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Healthcare groups team to promote PHRs
Modern Healthcare

Hoping to encourage adoption and use of personal health records “by showing consumers how they can use PHRs to store vital health information such as medical conditions, allergies, medications, and doctor or hospital visits in one convenient and secure place,” several healthcare organizations have collaborated on brochures that explain the reasons for using a PHR.

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Prostate cancer screening isn’t saving lives, study finds
USA Today

A big study of men in Europe gives mixed results about prostate cancer screening that may do little to change minds about its value. The study finds that PSA blood tests every four years seem to cut the risk of death from prostate cancer. But it also finds that screening makes no difference in overall mortality rates because most men die of other causes — not their prostate tumors.

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Health Reform Law to Slightly Lower Number of Employer Plan Enrollees: CBO
Workforce Management

The health care reform law will have only a modest impact on the number of people covered in employer plans, but it will significantly reduce the number of uninsured, according to a congressional analysis.

In 2016—two years after the effective date of key reform law provisions that provide subsidized coverage to the lower-income uninsured and impose financial penalties on employers that do not offer “affordable” coverage or do not offer any coverage at all—the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 155 million people will have coverage through employer plans.

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UC Davis Cancer Center bumped up to elite comprehensive designation
Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Cancer Center has joined an elite group of 40 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation recognized for the breadth-and-depth of their patient care, research and outreach into the community, university officials announced Wednesday. UC Davis received National Cancer Institute designation in 2002, recognition of the center’s state-of-the art care and potential to make major scientific contributions to the war against cancer. A total of 66 cancer centers — out of a national total of about 6,000 — have the NCI designation.

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Options for cervical cancer check depend on age
USA Today

Forget one-size-fits-all advice: Guidelines out Wednesday give women choices for cervical cancer testing that depend on their age. Once recommended every year, many major medical groups have long said that a Pap test every three years is the best way to screen most women, starting at age 21 and ending at 65. But starting at age 30, you could choose to be tested for the cancer-causing HPV virus along with your Pap – and get checked every five years instead, say separate guidelines issued by the U.S.

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After Blues HIPAA settlement, more work to do: privacy experts
Modern Healthcare

The first-ever penalties stemming from enforcement of the HITECH Act’s breach-notification rule are drawing mixed reviews from data-privacy advocates, who say federal regulators’ $1.5 million settlement with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee seems unlikely to halt healthcare companies’ lax treatment of patient data.

“This is not about breach notification, it’s about security,” said Twila Brase, a registered nurse and president of the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom in St. Paul, Minn.

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Palm Drive Hospital hires new interim CEO
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Palm Drive Hospital has hired a new interim chief executive officer, its ninth in five years, as it continues to search for a permanent administrator.

The board on Tuesday approved a contract with Rick Reed, who is currently the chief financial officer for Marin General Hospital and who has been a shared chief financial officer for Palm Drive, Marin and Sonoma Valley Hospital.

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Union submits signatures for measure to limit El Camino Hospital executive pay
The Mercury News

A union-backed initiative to cap the pay of El Camino Hospital executives moved a step closer this week to appearing on the November ballot. On Monday, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West submitted 15,315 signatures to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters for a measure that would limit salaries to twice what the state’s top official makes, union spokeswoman Carlyn Foster said. Gov. Jerry Brown was paid $174,000 in 2011, according to published reports.

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Los Robles Medical Center, Anthem Blue Cross at odds
Thousand Oaks Acorn

Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), the parent company of Los Robles and West Hills hospitals, and Anthem Blue Cross health insurance company terminated their patient agreement on March 3.

The impasse will affect all Anthem members enrolled in PPO, HMO, Senior Secure, Healthy Families and other benefit plans who receive care at five California HCA hospitals, including Los Robles and West Hills.

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Nurses ratify Tenet Healthcare contract with 13.5% raise over four years
San Francisco Business Times

Registered nurses at six Tenet Healthcare hospitals in California approved a new four-year contract Monday that gives them a 13.5 percent pay increase over four years, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United said Wednesday. That deal includes a retroactive 3 percent pay boost for 2011, the union said. It affects 2,700 RNs at six Tenet hospitals in the state, including San Ramon Regional Medical Center in the Bay Area.

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Wholesale hospital prices edge up in February
Modern Healthcare

Wholesale acute-care hospital prices were up 0.1% in February after remaining flat the month before, preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index show. Physician-office wholesale prices also increased 0.1% last month following a 0.2% increase in January, according to preliminary figures. In February 2011, prices increased 0.4%. In the year that ended last month, physician office wholesale prices increased 1.2%, less than the 1.9% climb seen the prior year.

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No more waiting for the doctor
Orange County Register

Imagine never having to read another issue of Highlights (September, 1998!) magazine while waiting for the doctor to see you. Well, that day has come. The doctor can now come to you. Steven Richardson runs PA House Calls, a Huntington Beach-based mobile medical provider. The practice includes two doctors, a physician’s assistant, a nurse and nurse practitioner. And, they make house calls throughout Orange County, usually within about 30 minutes.

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High court arguments on reform will test share prices, experts say
Modern Healthcare

Hospital share prices will be tested as the Supreme Court hears arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, health policy experts said at a Nashville Health Care Council panel discussion.

Oral arguments on the healthcare reform law will begin on March 26 and are scheduled for a monumental six hours over three days.

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Salinas Valley Memorial releases list of groups that submitted affiliation proposals
Monterey Herald

Natividad Medical Center and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula were among six organizations indicating interest in a partnership with, or purchase of, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.

County-owned Natividad proposed a full merger with Salinas Valley Memorial, which is exploring possible affiliation with a larger health care organization, while Community Hospital only indicated interest in acquiring “selected assets” of the local public health care system.

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Lodi Memorial Hospital seeks support to win $10,000 grant
Lodi News-Sentinel

Lodi Memorial Hospital is seeking votes from the community to win a $10,000 grant for its palliative-care program through the Livestrong website. The more votes that are cast, the better the hospital’s chance to receive the grant, which will broaden the program that provides specialized medical care for patients with serious illnesses.

Opinion/Editorial

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Treat patients as individuals and not as numbers
USA Today

Imagine the following scenario. Shocked by a devastating diagnosis of a rare blood cancer, your spirits are lifted when it’s announced that a new medicine could treat your disease and give you a new lease on life. But before you can begin treatment, you’re informed by your insurer that the drug isn’t cost-effective — that, in this case, the cost of the drug outweighs the value of your life.

Blogs

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Medicaid Providers Could Lose Billions if Supreme Court Tosses Health Overhaul Law
The Health Care Blog

On March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin three days of oral arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul law which was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Most of the attention has been focused on whether the court will reject the individual mandate, a provision that requires individuals to obtain health insurance, and less attention has been paid to the possibility that the entire law could be overturned.

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Defending the Affordable Care Act
The Health Care Blog

What will they do? The Supreme Court (more or less) that gave us Bush v Gore in 2000 will later this month hear arguments by states challenging the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. health care reform. The heart of the legal challenge raised by conservative state attorneys general is whether the individual mandate is constitutional. What happens if the Supremes say no? Does the entire law fall, or just the mandate? The issue for lawyers is called “severability.” Did Congress when passing the law believe the mandate was necessary to the smooth functioning of the rest of the law?

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Despite state compromise, some seniors no longer eligible for adult day healthcare
San Francisco Chronicle

Workers at some Adult Day Healthcare Centers in Alameda County were initially relieved to hear that their state funding would not be entirely cut, thanks to a settlement reached in November between disability rights activists and the State Department of Health Care Service. But at LifeLong Medical Care in East Oakland, more patients have been found ineligible for the new Medi-Cal subsidized program set to replace adult day healthcare than LifeLong staffers expected. Adult Day Healthcare is one of Medi-Cal’s largest general fund expenditures.

  

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