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Health care news from around the state and nation


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Judge stops Medi-Cal budget cuts; state plans appeals
California Watch

Attorneys for California’s Medi-Cal program are gearing up to appeal two court rulings issued last week that strike down a 10 percent cut to some medical service providers for low-income Californians.

Christina A. Snyder, a U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles, ruled in favor of pharmacies and hospital-based nursing facilities that sought to fend off the rate cut. In both cases, Snyder ruled that the gravity of the state’s fiscal crisis is not greater than the harm that might come to patients who are denied medical care.

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AHA fears tightening of antitrust restrictions regarding ACOs
Modern Healthcare

Although observers roundly praised federal officials for loosening the antitrust and abuse rules on accountable care organizations, the American Hospital Association is protesting what it says are efforts by regulators to move back toward stricter enforcement over time. Accountable care organizations were included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a way for healthcare providers of all kinds to team up with payers to eliminate incentives for inefficiencies by providing population-based healthcare and giving financial rewards for less treatment.

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Top 12 Healthcare Quality Concerns in 2012
Health Leaders Media

Which quality issues will provoke the most influential changes in healthcare in 2012? Or, which ones will most rapidly accelerate the graying of chief quality officers’ hair? There are so many, it’s hard to pick the most significant. We interviewed quality experts around the country to glean the most influential and then picked a dozen.

Here’s the list:

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Providence Establishes Nursing Institute

Providence Health & Services, with more than 3,500 nurses in its Los Angeles-area hospitals and other healthcare centers, is creating a Nursing Institute to advance quality patient care through professional development, education, technology and research. The Providence Southern California Nursing Institute will serve as a training ground for nursing graduate residents, established nurses and other clinicians at Providence medical centers and ancillary services.

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U.S. cardiac patients likelier to be readmitted: study
Modern Healthcare

Heart attack patients in the U.S. have higher readmission rates than patients in 14 other countries, including Canada, France, Germany and Australia, according to results of a newly published study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Using data from 5,571 patients, researchers determined that residing in the U.S. was a primary predictor of 30-day readmission after ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction.

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Families await artificial pancreas until cure for diabetes
USA Today

Skipping a meal, forgetting to do a glucose check or miscalculating carbohydrate counts can have serious consequences for people with juvenile diabetes, but there’s a medical device on the horizon that will give them better protection from severe swings in blood sugar levels. It’s called an artificial pancreas. The device is not implanted in the body but worn almost like a heart rate monitor. It has three parts: a glucose sensor and an insulin pump, which are nothing new, and a tiny specialized computer.

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Reedley hospital brings on new staffing firm
The Business Journal

Adventist Medical Center in Reedley announced a new contract with CEP America to provide management and staffing services to the hospital’s emergency department.

The arrangement makes 49-bed hospital the sixth Adventist Health hospital to begin work with Emeryville, Calif.-based CEP America, a company with more than 1,800 providers at over 100 practice locations serving over 4 million patients annually.

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CMS picks 73 for Innovation Advisors Program
Modern Healthcare

Selecting from a pool of more than 900 applications, the CMS has chosen 73 healthcare professionals for the agency’s Innovation Advisors Program, an initiative in which trained leaders will test new delivery models in their organizations and communities. The advisers come from 27 states and Washington, D.C., and compose a group that includes clinicians, allied health professionals and health administrators.

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Desert Regional Medical Center receives award for high performance
The Desert Sun

Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs has received a statewide award for performance excellence.

The hospital was named as the winner of a 2011 Bronze Eureka Award from the California Council for Excellence, a statewide nonprofit promoting high levels of business performance, officials announced today.

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Aimed at covering 1,000 more people, county health expansion under way
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Blue Shield of California recently announced a $125,000 grant aimed at helping Santa Cruz County expand a health care program aimed at destitute and indigent residents.

In anticipation of a vast expansion of Medicaid in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, the county is implementing a two-year program that aims to add health coverage for 1,000 more county residents. County officials hope the expanded MediCruz program will save lives and improve health for those living on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

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Colusa hospital president honored for leadership
Colusa Sun Herald

Brady Myers, president of the Colusa Regional Medical Center board of directors, was recently honored with the California Hospital Association’s Leadership in Governance Award.

Myers actually received the award at the hospital’s 10th anniversary of the community purchasing the medical center out of bankruptcy.

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Emanuel reaches milestone with cardiac designation
Turlock Journal

When a heart attack strikes the time it takes for treatment to be given is of critical importance. Now that Emanuel Medical Center has been certified as a receiving center for heart attack patients, the time it takes to get to a hospital is even less.

As of Sunday, Emanuel Medical Center has been designated an official receiving center for heart attack patients, meaning ambulances can now bring cardiac patients to Emanuel, instead of passing up the Turlock hospital for Modesto.

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Palm Drive Hospital nears decision on interim CEO
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Palm Drive Hospital, which struck an alliance with Marin General Hospital to gain access to many of the Greenbrae hospital’s services, will consider hiring an interim chief executive officer on Thursday. Charles R. Guenther, former CEO of Eastern Plumas Health Care in Portola, will be considered to fill the position for three months, at a cost of about $20,000 a month.


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Sebelius: In defense of health care law’s ‘essentials’
USA Today

For families and small business owners struggling with health care costs and accessibility, help is on the way. The health care law that takes full effect in 2014 will provide a competitive marketplace to buy coverage. In fact, these state-based Affordable Insurance Exchanges are already taking shape. Through these one-stop shops, consumers will be able to see all their options in one place. More than $700 million in exchange grants have been awarded to 29 states.

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Her case shows why healthcare privacy laws exist
Los Angeles Times

Of all the personal information that you might want to keep private, your medical records are the most important. That’s why federal and state laws carry stiff penalties, up to and including jail time, for healthcare providers who let such data loose into the wild.

So you should be aghast at how free and easy Prime Healthcare Services and two executives at Prime-owned Shasta Regional Medical Center have been with the medical chart of a patient named Darlene Courtois.