News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

HHS Finalizes ICD-10 Deadline Delay
Health Leaders Media

The Department of Health and Human Services is making it official. It will delay for one year the implementation of ICD-10 code sets that classify medical diagnoses and procedures.

The final rule, announced Friday delays ICD-10 implementation to Oct. 1, 2014 from Oct. 1, 2013. “We believe the change in the compliance date for ICD-10 gives covered healthcare providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition by all covered entities,” HHS said.

News Headlines Article

Health exchange puts off decision on choice
Sacramento Business Journal

The California Health Benefit Exchange barrelled through important decisions Thursday about the new insurance marketplace pending for individuals and small businesses in 2014, but delayed action on the degree of employer and employee choice. “We’ll continue to seek comments,” Peter Lee, executive director of the exchange, said after lengthy testimony from consumer advocates and industry representatives.

News Headlines Article

Health plan chief to head Martin Luther King Jr. hospital
Los Angeles Times

The board of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital has appointed a chief executive to run the private, nonprofit medical center, which is scheduled to open in 2014 and replace the troubled King-Drew hospital. The board appointed Elaine Batchlor, a licensed physician and longtime health administrator, to head the hospital in Willowbrook, south of Watts. Batchlor was the chief medical officer for L.A. Care, the nation’s largest health plan, where she focused on the underserved community.

News Headlines Article

Symptoms of slump: Modesto clinic opens with bustling health fair
Modesto Bee

The obvious signs of the recession are vacant homes, empty storefronts and blocks-long lines when jobs open. Less obvious are the missed doses of medicine, chronic pain and coughs that just won’t go away.

Those are the symptoms of lost health care coverage, adding to the high numbers of uninsured in the Northern San Joaquin Valley with chronic health problems.

News Headlines Article

One-year delay on ICD-10 to October 2014 finalized
Modern Healthcare

The federal government has finalized a one-year delay in the compliance deadline for the nationwide conversion to ICD-10 code sets. The delay, first proposed in April, will move the compliance deadline to Oct. 1, 2014.

HHS said the extra time would allow healthcare organizations—small organizations in particular—adequate time to get ready for the changeover.

News Headlines Article

SVMH to form advisory committee
The Californian - Salinas

The Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital is forming an advisory committee as the hospital moves forward under the national Affordable Care Act and after the hospital board of directors’ recent decision to stay a standalone facility and not affiliate with another healthcare operation.

“The purpose of the advisory committee is to recommend specific actions SVMHS should take to ensure it has a sustainable and viable future as a standalone,” says the draft plan, presented at Thursday’s board of directors meeting by president Jim Gattis.

News Headlines Article

Committee to help guide SVMH’s future
Monterey Herald

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital is expected to convene a community advisory committee to help determine its future as a stand-alone organization.

On Thursday, board president Jim Gattis unveiled a proposal that calls for assembling a committee of local stakeholders to create an action plan designed to put the public district hospital on a path toward a “sustainable and viable future” on its own.

News Headlines Article

Demand drives Sutter North Urgent Care to expand
The Appeal-Democrat

Patients at Sutter Urgent Care have nearly doubled in volume in recent years, and the care center is expanding to keep up with demand.

Construction started this month to add four exam rooms and a procedure room, remodel the registration and waiting areas, and rebuild the drug testing room and employee lounge.

News Headlines Article

Coalition urges flexibility on essential health benefits
Modern Healthcare

The Essential Health Benefits Coalition—which includes employer trade associations, pharmacy benefit managers and health plans—urged federal health officials to give health plans flexibility as they develop benefit packages to comply with essential health benefit rules under healthcare reform.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates coverage in the individual and small-group markets across 10 categories of care and these “essential benefits” will be modeled after a benchmark health plan selected in each state.

News Headlines Article

Health Plans Online announces merger
Ventura County Star

Health Plans Online of Westlake Village has merged with Digital Insurance, an employee benefits-only agency, and will operate under the banner of Digital Benefit Advisors/Los Angeles, a division of Digital Insurance.

This will establish the first West Coast office for the Digital Benefit Advisor network. Founder and President Gary Whiddon and key staff members will continue to provide service with enhanced tools and resources to help clients navigate through health care reform.

News Headlines Article

A preventative maintenance schedule for men’s health
USA Today

Few men would drive a beloved sports car into the ground, ruining its engine for lack of routine oil changes, tune-ups or new belts. Yet many men don’t think twice about neglecting their health, letting a decade or more slip by without scheduling a checkup, says Jeff Cain, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians. One-third of men have no regular doctor, and the same number say they visit a doc only when really sick.

News Headlines Article

State’s non-profit hospitals under fire over government benefits
Contra Costa Times

Three-fourths of California’s nonprofit hospitals harvested $1.8 billion in government benefits in excess of what they returned in charity care in 2010, according to a new study. Most of California’s hospitals have nonprofit status. 2010 was the most recent year for which data was publicly available, according to the recently released study from the research arm of California Nurses Association/National Nurses United.

News Headlines Article

Undercount of hospital infection cases highlights flaws in reports
Contra Costa Times

When California health officials recently announced a 10 percent annual drop in hospital central line infections, they did not mention that they had found flaws in the facilities’ reporting of one of the most serious infections that patients can suffer while hospitalized. In fact, the state’s own fact-checking of records from one-fourth of hospitals statewide had uncovered a series of errors, including an overall 38 percent undercount of central line infections. In response, state officials asked hospitals to correct the data.

News Headlines Article

South L.A. health clinic draws hundreds
Los Angeles Times

Thirteen-year-old Stephanie Cota pulled up her sleeve and glanced at the needle.

“Is it gonna hurt?” she asked.

“You’ll feel it, but you look like a strong girl,” said Yadira Guerra, a licensed vocational nurse. “Just turn the other way.” When Cota started 7th grade this month, school officials told her she needed a whooping cough vaccine.

News Headlines Article

Circumcision pluses outweigh risks: Pediatricians
San Francisco Chronicle

The nation’s most influential pediatricians group says the health benefits of circumcision in newborn boys outweigh any risks and insurance companies should pay for it. In its latest policy statement on circumcision, a procedure that has been declining nationwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics moves closer to an endorsement but says the decision should be up to parents.

News Headlines Article

Health professionals look inward to tackle obesity
Monterey Herald

Taylor DesRosiers was a competitive swimmer throughout her life, always fit. But in her first year of medical school, she realized that had changed — she was at an unhealthy weight.

The rigors of her education had piled on top of two rough years in which she went through a broken-off engagement and supporting her mother through a health scare. During a course on obesity, she realized, according to body mass index charts, she was technically obese herself.

News Headlines Article

A sham hearing in California Senate
Lompoc Record

The Sacramento Bee published a lengthy article recently about the proliferation of special committees in the California Senate that rarely, if ever, meet, just as rarely produce worthwhile research and appear to exist mainly to give senators extra, off-the-books staff. Bee reporter Jim Sanders spent many hours poring through Senate documents, looking — mostly in vain — for evidence that the special committees serve some valid public purpose.

News Headlines Article

Removing roadblocks to patient care
North County Times

The impact of chronic pain cannot be measured or tested. It is not seen on X-rays, test results or blood work, yet pain continues to be a debilitating disease for more than an estimated 100 million people in the United States. Many suffer needlessly without relief.

In California, pain patients can go weeks, months and even years without the proper medication to alleviate their suffering. Why? Because in California, insurers often refuse to initially cover doctor-prescribed, FDA-approved treatment.

News Headlines Article

What’s the Real Emergency Room?
The Health Care Blog

My summer job before I left for college in 1965 was the night admitting clerk in the emergency room in the Huntsville, Alabama county hospital – a facility built to support a few thousand in a small rural community but now taxed with serving hundreds of thousands, brought to town by the new Apollo missile program. Saturday nights in the small emergency room were often pure chaos, with auto wreck victims lined up on gurneys in the hallway. Those shifts passed the quickest for me, and I slept the best, afterwards.

News Headlines Article

The EHR “Final Rule” (Finally)
The Health Care Blog

Six months to the day after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the “preliminary rules” for Meaningful Use, the final rules are in. For clinicians and policymakers who want to see Electronic Health Records (EHRs) play a key role in driving improvements in the healthcare system, there’s a lot to like here.

News Headlines Article

A Tale of Two Systems
The Health Care Blog

It was the worst of systems. It was the worst of systems. For decades, policy analysts have debated how we to strike a proper balance among access, quality and cost in our healthcare system. This debate has missed a crucial point: we do not have one healthcare system, we have two. And both are broken. Fortunately, if we fix one the other may heal itself.

Commands