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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

Covered California Releases 2016 Premium Rates and Exchange Insurers
Average increase is 4 percent

Covered California today announced its rates for 2016 and unveiled which health insurance companies will offer plans through the marketplace. The statewide weighted average increase will be 4 percent, just under last year’s 4.2 percent increase. According to Covered California, the majority of Covered California consumers will either see a decrease in their health insurance premiums or an increase of less than 5 percent if they choose to keep their current plan.

The weighted average increase for Southern California consumers who stay in their current plan is 1.8 percent, while for consumers in Northern California it is 7 percent. Consumers in Southern California can save an average of nearly 10 percent by moving to a lower-cost plan in the same metal tier, while consumers in Northern California would potentially be able to limit their rate increase to an average of 1 percent if they did the same.

Covered California also announced two new health insurance companies — Oscar Health Plan of California and UnitedHealthcare Benefits Plan of California. UnitedHealthcare is the largest single health carrier in the U.S. and will offer coverage in pricing regions 1, 9, 11, 12 and 13. Oscar is a new health insurance company that specializes in offering its members intuitive technology tools aimed at guiding them to better care. Oscar will offer plans in regions 16 and 18.

CHA News Article

U.S. News & World Report Releases Best Hospitals List
Rankings include top 10 hospitals in 16 specialties and 520 best regional hospitals

Last week, U.S. News & World Report released its 2015-16 Best Hospitals rankings. Based on measures of patient volume, risk-adjusted survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing and other care-related indicators, the list aims to help patients with life-threatening or rare conditions identify hospitals that excel in treating the most difficult cases. The data include nearly 5,000 medical centers nationwide. The full list of rankings is available at www.usnews.com/best-hospitals and will also appear in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2016” guidebook, to be made available in August. 

CHA News Article

Hospitals Given Additional Week to Complete AHA RACTrac Survey

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has extended its deadline for hospitals to submit data to the quarterly RACTrac survey. Hospitals now have until July 31 to complete the survey. The free web-based survey helps CHA measure the impact of Medicare’s Recovery Audit Contractor program on hospitals and advocate for needed changes.

Hospitals should submit historical data even if they are not currently experiencing RAC audits. A hospital does not need to be an AHA member to participate in the survey. For more information on the RACTrac initiative, visit www.aha.org/RACTrac. To register for the survey or for technical assistance, contact RACTrac support at (888) 722-8712 or ractracsupport@providercs.com

CHA News Article

New California Health Interview Survey Data to Be Released Aug. 5
Webinar to explain data also planned

New comprehensive data on the health and well-being of Californians will be released by the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) on Aug. 5. The data, collected in 2013 and 2014, cover hundreds of health topics ranging from asthma and diabetes to health insurance status and coverage. CHIS is the nation’s largest state health survey and a critical source of data on Californians, as well as on the state’s various racial and ethnic groups. Policymakers, researchers, health experts, members of the media and others depend on CHIS for credible and comprehensive data on the health of Californians. CHIS will also host a webinar explaining the new and innovative features of the survey Aug. 5. For more information about the data or to join the webinar, visit the CHIS website

CHA News Article

Nominations Open for 2016 AHA Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is accepting nominations for its 2016 AHA Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE) to be awarded during the AHA Annual Meeting May 2, 2016, in Washington, DC.

News Release

CNA Bill Harms the Affordable Care Act and Community Benefit Programs
Similar politically motivated proposals have been defeated at the Capitol in the past two years

California’s not-for-profit hospitals would find their ability to carry out successful community benefit partnerships greatly harmed if Senate Bill (SB) 346 were passed and signed into law.  SB 346 by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) would compromise the resources used by hospitals to tailor a wide array of community benefit programs to meet the specific health needs of their community. The bill would replace collaboration and flexibility with arbitrary formulas and rigid requirements that conflict with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

News Release

New Legislation Enhances “Mission of Service” by California’s Not-For-Profit Hospitals
New Video Profiles Community Benefit Programs Offered Across California to Meet Local Needs

California’s not-for-profit hospitals support a diverse array of community benefit programs across the state that are tailored to meet specific local health care needs. Those programs would be strengthened by Assembly Bill (AB) 1046 by Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-Encino), which provides greater transparency and accountability in the reporting of these programs. These community benefit programs, which provide help to millions of vulnerable Californians, are the subject of a new video produced by the California Hospital Association.

News Release

San Diego Hospitals Seek “Bright Spots of Health” with Popular Teaching Kitchen Program
New Video Profiles Interactive Cooking Lessons Designed to Cultivate Healthy Lifestyles

Breaking down cultural barriers and preventing chronic disease just might be easier in the kitchen. That is the idea behind a hands-on Teaching Kitchen program in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood that is the subject of a new video produced by the California Hospital Association.

News Release

Northern California Kaiser Executive Elected 2015 Board Chair of California Hospital Association
Gregory A. Adams Will Guide CHA in Coming Year

Gregory A. Adams, executive vice president and Northern California region president for Kaiser Permanente, has been elected 2015 chair of the California Hospital Association (CHA) Board of Trustees. 

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.  

News Headlines

Today’s News Headlines

News Headlines Article

New heart drugs come in more expensive than expected
Reuters

Two of the most anticipated new heart drugs to be launched in recent years have been priced well above analyst expectations, fuelling the debate about whether modern medicines cost too much.

Praluent, made by Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Entresto from Novartis are both treatments that represent significant advances for millions of patients at risk of serious heart problems.

But their positioning in the marketplace was always likely to be contentious since they offer more effective alternatives to very cheap, off-patent drugs.

News Headlines Article

Can Medicare afford personalized medicine?
San Diego Union-Tribune

Personalized medicine is the future of health care, but it is not yet clear exactly what that means for Medicare.

As it reaches its 50th anniversary Thursday, the nation’s largest health program is at a critical moment. The program, which is projected to spend more than $600 billion this year, must find ways to slow its spending as personalized medicine creates an ever-greater demand for expensive new medicines and tests with price tags closer to Ferrari than Ford.

News Headlines Article

CMS extends moratorium on new home health agencies in some cities
Modern Healthcare

The CMS has again extended a moratorium for another six months on new Medicare home healthcare agencies, subunits and ambulance suppliers in a slew of major cities across the country. It’s part of an ongoing battle against fraud, waste and abuse.The CMS relied on the experience of law enforcement and its own data analysis in deciding to impose the moratoria, according to a notice released Friday afternoon by the CMS. The extended moratoria take effect July 29 and will last for at least another six months.

News Headlines Article

Medicare Turns 50 But Big Challenges Await
Kaiser Health News

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, has come a long way since its creation in 1965 when nearly half of all seniors were uninsured. Now the program covers 55 million people, providing insurance to one in six Americans. With that in mind, Medicare faces a host of challenges in the decades to come. Here’s a look at some of them.

Financing – While Medicare spending growth has slowed in recent years – a trend that may continue into the future – 10,000 people a day are becoming eligible for Medicare as the trend-setting baby boomers age.

News Headlines Article

6 Ways the Big Health Insurance Mergers Will Affect Your Coverage
Yahoo! News

Health insurance company Anthem announced Friday that it will buy rival insurer Cigna for $48.3 billion.

The deal comes just weeks after fellow health insurance providers Aetna and Humana announced their merger, concentrating health insurance providers in the U.S. to just three big companies. (UnitedHealth Group is the third.)

The latest deal will impact more than 53 million people, representing about 17 percent of the U.S. population, The New York Times reports.

News Headlines Article

Employers warming up to private insurance exchanges
Modern Healthcare

Employers and health insurance companies showed a visible appetite for private health exchanges at a conference Thursday, building on executives’ desires nationwide to keep the growth of healthcare costs manageable.Several companies and consultants who made the switch shared their experiences at the event. But private exchanges still remain far from widespread, as some employers are reluctant to shift their workers into fixed-dollar benefit structures.Private exchanges are online health insurance marketplaces for a company’s employee base.

News Headlines Article

Think big on healthcare finance reform
Modern Healthcare

The United States finances healthcare through a confusing hodgepodge of payment programs that send distorted signals to employers, insurers, providers and the general public. Every program—Medicare, Medicaid and the tax subsidies that support the private employer-based insurance market—is desperately in need of reform. Wouldn’t it be nice during this presidential election cycle if the candidates debated potentially beneficial changes to those different sub-systems? Don’t hold your breath.

News Headlines Article

Uninsured Rate Remains Higher For Men
KQED Radio

Men remain less likely than women to have health insurance in the U.S., despite drops in the overall number of uninsured since the Affordable Care Act, new research shows.

In October 2013, before the health reform expansion, 21.8 percent of men were uninsured. But by March of this year, only 15.2 percent were.

Comparatively, 18.9 percent of women were uninsured two years ago, but that percentage declined to 11.2 this year.

News Headlines Article

State health insurance markets struggle with cost challenges
Baltimore Sun

State-run health insurance markets that offer coverage under President Barack Obama’s health law are struggling with high costs and disappointing enrollment. These challenges could lead more of them to turn over operations to the federal government or join forces with other states.

Hawaii’s marketplace, the latest cautionary tale, was awarded $205 million in federal startup grants. It has spent about $139 million and enrolled 8,200 customers for individual coverage in 2015.

News Headlines Article

California health exchange to announce 2016 premium rates
Baltimore Sun

California on Monday will announce 2016 premium rates for individual health plans sold on the state’s insurance exchange, an important gauge of affordability amid growing concern that some insurers around the country are seeking double-digit price increases.

Last year, state officials declared victory when they announced premiums rose by an average of 4.2 percent, which was about half the increase the industry saw over a three-year period.

News Headlines Article

Health Law Experiment Failed To Show Savings
Kaiser Health News

A $57 million experiment to deliver better, more efficient care at federally funded health centers struggled to meet its goals and is unlikely to save money, says a new government report.

The test to coordinate treatment for high-risk Medicare patients in hundreds of communities was one of many demonstrations run by the Department of Health and Human Services’ innovation center.

The Affordable Care Act created the lab and gave it $10 billion over a decade to test new ways to improve care and save money.

News Headlines Article

5 Challenges Facing Medicaid At 50
Kaiser Health News

A “sleeper” provision when Congress created Medicare in 1965 to cover health care for seniors, Medicaid now provides coverage to nearly 1 in 4 Americans, at an annual cost of more than $500 billion. Today, it is the workhorse of the U.S. health system, covering nearly half of all births, one-third of children and two-thirds of people in nursing homes.

Enrollment has soared to more than 70 million people since 2014 when the Affordable Care Act began providing billions to states that chose to expand eligibility to low-income adults under age 65. Previously, the program mainly covered children, pregnant women and the disabled.

News Headlines Article

Ronald Reagan’s lasting healthcare legacy: How ’80s deficit spending and conservative ideologies reshaped the healthcare debate
salon.com

The election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980 furthered the ascendance of conservatism in national politics. The Reagan administration sought to cut taxes, privatize the welfare state, and constrain federal expenditures on domestic programs, all while increasing military spending. Even as the number of uninsured Americans climbed significantly, the administration had no interest in proposals for universal health insurance.  It looked at Medicare, as many in Congress did, primarily as a budgetary problem and a potential source of fiscal savings. Nor was the primary concern with system-wide medical spending. That broader focus gave way to a narrower emphasis on how to contain federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid in the context of rising budget deficits. Meanwhile, conservatives promoted pro-competitive healthcare policies that relied on market incentives, consumer choice, and competition between private plans to restrain spending on medical care.

News Headlines Article

California Judge Throws Out Lawsuit On Medically Assisted Suicide
National Public Radio

Three terminally ill patients lost a court battle in California Friday over whether they should have the right to request and take lethal medication to hasten their deaths.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack said he would dismiss the case, adding that the issues were beyond his role as a judge to decide and should instead be put to the California state legislature or voters to establish new law.

Plaintiffs vowed to appeal the ruling.

News Headlines Article

Terminally ill woman’s assisted-suicide suit likely to be tossed
San Francisco Chronicle

Christy O’Donnell may not get the death she had hoped for — one that right-to-die advocates say she deserves.

A California judge on Friday indicated that he will probably dismiss her end-of-life lawsuit and said he would issue his decision Monday.

“You’re asking this court to make new law,” San Diego Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack said during a hearing Friday.

News Headlines Article

Advocates For Physician-Assisted Suicide Dealt Setback
capital public radio

A San Diego County Superior Court judge today dismissed a case asserting state law and the California constitution allow for physician-assisted suicide. The suit was filed by two California women with terminal cancer. The plaintiffs in the case say they will appeal the ruling.

In his dismissal the judge said it’s up to the state Legislature or voters to change the law, not the courts.

News Headlines Article

Could one-two punch of generics for breast cancer be more powerful than wonder drug tamoxifen?
Washington Post

First marketed in the 1960s as a fertility drug, tamoxifen has been hailed as a miracle drug for its ability to prevent and treat breast cancer, and despite decades of research scientists have not been able to find anything comparable — until now.

In a study published in The Lancet on Thursday, researchers found that a class of inexpensive, existing generic called aromatase inhibitors, which suppress hormones, reduce recurrence rates by 30 percent as compared with tamoxifen.  That confirmed what researchers had believed for several years. But a separate finding about the effect of the drug on death risk was a surprise.

News Headlines Article

Teva buys Allergan’s generic drug unit for $40.5B
USA Today

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said Monday it has agreed to buy Allergan’s generic drug unit for about $40.5 billion.

Based in Jerusalem, Teva is one of the world’s largest generic drug manufacturers, and the stock-and-cash deal will help boost its pipeline, supply chain and global revenue sources, the company said.

Allergan, best known for making Botox, will receive $33.75 billion in cash and shares of Teva valued Monday at $6.75 billion. Approved by the boards of both companies, the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

News Headlines Article

NNU wins rights to unionize at Kaiser’s L.A. Medical Center
Modern Healthcare

National Nurses United and the affiliated California Nurses Association say they’ve won the rights to unionize nurses at Kaiser Permanente’s flagship hospital in Los Angeles, months after it called for a strike at the hospital despite not representing its nurses. NNU won the vote Thursday at Los Angeles Medical Center by nearly 70% with 696 votes, beating out the San Dimas-based United Nurses Associations of California-Union of Health Care Professionals, which received 305 votes, according to NNU.

News Headlines Article

Supervisors to hear hospital authority plan
Bakersfield Californian

Kern County supervisors will get a first glance at the inner workings of the proposed Kern County Hospital Authority on Tuesday.

The current plan is to transfer control of Kern Medical Center from the Board of Supervisors to an authority by June 2016.

The action starts on Tuesday.

Hospital CEO Russell Judd will update the board on the powers the authority will assume, how it will be governed and the next steps needed to launch the effort.

News Headlines Article

Plan for mental hospital in Templeton would fill a void in county
San Luis Obispo Tribune

No one — or more specifically, no one who’s weighed in — disagrees that San Luis Obispo County needs more beds for patients with mental illness. The county Psychiatric Health Facility near the former General Hospital has only 16 beds, which is far fewer than the 136 recommended for our county under California Hospital Association guidelines.

Former San Luis Obispo Mayor Melanie Billig and her husband, Dr. Harvey Billig, are proposing to help fill the gap with a private, 91-bed behavioral health facility in Templeton. The hospital would serve children, adolescents, adults — including veterans — and the elderly.

 

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.  

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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