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Kaiser workers may be planning another strike
Sacramento Business Journal

There are signs of a another statewide strike at Kaiser Permanente on Jan. 31. No strike notice has been given, but the National Union of Healthcare Workers is considering that date if contract negotiations with Kaiser don’t get moving. The union is in protracted collective bargaining with Kaiser for a first contract for almost 1,400 social workers, psychologists and optical workers in Northern California and 2,500 nurses, psychologists, social workers and health care professionals in Southern California.

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Undocumented immigrant’s year-long stay in a Fresno hospital cost $1m
Fresno Bee

An undocumented immigrant’s 374-day stay at a Fresno hospital cost $1 million, a hospital tabulation of the costs shows. When Marco Antonio Fuentes left Community Regional Medical Center on Jan. 4, officials said they needed time to calculate the costs. Fuentes, 35, was admitted Dec. 26, 2010, with necrotizing pancreatitis. It took 12 operations to save him.

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Adventist Health expands use of electronic records system
Sacramento Business Journal

Adventist Health has expanded its affiliation with Cerner Corp. to roll out its proprietary electronic health record across the health system network of more than 130 outpatient clinics in four states. The Roseville-based company began using Cerner’s system in hospital settings in 2001. The effort was expanded to home-care agencies in 2009.

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20% of Healthcare Dollars Spent on 1% of Population
Health Leaders Media

In 2009, 1% of the nation’s civilian population required healthcare spending that was slightly greater than in 2008, an increase from 20.2% to 21.8% of $1.26 trillion in treatment dollars, according to the latest Statistical Brief from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. That indicates that more than $1 in every $5 healthcare dollars went to treat one out of every 100 people. The annual mean expenditure was $90,061 for those in that 1%.

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Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Thanks Sponsors, Community in Celebrating Grand Opening
Noozhawk

With a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the new Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital opened its doors to the community Wednesday.

After a decade-long campaign to raise money, and design and build the hospital, 150 patients will be moved to the new wings Feb. 12.

Gretchen Milligan, Board of Directors chairwoman, said the project wouldn’t be possible without thousands of donors contributing to the nearly $111 million capital campaign.

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Kaiser Permanente Opens New OB/GYN Department
San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Kaiser Permanente Antelope Valley celebrated the grand opening of the newly expanded 10,500-square-foot Obstetrics/Gynecology department today.

The new building is on the campus of Antelope Valley Hospital. Kaiser is renting one floor of a medical office building owned by Antelope Valley Hospital.

The new location includes 15 provider offices, 18 exam rooms, two procedure rooms, and a Perinatology suite for patients who are experiencing high-risk pregnancies.

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Genetic mutation tied to inherited prostate cancer
USA Today

Scientists say they’ve identified the first genetic mutation with a major effect on the risk of prostate cancer that runs in families and strikes men early, by age 55. The mutation accounts for only about 1 percent of all prostate cancers. But studying it might help scientists understand the disease in general and find better treatments. More than 240,000 men are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States this year.

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New Humboldt County health officer appointed
Redwood Times

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors announced that Dr. Donald I. Baird will serve as Humboldt County’s new health officer. Baird is the senior physician with the Humboldt Medical Group in Fortuna and Ferndale, where he has worked since 1976. The health officer is a board appointed position that functions under the administrative authority of the Department of Health and Human Services director. Baird will continue his private practice while serving in his new role with DHHS.

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Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center goes green with solar panels on parking structure
Fontana Herald News

The Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center is starting 2012 on a green note as it goes live with solar panels.

Installed on the roof on one of the medical center’s two parking structures, the solar panels make the Fontana Medical Center one of the area’s first major medical centers to receive a significant amount of its energy from the sun.

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Outpatient Costs Higher in States Without Fee Schedules: Workers’ Comp Study
Insurance Journal

States without fee schedules have higher hospital outpatient costs for common surgeries compared to states with fee schedules, according to a workers’ compensation study.

The study found that significant variations in hospital outpatient/ambulatory surgical center (ASC) costs were also found across states.

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UC Davis study: Comprehensive patient care reduces death risk
Sacramento Business Journal

High-quality primary care — care that’s comprehensive, patient-centered and offered via extended hours — reduces the risk of death, according to a new national study conducted at the University of California Davis. Published in the January/February issue of The Annals of Family Medicine, the research is the first to link these three attributes with lower risk of mortality. Previous studies found lower risk of mortality in areas where there are lots of primary-care doctors, but the new research looked at critical elements of primary care that lower risk.

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Hospital executive named administrator of Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus
Redlands Daily Facts

Lyndon Edwards, former hospital executive from University of Florida Health System, has been named vice president of Loma Linda University Medical Center – Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center and administrator of Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus. His appointment will be effective Jan. 30. He replaces Michael Jackson, who retired as administrator of Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus last year.

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Contra Costa regulators vote to dissolve Mt. Diablo Health Care District
The Mercury News

Contra Costa regulators will disband a small public health care district that lost its hospital 16 years ago and went on to spend the bulk of its $3 million in property tax proceeds on overhead, elections, legal bills and free lifetime medical benefits for several directors. The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to dissolve the Mt. Diablo Health Care District, the first such act in the state since California lawmakers adopted new rules allowing regulators to eliminate public agencies without holding an election.

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5% of patients account for half of health care spending
USA Today

Just 1% of Americans accounted for 22% of health care costs in 2009, according to a federal report released Wednesday. That’s about $90,000 per person, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. U.S. residents spent $1.26 trillion that year on health care. Five percent accounted for 50% of health care costs, about $36,000 each, the report said.

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El Camino Hospital workers vote to keep union
The Mercury News

Service, maintenance and technical workers at Mountain View-based El Camino Hospital are sticking with their union. The workers voted 599-357 last week to remain under the banner of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, union spokeswoman Carlyn Foster said Wednesday. Nearly 80 percent of 1,200 eligible voters participated.

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Sutter Urgent Care opens in Elk Grove
Sacramento Bee

Sutter Health opened its newest urgent care clinic in Elk Grove last week inside its existing medical office complex at 8170 Laguna Blvd., Suite 113.

The 2,000-square-foot Sutter Urgent Care, Elk Grove, will provide patients with acute care for illnesses and injuries on weekends and weeknights. The clinic is open 365 days a year, including holidays.

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Test might someday help spot early lung cancer
USA Today

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the world, and only about 15 percent of cases are diagnosed at an early stage, when it’s most treatable. But two preliminary studies that are scheduled to be presented at a medical meeting this week suggest that scientists are moving closer to developing new screening tests that could potentially detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.

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Medicare Advantage Plans with Fitness Benefits Snag Healthier Enrollees
Health Leaders Media

Medicare Advantage plans that include fitness benefits such as gym memberships attract significantly healthier enrollees who are also less expensive to cover, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“It makes sense. The people who would value fitness memberships would be healthier and have fewer functional limitations,” says Amal N. Trivedi, co-author of the study, Fitness Membership and Favorable Selection in Medicare Advantage Plans. “And that group of seniors that participates in fitness programs has lower health expenses.”

Blogs

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Getting Patients to Take Charge of Their Health
New York Times

One afternoon, I heard a colleague let out an exasperated groan in front of the hospital computers. His patient had been admitted. Again.

Overweight for much of his youth, the patient developed diabetes in his early 30s, then high blood pressure a few years later. By the time he was in his 40s, he had become so debilitated by a heart attack, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, arthritic joint pains and his ever-increasing weight that he could no longer work.

Opinion/Editorial

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Tracking medical errors remains stubbornly inconsistent
Merced Sun-Star

The following editorial appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday, Jan. 11: As complex as health care and health care policy are, some simple truths cut through the fog: It is better to help sick people than to hurt them. And it’s also cheaper. If that seems obvious-and it should-a related truth may not be: Despite the best intentions of the people and hospitals that care for the sick, it turns out to be harder to avoid hurting patients than you might think.

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