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Proposed MediCal cuts may push hospitals to the brink and displace seniors
Plumas County News

The stagnant housing economy, which has resulted in reassessed home values throughout Plumas County and lower property tax revenue, is financially distressing at the very least to struggling district hospitals.

Compounded with the proposed reduction in MediCal reimbursements for patient care, specifically those in distinct part skilled nursing facilities, this could be construed as a formula for failure.

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Redding hospitals get digital; shift to electronic records should bring benefits
Redding Record Searchlight

Local doctors and hospitals have been scrambling to beef up their electronic medical records systems by next year so they can qualify for a federal payout or avoid having their Medicare reimbursement rates cut.

Shasta Regional Medical Center has spent $4 million on an electronic health records system.

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$216 million marked for quality initiative
Modern Healthcare

Twenty-six organizations will receive a total of $216 million to identify and share strategies to reduce healthcare-acquired conditions, such as infections. The funding is part of HHS‘ Partnership for Patients, a $1 billion quality-improvement and cost-control initiative launched in April. The organizations—which include professional associations, healthcare systems and regional groups—will be designated as hospital engagement networks and will be charged with identifying effective, evidence-based solutions and disseminating them to other providers, HHS said in a news release.

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As Doctors Use More Devices, Potential for Distraction Grows
New York Times

Hospitals and doctors’ offices, hoping to curb medical error, have invested heavily to put computers, smartphones and other devices into the hands of medical staff for instant access to patient data, drug information and case studies. But like many cures, this solution has come with an unintended side effect: doctors and nurses can be focused on the screen and not the patient, even during moments of critical care.

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San Bernardino County emergency stroke network to begin operations today
Contra Costa Times

Three hospitals will set into motion today a medical network to rapidly deploy the latest techniques to combat strokes in the Inland Empire. Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center will work with Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton to launch the stroke system network. Loma Linda University Medical Center will join in a few weeks.

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Health Insurance Coverage for Young Adults Increases Significantly
HealthNews

While the number of uninsured Americans is on the rise, the Affordable Care Act is helping to stem the tide, and new data released today by the National Center of Health Statistics shows that there has been a significant increase in medical coverage for young adults. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million more young adults don’t have to live with the fear and uncertainty of going without health insurance,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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Coverage gains touted; cost fears aired
Modern Healthcare

The Obama administration touted 2.5 million young adults gaining employer-provided health insurance coverage through provisions in the 2010 healthcare overhaul, but companies are worried such provisions accelerate the rising cost of coverage.

The coverage increase primarily stems from a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans from 19 through 26, according to an HHS report. The policy took effect in September 2010 and was generally implemented among insurance policies that took effect in January.

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Study: Statins reduce flu death risk by half
USA Today

Statins, the drugs that can dramatically lower cholesterol levels, may one day also prove useful in combating serious cases of the flu. A preliminary study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases finds that patients hospitalized with influenza were less likely to die if they were taking a statin, compared with their peers who weren’t taking one of the drugs. The effect held even after adjusting for heart disease. But it’s far too soon to consider adding statins to the existing anti-flu armamentarium, the authors stated.

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Mass. lawmakers weigh universal health care bill
Ventura County Star

Beacon Hill lawmakers are planning to hear testimony on two bills designed to create universal health coverage in Massachusetts.

The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing has scheduled a public hearing Thursday on the bill that would create a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurance plans.

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Health care law helps 2.5 million young adults get insurance
USA Today

More than 2.5 million adults younger than 26 have stayed on their parents’ health insurance plans because of a provision in last year’s health care, the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. “It shows what a big difference this is already making in Americans’ lives,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. The percentage of adults ages 19 to 25 with health insurance rose from 66.7% in September 2010, when the provision took effect, to 71.9% in June, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

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CMS plans to delay start of data collection in transparency push
Modern Healthcare

The CMS said in a proposed rule that it recommends delaying data collection (PDF) in a reform law provision intended to expose financial relationships between drug and device manufacturers, GPOs and providers.

The agency said in the proposed rule that manufacturers and GPOs should not be required to start collecting information about their financial relationships with physicians and teaching hospitals on Jan. 1.

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Obama administration wins plaudits from healthcare law critics
Los Angeles Times

As President Obama gears up his reelection campaign, his administration is laboring to soften the impact of last year’s sweeping healthcare law in a bid to prevent further political backlash.

The campaign to minimize disruptions — by easing requirements for insurers, employers, doctors and others — is winning cautious praise from some of the toughest critics of the law in the business community.

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CMS Rule Would Make Drug, Device Makers’ Payments to Docs Transparent
Health Leaders Media

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late Wednesday released its 121-page proposed rule designed to reveal potential conflicts of interest between drug, biological and medical device companies and the physicians and teaching hospitals that prescribe and use them. The proposed rule, also called the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, which was required by Section 6002 in the Affordable Care Act, would mean about 150 manufacturers of drugs, or biologics, 1,000 makers of medical devices or medical supplies, and 420 group purchasing organizations will be required to report payments,

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Blue Shield foundation makes $9 million in Q4 grants
San Francisco Business Times

The Blue Shield of California Foundation, Blue Shield of California’s philanthropic arm, is making nearly $9 million in fourth quarter grants, bringing 2011’s total to $27 million, or $5 million more than last year. The San Francisco-based charity said Wednesday that most of the grants are aimed at streghtening the state’s health care safety net prior to full implementation of national health reform in 2014. (Assuming, of course, that it survives a review by the U.S. Supreme Court next spring.)

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Hospital to break ground on new medical offices on former Breeze site
Daily Breeze - Los Angeles

Providence Little Company of Mary officials will break ground this week on new medical offices at the former Daily Breeze site in Torrance.

A ceremony and blessing is planned for 10 a.m. Friday for the Providence Breeze Medical Plaza, which is scheduled to open in early 2013.

The 106,000-square-foot, three-story building will house doctors’ offices and Providence ambulatory and diagnostic centers.

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School nurses, stretched thin, focus on critical care
HealthyCal.org

Thirty years ago, kids with cerebral palsy—a loss of certain motor functions caused by brain damage—rarely lived through their teenage years, let alone attended high school. Now, modern medicine allows them and other students with potentially life-threatening diseases to graduate and live well into adulthood. But these medical miracles also have gradually transformed school nurses’ offices from a warm place to get a bandage or ride out a headache to a modern-day care center.

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Teen’s transplant in limbo over insurance changeover
RecordNet

The elation expressed two weeks ago by the Minjarez family when they learned an aunt is a compatible living donor for young Marissa’s need for a new liver has come crashing down.

Blame it on unfortunate timing and the dysfunctional nature of the nation’s health care system.

“Stress is an understatement,” Marissa’s mother, Hong Minjarez, said Wednesday.

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HHS Awards $218M to Create Hospital Engagement Networks
Health Leaders Media

The Department of Health & Human Services announced on Tuesday that it will award $218 million to 26 hospitals and hospital associations for the creation of learning collaboratives that will target preventable injuries and complications from hospital-acquired conditions.

Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs) will identify best practices that can be used to improve patient safety.

Blogs

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Obama-cares (if you’re under 26)
The Health Care Blog

CDC data just in, reported by Jonathan Cohn at THR, suggests that the impact of allowing young people to stay on their parent’s insurance (or as Michael Cannon would say, forcing employers to cover dependents up to the age of 26) is having a big impact. Up to 2.5 million adults under the age of 26 have moved into coverage. Frankly I’m not surprised. There’s always been a huge group of uninsured young adults moving between high school and college and the workforce.

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Can Hospitals Exist Without Doctors?
The Health Care Blog

“One cannot run a hospital without doctors, and one cannot run one with them.” – Peter F. Drucker Yesterday Kaiser Health News ran a piece titled “Hospitals Clash with House Republicans on Medicare Cuts.” The article revived these questions: ·Are hospitals friends or foes of independent physicians? ·Will the future of hospital-doctor relationships be one of cooperation, collaboration, or cooptation? (On the last bullet point, “cooptation” means hospitals take over the practice of medicine).

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