News Headlines

Daily News
Health care news from around the state and nation

Headlines

News Headlines Article

Cuts force state to fall short of health care mandate
Ventura County Star

California receives billions of dollars each year through the federal Medicaid program to administer government-subsidized health care called Medi-Cal. To do so, it is governed by a simple legal mandate: Health care services must be accessible to the people who rely on them.

However, with the recently approved 10 percent cut to the reimbursements paid to medical providers, the state has fallen far below that threshold.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser hospital workers plan one-day strike Tuesday
Sacramento Bee

Thousands of Kaiser Permanente hospital workers and nurses will walk off the job Jan. 31, making good on threats to strike over stalled bargaining talks with the health network.

Officials representing some 4,000 members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers told Kaiser on Tuesday they will be grabbing picket signs for the one-day walkout.

News Headlines Article

CBO Report on Medicare Demos Draws Mixed Response
Health Leaders Media

A Congressional Budget Office report critical of the Medicare fee-for-service demonstration projects in disease management, care coordination, and value-based payments has received mixed reviews from stakeholders who acknowledge the report’s significance while contending that it contains no surprises for the healthcare industry. Meanwhile, officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees the demonstration projects, have remained almost silent.

News Headlines Article

Health care bill passes to Senate floor
Sacramento Business Journal

A bill that would create a massive government-run health care system in California passed the Senate appropriations committee Thursday after a partisan vote of 6-2 and is now on the Senate floor. Committee Democrats approved it while Republicans voted against it. Senate Bill 810 proposes a new commission that would set premium rates that would be paid by all employers, and would examine benefits, co-payments and deductibles to balance the program’s budget.

News Headlines Article

Audit: Anthem Blue Cross shortchanged providers
Sacramento Business Journal

State regulators have identified errors in claims processed by Anthem Blue Cross and ordered the company to pay doctors and hospitals money owed for services going back to 2007. The action by the California Department of Managed Health Care on Jan. 12 follows a claims audit and Anthem’s subsequent refusal to compensate providers, department director Brent Barnhart said.

News Headlines Article

Cuts, Policy Changes at Healthy Families Program
California Healthline

The most recent state budget proposal includes a variety of cost-saving measures in the Healthy Families program — reduced reimbursement rates, higher premium prices, higher copays and a transition of its 877,859 children into managed care plans by the end of June 2013. At yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, chief deputy director Terresa Krum broached the bad news.

News Headlines Article

CHW splits from church, seeks wider reach
Modern Healthcare

Dignity Health—the system until today known as Catholic Healthcare West—laid the groundwork for its new name and structure in a vision statement released in 2010. The system said executives were not available for interviews after the announcement because of the demands of rolling out the new identity. The system, one of the largest Catholic health systems in the U.S., has separated from the Catholic Church under its new governance structure.

News Headlines Article

AHA wants Medicare measures tied to payroll tax-cut legislation
Modern Healthcare

Hospitals are pushing Congress to include renewals of two Medicare programs set to expire at the end of the federal fiscal year within high-profile legislation to extend payroll tax cuts. The Medicare-dependent hospital program and the low-volume program are both scheduled to expire on Sept. 30. Hospitals that benefit from the programs hope to include their renewals in the tax bill, which is viewed as one of the few must-pass bills Congress will consider in the current election year, according to their Washington advocates.

News Headlines Article

Grants planned for research on medication management in medical-home, ACO settings
Modern Healthcare

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation announced it will make available up to $750,000 for two research grants examining how medication-management services used by groups operating as patient-centered medical homes or accountable care organizations affect patient health outcomes. In its request for proposals (PDF), the foundation said it “is actively pursuing additional grant funding from external sources,” and that grants would be awarded to not-for-profit research organizations or academic institutions.

News Headlines Article

Doctors Medical Center gets $8M line of credit
San Francisco Business Times

Doctors Medical Center, the perpetually cash strapped safety net hospital in San Pablo, has garnered an $8 million revolving line of credit from Gemino Healthcare Finance, the finance company said. Gemino, in a Jan. 19 press release, said the hospital will use the funds for “working capital purposes.” “This financing provides the hospital access to cash necessary to bridge to full implementation to our turnaround plan,” said Dawn Gideon, interim president and CEO.

News Headlines Article

Obesity rates stall but don’t decline
Monterey Herald

After a 30-year, record-shattering rise, U.S. obesity rates appear to be stabilizing.

New statistics cited in two papers report only a slight uptick since 2005 — leaving public health experts tentatively optimistic that they may be gaining some ground in their efforts to slim down the nation.

News Headlines Article

Obama’s health overhaul lags in many states
San Francisco Chronicle

Here’s a reality check for President Barack Obama’s health overhaul: Three out of four uninsured Americans live in states that have yet to figure out how to deliver on its promise of affordable medical care. This is the year that will make or break the health care law. States were supposed to be partners in carrying out the biggest safety net expansion since Medicare and Medicaid, and the White House claims they’re making steady progress.

News Headlines Article

St. Mary’s new hospital on track
Victorville Daily Press

St. Mary Medical Center’s new Victorville Oasis complex is on track for a proposed 2016 opening, despite talk that the $260.8 million dollar project had been shelved. “We’ve heard rumors that our interest in purchasing Victor Valley (Community) Hospital put the new Victorville hospital on hold,” said Larry Woodard, vice president of St. Mary Medical Foundation. “Nothing could be further from the truth. All systems are go for the new hospital.”

News Headlines Article

Biggs-Gridley Hospital growing, plans more upgrades
The Appeal-Democrat

David Yarbrough won’t say the path is free of rocks, but he sounds confident that Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital is making tracks in the right direction.

“We’ve been working really hard,” said Yarbrough, the hospital’s chief executive officer. “The bottom line is we’re on our own, and right now we’re making it.” Financially, it is a tough time for hospitals, and Yarbrough said Biggs-Gridley remains “fragile.” However, he said, “we’re eking out a small profit line.”

News Headlines Article

Doc-owners find EHR adoption more taxing: survey
Modern Healthcare

Physicians who own their practices may require more help to implement electronic health records than those who do not, a new study finds. Using survey data from more than 150 physicians, taken during a Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative pilot, researchers from Boston-based not-for-profit system Partners HealthCare assessed physicians’ perceptions about the difficulties associated with EHR implementation. Of the respondents, more than half said implementation was “somewhat difficult,” while 35% called the EHR implementation process “very difficult.”

News Headlines Article

Lawmakers set to begin wrestling again with doc-pay issue
Modern Healthcare

Federal lawmakers assigned to reach compromise on legislation to address the again-looming Medicare payment cut to physicians are scheduled to meet for the first time on Tuesday. Late last month, President Barack Obama signed a temporary payroll tax cut bill that averted a 27.4% cut in Medicare physician reimbursement and froze payments until Feb. 29. He did so after weeks of wrangling on Capitol Hill about issues such as the length of the payroll tax holiday and the so-called “doc fix” for physician payments.

News Headlines Article

UCSD buying Nevada cancer clinic
San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego is buying the bankrupt Nevada Cancer Institute in Las Vegas for $18 million, with the sale expected to become final in one to four weeks. It’s the university’s first major foray outside San Diego beyond a handful of small satellite medical offices rented near Las Vegas and in Riverside and Imperial counties. It also may be a first among University of California health systems.

News Headlines Article

Law has hospital stuck between rock, bare space
The Business Journal

Fresno Surgical Hospital’s second floor expansion, currently about half completed, is stuck between a rock and what could potentially be bare space. The fate of the $11.5 million project that could create up to 100 health care jobs in the Valley sits in the hands of a congressional subcommittee. That’s because Fresno Surgical Hospital is owned by physicians.

News Headlines Article

Dealing with Data Breaches
Health Leaders Media

You pick up the phone and someone tells you that a laptop containing thousands of patient files was left behind on the morning train. Or you learn that your own employees have been snooping into sensitive patient records for fun and profit. Or you discover that, for some odd reason, patient records have been posted on a completely unrelated public website for anyone to see, and they’ve been there for nearly a year.

Opinion/Editorial

News Headlines Article

Tri-City’s dollars-and-cents turnaround
San Diego Union-Tribune

Political turmoil at Tri-City Hospital District continues to make headlines, but an astonishing financial turnaround is quietly leading toward a $593 million remake of a complex that dates to the Eisenhower era.

That’s important for the sprawling, tax-supported district that encompasses Oceanside, Vista and Carlsbad. An urban region needs an abundance of medical facilities as well as competitive choices.

Commands