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Do-It-Yourself IT Solutions
Health Leaders Media

Healthcare providers are spending billions to implement EMRs, but progress toward meaningful use is being stymied by a severe shortage of tech professionals who are qualified to set up and maintain these complex systems—and to support the clinicians and staff who use them.

Several efforts are under way to address the shortage for the entire industry, but most of those will not yield benefits any time soon.

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More ag firms offering health care to workers

Business profits and social justice are slowly merging in the harsh agricultural fields of California, as progressive new company-sponsored clinics emerge to provide direct healthcare to farm workers – including undocumented immigrants. Agribusiness owners are opening the clinics to provide no-hassle health access to a population who often avoid seeking healthcare even when covered by insurance.

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IOM to recommend new regulatory agency for health IT: report
Modern Healthcare

The Institute of Medicine will recommend in a forthcoming report that a regulatory agency be created to oversee health information technology, according to a story from the not-for-profit Center for Public Integrity’s iWatch News. The IOM’s report is scheduled to be released publicly on Thursday, Nov. 10, but iWatch obtained an advance copy, according to the story.

The report, Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care, also recommends that the Food and Drug Administration not be given the job of overseeing health IT, according to iWatch.

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Hospitals sue over 20% Medicaid cuts in California Read more: Hospitals sue over 20% Medicaid cuts
Fierce HealthFinance

Facing double-digit Medicaid cuts for many of its revenue streams, California’s hospitals have filed suit against both the federal and state governments in order to fight the reductions, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. The California Hospital Association (CHA) law week filed the suit in federal court in Los Angeles against the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Department of Health Care Services , a state agency that administers Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program.

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Health Plans Step Into Retail Operations
Health Leaders Media

If Blue Shield of California has its way, the grocery lists of many of its San Francisco members will now include a health insurance check-up as well as eggs, orange juice, and milk.

On Monday the Blues company opened inside a Lucky Supermarket. This is the first bricks-and-mortar facility for the health insurer, which usually connects with its members via the Internet and the telephone.

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Kaiser Permanente gives $17.3M in community grants – $5.2M in NorCal
San Francisco Business Times

Kaiser Permanente says it awarded community grants to 675 Golden State nonprofits and community benefit organizations in the third quarter, including $5.2 million to such organizations in Northern California. Raymond Baxter, Oakland-based Kaiser’s senior vice president of community benefit, research and health policy, made the announcement late last week.

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GOP sees disconnect between universal phone, healthcare coverage
Los Angeles Times

Conservatives tend to become apoplectic at the thought of the government requiring people to pay for health insurance or any form of public program designed to provide universal coverage.

Yet most of those same conservatives — including Republican lawmakers — are perfectly at ease with the idea of requiring that all phone users pay a fee intended to provide universal coverage for telecom services.

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Two Calif. hospitals pass CMS inspection
Modern Healthcare

The CMS notified Southwest Healthcare System, Murrieta, Calif., that its two hospitals are back in compliance with Medicare’s conditions of participation after passing a CMS inspection, according to a news release from Southwest’s parent company, Universal Healthcare Services, King of Prussia, Pa. Passing last week’s inspection, which was a follow-up to a July inspection that was part of a deal that Southwest and Universal reached with the CMS in May 2010 ends a regulatory process that began in 2009.

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Blue Shield of Calif. names Hirshleifer medical director of ACOs
Modern Healthcare

Dr. John Hirshleifer has been appointed San Francisco-based Blue Shield of California’s medical director of accountable care organizations. In this newly created position, Hirshleifer will work on developing an ACO model that achieves the company goal of giving Californians access to affordable, high-quality care, according to a Blue Shield of California news release.

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Community Hospital adds 40 beds
The Press-Enterprise

At 98, Marion Koester calls Redlands Community Hospital her home away from home. She’s been in and out some 11 times in recent years. On Monday, she was thrilled to be the first patient admitted to the hospital’s second-floor medical-surgical unit, just refurbished at a cost of $13 million. Dressed in a light-blue robe while recovering from hernia surgery, Koester grinned, waved and blew a kiss to the staff as her wheelchair rolled through the doors.

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Dominican Hospital talking with CEP America about emergency services
The Mercury News

Dominican Hospital is in discussions with CEP America, a physician group based in Emeryville, to run its emergency medical department. Eric Jost, CEP America spokesman, said Monday he expects to make an announcement in a few days. Dominican Hospital spokesman Mike Lee said he expects information to be released by the end of the week.

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Memorial gets $1 milion gift from Anderson
Bakersfield Californian

Grimmway Farms’ Kari Anderson has donated $1 million to Bakersfield Memorial Hospital, the largest single gift in the organization’s history.

The gift, which Anderson contributed in honor of her late husband, Robert Grimm, will go toward the hospital’s Children’s Medical Center Initiative.

As parents of five children, Anderson and Grimm learned firsthand the stress of receiving emergency medical care, she said in a statement.

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Doctor files suit against Modesto hospital
Modesto Bee

A Modesto physician is one of two plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed Monday, which challenges a process used by California hospitals to review complaints against doctors.

Attorneys filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of Dr. Mark Fahlen, a Modesto kidney specialist who saw patients at Memorial Medical Center, and Dr. Hamid Safari, a perinatologist who worked for Kaiser Permanente’s Fresno hospital.

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New clinic’s name honors medical leader
Sacramento Bee

Community health provider The Effort’s newest clinic will be named after a longtime area medical leader.

The Tom Gagen Community Health Clinic will open inside Mercy Housing’s affordable housing development at Seventh and H streets in downtown Sacramento. The 5,000-square-foot clinic and the eight-story downtown development are slated to open in the fall of 2012.

Gagen served 11 years as chief executive officer of Sutter Medical Center before announcing his retirement earlier this year.

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Boomers discovering lack of geriatricians
Monterey Herald

In this sleepy, riverside town in northeast Florida, 86-year-old Betty Wills sees the advertisements of obstetricians and gynecologists on the main road’s billboards and has found specialists ranging from cardiologists to surgeons in the phone book.

But there’s not a single geriatrician — a doctor who specializes in treating the elderly — in all of Putnam County, where a fifth of the county’s 74,000 people are seniors.


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Examining the healthcare system through its public waiting rooms

One serious effect of the recession is many people’s inability to afford health care. And when people aren’t insured, they bring their medical problems to the only place required to take them: the public hospital emergency room.

In Oakland, that emergency room is at Highland Hospital. The new documentary “The Waiting Room” takes us into the lobby and behind the scenes with the doctors, nurses, and patients who spend their hours there. KALW’s Holly Kernan spoke with director Pete Nicks.