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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

Substance Use Privacy Rules to Be Revised

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have issued the attached proposed rule updating regulations that govern the confidentiality of substance use disorder records. The proposed changes are intended to facilitate electronic exchange of substance use disorder information for treatment and other legitimate health care purposes while ensuring appropriate privacy protections for records that might identify an individual as having had a substance use disorder. Comments on the proposed rule are due April 11.

The regulations apply to “federally-assisted substance use disorder programs.” This definition includes chemical dependency recovery hospitals and other specialty programs, but does not include general medical facilities (such as hospitals) except to the extent that a general medical facility has an identified unit that holds itself out as providing substance use disorder diagnosis or treatment, or if the primary function of medical personnel is the provision of such services. Therefore, many hospitals have not been required to comply with these regulations. However, hospitals and other health care providers have had difficulty obtaining vital information about their patients from substance use disorder programs due to the strict confidentiality requirements.

CHA News Article

CDPH to Host Conference Call on Zika Virus Feb. 10

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will offer health care providers information and updates about the Zika virus on a conference call Feb. 10 from 9 – 10 a.m. (PT). The call will also include a question and answer period. To join the call, dial (866) 216-6835 and enter passcode 839641. Health care providers can access resources from CDPH and other agencies on the CHA preparedness website

CHA News Article

CMQCC Webinar to Focus on Reducing C-Sections Through Data Tools

The California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) will host a webinar Feb. 11 from noon – 1:30 p.m. (PT), introducing California hospitals to its upcoming toolkit, collaborative and data tools designed to support safe reductions in cesarean birth rates. The webinar will be presented by CMQCC’s medical director, Dr. Elliot Main, as well as its clinical and data team. Pre-registration is required and is available online. The Hospital Quality Institute has been a partner in the development of these resources for maternity care teams. 

CHA News Article

New Cal MediConnect/CCI Toolkit Available for Case Managers

The attached toolkit is now available to help case managers ensure coordination with patients’ Cal MediConnect health plans. Cal MediConnect promotes coordinated health care delivery to seniors and people with disabilities who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal. The toolkit outlines steps hospital case managers should take in areas including admission, billing and discharge planning.

CHA News Article

CMS Issues Video Overview of the IMPACT Act
Explains requirement for standardized patient assessment data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed a video that describes the Improving Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014. In the video, Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS’ principle deputy administrator and chief medical officer, provides an overview of the Act, which requires that patient assessment data used in post-acute care settings (skilled-nursing facilities, home health agencies, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals) be standardized to improve quality of care.

Overview

News Releases and Media Statements
From the California Hospital Association

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

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

Obama Seeks More Than $1 Billion to Fight Opioid Abuse
New York Times

The Obama administration said on Tuesday that it would ask Congress to spend an additional $1.1 billion next year to combat a growing epidemic of prescription painkiller and heroin abuse.

Almost half of the new money would be used to expand treatment facilities, which are in short supply in much of the nation.

“Opioid abuse and overdoses have hurt families from across this nation,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, said in a news conference. “My home state of West Virginia has felt the cost almost more than any other.”

News Headlines Article

Congress says drugmakers planned price hikes to boost profits
Modern Healthcare

Two drugmakers have made a practice of buying and then dramatically hiking the prices of low-cost drugs given to patients with life-threatening conditions including heart disease, AIDS and cancer, according to excerpts from thousands of documents released by federal lawmakers.

A congressional review of more than 300,000 pages from Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals reveals how executives planned to maximize profits while fending off negative publicity over the price hikes. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, released the information Tuesday ahead of a hearing Thursday to examine exorbitant price spikes.

News Headlines Article

Study Suggests Surgical Residents Can Safely Work Longer Shifts
National Public Radio

Patients suffered no additional harm when doctors training to be surgeons were allowed to work longer shifts, a study published Tuesday concludes. The findings provide fresh evidence for medical educators looking to relax the strictest limits on resident hours.

The study in the New England Journal of Medicine comes as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is reassessing requirements that prevent residents from working extremely long stretches or back-to-back shifts. Those rules were enacted in 2003 and strengthened in 2011 amid concerns that sleep-deprived residents were more likely to make serious errors.

News Headlines Article

After veto vote on Obamacare repeal, GOP moves on to another budget fight
Washington Post

House Republicans are moving on to a new round of budget fights after failing on Tuesday to overturn President Obama’s veto of legislation to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood.

Republicans were not able to rally the support of two-thirds of the House necessary to overturn the veto, leaving conservatives to turn their attention to a final year of budget fights with the president. The 241-186 vote, appropriately scheduled for Groundhog Day, was the 63rd time the House has voted to overturn all or part of Obama’s signature health care law.

News Headlines Article

House fails to override veto of Obamacare repeal
POLITICO

House Republicans on Tuesday failed to override President Barack Obama’s veto of their bill gutting major pieces of Obamacare. The House voted 241-186, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto of legislation the GOP views as its blueprint for undoing the law should a Republican win the White House. Republican lawmakers said their doomed repeal bill fulfilled a promise to their base to continue their fight against the health law.

News Headlines Article

House fails to override ObamaCare veto
The Hill

The House on Tuesday failed to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would have repealed much of ObamaCare and defunded Planned Parenthood.

The result was expected, given that an override would have required Democratic support to succeed, but Republicans praised the vote as showing what could happen next year if their party wins back the White House.

News Headlines Article

House GOP fails anew to repeal Obama’s health care law
Fox News

Republicans failed in their latest futile attempt Tuesday to kill President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, a Groundhog Day vote by the House that was solely an exercise in election-year political messaging.

Tuesday’s near party-line vote to override Obama’s January veto of legislation gutting much of the law was 241-186, but that fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to reverse a veto. House Speaker Paul Ryan said the effort to force enactment of the bill, which would have also ended federal payments to Planned Parenthood, would send an important signal.

News Headlines Article

U.S. House fails to knock down Obama veto of anti-Obamacare bill
Reuters

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday failed to override President Barack Obama’s veto of legislation that would have dismantled his signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act.

At least a two-thirds vote of the House was needed to knock down Obama’s veto; the Republican-majority House fell short by more than three dozen votes. The vote was 241-186, and ends consideration of the bill; the Senate will not take it up.

News Headlines Article

Why Trump and Sanders Share a Mandate for Universal Health Care
The Fiscal Times

GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump says Sen. Ted Cruz is a “total liar” for labeling him an advocate of expanded Obamacare or universal national health care along the lines being touted by democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential contest.

During an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday Trump insisted he would dismantle the Affordable Care Act if he is elected president and stressed that he doesn’t favor a “single payer” universal government program that essentially would provide Medicare coverage for all.

News Headlines Article

Even as Clinton Bashes Drugmakers, Insurers May Still Feel Heat
Bloomberg.com

“Price-gouging.” “Predatory.” “Outrageous.” Those are just a few of the barbs presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, have thrown the way of the pharmaceutical industry this campaign season. That rhetoric helped sink drug and biotech stocks over the last six months and has overshadowed the candidates’ criticism of the rest of the health-care system, including insurers. Yet those businesses could be just as much at risk if the next president, whoever that may be, persists in calling out health-care companies on cost.

News Headlines Article

Buying Supplemental Insurance Can Be Hard For Younger Medicare Beneficiaries
Kaiser Health News

Danny Thompson’s kidneys have failed and he needs a transplant but in some ways, he’s lucky: Both of his sons want to give him one of theirs, and his Medicare coverage will take care of most of his expenses.

Yet the 53-year-old Californian is facing another daunting obstacle: He doesn’t have the money for his share of the medical bills and follow-up drugs, and he can’t buy supplemental insurance to help cover his costs.

News Headlines Article

California Exchange Chief Rips UnitedHealth For Obamacare Excuses
National Public Radio

Amid growing questions over the future of Obamacare exchanges, the head of California’s marketplace said the nation’s largest private health insurer should take responsibility for nearly $1 billion in losses and stop blaming the federal health law.

In a blistering critique, Covered California’s executive director, Peter Lee, said UnitedHealth Group Inc. made a series of blunders on rates and networks that led to a $475 million loss in 2015 on individual policies across the country. The company estimates a similar exchange-related loss of $500 million in 2016.

News Headlines Article

Should Doctors-in-Training Work Fewer Hours?
New York Times

How many hours should medical residents work?

Hospital care is a 24-hour-a-day enterprise, but the question of which doctor should be there — and how long he or she should already have been there — is among the most controversial and unsettled in medicine.

News Headlines Article

Back to extremely long shifts for new surgeons? Study finds few negatives.
Washington Post

Allowing surgeons in training to work extremely long shifts without breaks had no effect on patient outcomes and created only minor dissatisfaction among the young doctors, research released Tuesday shows.

Patients’ rates of death, serious illness, infection, pneumonia and most other common post-operative complications were no worse in hospitals that permitted the novice doctors to work longer stints for the purposes of the nationwide study than in hospitals that limited work hours.

News Headlines Article

Medical board imperils patients
Sacramento Bee

For years, the Medical Board of California has fended off claims that it put the interests of doctors before the safety of patients. But recent actions by the board demonstrate that Californians have reason to be concerned.

At their quarterly meeting last month in Sacramento, board members made clear they don’t want patients to be notified about doctors who are on probation – even those disciplined for serious offenses such as sexual assault, drug or alcohol addiction, or gross negligence. Instead, they believe patients should be responsible for finding out about bad doctors.

News Headlines Article

Cutting back on healthcare spending
The Stanford Daily

The United States outspends all other Western nation-states and commits the highest percentage of its own gross domestic product (GDP) to healthcare. According to the World Bank, the United States has devoted 17 to 18 percent of its annual GDP to this sector since 2008. In a campaign season where healthcare is a heavily debated topic, we should try to develop an understanding of the causes of the costs. What are some contributing factors to the high costs of healthcare?

News Headlines Article

Surprise! Here’s Another Bill For That ‘Paramedic Response’
Kaiser Health News

After Katie Gurzi woke in the middle of the night with excruciating chest pains, paramedics rushed her to the hospital.

That part went smoothly: Gurzi, 85, was pleased with the care she received. And doctors determined she wasn’t having a heart attack, just a spasm in her esophagus.

But then, in January of 2015, the city of La Habra, California sent her a $260 bill for “paramedic response” — after her insurers had already been billed for the November ambulance ride. That made Gurzi mad.

News Headlines Article

Patients helping patients
San Diego Union-Tribune

Two and a half years ago, Scripps Ranch resident Dennis Bourque co-founded the patient organization ReMend to connect patients newly diagnosed with kidney disease with mentors who have experienced kidney disease themselves.

The goal was to take a chronic condition and help make it a manageable one. To do that, Bourque drew on both professional and personal experience.

News Headlines Article

Sonoma West Medical Center gets cash infusion to operate
North Bay Business Journal

The Palm Drive Health Care District on Feb. 1 approved a $500,000 loan to help its new hospital cover expenses through February because the Sebastopol facility no longer has any startup funds and has not yet received reimbursements from Medicare.

The district board also took the first steps toward asking Sonoma County to give the Sonoma West Medical Center an emergency $1 million advance on its parcel-tax revenue for the same purpose.

News Headlines Article

Fast-growing Prime Healthcare closes four deals
Modern Healthcare

Prime Healthcare announced it completed it acquisition of a Florida hospital and its not-for-profit affiliate acquired another three hospitals across three states.

The Ontario, Calif.-based chain has rapidly expanded and recently lined up $700 million in financing to fund more acquisitions. Its latest addition is Lehigh Regional Medical Center in Leigh Acres, Fla., an 88-bed hospital purchased from Community Health Systems.

News Headlines Article

Marian Regional Medical Center Receives Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence
Noozhawk

Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), a member of the Dignity Health system, is proud to announce being named a recipient, for the third year in a row, of the Healthgrades 2016 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence.

Healthgrades is the leading online resource helping consumers make informed decisions in order to find the right doctor, the right hospital and the right care.

News Headlines Article

Valley Children’s Hospital to become trauma center for critically injured young patients
Fresno Bee

Fresno County supervisors approved an agreement Tuesday that will allow Valley Children’s Hospital to become a high-level pediatric trauma center.

By approving the agreement through the Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency, the Madera County hospital will start receiving and treating seriously injured and sick children directly by ambulance and helicopter without having to await transfers from other hospitals.

 

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