News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

AHA seeks hospitals’ data on community care
Modern Healthcare

The American Hospital Association continues to collect information in hopes of persuading the Internal Revenue Service to adjust its Schedule H form, which documents the amount of community care a hospital delivers.

The AHA has employed Ernst & Young to analyze Schedule H and provide member participants with reports noting the extent of the community benefits that hospitals of similar size and position provide.

News Headlines Article

Brown plans special session to deal with federal health care overhaul
Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown plans to call a special legislative session at the end of the year on the national health care overhaul, as the state prepares to implement the landmark act by 2014.

The session, to begin in December or January, will run concurrently with the regular legislative session, California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley said Friday afternoon.

News Headlines Article

Californians favor health law’s exchanges
San Francisco Chronicle

As health care and the future of Medicare take center stage in the presidential campaign, many Californians are optimistic about one aspect of the new federal health care law – the online exchange where residents can shop for coverage, according to a Field Poll released Monday. The survey, taken July 12-29 and funded by the California Wellness Foundation, is Field’s sixth annual look at public opinion on health care issues.

News Headlines Article

Court dismisses challenge to reform law’s limit on expansion of doc-owned hospitals
Modern Healthcare

The Obama administration scored a victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Houston dismissed an appeal from the Physician Hospitals of America and the Tyler, Texas-based Texas Spine & Joint Hospital challenging a healthcare reform law restriction on expansion by physician-owned hospitals. The appeals court ruled that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction in the case.

News Headlines Article

Insurer Aetna to buy Coventry in $5.7 billion deal
The Mercury News

Aetna, one of the nation’s biggest health insurers, staked a $5.7 billion claim in the burgeoning market for government-funded coverage Monday when it announced plans to buy fellow insurer Coventry Health Care. The Hartford, Conn., company’s proposed cash-and-stock acquisition of Coventry will bolster its Medicaid enrollment months before millions of uninsured Americans are expected to become eligible for coverage through that state-federal program as part of President Barack Obama’s massive health care overhaul.

News Headlines Article

Gov. Brown seeks special session on health care reform
Daily Democrat

Gov. Jerry Brown has told California lawmakers that he intends to call a special legislative session on health care reform at the end of the year.

In a letter dated Thursday, the Democratic governor told legislative leaders that many of the provisions of the new federal health care law cannot be implemented without further guidance from federal officials.

News Headlines Article

State suing doctor over billing tactics
Los Angeles Times

When Bill Buck accidentally cut off the tip of his finger at his Duarte cabinet workshop two years ago, he headed to Huntington Memorial Hospital’s emergency room.

He assumed his insurance company would sort out the $12,630 bill from the plastic surgeon, Jeannette Martello. But Martello wasn’t satisfied with the $3,500 insurance reimbursement, so she returned the check and filed a lawsuit against Buck, his wife and his business for the full amount, according to the state attorney general’s office.

News Headlines Article

Not-for-profits ’stable’ despite tough times, S&P says
Modern Healthcare

Key financial measures for not-for-profit hospitals and health systems rated by Standard & Poor’s were largely unchanged in 2011 from the prior year, the rating agency said. Standard & Poor’s released its yearly snapshot of the sector’s performance and analysts said results reflect the industry’s efforts to hold onto cash and curb operating costs.

News Headlines Article

Valley children show that obesity can be overcome
Fresno Bee

Bouncing higher and higher on a trampoline, Breanna Bond reached out, touched her toes and flashed her mother a grin almost as wide as her outstretched arms.

The midair move marked another fitness milestone for the 10-year-old Clovis girl, who seven months ago weighed 186 pounds and was so out of shape she struggled when stooping to tie a shoe.

News Headlines Article

Coming Next: Using an App as Prescribed
New York Times

Before long, your doctor may be telling you to download two apps and call her in the morning. Smartphone apps already fill the roles of television remotes, bike speedometers and flashlights. Soon they may also act as medical devices, helping patients monitor their heart rate or manage their diabetes, and be paid for by insurance.

News Headlines Article

Support grows in California for federal health care law
Sacramento Bee

A majority of California voters support the national health care overhaul, with the proportion of voters strongly favoring the legislation growing over the previous year, according to a new Field Poll.

The overall level of support for the law – 54 percent to 37 percent – is greater than in nationwide polls. The difference reflects an electorate that is heavily Democratic and in which more than one-third of voters are currently uninsured or say a family member has gone without insurance in the past two years. In 2011, the overall level of support was 52 percent to 39 percent.

News Headlines Article

HMO plans to expand into North Bay
North Bay Business Journal

Sacramento-based HMO Western Health Advantage has filed for an expansion into Marin and Sonoma counties, where it hopes to partner with the Marin-Sonoma IPA and much of the region’s hospitals in offering a new health plan for employers and individuals.

In June, the health maintenance organization filed plans with the state Department of Managed Health Care, which must approve of any move into new territory for any commercial health plan.

News Headlines Article

New CEO circles the bases at Simi Valley Hospital
Ventura County Star

Long before she took control of a Simi Valley Hospital competing with bigger institutions that offer more services, Kim Milstien lived in the minor leagues. Literally.

Her shortstop of a husband was a Beloit Snapper. They lived out of suitcases in southern Wisconsin, hoping for a shot at baseball’s major leagues.

She rooted for her husband at games. She explored every inch of Beloit, Wis., just as she had Nashville, Tenn., and would soon do in Stockton.

News Headlines Article

Care-transitions program boosts ranks
Modern Healthcare

The CMS has added 72 hospitals and health systems to a program aimed at improving care transitions and reducing readmissions. The Community-based Care Transitions Program, which was authorized by the 2010 federal healthcare overhaul, funds the testing of locally developed provider interventions aimed at improving care transitions and reducing Medicare costs.

News Headlines Article

As hospital opens, officials bet on innovation
North County Times

North County’s new hospital was set to start receiving patients at 7 a.m. Sunday, altering the region’s health care landscape and capping a process that began 18 years ago with a Los Angeles earthquake.

The 1994 Northridge quake —- which damaged 11 medical centers —- prompted lawmakers to mandate that all hospitals in California be retrofitted by 2013 to meet tougher seismic standards.

News Headlines Article

TB is very much alive at Olive View-UCLA hospital in Sylmar
Los Angeles Times

Matthew Kennedy spent his 39th birthday at the hospital learning to walk again.

Three months ago, the Venice Beach resident started having trouble moving his legs. When a chest X-ray at a Santa Monica health center revealed a shadow in his lungs, he was quickly transferred to a highly specialized tuberculosis ward 25 miles across the county at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar.

News Headlines Article

New coupons aim to keep people off generic drugs
USA Today

If brand-name prescription medicines cost you as little as generic pills, which would you choose? A few drugmakers are betting Americans will stick with the name they know. They’ve begun offering U.S. patients coupons to reduce copayments on brand-name medicines and compete with new generic versions of the drugs. The medicines include staples in the American medicine cabinet — cholesterol fighter Lipitor, blood thinner Plavix and blood pressure drug Diovan — along with drugs for depression and breast cancer.

News Headlines Article

Will elderly embrace robot health care?
The Mercury News

Early in the new science-fiction film “Robot & Frank” (opened Friday in New York, opens Aug. 24 elsewhere), Frank, an elderly man, gets a visit from his son, Hunter. Worried about his father’s apparent decline, Hunter takes a gift out of the back of his car: a white robot with a humanlike body and a polite speaking voice. The machine, Hunter promises, will keep his dad healthy and focused — and the house clean. Frank’s not so sure: “That thing’s going to kill me in my sleep,” he worries.

News Headlines Article

ACA helps LA clinic provide affordable, comprehensive care
HealthyCal.org

When considering the world of affordable health care clinics, certain images may come to mind. Some patients, such as Nicole Webb, would go so far as to say there’s a stigma. “I think that there’s the stigma of economic status,” said Webb, 43, of South Los Angeles. “You’re just a poor person. People are just unattracted to poor people and they say ‘you’re poor, I don’t want to hang out with you,’ like it’s going to rub off on them, you know what I mean?”

News Headlines Article

A flawed Medi-Cal fix
Los Angeles Times

The state Senate’s top Democrat, Darrell Steinberg, is making a last-minute push for a bill that would allow some injured people to seek recovery for medical bills that are larger than what their doctors and hospitals actually collected. The goal, Steinberg says, is to generate more money for Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid. Indeed, state and federal laws have made it difficult for Medi-Cal to recover much of what it spends on medical care even when the victims win judgments against the people who injured them. But Steinberg wants to solve that problem the wrong way.

News Headlines Article

False piety on Medicare prevents a real conversation
Sacramento Bee

Deficit hawks are worried that the Medicare debate in the presidential campaign will make it impossible to reach a post-election deal to balance the budget. At the same time, much of the punditry focuses on how mean and nasty this campaign is.

Those who are anxious about the deficit should relax. This campaign could actually pave the way for a sensible budget deal. And those who bemoan the rock-’em-sock-’em campaign should stop wringing their hands and get about the business of calling out falsehoods and identifying misleading assertions.

News Headlines Article

Medicare problems finally arrive on center stage
USA Today

Among the results of Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate is this remarkable fact: The era of national candidates ignoring the exploding costs of Medicare for fear of the consequences appears to be ending. Rather than downplaying his controversial plan to fundamentally alter the program, which Democrats see as a political windfall, Ryan went to the nation’s largest senior citizen community in Florida this weekend to sell it.

News Headlines Article

Musings from a Medicare user
Marin Independent Journal

This is a matter of the common good. I am putting the health care system through some intense tests these days, and once again I can’t fail to be impressed with the competency of the medical professionals and the quality of our medical facilities.

This is what politicians mean when they say we have the best health care in the world — they are speaking from their own experience, which almost certainly is as fine as mine.

News Headlines Article

The real road to recovery
Lompoc Record

Assume, for the sake of argument, the Romney-Ryan ticket wins the election in November. What’s in store for health care? Even without Mitt Romney in the White House, will there be enough resistance to the Affordable Care Act to overturn the law?

It’s safe to say that many folks don’t like the so-called Obamacare, but, really, what are the alternatives?

News Headlines Article

One-on-One with Roman Reed, spinal cord injury patient advocate
San Francisco Business Times

The community of patient advocates is full of the most passionate, goal-oriented people you’ll ever meet, and Roman Reed is near the top of the list. Reed, paralyzed in 1994 from a tackle during a Chabot College football game, has been one of the most visible advocates for stem cell research funding through the San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM.

Commands