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Health care news from around the state and nation


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Lawmakers query Sebelius on reform, budget
Modern Healthcare

Delayed regulations, implementation costs of the healthcare reform law, and mandated contraception coverage in health plans were among the top issues Thursday at a congressional hearing featuring HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as the sole witness.

Appearing before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee to testify about the Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 budget, Sebelius fielded a range of other questions about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Rep.

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Study: Over 100,000 Californians likely to miss out on health care due to language barriers

Language barriers could deter more than 100,000 Californians from enrolling in the Health Benefit Exchange, according to a study released today by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. The study presents findings from a UC Berkeley–UCLA micro-simulation that estimates the likely enrollment in health care reform programs in California.

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Connecting unused drugs, uninsured patients
San Francisco Chronicle

Seven years ago, a group of Stanford students realized that a tremendous amount of medicine was being wasted and that it could help uninsured patients. Their idea has grown into a nonprofit that helps health care centers and drug companies donate unused prescriptions to pharmacies that then supply uninsured patients.

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CMS Proposes 10-Year Review for Provider Overpayments
Health Leaders Media

A proposed rule that would extend responsibility for Medicare overpayments through a 10-year “lookback period” is generating concern from healthcare providers.

The proposed rule, posted in the Federal Registry on Feb. 16 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, implements a provision of the Affordable Care Act that details reporting and reimbursement guidelines for Medicare overpayments.

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MemorialCare management group is acquired as doctor partnership is formed
Long Beach Press-Telegram

MemorialCare Health System – which encompasses three hospitals, outpatient facilities, affiliated physicians and community programs in Long Beach and the South Bay – has acquired Nautilus Healthcare Management Group, Greater Newport’s affiliated management services organization.

Also, Greater Newport Physicians will be affiliated with MemorialCare Medical Foundation.

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Washington Hospital to explore St. Rose partnership
Inside Bay Area

The Washington Township Healthcare District has proposed setting up a joint-powers authority with Alameda County to help preserve St. Rose Hospital, calling the Hayward facility a “critical safety net.” Washington board members last week approved the plan, which would commit up to $2 million to support a coordinated effort to save St. Rose and could affect a potential merger with the Eden Township Healthcare District.

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San Gabriel Valley native named Methodist Hospital’s new chief financial officer
San Gabriel Valley Tribune

William E. Grigg, who who grew up in the La Canada area, has joined the executive team at Methodist Hospital as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Grigg brings more than 20 years experience as a CFO and is returning to the Los Angeles area, where he started his career at Deloitte & Touche.

“I’m very glad to be back in the area again,” Grigg said Thursday. “When I worked in accounting, Methodist Hospital was an audit client of mine, and my wife and I were interested in returning to Southern California from the New England area. So I got a little nostalgic.”

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Ogilvy wins $900,000 health care PR job
Sacramento Bee

A tentative winner has been announced for a $900,000 public relations contract to help California implement federal health care reform: Sacramento’s Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.

Ogilvy was chosen this week by the California Health Benefit Exchange to create a statewide marketing, outreach and education strategy to help reduce the number of Californians lacking health insurance. The state exchange is charged with creating an insurance marketplace for individuals and small business to buy competitively priced health plans starting in 2014.

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Homing In on the Medical Home
Health Leaders Media

The concept of the patient-centered medical home, introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics way back in 1967, continues to gain steam. But what does it mean to be patient-centered?

Lee Penrose, president and CEO of St. Jude Medical Center, a 384-licensed-bed hospital in Fullerton, CA, part of populous Orange County, recalled the concerns he had after hiring a consultant to interview patients.

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Community Hospital to expand emergency room
Wave Newspapers

Community Hospital, an 80-year old medical facility facing bankruptcy several years ago, has come back and now plans to expand its emergency room to 11 beds, according to Hector Hernandez, administrator of the 81-bed hospital at 2623 Slauson Ave. Hernandez told the City Council Feb. 21 that the owners, Avanti Hospitals, based in Gardena, have invested about $1 million in the upgrade.

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St. Joe’s maternity care earns recognition

St. Joseph’s Medical Center has earned international recognition as a Baby-Friendly Hospital after meeting stringent standards established by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

It is the first Baby-Friendly Hospital in both San Joaquin County and the San Joaquin Valley and the 48th in California. Nationwide, more than 125 hospitals have met Baby-Friendly standards.

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Blue Shield of California, Greater Newport Physicians Medical Group and Hoag Memorial to Partner
insurance newsnet

Blue Shield of California, Greater Newport Physicians, IPA and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian announced a three-year accountable care initiative designed to provide integrated, cost- efficient health care to approximately 11,000 Blue Shield HMO members in Orange County. The partners noted they expect this collaboration to result in little to no increase in healthcare costs for these members in the first year of the collaboration, and low single digit increases in the two subsequent years.

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State court to examine ‘pay-for-delay’ deals by drugmakers
California Watch

California is the first state to examine whether pharmaceutical companies can pay competitors to not make or sell cheaper generic versions of their prescription drugs.

The California Supreme Court last month agreed to review a 10-year-old class-action lawsuit involving the antibiotic Cipro (ciprofloxacin), which originally was manufactured by drugmaker Bayer. The suit argues that it was illegal for Bayer to pay a competitor to stay out of the market as part of a settlement in a legal dispute over the Cipro patent.

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A checkup on Americans’ views of healthcare reform
Los Angeles Times

It’s been almost two years since President Obama signed healthcare reform into law. And even now, it seems most Americans still have no clue as to what was approved or how it works.

A USA Today / Gallup poll released this week shows that almost three-quarters of us think a requirement for nearly all people to buy insurance — the so-called individual mandate — is unconstitutional.


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My Word: Time for health insurance companies to justify high rates
Inside Bay Area

If my family’s small local business was a health insurance company, we could double prices during a deep recession while amassing a fortune in invested savings. Woohoo! As the customer base fell, we’d just jack up prices again. It’s a laughably impossible model for almost any business. But not for Blue Cross, Blue Shield and their ilk. They don’t have to care that the rising cost of health insurance premiums can tip a family from solvency into ruin.

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Keeping our hospital healthy
Sonoma Valley Sun

Normally, this column is devoted to sharing information about health and healing straight from those people who do the work – the doctors, and nurses – and also the patients, who generously share their stories. This month I had been planning to feature the three wonderful new young staff members I met recently in Dr. DeTorres’s office, who all, in their way, offer an inspiring message about healing.