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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

Medical Board Encourages Physicians to Renew Licenses Early, Online

The Medical Board of California is asking physicians who need to renew their medical licenses to do so early and to use the online system if possible. Licensing renewal notices are distributed 90 days in advance of the expiration date, and renewing as soon as possible will help to avoid delays that could impact a physician’s ability to practice.

CHA News Article

CMS Announces Reorganization and Contracts for California
HSAG to be QIN and IPF support contractor; Livanta LLC to be QIO

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded Health Services Advisory Group, Inc. (HSAG) the new Quality Innovation Network (QIN) contract for California. HSAG is the current quality improvement organization (QIO) in California and was awarded the contract in conjunction with the CMS strategy to separate the QIN and QIO functions. According to CMS, QINs are responsible for working with providers, practitioners and the community on multiple data-driven quality initiatives to improve patient safety, reduce harm and improve clinical care at the local, regional and national levels.

CHA News Article

Agreement Reached on VA Health Care Legislation
Congress to vote this week on bill

House and Senate leaders have released an agreement to address ongoing problems at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The bill, agreed to last night by the conference committee, will take a number of steps to ease access for veterans seeking health care from non-VA providers.

CHA News Article

IOM Recommends Significant Changes to Medicare GME

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report today proposing significant changes to the Medicare Graduate Medical Education program. The report calls for phasing out the current Medicare medical education payment system over 10 years and shifting to a performance-based system. At the end of the 10 years, IOM recommends reassessing whether Medicare should continue to subsidize physician training, and if so, how to further reform the system. IOM also suggests that states make similar reforms with their Medicaid training funds. 

CHA News Article

Medicare Trustees Report Extends Trust Fund Through 2030

The Medicare Trustees annual report, released today, projects that the Medicare trust fund will remain solvent through 2030, four years later than forecasted in last year’s report. The extension in the life of the trust fund is largely attributed to lower than expected spending across a range of Medicare programs, including for inpatient services. The trustees also note that payment reductions required by the Affordable Care Act will further reduce hospital spending in the future. For more information, visit the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ website.

News Release

Innovative Medical Career Program Sponsored by Bay Area Hospital at Risk if AB 503 is Enacted
New Video Profiles Medical Biotechnology Academy at John Muir Hospital in Concord

SACRAMENTO (June 9, 2014) -  The California Hospital Association (CHA) today released a new video highlighting a successful community benefit program that is designed to expose students to possible careers in the medical and health care field.  The program, operated jointly by John Muir Hospital in Concord and Mt. Diablo High School’s Medical Biotechnology Academy, is designed to place students on a career path through a rigorous, hands-on internship program.  Its future is threatened, however, by Assembly Bill (AB) 503 (Wieckowski/Bonta).

Media Statement

Qualification Effort for Medi-Cal Funding Initiative Likely Requires Full Count of Signatures
by C. Duane Dauner, President / CEO, California Hospital Association

The California Hospital Association (CHA) is disappointed by news that signatures to qualify a ballot initiative aimed at ensuring a stable source of federal health care funding for hospitals that provide care to California’s most vulnerable residents will likely not meet the random sampling threshold as required by state law.  

Media Statement

California Hospitals Disappointed that May Revise Doesn’t Reverse Retroactive Medi-Cal Payment Cuts
By C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO

The California Hospital Association (CHA) is disappointed that the May revision to the state’s proposed 2014-15 budget, released today, does not reverse looming retroactive Medi-Cal payment cuts to hospital-based skilled-nursing facilities. This omission comes at a critical time in the evolution of the Medi-Cal program.  

News Release

CA Hospitals, SEIU-UHW Reach Agreement to Improve Health Care, Create New Model of Labor Relations

A broad range of California hospitals and hospital systems and the state’s largest union of hospital workers, SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), have signed a breakthrough agreement to form a strategic relationship that will change the face of healthcare in California and serve as a new national model for how employers and unions interact. 

News Release

Voter Signatures Submitted for Ballot Measure to Protect Health Care Funding for Children, Seniors and Low-Income Californians
Initiative Ensures Government Accountability, Provides Billions in Federal Matching Funds

PALO ALTO, Calif. – A broad coalition of health care providers and community groups announced today that they have collected and are submitting more than one million voter signatures statewide in order to qualify the Medi-Cal Funding and Accountability Act of 2014 for the November ballot.  The measure builds upon SB 239, an important bipartisan agreement passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013, with no opposition votes cast, to provide a stable source of health care funding to serve California’s most vulnerable citizens: children, seniors, and low income residents.

News Headlines Article

Nurses Shift, Aiming for More Time With Patients
The Wall Street Journal

Hospitals are freeing up nurses to do the one thing they often don’t have enough time for: taking care of patients.

Swamped with tasks such as hunting for supplies, tracking down medications, filling out paperwork at the nursing station and looking for missing test results, nurses may spend less than two hours of a 12-hour shift in direct patient care, studies show. But research has also found that the more time nurses spend at the bedside, the less likely patients are to suffer falls, infections and medication errors, and the more likely they will be satisfied with their care.

News Headlines

Today’s News Headlines

News Headlines Article

Report: Calif. Hospitals’ Finances Rebounding, Challenges Remain
California Healthline

The rate of California hospitals operating profitably has rebounded since the economic recession, but some still are struggling to maintain positive profit margins, according to a report by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, Payers & Providers reports.

OSHPD collects and analyzes data on more than 400 acute care facilities in the state. The report found that among hospitals in California:

News Headlines Article

Medi-Cal’s unhealthy backlog for care
San Francisco Chronicle

California has rightly embraced the challenge of expanding access to health care under the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act. There’s just one problem. Medi-Cal, the state’s version of the Medicaid safety net program for poor and disabled people, is a bit of a mess.

As of March, California had the largest backlog of Medi-Cal applicants in the nation: about 900,000 people. Now, facing a federal deadline to create plans for getting Medicaid applicants enrolled has brought the matter to a head.

News Headlines Article

State Senate to Aging Californians: We Care
HealthyCal.org

While the state Assembly has a committee dedicated to aging and long-term care, the State Senate hasn’t had one since it disappeared from the Committee on Health along with termed out sponsor Elaine Alquist at the end of 2012.

That changed last week when the Senate publicly launched a new Select Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care at an informational hearing at the Glendale Central Library attended by 125 people.

The committee is chaired by Sen. Carol Liu (D-District 25), who requested its creation.

News Headlines Article

How virtual visits can help children in the hospital reduce stress, speed up recovery
Scoop

Past research has shown that patients in the hospital experience less nerve-related pain and recover more quickly when they have visitors. Now findings recently published in Pediatrics show that virtual visits are equally beneficial.

In the study, researchers at the University of California, Davis Children’s Hospital analyzed the effectiveness of Family-Link, a program that provides webcams, laptops and Internet access to pediatric patients.

News Headlines Article

‘When the mission is patient first, we don’t try first on patients’
Washington Post

On the table is a man’s torso. Several doctors are gathered around the table and one grabs a needle, steadily presses it into the left side of the upper chest region and begins to draw out fluid.

“That’s nice clear fluid,” comments one of the other medical fellows. “Clearest fluid you’re ever going to get.”

The torso is a mannequin’s, one with towels and raw chicken meat packed neatly inside.

News Headlines Article

New challenge for Obamacare: Enrollees who don’t understand their insurance plans
Washington Post

Nine months after Americans began signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, a challenging new phase is emerging as confused enrollees clamor for help in understanding their coverage.

Nonprofit organizations across the country are being swamped by consumers with questions. Many are low-income, have never had insurance and have little knowledge of the health-care system. The rampant confusion poses a potential hurdle for the success of the health law: If many Americans don’t understand how health insurance works, that could hurt their ability to use their benefits — or to keep their coverage altogether.

News Headlines Article

Patients With Low-Cost Insurance Struggle To Find Specialists
National Public Radio

The Hope Clinic in southwest Houston is in the very heart of Asia Town, a part of the city where bland strip malls hide culinary treasures — Vietnamese pho, Malaysian noodles, Sichuan rabbit and bubble tea.

Inside the clinic, internist Charu Sawhney sees patients from many countries and circumstances. She’s a big believer in the Affordable Care Act since most of her patients have been uninsured. She actively pushed many of them to sign up for the new plans.

News Headlines Article

Senate GOP blocks bill on contraception coverage
San Francisco Chronicle

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill aimed at restoring free contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies with religious objections, a legislative setback for Democrats that they hope will be a political winner in November’s elections.

The vote was 56-43 to move ahead on the measure, short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed.

Democrats sponsored the election-year bill to reverse last month’s Supreme Court ruling that closely held businesses with religious objections could deny coverage under President Obama’s health care law.

News Headlines Article

Democratic Effort To Override Hobby Lobby Ruling Fails
National Public Radio

A Democratic effort to override the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on contraceptive coverage failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

Bill sponsors fell four votes short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the measure.

But the purpose of the vote may have been less about trying to move legislation than to put Republicans on record, NPR’s Laura Sullivan reports. Democrats are using the issue of contraception policy in heavily contested Senate races in states such as Kentucky and Colorado.

News Headlines Article

Chronic Disease Care Costs Get Bipartisan Attention
Health Leaders Media

Even by Washingtonian political standards, testimony for a Senate Finance panel hearing on addressing the crushing cost of chronic disease care opened on a dramatic note this week.

Tuesday morning’s first witness knows the costs associated with chronic disease all too well. Stephanie Dempsey, an American Heart Association volunteer who lives in Georgia, has suffered with heart disease since she was 21, the 44-year-old told the senators.

News Headlines Article

Medi-Cal cuts roster of doctors as enrollee numbers soar
San Francisco Business Times

Medi-Cal has nearly 25 percent fewer physicians on board than it did a year ago, even as 2 million new enrollees have signed up during the Obamacare surge, according to a report by Healthy Cal.org, a journalism site that receives nonprofit funding.

The Department of Health Care Services told the nonprofit journalism site that it removed roughly 26,400 doctors from its rolls because they didn’t comply with application requirements or hadn’t billed Medi-Cal for 12 months. There are now about 82,600 doctors on the roster.

News Headlines Article

Why $1,000 a pill? Our view
USA Today

In the good-news/bad-news world of blockbuster drugs, the latest is the launch of Sovaldi, a drug to treat hepatitis C. Sovaldi comes with a cure rate as high as 90% for a disease that afflicts 3 million people in the United States, and with fewer complications than previous treatments.

But it also comes with a scary side effect: a price of $1,000 a pill. Because the pills must be taken once a day for 12 weeks, the cost of treatment comes to $84,000, plus thousands more for other drugs included in the protocol. Even with a generous insurance policy, a patient would likely pony up more than $20,000.

News Headlines Article

Hepatitis C drug worth the price: Opposing view
USA Today

Rarely has a drug been introduced that represents a greater improvement in the standard of care than sofosbuvir (trade name Sovaldi). It is the cure that many of my patients have been waiting decades for.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that can live in patients for years without showing any symptoms, yet can eventually lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer and death. It is the main cause of liver transplants in the U.S., which cost at least $145,000 and usually much more. And it is now killing more people every year than HIV/AIDS.

News Headlines Article

Genentech Alzheimer’s drug crashes in clinical trial … maybe
San Francisco Business Times

An experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug by Genentech Inc. and Swiss partner AC Immune failed to hit both of its main targets, but it appeared to show some benefit for patients with a milder form of the disease. The mixed results of the mid-stage are a blow to South San Francisco-based Genentech, which has seen the alliance with AC Immune as a cornerstone of its expansion beyond cancer into neuroscience. Genentech parent Roche now must determine if it will take the drug, called crenezumab, further in clinical studies.

News Headlines Article

UnitedHealth’s 2Q profit slips 2 percent
San Francisco Chronicle

UnitedHealth Group’s second-quarter earnings slipped 2 percent on a rise in taxes and other expenses, but the nation’s largest health insurer still trumped analyst expectations.

The Minnetonka, Minnesota, company also raised the low end of the earnings range it forecasts for this year. Its shares edged up in premarket trading Thursday.

UnitedHealth said revenue gains, particularly in its Medicaid business and through its Optum segment, helped counter the expenses during the quarter that ended June 30. Medicaid is the state-federal program that covers the poor and elderly people.

News Headlines Article

UC doctors offer same-day surgeries in Davis Surgery Center
Sacramento Business Journal

Orthopedic surgeons from the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento are performing some outpatient surgeries and procedures in Davis as part of a new affiliation with the Davis Surgery Center. UC Davis doctors do arthroscopic repair to the hand, knee, shoulder, wrist and elbow, including treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome and meniscal tears. Complex procedures that require hospital admission after surgery will continue to be scheduled in Sacramento.

News Headlines Article

New UC Davis camp serves kids with Type 1 diabetes
Sacramento Bee

During most summer weeks, more than 300 campers are running around UC Davis in bright yellow T-shirts and a few layers of sunscreen for one of the university’s many recreational youth programs. This week, 15 more are forming a league of their own through the campus’s first-ever diabetes camp.

The UC Davis Recreation and Unions Department and the UC Davis Children’s Hospital co-organized the camp, which aims to teach kids ages 6-12 with Type 1 diabetes how to manage their blood sugar levels while maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

News Headlines Article

Rady Children’s Hospital takes steps in preventing another patient data breach
KUSI News

Administrators at Rady Children’s Hospital took steps to prevent another patient data breach, the acting president of the hospital told a City Council committee Wednesday. Dr. Donald Kearns told members of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee that staffers had been given more training about safeguarding patient information.

The hospital also started using a program that scans emails for private data and blocks those emails from leaving hospital computers, Kearns said.

News Headlines Article

Good Samaritan Hospital To Expand And Renovate Emergency Department
KLIV

Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose is planning an overhaul of its emergency department. The hospital will shell out $33 million to both renovate and increase the size of the emergency department. Hospital officials say the extra room will allow the department to hold 34 beds, and they project that will allow 21,000 more patients to be seen per year. An updated ambulance bay and a dedicated CT scanner are among the other planned improvements. Construction will start in the fall of 2015, and is expected to take about two years.

News Headlines Article

Calif. hospital plans upgrade after $100M donation
Merced Sun-Star

A Southern California medical center plans to expand with the help of a donation of $100 million from a Riverside couple.

Loma Linda University Health System said Wednesday that the donation will help fund the construction of a new adult hospital and the addition of a wing to its children’s hospital.

President Richard Hart says the donation will fund technological and design upgrades to the 47-year-old medical center and that the upgrades are part of its $1.2 billion Vision 2020 campaign.

News Headlines Article

Dignity Health agrees to pay $1.55M for mishandling addictive drugs
Sacramento Business Journal

Dignity Health has agreed to pay the federal government $1.55 million to settle claims that hospitals and clinics in the Sacramento area and Stockton mishandled controlled substances, including the powerful opiate hydrocodone. The San Francisco-based health system will pay $1.25 million immediately, but the remaining $300,000 will be deferred pending compliance with a detailed action plan over the next two years.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser Permanente in Fresno gets high marks in hospital rankings
Fresno Bee

Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fresno has been ranked among the top hospitals in California, according to the 2014-15 Best Hospitals in America rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

The Fresno hospital ranked 59th among the nearly 400 acute-care hospitals in California and was rated as “high performing” in the area of diabetes and endocrinology, just below nationally ranked U.S. hospitals.

 

CHA News Article

CHCF Releases Report on Monitoring Medi-Cal Access

The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) has released the attached report titled Monitoring Access: Measures to Ensure Medi-Cal Enrollees Get the Care They Need. Prepared by Mathematica Policy Research and the Urban Institute with support from CHCF, the report provides a framework that can be used to determine the extent to which Medi-Cal provides beneficiaries with appropriate access to health services.

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.

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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