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Nurses Join “Occupy” Protests, Despite Above-Average Wages
International Business Times

Union nurses rallied Nov. 2 in Oakland, Calif., supporting the ongoing Occupy Oakland protests. The protests are part of the wider “Occupy Wall Street” movement against economic inequality in the U.S.

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Tri-City surgery deal falls short of projection
San Diego Union-Tribune

When Tri-City Healthcare District announced an agreement with a Carlsbad insurance underwriter in late 2009, hospital CEO Larry Anderson said the deal could generate as much as $12 million in additional annual revenue.

Anderson said the partnership with Medical Acquisition Co., or MAC, could achieve that by bringing as many as 500 patients through Tri-City’s doors for complex spinal and orthopedic surgeries.

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Redlands hospital ranked for orthopedics
Redlands Daily Facts

The Orthopedics Staff at Redlands Community Hospital is one of the best in the nation.

But that comes as no surprise.

The staff, which includes orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Steinmann, DO, received for the second straight year the highest marks possible by Healthgrades – a well respected independent source of physician information and hospital quality ratings.

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States Face Health Benefit Exchange Deadline
Government Technology

For many states, the Jan. 1, 2014, deadline to establish online health benefit exchanges (HBEs) as set forth by the federal Affordable Care Act may seem like a distant goal rather than an immediate priority.

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Hospital group sues over cuts to Medi-Cal program
Los Angeles Times

The trade group for California’s hospitals has sued state and federal officials to block a 10% cut in government reimbursements for healthcare providers who treat low-income patients.

The California Hospital Assn. said in its suit, filed in federal district court in Los Angeles, that cuts to the Medi-Cal insurance program will threaten the ability of many hospitals to continue operating skilled nursing facilities.

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Administrative Changes At Oak Valley Hospital
Oakdale Leader

In somewhat of a surprise move, the Oak Valley Hospital District Board of Directors announced this week that CEO John Friel will be placed on administrative leave until the end of his contract in February 2012. Current Chief Financial Officer John McCormick will take over as interim CEO.

“We felt like we needed to move forward in the best interest of the district,” said board president Wendell Chun.

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UCSD Health leader announces resignation
San Diego Union-Tribune

Tom Jackiewicz will leave UCSD Health System on Dec. 1 after serving as its chief executive for two years, presiding over major expansion plans for the university’s medical facilities and the opening of a $227 million cardiovascular center last summer.

Jackiewicz, 53, is headed for the University of Southern California, where he will start on Jan. 1 as senior vice president and chief executive for USC Health.

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Health Guideline Panels Struggle with Conflicts of Interest
New York Times

When a federal panel recently recommended against prostate cancer screening for most men, it tried to steer clear of any suggestions of commercial bias. All 16 members of the United States Preventive Services Task Force were vetted to ensure they had no financial conflicts that would prohibit them from voting, according to the panel’s vice chairman, Dr. Albert L.

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Obama health care law has unexpected beneficiaries
Associated Press

Some of the money from President Barack Obama’s health care law is flowing to places you might not expect. Two Texas public employee programs are among the top 25 beneficiaries of a $5-billion fund to shore up employer coverage for early retirees, despite Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s vow to repeal what Republicans derisively call “Obamacare.”

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Kaiser opens trauma facility in Vacaville
The Reporter

Excitement bubbled Tuesday at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Vacaville, where officials heralded the opening of Solano County’s second Level III trauma facility. The first — at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield — opened in September.

“We know that with this important level of care, the people who live in this area (and others) will benefit,” said Max Villalobos, Kaiser’s senior vice president. “We are excited that we are finally here.”

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Eisenhower losses spur credit-rating downgrades
The Desert Sun

Citing a sagging bottom line and millions in losses, two of the nation’s top financial ratings agencies have downgraded Eisenhower Medical Center’s credit rating and are signaling that future downgrades could follow.

Moody’s Investors Service dropped the Rancho Mirage hospital’s rating from Baa1 to Baa2, while at Fitch Ratings, the cut was from A- to BBB.

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CMS Releases OPPS Final Rule
Health Leaders Media

The 2012 OPPS final rule contains some significant wins, including changes to cancer center payments and separately payable drug payments, for facilities and one major loss involving intensity modulated radiation therapy.

CMS finalized changes to cancer center payments for 11 hospitals, cardiac resynchronization therapy payment, and physician supervision in its final rule released November 1.

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Universal Healthcare Could Double VT’s Costs
Health Leaders Media

Vermont’s yet-to-be-defined leap into state-sponsored universal healthcare could cost as much as $9.5 billion by 2020, about double the $4.7 billion the state now spends on healthcare. That’s roughly $14,000 for every person in the state.

But the state plan will still cost less than maintaining the current system of private plans, which could add an additional $550 million to $1.8 billion to the cost of healthcare in the state, according to new estimates released this week.

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California Hospital Association sues to stop Medi-Cal cuts
Sacramento Business Journal

Declaring that reduced Medi-Cal payments to skilled nursing units inside hospitals will have “an unprecedented” adverse impact on California hospitals and the Medi-Cal program as whole, the California Hospital Association filed a lawsuit Wednesday to stop them. The cuts were approved by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week and are expected to take effect in the next month or two. Medicaid is called Medi-Cal in California.

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SRMC Debuts New Facility

Sonora Regional Medical Center debuted a new facility Wednesday that helps patients with heart failure and chronic lung disease live better lives.

With around 50 people in attendance, the open house at 19747 Greenley Road, showcased the new Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Heart Failure Resource Center. SRMC president and CEO, Jeff Eller says he’s excited about the new facility.

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Most ER nurses skip formal assault reports: survey
Modern Healthcare

Despite relatively high rates of workplace violence, most emergency-room nurses didn’t formally report on-the-job assaults against them, according to a survey of members of the Emergency Nurses Association. About 66% of nurses in the survey said they didn’t file formal reports about physical violence against them, though the association’s study noted that the same percentage did mention the assaults to hospital security guards or their immediate supervisor.

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Commenters Knock HHS Rules on Health Insurance Exchanges
Health Leaders Media

Proposed rules don’t give states enough time to establish health information exchanges and limit their flexibility and control over operating them, said roughly 30 organizations, including state governments, business groups, lobbyists, and special interest groups, in public comments.

The Department of Health and Human Services proposed three rules to govern the creation and operation of state-based health insurance exchanges, as well as the employer standards and Medicaid eligibility related to them.