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News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Waivers are new battlefront in Republican-led states that expanded Medicaid
Modern Healthcare

Providers, patients and lawmakers in Arizona and Iowa are urging the CMS to reject Medicaid changes proposed by Republican governors. But in Michigan, the same array of stakeholders wants the CMS to allow conservative provisions to save the state’s Medicaid expansion. That’s because when Michigan lawmakers passed legislation in 2013 expanding Medicaid eligibility in the state, they included a clause requiring the expansion to sunset in 2016 unless the CMS accepts provisions such as sharp increases in premiums and cost-sharing obligations.

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Public health gets least money, but does most
USA Today

Just three cents of each U.S. health care dollar goes to public health even though it plays a far bigger role in keeping Americans well than medical care, a top federal official said at a forum presented by USA TODAY and insurer Cigna.

State and local public health departments were hit especially hard by the recession and haven’t recovered, said physician Karen DeSalvo, acting assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Add This To Challenges Of Old Age: Keeping Your Teeth
Kaiser Health News

Ada Anderson tried to prepare her 80-year-old mother for her dental visit. She gave her medication to quell her anxiety, and they rehearsed opening her mouth wide.

But at the dental clinic, Violeta Anderson refused to cooperate. Ada Anderson tried calming her mother by singing and rubbing her leg. Then she tried bribing her with crackers.

“It’s important,” Ada Anderson told her mother, who has dementia. “We have to know what’s happening with your teeth so you don’t hurt.”

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What If The Pharmacist Just Dropped Pills Into Your Hand?

Think, for a moment, about what happens when you collect a prescription at the pharmacy — or purchase Tylenol or Advil or baby aspirin. You walk out of the CVS or Rite Aid or Walgreens with a neatly packaged container of pills. Maybe the pills were counted, dropped into a little brown-tinted circular bottle and capped by the pharmacist. Or they may have been sitting on a shelf in a vial or sealed inside foil pouches and housed in a rectangular box.

In some countries, like Malawi, if you have access to medicine at all, there’s likely no neat packaging system.

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U.S. Hospitals Improve Patient Safety: Report
Insurance Journal

Fewer patients are dying from conditions acquired while staying in the nation’s hospitals, according to a new federal report.

Statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show that an estimated 87,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and nearly $20 billion in health care costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2014.

Preliminary estimates show that, in total, hospital patients experienced 2.1 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2014, a 17 percent decline over that period.

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From Stone Age to Tech Age… With Empathy

“Let’s admit it,” said Intel’s David Ryan at the recent Aging 2.0 conference celebrating the intersection of aging and technology. “We’re in the Stone Age when it comes to using technology solutions for seniors.”

But not for long.

Just three years ago, the fledgling technology incubator Aging 2.0 offered low-budget finger foods like gold fish and pretzels at a post-work mixer south of Market in San Francisco, where entrepreneurs pitched new ideas to help older adults.

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Peninsula biotech sinks on two cancer failures
San Francisco Business Times

Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc. lost more than 80 percent of its value Monday after announcing poor results from two late-stage studies of its headliner drug against two types of cancer. Evofosfamide didn’t improve over survival in combination with the chemotherapy gemcitabine in a group of patients with pancreatic cancer and failed when combined with the chemotherapy doxorubicin to help patients live longer with a type of cancers known as soft tissue sarcomas, which grow quickly after starting in muscle, fat or blood vessels.

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Advocates Ratchet Up Pressure on Blue Shield To Increase Foundation Funding
California Healthline

About a dozen consumer advocate groups added their voices last week to a letter urging Blue Shield of California to increase its annual funding to the Blue Shield Foundation, as a condition of approval by the Department of Managed Health Care for its merger with Care 1st Health Plan. “After its approved merger with Care1st, we are puzzled why Blue Shield would think that it would be OK to get bigger but make its commitments smaller,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, in a written statement.

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Cigna CEO David Cordani: ACA Marketplace Is Still In ‘Version 1.0’
Kaiser Health News

Cigna CEO David Cordani says the individual market created by the 2010 health law would be better off if insurers were given more flexibility in designing coverage, as well as a more compressed, focused open enrollment period.

Just days after UnitedHealth Group’s CEO said their move into the new marketplace was a mistake, Cordani reaffirmed that Cigna remains committed for 2016, although the firm is so far losing money on that business.

Cigna has a small share of the health law market with only 230,000 individual customers this year.

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State mulls conditions on $6.8B acquisition of Health Net
Sacramento Business Journal

Centene Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Health Net Inc. looks like a slam dunk, but health advocates urged state regulators Monday to impose conditions on the deal to ensure patients have access to affordable, quality care. The California Department of Managed Health Care, the state agency that must approve the deal in California, will review the comments and make a decision by early next year.

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Dominican among Dignity Health Hospitals Recognized for Excellence
Aptos Times

Dignity Health’s Bay Area hospitals — Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco – have each been recognized as a 2014 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.

The hospitals were recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2015 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance.

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Marian Regional Medical Center Receives Donated Care Packages for Pediatric Patients

Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), a Dignity Health Central Coast hospital, is pleased to be the recipient of donated pediatric care packages from Loretta’s Project, a collaboration between Altrusa International of the Golden Valley and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

In 2008, Sister Janet Corcoran (OSF), asked then Altrusa President Jackie Brunello for assistance with a hospital project.

That project entailed supplying items of comfort for pediatric patients, and within the first two weeks of its inception, 31 bags were delivered to MRMC.