News Headlines

Daily News

Headlines

News Headlines Article

Medical help for illegal immigrants could haunt Mitt Romney
Los Angeles Times

The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.

Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.

News Headlines Article

Docs need more EHR training, survey suggests
Modern Healthcare

Physicians need at least three to five days of training to feel satisfied with their electronic health-record system, and being able to easily use the EHR functions required for meaningful-use incentive bonuses took two weeks of training—but almost half of the doctors responding to a recent survey reported that they received three days or less of EHR training.

News Headlines Article

Feds OK scaled-back Ariz. Medicaid plan for another five years
Modern Healthcare

The federal government is reauthorizing Arizona’s newly scaled-back Medicaid program for another five years.

The reauthorization awarded Friday accepts cost-cutting changes to the programs, including enrollment freezes and new co-payment requirements that federal officials either previously accepted or indicated that they would. Some other changes proposed by the state either were scaled back or rejected outright, such as a now-scrubbed $50 annual fee for smokers.

News Headlines Article

Doctors increase age range for ADHD diagnosis
Los Angeles Times

Children as young as 4 can be diagnosed and treated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The new recommendations update the decade-old guidelines, which covered children ages 6 to 12. Recent research led the organization to expand its scope to include preschoolers to age 18, said Dr. Mark Wolraich, lead author of the report released Sunday at the AAP National Conference in Boston.

News Headlines Article

Indian tribes to form consortium for healthcare reform
HealthyCal.org

The California Rural Indian Health Board hopes to form a consortium of tribes to administer healthcare reform for Indians and native Alaskans in 37 rural California counties. Healthcare reform is coming to California ahead of most the nation under California’s Bridge to Reform, a joint federal and state program to make primary and specialty care available to adults who do not have insurance or the means to obtain it. Federal funds would be matched with money California’s counties already spend to serve medically indigent adults to provide a higher level of health care.

News Headlines Article

U.S. Healthcare Costs Climb 5.73% Over 12 Months
Health Leaders Media

The average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare grew 5.73% over the 12 months ending in August, representing a fourth straight month of modest acceleration of cost growth, Standard & Poor’s Healthcare Economic Indices show. The index posted its lowest annual growth rate in its six-year history — +5.37% in April 2011.

News Headlines Article

Breast cancer risk may rise with high hormone levels
USA Today

Elevated levels of hormones increase breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, and as the number of different elevated hormones rises, so does the risk, a new study has found. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston examined levels of eight different sex and growth hormones in blood samples collected from nurses up to nine years before their health information was recorded.

News Headlines Article

Hypertension, not blood pressure, linked to birth defects
USA Today

Although pregnant women who have high blood pressure face a higher risk that their baby will be born with birth defects, new research indicates that the medications typically used to treat the condition will not raise that risk any further. The finding suggests that the widely used class of high blood pressure medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are safe to use during the first trimester.

News Headlines Article

More states limiting Medicaid hospital stays
USA Today

A growing number of states are sharply limiting hospital stays under Medicaid to as few as 10 days a year to control rising costs of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Advocates for the needy and hospital executives say the moves will restrict access to care, force hospitals to absorb more costs and lead to higher charges for privately insured patients.

News Headlines Article

Many don’t believe their obesity poses health risks
USA Today

Many overweight and obese patients seen in hospital emergency departments don’t believe their weight poses a risk to their health, and many say doctors have never told them otherwise, a new study finds. Researchers asked 450 randomly selected patients who were seen in the emergency department at Shands at the University of Florida two questions: Do you believe your present weight is damaging to your health, and has a doctor or other health professional ever told you that you are overweight?

News Headlines Article

Hospital IT should hit $6.5 billion in 2012, report says
Modern Healthcare

It’s no news that the hospital segment of the health information technology market is exploding, but speculation about the size of the boom always is interesting if you’re a health IT systems buyer, user or, particularly, a developer. The latest report by market watcher Frost & Sullivan says hospital IT revenues in 2009, the year the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, were just shy of $1 billion ($973.2 million), according to a news release about the report.

News Headlines Article

Number of children with autism rising quickly in Modesto area
Modesto Bee

The number of children with autism has skyrocketed. Modesto City Schools serves nearly seven times as many children today as the district did eight years ago. Stanislaus County as a whole has had slightly less than a fivefold increase. No one knows what causes autism. Also unknown is if its phenomenal growth is because of better and broader diagnosis of autism, or a growing risk.

News Headlines Article

HIT Barriers to Patient Engagement Persist
Health Leaders Media

The correlation between accountable care models and healthcare information technology that connects and engages patients permeated conversations at The Center for Connected Health annual symposium in Boston last week.

As news of the final rules broke, participants weighed the importance of electronic health records in a successful ACO business model.

News Headlines Article

Search for health information going mobile
Modern Healthcare

More than one in four U.S. adults have used their mobile phones in the past year to find healthcare information, according to a summary of a survey of digital health trends. Pharmaceutical and healthcare market researcher Manhattan Research, New York, made that claim based on its telephone survey of 8,745 U.S. adults during the third quarter of 2011.

News Headlines Article

‘Accountable care’ gets boost at DMC in Modesto
Modesto Bee

Doctors Medical Center will receive a $650,000 grant from nonprofit insurer Blue Shield of California to help coordinate care for patients after their release from the hospital. The Modesto center was one of 18 hospitals and health systems awarded grants from Blue Shield to support “accountable care organizations,” a growing trend in health care.

News Headlines Article

Ending the explosion in health care costs
HealthyCal.org

For decades, Americans have debated health care reform as if it was one issue. But, in reality, there are two different issues. The first is how to expand access to care for the 30 million most vulnerable Americans. The second is how to seize control of escalating health care expenses and insurance premiums. The 2010 reforms of the Obama administration were intended to address both problems, and the act’s name said it: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

News Headlines Article

ACOs Seen As Tough Sell, Despite Concessions
Health Leaders Media

Even with approving nods for the changes announced last week in the final rules for Medicare accountable care organizations, observers who spoke with HealthLeaders Media say the program will remain a tough sell for most healthcare providers. “I’m still not optimistic we are going to see a rush to the ACO door,” said Michael Regier, general counsel and senior vice president of legal and corporate affairs for VHA Inc., the hospital purchasing group.

News Headlines Article

Wal-Mart trims some U.S. health coverage
Fox40

Wal-Mart Stores Inc will no longer offer health insurance to new part-time U.S. employees who work fewer than 24 hours a week and will charge workers who use tobacco more for coverage as healthcare costs rise, the company said on Friday.

Wal-Mart, the largest U.S. retailer and the nation’s largest private employer, is also slashing the amount that it puts in employees’ healthcare expense accounts by 50 percent.

News Headlines Article

Novato doctor joins others in seeking annual fee from patients
Marin Independent Journal

Dr. Timothy Murphy, a Novato primary care physician, has become the latest Marin doctor to start charging his patients an annual fee, even though he contracts with insurance companies to provide their medical care.

Murphy, whose practice treats more than 2,000 patients, has begun billing his patients annual fees ranging from $120 for a single patient to $210 for a family of three or more. Existing patients who pay before Oct. 31 are being offered a 10 percent discount.

Opinion/Editorial

News Headlines Article

To cut costs, new health care systems must reward — health
The Mercury News

California is experiencing a health-care affordability crisis. Businesses large and small are struggling to pay spiraling health care costs. The state government is cutting billions from public health care spending for children, seniors and the disabled. Families are being forced to make difficult financial choices, and many are going without needed care. The Affordable Care Act created a framework that could be used to ratchet down rising health care spending, and dozens of state-based proposals aim to improve health care affordability.

Blogs

News Headlines Article

CMS Wants Docs to Ante Up to ACO Poker Game
The Health Care Blog

In a high-stakes political, clinical and economic poker game that goes by the name of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just issued a call for doctors and hospitals to grab some chips and ante up. The set-up goes like this: one of the biggest potential changes in how health care is actually delivered contained in the Accountable Care Act was ACOs.

Commands