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CMS: EHR incentive payments jump in November
Modern Healthcare

The Medicare and Medicaid electronic health-record incentive payment programs have picked up steam heading into the new year, the CMS‘ latest monthly data reports (PDF) indicate. Only 10,155 physicians and other eligible professionals had received Medicare EHR payments through Nov. 11, 2011, according to the CMS, so with about 530,000 physicians working in office-based care settings in the U.S., there’s plenty of room for growth.

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HHS plans database on EHR incentive program participants
Modern Healthcare

HHS plans to create a national database that will contain information about office-based healthcare providers participating in federally funded electronic health-record system incentive payment programs. Goals of the proposed new system are to create a tool to evaluate those incentive programs and to check up on the work of a national system of regional health information technology extension centers.

Both the incentive programs and the regional extension centers were created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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North Bay doctors say temporary fix doesn’t solve Medicare problems
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

North Bay doctors said the deal struck Thursday in Congress does nothing to resolve a fundamental problem with the Medicare system, which provides health care to millions of senior citizens across the country.

Two months from now, doctors in Sonoma County and the rest of the United States will once again face a 27 percent cut in payments for treating Medicare patients.

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Two helipads in the works for Tulare County hospitals
Visialia Times-Delta

While Kaweah Delta Medical Center is planning to build a helipad above part of its main parking lot next year, Tulare Regional Medical Center has already poured the concrete for its landing pad.

Tulare’s helipad sits on top of a four-story building under construction just south of the main hospital. It’s part of a $95 million expansion that is about 50 percent complete. Shawn Bolouki, chief executive officer, estimates that the helipad alone costs about $500,000.

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Patients Shouldn’t Be Used As Pawns in Nurses’ Union Political Agenda
Sacramento Bee

The following is a statement by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO, California Hospital Association:Patients love their nurses. Hospitals do too. Nurses provide the caring touch and clinical expertise that is integral to ensuring high quality patient care every day in hospitals throughout California. Sadly, the labor union that represents a minority of California nurses seems to have a different idea about the role nurses should play this holiday season.

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Nurses strike at nine Bay Area hospitals
Inside Bay Area

Accusations and bad will registered nearly as loud as the chants outside nine Bay Area hospitals during a 24-hour walkout Thursday morning. The one-day strike started at 7 a.m. by nurses angry at concessions proposed by the Sutter Health Network during contract negotiations. At Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, two dozen registered nurses gathered on the chilly Thursday morning. “Patient safety is our goal” they chanted outside the facility’s entrance at Webster and Hawthorne streets.

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Hundreds of nurses continue strike at Long Beach hospital
Los Angeles Times

Hundreds of nurses from Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital staged a one-day strike Thursday over failed contract negotiations and staffing issues.

Armed with bullhorns and whistles, the nurses stood by the main entrance of the hospital on Patterson Street and Atlantic Avenue. Many waved pickets signs that read: “If nurses are outside, something’s wrong inside” and “Safe staffing at all times.”

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Strike two: Nurses at two San Mateo County medical facilities walk out again
San Mateo Daily Journal

Nurses at two San Mateo County medical facilities joined Sutter Health peers across the Bay Area to protest what they say are proposed concessions that leave both them and their patients at risk for the sake of corporate profits. Dozens, possibly hundreds of nurses, hoisted signs and chanted outside Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame and Mills-Peninsula Health Services in San Mateo.

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Nurses stage 1-day strike at 2 Long Beach hospitals
Los Angeles Times

Hundreds of nurses from Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital staged a one-day strike Thursday over failed contract negotiations and staffing issues.

Equipped with bullhorns and whistles, the nurses stood by the main entrance of the hospitals on Patterson Street and Atlantic Avenue. Many waved picket signs that read: “If nurses are outside, something’s wrong inside” and “Safe staffing at all times.”

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Cervical cancer vaccine not widely recommended for women older than 26
Sacramento Bee

Millions of adolescent girls and young women around the country have by now received a vaccine that protects them from cervical cancer. The vaccine blocks HPV, an extremely common sexually transmitted disease that in its fiercest form causes most cases of cervical cancer, along with rarer cancers that also strike men. That’s good news for prevention-minded young women and parents who want to protect their daughters.

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State Pilot Prompts Children’s Hospital To Form ACO
California Healthline

Rady Children’s Hospital is in the process of establishing an accountable care organization to manage treatment for children with significant medical needs. The San Diego-based hospital is one of five California health care organizations chosen to participate in a pilot project with the Department of Health Care Services to treat children who are part of the California Children’s Services program. CCS provides care for children, up to age 21, who have a number of serious medical conditions, including hemophilia, cerebral palsy, cancer, cystic fibrosis and heart disease.

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AHA airs concerns about ASC regulations
Modern Healthcare

The American Hospital Association submitted 19 pages of concerns (PDF) regarding federal regulations to ambulatory surgical centers. The AHA highlighted two main gripes along with previously submitted suggestions made in a letter dated Thursday to CMS officials. The letter comes in response to recommendations made in a proposed rule that federal officials presented in October.

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Obama pushes two-month freeze on doc pay
Modern Healthcare

More news on the proposed payroll tax holiday extension is expected tonight following a scheduled conference call among House Republicans.

President Barack Obama on Thursday stood firm in his position that House members pass the Senate’s short-term extension of a payroll tax holiday that would also avert a 27% cut in Medicare physician reimbursement by placing a two-month freeze on payments to the nation’s doctors.

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Health Care Future Bright for Nurses. Stinks for Doctors
The Health Care Blog

There are lots of losers in President Obama’s effort to remake the U.S. health care system, and chief among them are the doctors. But there are also winners, especially nurses and physician assistants (PAs). Indeed, nurses and PAs win big in part because doctors lose badly. Surveys repeatedly show doctors are fed up with low reimbursement rates from Medicare and even lower from Medicaid, which have increasingly led doctors to no longer see new patients in those government-run plans.

      

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