News Headlines

Daily News
Health care news from around the state and nation


News Headlines Article

Dealing with Doctors’ Reluctance Toward PHR
Health Leaders Media

Physician engagement with patients through personal health records may be more of a challenge than getting patients to use the system, says G. Daniel Martich, MD, FACP, chief medical information officer and vice president for physician services at UPMC.

Because of the particular software design of the e-visit portion of the PHR at UPMC, it can be used only by generalists such as primary care internists and family care practitioners.

News Headlines Article

Community clinics, county battle over healthcare reform in Fresno

About 7,700 low income Fresno County residents will miss an opportunity to gain primary medical care due to a dispute between the county and the private hospital that provides care for the county’s medically indigent adults. The dispute involves a long-term contract between the two to provide low income care, and the unwillingness of either of them to risk incurring more medical costs than they already shoulder.

News Headlines Article

House GOP agrees to doc pay-rate extension, Gingrey says
Modern Healthcare

House Republican leaders have agreed to include a two-year extension of the current Medicare physician pay rates, including a 1% increase, in a large legislative package primarily aimed at extending an expiring payroll tax cut, according to a Republican healthcare leader. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus, said in an interview that the two-year $38 billion extension of current rates that were scheduled to drop 27.4% on Jan.

News Headlines Article

Judge: Laura’s Law Saves Lives, Money
Voice of OC

John Anderson can’t understand why Orange and other California counties remain reluctant to adopt Laura’s Law, the state measure that creates a system of outpatient treatment for adults who are severely mentally ill. “It’s a very effective tool that has proven to save lives … and save and ease a burden on service providers,” said Anderson, the Superior Court judge in charge of Nevada County’s program, the only fully operational implementation of Laura’s Law in the state. “And it saves tons of money,” he added.

News Headlines Article

West Hills Hospital Offers Patients Online Pre-Registration
San Fernando Valley Business Journal

The 225-bed West Hills Hospital & Medical Center is coming into the digital age with online pre-registration now available to certain patients.

Patients who can pre-register include those with a procedure already scheduled who wish to pre-register online, obstetrics patients who would like to pre-register for labor and delivery, and patients who need to request a screening mammography appointment.

News Headlines Article

Health care district can only go up from here
The Mercury News

The Mt. Diablo Health Care District’s new chairman, Jeff Kasper, is promising a new era of accountability and competence under his watch — no matter how brief it is. A regulatory agency is studying whether to shut down the public health care district, which, despite its name, has no hospital, no physical assets and is quickly burning through its tiny chunk of property tax money. The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission’s dissolution vote could come as early as January.

News Headlines Article

Progress at Tulare hospital continues
Visialia Times-Delta

Tulare Regional Medical Center trustees approved a $6 million loan Wednesday to pay for its new da Vinci robotic surgical system, but one board member warned that the hospital is facing hard times.

Board members voted 4-1 in favor of the Bank of America loan at a rate of 1.9 percent to be repaid over the next five years. It will be used to pay for the $2.4 million da Vinci robotic surgery machine and related equipment in addition to patient equipment for the new building under construction.

News Headlines Article

Shield Healthcare pays $5 million in Medi-Cal settlement
Los Angeles Times

Shield Healthcare has paid $5 million to the U.S. Department of Justice to settle a lawsuit alleging the company had overbilled Medi-Cal . The lawsuit alleged Shield, which is the state’s major supplier of incontinence supplies, such as diapers and waterproof sheeting, didn’t comply with California’s Upper Billing Limit regulation, which requires that providers bill Medi-Cal no more than double net purchase price.

News Headlines Article

Superbugs Will March Unless Antibiotic Behavior Changes: View
San Francisco Chronicle

A new study of pediatricians’ prescribing habits told us something old and something new. It told us that antibiotics are overused. It also told us — and this is the new part — that doctors are using the wrong antibiotics, even when the bacteria-killing drugs are called for. According to the study, which looked at tens of thousands of visits to pediatricians outside hospitals from 2006 to 2008, in more than 1 in 5 cases doctors gave their young patients antibiotics.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser Permanente Fontana makes ‘Top Hospital’ list
San Bernardino Sun

The Leapfrog Group, an organization representing many private and public sector health care purchasers, has included Kaiser Permanente’s medical centers in Fontana and Riverside on its “Top Hospital” list.

No other Inland Empire hospitals made the list.

Leapfrog Group named 65 U.S. hospitals to the list. Making the list signifies that Leapfrog observed low incidences of medical errors, reduced mortality for high-risk procedures and reduced readmissions.

News Headlines Article

Study: Bone drug boosts breast cancer survival
USA Today

Doctors were mostly hoping to prevent complications and relapses when they gave young women a medicine to keep their bones strong during breast cancer treatment. Seven years later, they found it did more than that: The bone drug improved survival, as much as many chemotherapies do. The study found a 37 percent lower risk of death among women who received the bone drug, Zometa. In absolute terms, it meant that 4 to 5 more women out of every 100 were alive seven years later.

News Headlines Article

Hospital increases prices
Sonoma Index-Tribune

In a move expected to bring in up to $450,000 annually, Sonoma Valley Hospital is scheduling regular price increases to keep the district hospital in line with what other area hospitals are charging for services.

Rick Reid, chief financial officer of the hospital, said it was a change that affects private insurance companies that contract with the hospital to cover their users.

“This price increase did not impact our self-pay or no-insurance patients,” he said.

News Headlines Article

Rick Perry ad criticizes his rivals on health care
San Francisco Chronicle

Opens with large white words, “We don’t want government mandated health care,” over a darkened image of the White House. It’s replaced by an image of Newt Gingrich, standing in a defensive position, over the words, “Supporter of health care mandates.” Mitt Romney comes next, along with the label, “I like mandates.” President Barack Obama follows, at a bill-signing ceremony behind the words, “Obamacare is an entitlement disaster.”

News Headlines Article

Local hospital hit with fine
The Signal

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital is one of 14 California hospitals fined Thursday by The California Department of Public Health for “failing to comply with licensing requirements that caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.”

Henry Mayo was issued a penalty of $50,000 for failing to implement policies and procedures that would have ensured medicine was administered safely, the health department report states.


News Headlines Article

Medi-Cal’s hollow promise
San Diego Union-Tribune

Medi-Cal, the federal Medicaid program operated by California, addresses health care for 6.6 million low-income or disabled Californians.

From the physician’s perspective, Medi-Cal is deeply troubled, plagued by decades of overpromised services and systematic underfunding; and it’s about to get much worse.


News Headlines Article

Leavitt ACO Report: Overstating or Understating Accountable Care Activity?
The Health Care Blog

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have been likened to: A unicorn — a fantastic creature that is vested with mythical powers. But no one has actually seen one. A camel — a horse designed by a committee, one that already has its nose in the tent With this background, you can begin to appreciate the difficulty of conducting an accurate census of ACO animals in the wilderness.