital Association and SEIU-United Healthcare Workers – West have reached a comprehensive, strategic agreement to jointly take on the many challenges facing the health care system, including rising costs, burgeoning levels of chronic disease, and the need to provide the highest quality of care for the people of California.

News Headlines

Today’s News Headlines

News Headlines Article

Paid Sick Leave, Precision Medicine Initiative, And Obamacare: What Pres. Obama Said About Health Care In His 2015 State Of The Union Address
Medical Daily

“I have no more campaigns to run. I know because I won both of them,” President Barack Obama said confidently amid sarcastic applause, as his hour-long State of the Union address drew near its conclusion on Tuesday.

Obama’s annual address was full of reflections on his successes as a president, as well as goals for the coming year. He noted lower gas prices, a steady drop in the unemployment rate, and a rise in graduation rates across the United States as positive outcomes for the Obama administration. Also included in his address were calls for childcare reform, making college “as free and universal in America as high school is today,” and a renewed resolve to shut down the controversy-ridden prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Since his election in 2008, Obama has remained passionate about health care reform. The Affordable Care Act, now more commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” was enacted in 2010, but 2014 was the first year the key provisions of the legislation were implemented. Enrollment in Obamacare marketplaces got off to a rocky start, leaving Republicans and Democrats alike looking to the White House for solutions.

News Headlines Article

War Over Obamacare Heats Up In States
National Public Radio

Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Ritze is a foot soldier — one of hundreds — in a passionate war over the Affordable Care Act that is reigniting as state legislatures convene across the country.

The Republican lawmaker, a family doctor, has stood behind three anti-Obamacare bills supported by conservative groups in Oklahoma and other states. None has made it into law, but Ritze plans to pick up the fight in the 2015 legislative session that convenes in the Sooner State next month.

News Headlines Article

Tax Preparers Get Ready To Be Bearers Of Bad News About Health Law
National Public Radio

Are you thinking about tax day yet? Your friendly neighborhood tax preparer is. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen declared this tax season one of the most complicated ever, partly because this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will show up on your tax form.

Tax preparers from coast to coast are trying to get ready. Sue Ellen Smith manages an H&R Block office in San Francisco, and she is expecting things to get busy soon.

“This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way,” Smith says.

News Headlines Article

Government health care website quietly sharing personal data
San Francisco Chronicle

The government’s health insurance website quietly is sending consumers’ personal data to private companies that specialize in advertising and analyzing Internet data for performance and marketing, the Associated Press has learned. The scope of what is disclosed or how it might be used was not immediately clear, but it can include age, income, ZIP code, whether a person smokes and if a person is pregnant.

News Headlines Article

Justices appear split on lawsuits over low Medicaid rates
Modern Healthcare

Some U.S. Supreme Court justices are skeptical, based on questions they posed Tuesday, that healthcare providers should be allowed to sue state Medicaid agencies over low reimbursement rates. Other justices, though, asked where providers can challenge rates if not in court.

The split made the outcome hard to gauge from the oral arguments in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center Inc. Providers argue that the courts are an important avenue for challenging low rates—which they say lead to less access to care for Medicaid patients because too few providers are willing to participate.

News Headlines Article

Supreme Court ruling carries implications for future drug patent cases
Modern Healthcare

The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday vacated a lower court’s ruling that had ended patent protection for Teva Pharmaceuticals’ popular multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. The decision could have broader implications for how courts decide future pharmaceutical patent disputes.The justices decided 7-2 to vacate a lower court’s ruling that the Jerusalem-based pharmaceutical company’s key patent on the drug was invalid.

News Headlines Article

Blue Shield to 280k customers: Start looking for providers outside of Sutter
Becker's Hospital Review

Weeks into a tense contract dispute, Blue Shield of California has started notifying customers to be prepared to find healthcare providers outside of Sacramento-based Sutter Health System, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

The payer notified more than 139,000 customers last week and plans to alert another 140,500 later this month, according to the report. Depending on the type of plan they hold, some people would have to find new physicians and hospitals by April, whereas others have until the end of June.

News Headlines Article

Brittany Maynard family pushing California right-to-die bill
Fresno Bee

Three California lawmakers are promoting right-to-die legislation with the family of a terminally ill woman who moved to Oregon to legally end her life.

Brittany Maynard’s mother and husband will be at the state Capitol on Wednesday to support a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives in California.

The 29-year-old Northern California woman had brain cancer. She argued in online videos that patients facing imminent death should be able to die on their own terms.

News Headlines Article

Death with dignity movement is alive and well in California
Los Angeles Times

Palm Springs residents Bill Bentinck and his wife, Lynda, were not afraid of having the big talk no one really wants to have.

“We both told each other that we didn’t want to live through a painful dying process,” Bentinck said, “and when the time comes we’ll just do it and get it over with. No fear.”

Lynda became seriously ill in 2012, and they thought about moving to Oregon, where the Death With Dignity law has enabled terminally ill people to legally end their lives with a doctor’s prescription.

News Headlines Article

Governor’s decision to allocate millions to hepatitis C drugs is good news for Fresno-area patients
Fresno Bee

Just weeks into a new drug treatment for hepatitis C, Travis Poole felt like getting out of bed and going back to work as a painting contractor.

“I had new energy; I didn’t tire as easily,” he said. “My whole world did a 180, from knowing I was dying to knowing I had a new chance on life.”

Poole, 51, of Clovis, is one of the beneficiaries of a new — but expensive — drug for hepatitis C. Sovaldi, one of two pills that he took daily for 24 weeks, cost $1,000 apiece. The second cost $100 a tablet.

News Headlines Article

Parents Who Shun Vaccines Tend To Cluster, Boosting Children’s Risk
National Public Radio

Although vaccines are among the safest, most effective ways to protect children from major communicable diseases, some parents still doubt this. As a result, some choose immunization schedules that defy science or refuse to vaccinate altogether.

If these parents were distributed randomly, their decisions would be less likely to harm others, especially babies too young for vaccination. But parents who use personal belief exemptions to avoid school vaccination requirements often live in the same communities, studies have found.

News Headlines Article

Malpractice Changes In Massachusetts Offer Injured Patients New Options
National Public Radio

When a woman had gallbladder surgery at a Massachusetts hospital in 2013, doctors noticed something suspicious on a CT scan that they thought could be ovarian cancer. But the recommendation that she get a pelvic ultrasound fell through the cracks. Months later, she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer.

Normally, this type of medical mistake could mark the start of a protracted malpractice lawsuit.

News Headlines Article

UnitedHealth Group shares climb to all-time high
USA Today

UnitedHealth Group shares are hitting all-time highs Wednesday after the health insurer posted solid gains in fourth-quarter revenue and earnings and forecast better-than-expected prospects for 2015.

Shares are up 2.3% to $108.07 in morning trading.

For the quarter, revenue rose 7.4% to $33.4 billion from $31.1 billion in the year-ago quarter, while net earnings climbed 6% to $1.5 billion, or $1.55 a share, from $1.4 billion, or $1.41 a share. Analysts expected EPS of $1.50.

 

News Release

New Study by Economist and Former Finance Director Tom Campbell Shows Access to Care At Risk from Mandates
Thousands of Californians Could be Shut Out From Needed Health Care if Legislation Is Passed

(SACRAMENTO – January 16, 2014) – Former Congressman and State Finance Director Tom Campbell released results today of a new study that warns that thousands of Californians could be shut out of the health care they need, even if they have health coverage, if new regulations and mandates are approved by the state Legislature.  

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.

This report is the second comprehensive survey of the allied health professional workforce since CHA formed the Healthcare Workforce Coalition in 2007.

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.

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