News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

 

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HHS Proposes One-Year ICD-10 Delay
Health Leaders Media

A rule proposed Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services would delay required ICD-10 compliance by one year, from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014. It would also establish a unique health plan identifier under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

HHS projects the proposed rule will result in savings to healthcare providers and health plans of up to $4.6 billion over the next decade.

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UCSD goal: world-class health care
San Diego Union-Tribune

UC San Diego officials brought out the champagne and ceremonial shovels Monday for a groundbreaking on the $664 million Jacobs Medical Center, but they really were celebrating something far bigger than the start of construction on a 10-story building.

University officials said they’re taking the next step on the way to their goal of being a world-class academic medical institution combining research, a school of medicine and advanced clinical care.

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Local hospital covers hefty medical bill
KGET.com

“There is not enough thank you’s, not enough thank you’s,” Torrie Satterfield said.

The 27-year-old is thankful to be alive. She’s back home after undergoing complex heart surgery to remove a cyst.

“They went underneath my right arm and all the way to my back,” Satterfield said as she explained the surgery. “They separated my ribs, and he went in to remove the cyst after he collapsed my right lung.”

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Health groups turn to social media to grow
Sacramento Bee

Rooting around the Internet for ideas for her 7-month-old vegetarian blog, “Eat Well, Live Free,” Jillena Hernandez stumbled upon the Sacramento Vegetarian Society from its Meetup.com page about three months ago.

“We’ve been partners in crime ever since,” she said.

Almost immediately, Hernandez, 34, hosted a group outing to the Dad’s on J sandwich shop downtown, where members conversed over vegan meatloaf and barbecue tofu sandwiches.

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Calaveras hospital fares poorly in report
RecordNet

Calaveras County residents have “lost confidence in the health care provided in the county,” according to a report by the Calaveras County grand jury.

The grand jury’s seven-page interim report, issued earlier this month, comes after several years of turmoil, during which a number of doctors and a top administrator left Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital in San Andreas.

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John Muir Health names Irving Pike chief medical officer
San Francisco Business Times

John Muir Health, which operates major hospitals in Walnut Creek and Concord, said late Monday it named Irving Pike, M.D., as its first chief medical officer. The step, effective immediately, appears to be a sign of the nonprofit hospital system’s increased interest in tighter links to its affiliated physicians, as health reform and other factors put pressure on hospitals and physicians nationwide to form closer business and clinical ties.

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Memorial Hospital owner sued over medical information breach
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

A medical information breach that affected thousands of St. Joseph Health System patients in California is the subject of a class-action lawsuit in Sonoma County Superior Court.

The suit was filed April 2 on behalf of two Sonoma County residents who were patients last year at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, one of six St. Joseph Health System hospitals where patients were affected.

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Hospitals pressured to end free baby formula
HealthNews

New parents leaving U.S. hospitals often take home a corporate gift along with their babies: a tote bag filled with infant formula. Consumer advocates want to end the giveaways, which they say undermine breastfeeding. In a letter to more than 2,600 hospitals, dozens of consumer and health organizations called on the facilities to stop distributing free samples of formula that they say entangles healthcare providers in pharmaceutical and food manufacturers’ marketing and could be seen as an endorsement.

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Autism science is moving ’stunningly fast’
USA Today

Nicole May sits in a dimly lit hospital room, cradling her 2-year-old son on her lap, rhythmically rocking him to sleep. She smiles into Nicholas’ wide blue eyes, brushing back his soft brown curls. One by one, Nicky’s fingers loosen their grip on his bottle of milk, the muscles of his round face relax and his eyelids droop. Carefully, May carries her sleeping boy to a loudly humming MRI scanner, laying him gently on the machine’s long, white platform.

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Autism diagnoses increase, especially among Latinos
HealthyCal.org

When her toddler twin boys wouldn’t react to basic discipline, time-outs or even spankings, Stephanie Tobin assumed they were just exceptionally strong-willed. But other things they did puzzled her. They didn’t like going into grocery stores, because they were frightened by the loud noises over the PA. When a preschool teacher led an activity, they sat with their backs to her and the other kids, each one playing quietly by himself.

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After $1 billion, experts see progress on autism’s causes
USA Today

More than $1 billion has been spent over the past decade searching for the causes of autism. In some ways, the research looks like a long-running fishing expedition, with a focus on everything from genetics to the age of the father, the weight of the mother, and how close a child lives to a freeway. That perception may soon change. Some in the field say it’s the beginning of a wave of scientific reports that should strengthen some theories, jettison others and perhaps even herald new drugs.

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After 9-year fight, Memorial Hospital workers to vote on contract
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

A nearly nine-year fight to unionize hundreds of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital employees is expected to end Tuesday with ratification of a contract covering rank and file workers.

The three-year agreement, reached a week ago, includes wage increases, seniority rights and job security protections, the union said.

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Aetna severs contract with Simi Valley Hospital
Ventura County Star

For the second time in five weeks, a dispute between a hospital and an insurance company threatens to push some Ventura County residents elsewhere for care.

Aetna officials confirmed Monday that the health insurer had terminated its contract and stopped negotiations with Simi Valley Hospital and several other hospitals operated by the Adventist Health System.

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Hospital lawsuitmoving forward
Tehachapi News

On April 2, Kern County Superior Court confirmed the Notice of Certification of Administrative Record which will allow the case of Tehachapi Area Critical Land Issues Group vs Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District to move forward, according to Alan Burgess, CEO of the district.

The Administrative Record is a collection of court-admissible evidence and interactions between the parties. Certification of the documents is a step toward resolution of the case.

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Hospital Turf Wars
KERO

Competing hospital systems in many parts of the country have been aggressively building their way into new communities outside their traditional service areas, according to a new report published Monday. For the most part, the expansions follow patients hospitals want the most – people with good health insurance. “The trend generally is to expand out, to suburbs and sometimes even more distant communities, to reach the well-insured beyond the health system’s traditional markets,’’ said Emily Carrier, a senior researcher at the Center for Health System Change, a non-partisan health re

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Cancer care varies widely among similar hospital types: study
Modern Healthcare

No particular type of hospital provides care for cancer patients that is more consistent with National Quality Forum-endorsed measures, such as lower rates of intensive-care unit use in the last month of life or receiving hospice care for fewer than three days, according to a new study in the April issue of the journal Health Affairs. Researchers from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice analyzed data of more than 215,000 Medicare patients with poor-prognosis cancer—meaning they were likely to die within a year—at about 4,400 hospitals across the country from

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U.S. leads on cancer spending, survival gains: study
Modern Healthcare

Compared with 10 European countries, the U.S. spends more to treat cancer patients, but the U.S. has seen greater gains in survival for 11 of 13 cancers during a 16-year period, a new study shows.

The research, published in the journal Health Affairs, estimated the value of the U.S. survival gains totaled $598 billion, or $43 billion annually. That is after subtracting higher U.S. spending, the authors said.

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Lung cancer screenings ‘a good value,’ study finds
Los Angeles Times

Screening longtime tobacco users for lung cancer would be less costly than the widely accepted practice of screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers and would reduce the death toll of lung cancer by an estimated 15,000 lives a year, according to a study released Monday that is likely to ignite debate on expanding healthcare coverage for smokers.

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Medicare cost panel is common sense
USA Today

A decade from now, what critics like to call ObamaCare will either be the routine way Americans get health coverage or a historical footnote, and the war against it will be largely forgotten, along with its often silly, over-the-top claims about non-existent “death panels,” a government “takeover” of health care and — right now — a battle against an obscure Medicare cost-cutting board that critics say would neuter Congress and foist rationing or worse on the nation’s elderly.

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Health care debate: Universal coverage needed
CBS News

It’s been well documented that our current health care system is far more expensive and has far worse outcomes than that of many other developed nations. This certainly isn’t exactly a good example of “American exceptionalism.” In fact, it’s one aspect of life here in the United States that could use some changing.

But there’s not one magic bullet or ideology that will fix this mess — we need to address a handful of problems.

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Doctors right to urge wise choices
Merced Sun-Star

For weeks now, the nation has been riveted by arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court over one provision of the Affordable Care Act. Does the law’s requirement that every adult buy health insurance violate the U.S. Constitution? We think it does not. Yet even if the court ultimately shares that view, the federal health care reform law will face monumental hurdles to be successfully implemented.

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Healthcare: An emergency care mandate isn’t enough
Los Angeles Times

In his April 8 Op-Ed article on the individual mandate, the aspect of the federal healthcare reform law that requires everyone to have coverage, William Voegeli advances a false dichotomy. He states that while it may be legitimate to require people to carry health insurance that would cover the costs of their care were they to be hit by a bus, it is illegitimate to require them to carry insurance coverage that will cover substance abuse treatment or dental care for their children.

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IPAB is not the solution
USA Today

Imagine that your loved one required surgery, yet you were told by the government that the procedure was unnecessary and wouldn’t be covered by Medicare. A Medicare program with the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) crafted by President Obama ensures that this dilemma will become reality for countless seniors.

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Top 7: Bay Area Hospital Construction Projects
San Francisco Business Times

The accompanying gallery is an excerpt from this week’s List of the Largest Hospital Construction Projects in the Bay Area. The San Francisco Business Times publishes industry rankings in each issue of the paper and reprints them at the end of the year for our annual Book of Lists. These lists are unique and authoritative sources of Bay Area business news.

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Mayor Ed Lee’s CPMC deal still waiting for supervisor sponsors
San Francisco Chronicle

One of Mayor Ed Lee’s key legislative priorities, a deal with California Pacific Medical Center to overhaul its hospital network in the city, is heading to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday without any co-sponsors, city officials said. That could change by the time the proposal is actually introduced, with some supervisors indicating Monday afternoon that their concerns could be addressed before the board meeting.

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What to Do on the Day After ObamaCare
The Health Care Blog

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the administration’s health law, aka ObamaCare. Opponents are giddy with the possibility that the law might be struck down. But what then? Millions of uninsured, both those who choose not to purchase coverage and those who can’t due to pre-existing conditions, will still be with us. The rising costs and inefficient delivery of health care will still be with us.

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The Drug Shortage Wars
The Health Care Blog

“I should have gotten cancer last month,” she told me. That was the first thought from my patient after she’d heard the news: her ovarian cancer would remain untreated for weeks, due to a critical shortage of the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin. Like her, several thousand patients have been affected by critical shortages of chemotherapy agents like doxorubicin (Doxil) and methotrexate—common medicines that are essential backbones of cancer chemotherapy.

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