News Headlines

Daily News
Health care news from around the state and nation

Headlines

News Headlines Article

Battle escalates over ballot measure on health premiums
Los Angeles Times

California’s doctors, hospitals and insurance companies launched their campaign Monday against a proposed ballot measure seeking tighter regulation of health insurance rates and proponents quickly returned fire.

The proposed ballot initiative seeks to give the California Department of Insurance the same rate-setting authority over health insurance that it already holds over auto and property policies.

News Headlines Article

Health-care law will prompt changes in 2012, unless the Supreme Court intervenes
Washington Post

Two years after its passage, the sweeping health-care overhaul will come before the Supreme Court late this month. The court could strike down some or all of its provisions, including the requirement that nearly all Americans have coverage beginning in 2014.

Meanwhile, however, implementation marches on. If the law stands, here are the major new provisions that will affect consumers this year:

News Headlines Article

To avoid a return trip to the hospital, take action before you are discharged
Washington Post

When you leave a hospital after an illness, you hope that your days there will soon be a distant memory. But that’s not always the case. Roughly one Medicare patient in six, for example, is readmitted within a month of being discharged, according to a report last year by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. But a majority of readmissions could be prevented with proper follow-up care. While your hospital team cares for you there, it’s on you to take over at home. Here’s how:

News Headlines Article

Doctors in private practices are now joining hospital staffs
Washington Post

Fifteen years ago, I proudly hung a sign outside my office with my name followed by “MD.” I had started my own business.

A small private medical practice is much like a mom-and-pop store, where the doctor has the autonomy to decide the hours, which insurance to accept, which patients to see and how much to charge. Over the years, my practice has grown, and now I have several doctors working along with me. But I may be an endangered species.

News Headlines Article

Duggan named Mercy Foundation’s president, CEO
Sacramento Bee

Mercy Foundation has appointed a veteran fundraiser as its new president and chief executive officer.

Kevin Duggan has served as the foundation’s interim president and CEO since September 2011. Prior to that, he was the foundation’s vice president of philanthropy, working with Mercy ministry and volunteer leaders and philanthropy officers at regional Mercy hospitals.

News Headlines Article

Legislators resist Mt. Diablo Health Care District lobbying
The Mercury News

The embattled Mt. Diablo Health Care District unsuccessfully lobbied two California legislators to intervene in efforts to shut its doors. Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla and state Sen.

News Headlines Article

Small-Picture Approach Flips Medical Economics
New York Times

Even as she struggled to manage her Type 2 diabetes, Fannie Cline’s condition spiraled downward. It was not uncommon for Mrs. Cline, a 69-year-old retiree, to have dizzy spells, some so bad that they landed her in a hospital emergency room near her home here on the South Side.

But last May, she began to receive extra attention from Gwlie Lloyd, a registered nurse and care manager at Advocate Health Care, which operates a number of Chicago hospitals and clinics. Ms. Lloyd frequently calls to check on Mrs.

News Headlines Article

‘Largest commercial ACO’ earns early results
FierceHealthcare

With only six months of data, the largest hospital system in Illinois, Advocate Health Care, and major health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) are declaring some early successes with its provider-payer accountable care organization, which is the largest commercial ACO, Scott Sarran, BCBSIL’s chief medical officer, said in a Kaiser Health News article.

News Headlines Article

Health Reform’s Cost Under Scrutiny
10News.com

Capitol Hill’s official budget cruncher will offer new estimates on Tuesday of one of the most controversial parts of health care reform: the government’s cost of covering tens of millions of uninsured Americans. The Congressional Budget Office’s estimates will be part of its annual March revision to its budget baseline — the marker against which any spending and tax proposals are measured.

News Headlines Article

Insurers, Watchdog Group Battle Over Health Insurance Rates
San Fernando Valley Business Journal

The state’s four largest insurance companies joined forces with doctor and hospital groups yesterday to launch an organization to fight tighter regulation of health insurance rates.

The Studio City based organization, Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs, launched earlier today to fight a ballot initiative being pushed by Santa Monica based Consumer Watchdog, a proponent the Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act.

News Headlines Article

Health Care Lobbying in California Tops List in Record Year
California Healthline

Health care generated more spending on lobbyists in California last year than any other non-government category, according to the California secretary of state. Insurers, hospitals, physicians and other health care groups spent $35.7 million to influence California’s decisions in 2011. The second and third biggest spending industries among the state’s 19 categories lagged considerably. Manufacturing and industrial interests spent $23.8 million on lobbying, and education spent $19.4 million.

News Headlines Article

Governor proposes cuts to caregiver centers
HealthyCal.org

Nearly 12,000 caregivers across California will feel the effects of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to cut state aid to caregiver resource centers. The cuts will touch the lives of women like Audrey, 77, who has relied on the Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center in Santa Cruz for the last five years. She cares for her husband, who has multiple sclerosis and is almost 81. She discovered Del Mar five years ago in what she describes as a period of crisis in their lives.

News Headlines Article

Contract severed between Thousand Oaks hospital and Anthem Blue Cross
Ventura County Star

Some patients may find other hospitals or switch insurance companies because of a terminated contract between Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks and Anthem Blue Cross.

A breakdown in negotiations means people covered by California’s largest for-profit insurer may no longer qualify for lower, in-network rates at Los Robles and other hospitals owned by HCA, a nationwide for-profit corporation, unless a new deal is reached.

News Headlines Article

Health care social network Jiff Inc. nabs $7.5M, names first CEO
San Francisco Business Times

Jiff Inc., a Palo Alto-based start up in the hot realm of social networking and digital health apps, said it raised $7.5 million in Series A funding and named its first CEO, health information technology veteran Derek Newell. Aeris Capital led the round, with participation from Aberdare Ventures, Jiff’s founding seed investor, officials said Monday morning. But the morning got off to a bumpy start, with a scheduled press release ending up two hours late and a beta site temporarily unavailable.

News Headlines Article

FDA panel supports continued testing of pain drugs
USA Today

A panel of arthritis experts recommended Monday that the federal government allow continued testing of an experimental class of pain drugs for arthritis, despite links to bone decay and joint failure The Food and Drug Administration’s 21-member panel of arthritis experts voted unanimously that research on the nerve-blocking drugs should continue, with certain safety precautions. Reports of joint failure led the agency to halt studies of the drugs in 2010 before any of the medications could be submitted for U.S. approval.

News Headlines Article

Survey: Most small-biz owners worry about health care costs
Los Angeles Business Journal

Small business owners worry about the availability and rising cost of health care, a new survey shows, but three-quarters of the folks who responded didn’t know about a small business tax credit to offset the cost of benefits — or a new health care purchasing program coming in 2014 that will help them shop for insurance. Eight-seven percent of the more than 1,000 small business owners who responded to the 2012 survey by Small Business California said the economy should be a high or top priority this year.

News Headlines Article

Mixed reviews on feds’ health blueprint for states
San Francisco Chronicle

Do it your way, but get it done. That’s what the Obama administration is telling the states when it comes to carrying out the new health overhaul law that will eventually cover most of America’s 50 million uninsured people. Democratic state officials are praising the flexibility in federal rules issued Monday, a long-awaited blueprint for state health insurance markets where millions of consumers will shop starting in 2014. States have a range of options for designing and running the new markets, called exchanges.

Blogs

News Headlines Article

Things Adult Medicine Could Learn From Pediatrics
New York Times

Twenty-eight years ago, I wrote about drawing blood for the first time, about the pain of the patient and the self-doubt of the medical student. In my first clinical experience, I was learning a strange new color code: red-top tube for blood chemistries, purple top for hematology, green top, yellow top, and so on. In pediatrics, I soon discovered, the colors were the same but the tubes themselves were much smaller. And instead of those big needles I had learned to use on adults, we used butterflies, tiny needles with plastic wings to keep them stable.

News Headlines Article

Coalition opposes health insurance rate regulation initiative
Sacramento Business Journal

An impressive array of trade groups representing business owners, doctors, hospitals, health plans and health insurers launched a campaign Monday to oppose a health insurance rate regulation initiative proposed for the November ballot. Major funding for the effort comes from the four largest health insurers in the state: Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Health Net Inc. and Blue Shield of California, according to a news release from the group.

Opinion/Editorial

News Headlines Article

2014’s health changes can’t come too soon
Sacramento Bee

None of us can predict when we might get seriously sick or injured in an accident.

The heart-rending stories recounted by Bee reporters Phillip Reese and Darrell Smith on Sunday are a case in point.

Bradley Showalter, a 28-year-old father of four, is one. Diagnosed with a rare liver cancer that doesn’t respond to chemotherapy, he awaits a liver transplant.

News Headlines Article

A few stumbling blocks to better healthcare
Los Angeles Times

Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician in Seattle, is brimming with ideas for how she could use technology to improve the practice of medicine. She’s not thinking about exotic devices or personalized therapies; for Swanson, it’s mainly about using communication tools like YouTube to answer the basic questions all parents ask so that she can focus her time with patients on their unique medical problems.

  

Commands