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

CMS Issues Proposed Annual Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2017
Proposed rule governs participation in health insurance marketplaces

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule that sets forth payment parameters and provisions related to the risk adjustment, reinsurance and risk corridors programs; cost sharing parameters and cost sharing reductions; and user fees for federally facilitated exchanges. It also provides standards for the 2017 benefit year open enrollment period for the individual market; essential health benefits; cost sharing requirements; qualified health plan exchange consumer assistance programs; network adequacy; the Small Business Health Options Program; stand-alone dental plans; acceptance of third-party payments by qualified health plans; the definitions of large employer and small employer; fair health insurance premiums; guaranteed availability; student health insurance coverage; the rate review program; the medical loss ratio program; eligibility and enrollment; exemptions and appeals; and other related topics. Within the proposed rule, CMS also proposes to expand current regulations related to patient safety standards for hospitals. CHA is in the process of reviewing the proposed rule. Public comments are due to CMS by Dec. 21. 

CHA News Article

CMS Announces $32 Million for CHIP and Medicaid Outreach Activities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last week announced $32 million in funding for outreach efforts to families with children eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This is the fourth cycle of funding available as part of the Connecting Kids to Coverage Outreach and Enrollment Grant, which supports activities such as identifying children likely to be eligible for coverage under Medicaid and CHIP, and assisting families with the application and renewal process. CMS plans to award approximately 30 cooperative agreements ranging in amounts from $250,000 to $1 million over a two-year period. State and local governments, certain health care provider organizations, and nonprofit organizations including community and faith-based groups are among the entities eligible to apply. Applicants are asked to target populations likely to be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP but generally less likely to be enrolled, including teens, Latino children and children in rural areas.  
Proposals are due by Jan. 20, 2016. More information is available here.

CHA News Article

Congress Passes Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act

Congress recently passed the Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act (S. 599), which would extend the Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration Program through September 2016, as long as it does not increase Medicaid spending, and would expand the program to public facilities. The program allows eligible states, including California, to pay certain institutions for mental disease for emergency psychiatric care provided to Medicaid enrollees aged 21 to 64. The bill also allows the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to extend the program for three more years and to more states, subject to the same budget-neutrality standard, and requires HHS to recommend by April 2019 whether to make the program permanent. The bill is supported by CHA. 

CHA News Article

DHCS Announces Mapping Requirements for 2015-16

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) has provided hospitals information to assist in setup for the APR-DRG desktop grouper for state fiscal year 2015-16, including claims with admission dates on and between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. For discharges after Oct. 1, 2015, mapping is required due to ICD-10 implementation, even if the admission was prior to that date. Therefore, for state fiscal year 2015-16, any claim with a discharge date on or after Oct. 1, 2015, will require historical mapping. Mapping is also required for admissions on or after Oct. 1, 2015.

DHCS is evaluating version 33 of the APR-DRG grouper and continues to use version 32 in the meantime. Currently, version 32 of the mapper will not recognize approximately 50 new ICD-10 PCS (surgical) codes effective Oct. 1. For updates and more information, continue to monitor the DHCS DRG website for provider bulletins.

CHA News Article

Report Examines Cancer Surgeries in California Hospitals

The California HealthCare Foundation has released a report describing its analysis of aggregated hospital cancer surgery volume data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Titled Safety in Numbers: Cancer Surgeries in California Hospitals, the report describes variation in volumes of cancer procedures; it does not address mortality or complications. It accompanies the public release of California hospital data on the volume of cancer surgeries at, where it is now possible to look up the number of surgeries performed at California hospitals for 11 cancer types.

Key report findings include:


News Releases and Media Statements
From the California Hospital Association

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

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 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

(SACRAMENTO – April 21, 2015)  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

(SACRAMENTO – April 20, 2015) 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.

Media Statement

CHA Statement on the Sale of Daughters of Charity Health System to Prime Healthcare Services
by C. Duane Dauner, President, California Hospital Association

Due to the unprecedented conditions imposed by the California Attorney General’s office on the proposed purchase of the Daughters of Charity Health System by Prime Healthcare Services, the transaction is not feasible clinically or financially.

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

(SACRAMENTO – March 5, 2015)  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.

The community benefit program, funded by Scripps Mercy Hospital and Rady Children’s Hospital, is aimed at teaching low-income residents how to break bad habits and develop healthier lifestyle behaviors by building awareness of good nutrition and cooking skills.

News Headlines

Today’s News Headlines

News Headlines Article

Healthcare anchors strong October jobs report
Modern Healthcare

The healthcare industry’s employment spree has continued into autumn with an increase of 44,900 jobs in October.

Healthcare has now created almost 407,000 jobs so far in 2015, which almost equals the 410,000 jobs the industry added in 2013 and 2014 combined. Nearly 11% of all U.S. nonfarm jobs are now in healthcare.

When factoring in upward revisions from August and September, healthcare actually added 61,000 new jobs, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hospitals again led the way by hiring 17,800 people in October and have added almost 148,000 people to their payrolls this year.

News Headlines Article

Cancer Patients on Medi-Cal Do Worse Than Those with Other Insurance
KQED Radio

Cancer patients with Medi-Cal are less likely to get recommended treatment and also have lower survival rates than patients with other types of insurance, according to a study by UC Davis researchers. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid, health insurance for people who are low income.

While other studies have linked Medicaid insurance status to worse cancer outcomes, the UC Davis study appears to be the first to examine the impact of various kinds of health insurance across more than one kind of cancer.

Understanding how well Medi-Cal serves cancer patients is crucial, experts say, because as much as 10 percent of Medi-Cal expenditures go to cancer care. And under the Affordable Care Act, the program has grown to cover more than 12 million Californians – nearly a third of the state’s population.

News Headlines Article

Google, American Heart Association Announce Joint Research Effort
Wall Street Journal

Alphabet Inc. ’s Google Life Sciences unit and the American Heart Association announced a five-year, $50 million collaboration intended to bring new approaches to research into the causes, treatment and prevention of heart disease.

Each party will contribute $25 million to the initiative, which will support research by the work of a single team drawn from a variety disciplines across medicine, engineering and technology. A leadership group composed of members from both sides plans to select a person to head the effort early next year.

The agreement, announced Sunday at the AHA’s annual scientific meeting, represents Google’s latest foray into life-sciences research. Among other moves: last year’s launch of what it calls a baseline study, an effort to collect data on individuals’ genetic and physical traits to come up with a description of a healthy human being.

News Headlines Article

Patients’ needs addressed in ‘person-centered health care’
Fox News Health

Every time JoAnna James took her husband, Lawrence, to the doctor, she left the hospital without understanding what was wrong with him.

“You ask (doctors) to break it down so you can understand what they are saying and they make you feel like there is something wrong with you,” said James, 67.

Frustrated, the couple signed up two years ago for an experimental program at the University of Chicago Medicine. The James’ new primary care doctor explained Lawrence’s prostate cancer diagnosis and every procedure that followed until they understood each of them. “She speaks your language,” JoAnna James said.

The Comprehensive Care Program, funded with a $6.1 million federal grant, is an example of a new model of care aimed at changing the culture of America’s health care system to one where doctors treat people rather than symptoms.

News Headlines Article

Regulators Urge Broader Health Networks
New York Times

The nation’s insurance commissioners are recommending sweeping new standards to address complaints from consumers about limited access to doctors and hospitals in health plans sold under the Affordable Care Act.

Limited networks of health care providers are a feature of many insurance policies offered in the public marketplaces, or exchanges, where people with low incomes can often obtain subsidies that reduce their monthly premiums to $100 or less.

News Headlines Article

Obamacare has transformed open enrollment
San Diego Union-Tribune

Much about the Affordable Care Act is still up for debate, but it is clear that the controversial health law has transformed the open-enrollment process.

While Obamacare’s health insurance mandate and income-based subsidies have received most of the attention, the law has quietly made the open-enrollment process more consumer-friendly than it used to be, especially for people who do not get coverage from their employers and must buy policies on the individual market.

News Headlines Article

Consumer Confusion Continues In Obamacare’s Third Year
Kaiser Health News

Recording and mixing music is Vernon Thomas’ passion, but being CEO and producer of Mantree Records is not his day job. He’s an HIV outreach worker for a local county health department outside Newark, N.J. He took what was to be a full-time job in May because the gig came with health insurance – and he himself has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

But then the county made it a part-time job – and Thomas lost that coverage before it started. “Benefits are more important than the money you’re making,” Thomas says.

News Headlines Article

‘Do The Math’ When Shopping For A Health Plan This Open Enrollment Season
Kaiser Health News

With the health insurance markets open for next year’s enrollment, Eve Campeau says she’s planning to look carefully at the fine print.

Last time she shopped, she switched to a plan with a lower monthly premium, but found herself paying far more out-of-pocket for medications and doctor visits. While she might be saving money on the premium, she is reluctant to go to seek medical care because of the up-front cost.

News Headlines Article

Five Things Young Adults Should Know About Buying Health Insurance
Kaiser Health News

Imagine what you could do with $2,000. If you’re between 18 and 34, you might travel somewhere fun. Maybe buy a big TV. But would you buy health insurance?

Take it from another millennial: Think about insurance if you don’t have any.

We don’t get sick often, and maybe we’ll never get hurt, but without insurance, a serious accident or illness could put you on the hook for staggering medical bills that will haunt you for years.

News Headlines Article

California’s Pressing Need for Latino and Black Nurses
KQED Radio

East Oakland’s Allen Temple Baptist Church is buzzing with chatter and upbeat music. On this warm Saturday morning, the church is hosting its annual holistic health fair.

Students from Oakland’s Samuel Merritt University, clad in blue scrubs, hustle to give eye exams and check blood pressure.

A couple tables down, Samuel Merritt’s chief diversity officer, Shirley Strong, hopes to address prospective students.

News Headlines Article

Multi-million dollar mental health reform campaign targets primary states

Mental health advocates are making a multi-million dollar advertising push in early primary states in an attempt to make the issue central to the 2016 presidential election. The NOW campaign, comprised of mental health advocacy groups from across the country, is pouring between $3 million and $7 million in digital ad buys and other efforts in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The campaign launches on Tuesday, before the fourth Republican primary debate. “We’re looking for candidates to have a comprehensive plan. We expect the kind of enlightened public policy approach that is not just a position paper, but a comprehensive plan,” former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who is part of the effort, told PULSE. A handful of Republican and Democratic candidates have been talking about substance abuse and mental health care, but advocates want to make sure the focus stays on the issue.

News Headlines Article

County copes with severe shortage of psychiatric beds
Napa Valley Register

Napa County suffers from a lack of beds for people in psychiatric crisis, leading some of its most vulnerable citizens with long waits and fewer mental health care options.

“We don’t have enough beds for our population; that’s the bottom line,” said Jill Kinney, a spokeswoman for St. Helena Hospital.

For someone with mental health problems, “there are holes in our national, state and local safety nets that folks can fall into,” said Bill Carter, Napa County mental health director.

News Headlines Article

Doctor Treats Homebound Patients, Often Unseen Even By Neighbors
National Public Radio

Dr. Roberta Miller hits the road at 8 a.m. to see her patients.

Many are too old or sick to go to the doctor. So the doctor comes to them.

She’s put 250,000 miles on her Honda minivan going to their homes in upstate New York. Home visits make a different kind of care possible. “You can evaluate the person as a whole,” says Miller, who has been a home care physician in Schenectady, N.Y., for more than 20 years. “You see everything that influences their health and well-being: the environment, the surrounding people, the support system, whether they had or didn’t have food.”

News Headlines Article

Health Care Value Assessments Versus Patients and Progress

Imagine you’re the inventor of a product that does something completely new, or something that’s never been done as well as your product does it. You’ve spent a decade and a fortune to develop the product. A tough review by independent regulators determines that your product is safe and that it does what you claim. You’re ready to make it available to customers. But then: groups of number-crunchers appear—with limited understanding of the nature of your business, the needs of your intended customers, or the product’s real potential—armed with algorithms that purport to determine the value of your invention to a hypothetical user. And these groups claim more and more power to determine what you should charge for your product and whether potential customers even should get access to it.

That dream-turned-nightmare is the growing reality that many inventors in the life sciences must face—uniquely among all innovation-based industries. The rise of so-called value-assessment mechanisms—and especially their potential adoption in U.S. health-care systems—poses a serious threat to the continuation of progress against disease. The financial risks of life-sciences R&D are sky high to begin with. If the resulting products are not given a chance to succeed on their merits, in real-world patient care, then investments in future discoveries simply will evaporate. And when you substitute the word “patients” for “customers”—because it is the needs of patients that we’re talking about in the life sciences—then the unintended consequences really come into focus.

News Headlines Article

As market wobbles, Kaiser Permanente posts big Q3 loss
San Francisco Business Times

Kaiser Permanente took a big hit on Wall Street during the third quarter, posting a net loss of $115 million, due in large part to a nearly $500 million pasting on its quarterly investments. A year ago, it posted a far healthier $997 million in net income for the quarter. Net non-operating or investment income for the first three quarters also plummeted, from $901 million in 2014 to just $71 million this year.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser says keeping rates affordable led to smaller surplus
Modern Healthcare

Kaiser Permanente continued to expand its membership in the third quarter, but its expenses grew faster than its membership rates in the period.

The Oakland, Calif.-based health plan and hospital network reported a decrease in operating income, which it attributed in part to keeping its rates affordable for members. Rates for 2015 increased at 1.2% on a per-member-per-month basis.

Its health plans, which include individual and group plans as well as Medicare and Medicaid plans, added 40,000 members in the quarter to reach 10.2 million.

News Headlines Article

North Bay health leaders to address ACA, other issues
North Bay Business Journal

The North Bay Business Journal’s annual Health Care Industry Conference and Healthiest Companies Awards will include a panel discussion by leading health care executives. The panelists are Judy Coffey, R.N., senior vice president and Sonoma-Marin area manager for Kaiser Permanente; Jon Friedenberg, chief administrative officer and president of the Marin General Hospital Foundation; Mike Purvis, chief administrative officer at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, and Todd Salnas, president St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County.

News Headlines Article

The Mendocino Coast Fears Losing Its Only Hospital
KQED Radio

Board meetings for the Mendocinco Coast District Hospital are usually pretty dismal affairs. The facility in Fort Bragg, California, has been running at a deficit for a decade, and barely survived a recent bankruptcy. But finally, this September, the report from the finance committee wasn’t terrible.

“This is probably the first good news that I’ve experienced since I’ve been here,” said Bill Rohr, a doctor at the hospital for 11 years. “This is the first black ink that I’ve seen at the end of the month in quite some time.”

News Headlines Article

Workers take on more expense as Valley health insurance costs increase
Fresno Bee

Health insurance costs are going up for employer-sponsored health plans, and many workers in the central San Joaquin Valley will share more of the financial burden to have coverage next year.

Small-business owners in the Valley say they have had to shop around to find plans that they and their employees can afford. “We try to be as generous as we can with our employees, but it’s hard,” said Lori Warren, executive office manager at The United Way Fresno and Madera Counties.

News Headlines Article

Marin General offering gender reassignment surgery
North Bay Business Journal

Marin General Hospital has begun offering gender reassignment surgery, and recently named plastic and reconstructive surgeon Thomas Satterwhite, M.D., to the hospital’s medical staff. It is the only major hospital in the North Bay to support physicians’ offices that perform these procedures. Satterwhite, a plastic surgeon at Brownstein & Crane Surgical Services in San Francisco, is currently working closely with the nursing staff and administration at MGH to develop a comprehensive program for these specialized surgical procedures, specifically male-to-female transitions.

News Headlines Article

Sonoma West Medical Center open for business
North Bay Business Journal

Sonoma West Medical Center is at long last open. Formerly known as Palm Drive Hospital, the hospital and emergency room was open to admit patients on Oct. 30. The 25-bed capacity hospital features a two-bay, 24-hour, no-wait emergency room and 50,000 square feet of space. The facility will utilize new technology and the latest equipment including use of iRobot for Skype video patient/doctor consultations, CAT scan and other high end systems on site.


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

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.