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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

Supreme Court Limits Applicability of MICRA Cap

A recent decision by the California Supreme Court holds that the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act’s (MICRA) $250,000 limit on noneconomic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress) in a medical negligence action applies only to damages awarded by a court, not to settlements.

In Rashidi v. Mosher (Dec. 15, 2014, S214430) the plaintiff — blind in one eye following sinus surgery — sued his surgeon, the hospital and the manufacturer of the medical device used during the procedure. Prior to trial, the hospital settled for $350,000 and the manufacturer for $2 million, with the case going to trial against the surgeon alone. The jury found the surgeon liable for the plaintiff’s future medical care and $1,325,000 in noneconomic damages, which the court reduced to $250,000 based on the MICRA cap.

CHA News Article

Updated IRF-PAI Information Available

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has added information to Section 2 of the inpatient rehabilitation facility patient assessment instrument (IRF-PAI) training manual, as provided for in the fiscal year (FY) 2015 IRF prospective payment system final rule. The new IRF-PAI items – effective Oct. 1, 2015 – include Arthritis Attestation (item 24A) and Therapy Information Section (items O0401 and O0402). CMS has also made changes to the manual’s Helpful Resources document. The updated IRF-PAI training manual is available on the CMS website.

CMS will hold a national provider call on this information Jan. 15 from 10:30 a.m. – noon (PT). For additional information and to register, visit www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/NPC/National-Provider-Calls-and-Events.html.

CHA News Article

CHA Publishes 2014 Report on Legislation
Includes new laws that directly impact hospitals in 2015

CHA has finalized the 2014 Report on Legislation, summarizing important state health care legislation enacted during the second year of the 2013-14 legislative session.

CHA News Article

U.S. Senators Urge Reform of Liver Transplant Regions

California’s U.S. Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, joined eight of their colleagues from New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island in a letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration supporting the implementation and adoption of alternative models for reforming liver transplantation regions.

CHA News Article

CDPH Addresses Pharmaceutical Service Changes

The California Department of Public Health has issued the attached All Facilities Letter (AFL) on the Jan. 1, 2015, enactment of SB 1039 (Statutes of 2014, Chapter 319 ), a new law that changes the provision of pharmaceutical services in general acute care hospitals. The AFL offers guidance on the roles and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians and intern pharmacists; the proper handling of dangerous drugs; and the storage and maintenance of drugs. For more information, see the attached AFL.

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

Head of California’s Public Health Department to step down
The Los Angeles Times

Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the state’s Department of Public Health, will be stepping down at the end of next month.

Chapman broke the news in an email to staff Monday and said his last day on the job will be Jan. 31. He has led the department since June 2011.

In his resignation letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, Chapman cited a number of accomplishments during his tenure, including preparing California for potential cases of the Ebola virus and launching the department Office of Health Equity, which seeks to reduce health and mental health disparities. 

News Headlines Article

Health Law’s Big Tent Still Leaves Some People Out
National Public Radio

A Shots post earlier this week by NPR’s John Ydstie detailed the “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act. That’s where people who can’t afford their insurance at work aren’t eligible for help in the new insurance exchanges. Many of these Americans, most of whom make middling incomes, will remain uninsured.

That story got us wondering: Who else is getting left out by the health law? And who is getting coverage?

News Headlines Article

Gov. Jerry Brown considering expanding Medi-Cal to immigrants
Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown is considering expanding state-funded Medi-Cal coverage to residents shielded from deportation under President Obama’s new immigration policies.

Nancy McFadden, the governor’s top policy aide, said that possibility is under review by the Brown administration, but implied that the potential cost would be a factor in the decision.

News Headlines Article

Health insurer WellPoint switches name to Anthem
San Francisco Chronicle

The nation’s second-largest health insurer has changed its corporate name to Anthem from Wellpoint to reflect a label familiar to consumers shopping for coverage. The Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer sells insurance in several states under the Anthem brand, which was the company’s corporate name before it bought WellPoint Health Networks a decade ago. It sells no plans under the WellPoint name. Anthem Inc. is one of the biggest players on the health care overhaul’s public insurance exchanges. These exchanges are pushing insurers to sell more coverage directly to consumers instead of through employers.

News Headlines Article

ObamaCare author: Health law is ‘really complicated’
The Hill

Sen. Tom Harkin, one of the co-authors of the Affordable Care Act, now thinks Democrats may have been better off not passing it at all and holding out for a better bill.

The Iowa Democrat who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, laments the complexity of legislation the Senate passed five years ago.

News Headlines Article

Universal health coverage for US military veterans within reach, but many still lack coverage
insurance newsnet

Over a million US military veterans lacked healthcare coverage in 2012, according to new estimates published in The Lancet. While many people believe that all veterans are covered by the Veterans Affairs health care system, less than half (8.9 million) of the 22 million veterans in the US are covered by VA health benefits, and most veterans are covered by private health insurance. Uninsured veterans are more likely to be young, single, African American, and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

News Headlines Article

Uninsured rate keeps dropping as second open-enrollment period progresses
Modern Healthcare

The number of uninsured non-elderly adults has dropped by more than 10 million since the launch of state and federal exchanges last year, according to the latest data from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey.

The uninsured rate nationwide was 12.4% in September, down roughly 30% from 17.5% a year earlier. The quarterly survey has recorded a steady reduction in the rate of uninsured over the last year.

News Headlines Article

HealthCare.gov enrollment lower in second week
Modern Healthcare

More than 300,000 people selected a health plan through HealthCare.gov in the second week of open enrollment, about 162,000 fewer enrollees than the first week, new government data released Wednesday show.

HHS said for Nov. 22-28, 303,010 people submitted an application to purchase a specific health plan. However, that week included Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the day that traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season.

News Headlines Article

Health law sign-ups slowed over Thanksgiving
San Francisco Chronicle

Health insurance sign-ups through HealthCare.gov slowed over Thanksgiving week, the Obama administration said Wednesday. But they’re not hitting the panic button yet. A Thanksgiving slowdown was expected, because consumers are traveling, spending time with family, and going shopping. The federal insurance website seems to be humming along smoothly. And millions of current customers will be automatically re-enrolled for 2015 if they do nothing.

News Headlines Article

HealthCare.Gov touts 765K signups since Nov. 15; Covered California mum on latest numbers
San Francisco Business Times

The Obama Administration, eager to show that this fall’s Affordable Care Act open enrollment season is off to a better start than last year’s disastrous opening, said Wednesday that 765,135 people have signed up for private health plans on the HealthCare.gov website since Nov. 15.

That includes 303,010 in the second week of this year’s sign-up period. Forty-eight percent of those are new customers, according to the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, while 52 percent are return customers from Obamacare’s first round.

News Headlines Article

Covered California works to ease deportation fears among Latinos
Los Angeles Daily News

Hoping to ease fears among legal residents whose family members are undocumented, Covered California officials on Wednesday partnered with several immigrant rights groups to assure those who qualify that applying for health coverage would not lead to deportations.

The assurances were made in a news conference in downtown Los Angeles where Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee was joined by members of Latino and Asian groups as well as officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

News Headlines Article

Covered California won’t share enrollment information with immigration officials
San Francisco Business Times

Immigrant rights groups joined Covered California officials on Wednesday to reassure consumers that information on health coverage applications will be kept confidential. Any U.S. citizen or person who is lawfully in California is eligible for health insurance through Covered California even if family members in their household reside here illegally. And some noncitizens or undocumented residents who are not eligible for Covered California may be eligible for limited coverage through Medi-Cal.

News Headlines Article

Mercury News editorial: Congress should renew children’s health insurance funding
The Mercury News

California has cut the number of children without health coverage in half over the last decade, but it still has an estimated 800,000 uninsured kids.

Given that 80 percent of Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — support universal health coverage for children, it boggles the mind that Republicans in Congress are holding up renewing funds for the federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

News Headlines Article

Docs fret Medicare’s hunt for ‘bad actors’ will snare good guys
Modern Healthcare

Medicare plans to start ejecting providers with patterns of abusive billing, prompting physician organizations to question how the government will avoid snagging honest providers in the dragnet. The CMS finalized the policy and other new anti-fraud measures in a rule issued Wednesday that stems from provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The agency will deny or revoke Medicare billing privileges from providers and that routinely bill for services that don’t meet Medicare requirements.

News Headlines Article

Revised federal data show U.S. healthcare spending growth hit 53-year low in 2013
Modern Healthcare

U.S. healthcare spending apparently grew more slowly last year than at any time in the past half-century—including the Great Recession—as Medicare squeezed outlays, millions of Americans continued to go without health insurance and those with health plans spent at a slower pace on hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.

The nation spent $2.9 trillion on healthcare last year, an increase of 3.6% from the prior year and the weakest growth since 1960, after federal actuaries and economists revised recent estimates.

News Headlines Article

Revised federal data show U.S. healthcare spending growth hit 53-year low in 2013
Modern Healthcare

U.S. healthcare spending grew more slowly last year than at any time in the past half-century—including the Great Recession—as Medicare squeezed outlays, millions of Americans continued to go without health insurance and those with health plans spent at a slower pace on hospitals, clinics and pharmacies, a federal estimate shows. The nation spent $2.9 trillion on healthcare last year, an increase of 3.6% from the prior year and the weakest growth since 1960, after federal actuaries and economists revised recent estimates. That spending remained weak in 2013 was not surprising: U.S. health spending growth fell below 4% in 2009 with the recession that stripped private health insurance from millions of individuals.

News Headlines Article

Health spending grew 3.6% in 2013, slowest pace on record, U.S. says
Los Angeles Times

Health spending in the U.S. grew in 2013 at the slowest rate ever recorded, a new government study indicates, marking the extension of a historic slowdown in medical spending that began after the last recession.

Total spending on healthcare increased just 3.6% last year to $2.9 trillion, according to the study from independent analysts at the Department of Health and Human Services. That is down from 4.1% in 2012 and way down from 2002, when health spending increased by nearly 10%.

News Headlines Article

Hospital Medical Errors Down 17%, Reports HHS
Insurance Journal

A federal review of hospital medical records and other data has found a 17 percent decline in infections, drug mistakes, bed sores and other preventable errors from 2010 to 2013, according to a report.

Using methods developed by health care quality experts, the report estimated that 50,000 fewer patients died in the hospital and about $12 billion in health care costs was saved as a result of the decline.

News Headlines Article

Fewer hospital mistakes save thousands
KCRA

The chances you will get sicker or even die just because you went to the hospital have gone down dramatically. This has been a huge problem. For many years hospital mistakes and hospital acquired infections have been one of the biggest killers of Americans. Yet a new report shows that patient safety efforts at U.S. hospitals seem to be paying off. An estimated 50,000 more patients are alive today that wouldn’t be if hospitals kept making the same number of mistakes they did in 2010, according to this new report from the Health and Human Services Department (HHS).

News Headlines Article

Online doctor ratings may not match other quality measures
Yahoo! News

The physician ratings on popular patient-review websites did not match formal patient surveys about the same doctors and other measures of quality care in a new study.

“This is really the first study of its kind with legitimate measures of quality of care,” said Bradley M. Gray, a researcher for the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Philadelphia and coauthor of the new research letter.

News Headlines Article

Demands for Price Transparency Pressure Providers
HealthLeaders Media

For healthcare providers, price is just the tip of the transparency iceberg, according to an Ohio hospital association’s recent report.

Providers are wary of price transparency and a consumer-driven healthcare market, and the Cleveland-based Center for Health Affairs report highlights several sources of that anxiety. The challenge is not simply shining light on pricing data that was previously hidden from view, according to the CHA report, because transactions for medical goods and services are extraordinarily complex.

News Headlines Article

Time to re-examine chest X-ray use for children, study suggests
Modern Healthcare

The majority of chest X-rays ordered for children do not affect how individual patients are treated, a finding that raises questions about why those tests are ordered, according to a newly released study. X-rays performed in 88% of 330 children who visited hospitals with chest pains did not change the clinical treatment that those children received, according to the study, released Wednesday at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago.

News Headlines Article

Federal probe of cardiac implants nets tentative settlement
Modern Healthcare

At least one hospital system plans to settle soon to resolve its exposure to a yearslong, nationwide federal investigation into the suspected overuse of implantable defibrillators.Irvine, Calif.-based St. Joseph Health, a not-for-profit with 16 hospitals in California and Texas, noted in a recent bondholder disclosure that it has agreed to settle with the U.S. Justice Department “in the interest of avoiding the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience and expense of protracted litigation.”

News Headlines Article

WellPoint finalizes its transition to Anthem
Modern Healthcare

WellPoint is no longer WellPoint. The health insurance giant has officially changed its name to Anthem and its shares began trading Wednesday under the new ANTM ticker symbol.The company announced its intent to change its corporate identity in August. Joseph Swedish, Anthem’s CEO, told Modern Healthcare at the time that the insurer wanted to eliminate confusion for consumers and “demonstrate a brand that gives each person a value proposition.”

News Headlines Article

UC San Diego Awarded 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital Distinction for Safety and Quality
UCSD News

For the second time, The Leapfrog Group has named UC San Diego Health System to its annual list of Top Hospitals. Awarded to hospitals nationwide for demonstrating excellence in hospital safety and quality, the Leapfrog Top Hospital award is an elite distinction given to less than seven percent of all eligible hospitals. The awards were announced on December 2, in Washington, D.C.

News Headlines Article

Whittier hospital’s nurses one of the best in California, says U.S. News & World Report
Whittier Daily News

The Whittier Hospital Medical Center has been named one of the best in state for skilled nursing care.

The hospital’s 22-bed pediatric sub-acute care unit was ranked among the top nursing facilities in California in the sixth annual Best Nursing Home ratings by U.S. News & World Report, according to a hospital news release.

The hospital’s pediatric sub-acute unit serves long-term care patients who need 24-hour medical care.

News Headlines Article

Alameda Hospital’s new administrator settles in
Inside Bay Area

It has been a bit of a homecoming for Bonnie Panlasigui since she became the chief administrative officer of Alameda Hospital in October.

While Panlasigui previously served in a similar role at Dupont Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she grew up in the Bay Area and met her husband, Silverio, while attending high school in San Jose.

“There is something special to be said about Alameda that is so rich in history and culture and the rewarding feeling you get from the intimate environment,” Panlasigui said.

News Headlines Article

Children’s hospital to build medical office
The Press-Enterprise

A prominent children’s hospital intends to expand its southwest Riverside County presence by constructing a medical office in Murrieta that will provide outpatient care. Wednesday’s announcement by Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is the latest in a string of developments bolstering the city’s bid to shed its bedroom community image and provide high-end jobs for residents who commute to coastal counties.

 

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.

Commands