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Health care news from around the state and nation


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Half Blame Feds for Healthcare Industry Mess
Health Leaders Media

Almost half of healthcare finance leaders (42%) feel the healthcare industry as a whole is on the wrong track, and more than a third (34%) are undecided as to whether healthcare is on the right or wrong track, according to the HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2012.

As finance leaders prepare for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement cuts and the demanding transition year leading to the 2013 full implementation of meaningful use, ICD-10, and other healthcare initiatives, the daunting nature of the big picture may be influencing their collective opinion of 2012.

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Putting Data in Nurses’ Hands
Health Leaders Media

Although the title of chief nursing informatics officer or nurse informaticist isn’t exactly commonplace, data is increasingly becoming a part of nurses’ day-to-day working lives. Typically the largest employee population, nurses also have the most frequent direct contact with patients. And so getting data into their hands can have a big impact on patient care.

“Every nurse needs to be able to understand the power of data, because nurses are knowledge workers. We have always collected data and information. So we need to understand the data that’s at our fingertips.

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Trying to save $1 billion on seniors’ health care could backfire
Orange County Register

About 1.2 million California seniors and people with disabilities are dual-enrolled in Medi-Cal and Medicare. Their care, however, is fragmented, as no single organization coordinates their services. The result: increased health care costs. Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing to reduce those costs by $679 million in the next fiscal year by integrating the services of dual-enrolled Californians under a managed care plan. His idea, which was included as part of his January budget plan, calls for expanding a recently authorized coordinated care pilot project.

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Mobile health clinic seeks to help fill void
The Desert Sun

Oasis — A health clinic on wheels is the latest health initiative to roll into the east valley to address the massive lack of care in rural communities heavily populated by farmworkers.

The 40-foot Riverside County Mobile Clinic has promised to visit the San Felipe Community and Housing Center in Oasis on the second Thursday of every month.

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To Ease Shortage, F.D.A. Lets 2 Cancer Drugs Be Imported
New York Times

Dire shortages of two critical cancer drugs — shortfalls that have threatened the lives and care of thousands of cancer patients — should be resolved within weeks, federal drug officials said. The two drugs are doxorubicin and methotrexate, and in both cases supplies in the United States are being bolstered by shipments from abroad. Shortages of scores of other drugs continue. “We’re not out of the woods,” said Dr. Sandra L. Kweder of the Food and Drug Administration’s drug center. “But these two particular shortages have been very, very upsetting to patients and to us.”

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Marin General finalizes acquisition of sixth practice
North Bay Business Journal

Marin General Hospital has finalized the addition of a sixth medical practice to an expanding network of clinics it will now operate, a development seen as pivotal for the hospital as it looks for ways to attract and retain physicians amidst an increasingly consolidating, reform-driven health care landscape. Since returning to the publicly controlled Marin Healthcare District in 2010, Marin General has acquired Cardiovascular Associates of Marin and San Francisco Medical Group, the San Rafael Medical Center, North Marin Internal Medicine, West Marin Medical Center, Marin Medical Grou

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CHOMP gets mammogram grant
The Californian - Salinas

The Safeway Foundation has given a $25,000 grant to the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) for diagnostic mammograms for women who can’t afford them.

This is the second time Safeway has provided support for breast care services at Community Hospital, the hospital said in a news release. The grants have been designated for the Carol Hatton Fund for Women in Need, which gives eligible women access to the latest in breast cancer detection.

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Steel rises up for new Sutter hospital
North Bay Business Journal

Construction continues to progress at the site of Sutter Health‘s forthcoming $284 million new hospital, next to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Northern Santa Rosa, that will replace its aging, seismically unfit Chanate facility.

In late January, the first signs of an actual building emerged from the ground, as steel frames that will house the west wing of the hospital were erected. Also in January, the old telephone polls on Mark West Springs Road were removed, and work has begun on the building of a new bus stop in front of the new hospital.

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In Practice: Are doctors as curious as they used to be?

The topic of healthcare came up during a recent dinner with friends. Between bites of pizza and swigs of beer, I told them that things were challenging for doctors everywhere but that this was especially true for primary care physicians. I launched into the well-known litany of reasons: more patients to see in less time, reams of insurance paperwork that must be filled out to get paid, the uncertainty of healthcare reform, an aging population with more chronic disease, and on and on.

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What consumers should expect of home health care
Visialia Times-Delta

Humboldt County residents have two choices when it comes to home health care, but don’t expect the discharge staffer at one hospital to line up home health care affiliated with the competitor across the bay. St. Joseph Hospital Home Care Network and Mad River Community Hospital’s Home Health Services are not required by Medicare to notify clients of another option.

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San Gorgonio Hospital conducts Code Pink drill
The Record Gazette

These seemingly innocuous words signify a potentially devastating occurrence — an infant or child abduction.

That is why the staff of San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning conducted a code pink drill Feb. 8. The drill tested how hospital staff and police would respond to an infant abduction.

“Everybody did very well,” said Janna Eversull, the hospital’s emergency preparedness coordinator. “We have a great team.”

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Hospital preps cardiac room
The Signal

Emergency open-heart surgery will be available without traveling outside the Santa Clarita Valley within a few months as Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital prepares to open a new cardiac operating room.

Combined, heart disease and stroke remain the leading causes of death in the United States, and Henry Mayo already sees a number of cardiac patients each year, said Dr. Jack Patterson, a cardiac surgeon who cares for patients at Henry Mayo.

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Sonoma Valley Hospital seeking parcel tax renewal
North Bay Business Journal

Sonoma Valley Hospital is seeking a five-year extension of a parcel tax that provides more than $2 million in annual revenue for the district hospital, which officials say is vital to maintaining core and emergency services in eastern Sonoma County.

The Sonoma Valley Health Care District, which oversees operations at the 83-bed hospital, is conducting a month-long, mail-in ballot to extend Measure A.

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Microsoft starts Caradigm for health care tech
San Francisco Chronicle

Say what you will about Microsoft, the company sure has some incredible resolve. Last week, Microsoft and General Electric revealed that Caradigm will be the name of their health care joint venture. The new company should come to life sometime in the first half of this year, employing about 750 people in the Seattle area.

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Tips on reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke
Visialia Times-Delta

Heart disease and stroke have reached epidemic levels in our country. Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans; stroke is the fourth leading killer. One of every three deaths in this country is caused by cardiovascular disease. That’s why Medicare is helping to lead the Million Hearts campaign, a national initiative that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. Because February is also American Heart Month, I wanted to tell you what Medicare is doing to help fight this serious public health problem. And what you can do to fight it, too.