News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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IOM urges HHS to set new life-expectancy, health-spending goals
Modern Healthcare

HHS should set new goals for life expectancy and per-person health spending in the U.S. to help the country achieve better health outcomes, according to new study from the Institute of Medicine.

Those recommendations are among several the IOM included in a 236-page report that is the third and last in a series related to public health. In 2009, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked the IOM to establish a committee that would evaluate measurement, the law, and funding about public health.

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Berwick targets waste in healthcare expenditures
Modern Healthcare

In an article in the April 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Donald Berwick, former CMS administrator and current senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Andrew Hackbarth, an assistant policy analyst for the RAND Corp., listed six categories of waste they say represent more than 20% of the nation’s ever-increasing healthcare expenditures.

The former head of the CMS is speaking out about the importance of reducing waste and reining in healthcare spending.

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Reform will add more than $500 billion to debt: report
Modern Healthcare

The 2010 federal healthcare overhaul will add up to $527 billion to the national debt over the next 10 years, according to a new analysis by one of the two public trustees for Medicare.

The study by Charles Blahous, the Republican trustee for Medicare and Social Security appointed by President Barack Obama, challenges the so-called double counting that allowed supporters of the law to claim it will provide net reductions in federal healthcare spending and extended solvency for Medicare.

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Measured enthusiasm from groups for ICD-10 delay
Modern Healthcare

Initial reaction from healthcare industry leaders to HHS‘ proposed extension of the ICD-10 compliance deadline by one year to Oct. 1, 2014, has been cautiously positive.

HHS suggested the new deadline in a 198-page proposed rule (PDF) that also contains details of a requirement for a national health plan identifier.

“The American Medical Association and physicians across the nation appreciate that CMS has proposed delaying the ICD-10 implementation date to Oct. 1, 2014,” AMA President Dr. Peter Carmel said in a news release.

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Justices grapple with health insurance requirement
San Francisco Chronicle

Some insurance experts say there may be a misunderstanding among members of the Supreme Court about President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law. During the recent oral arguments some of the justices and the lawyers appearing before them seemed to be under the impression that the law does not allow most consumers to buy bare bones insurance to satisfy its controversial coverage mandate.

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Poll: More Americans expect Supreme Court’s health-care decision to be political
Washington Post

More Americans think Supreme Court justices will be acting mainly on their partisan political views than on a neutral reading of the law when they decide the constitutionality of President Obama’s health-care law, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Half of the public expects the justices to rule mainly based on their “partisan political views,” while fewer, 40 percent, expect their decisions to be rooted primarily “on the basis of the law.” The rest say both equally or do not have an opinion.

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Hospital appoints three to foundation board
Whittier Daily News

Dr. Michael D. Thomas, Kathy Marie Luciano and Melanie Howe Lyons have been appointed to the Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors. Thomas was the founding partner the hospital’s Emergency Department Medical Group.

He retired in 2011, but occasionally volunteers in the hospital’s emergency department as a triage physician.

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Ambulatory surgery centers in jeopardy
Lake County Record-Bee

Surgery centers that offer outpatient services are in jeopardy, according to the operator of a facility in Lake County.

Paula Dhanda, M.D. and husband, John Clarke, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) opened Specialty Care and Surgery Center in Kelseyville in 2006. It is the only fully-accredited, multispecialty ambulatory surgery center (ASC) in the county.

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National Democrats target Dan Lungren on Medicare
Sacramento Bee

National Democrats are taking their campaign against Rep. Dan Lungren to, well, above the streets.

And they’re getting right in the face of their target audience.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has put up a billboard in Carmichael hitting the Gold River Republican on his support for a Republican budget plan that would make major changes to Medicare.

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New Low in Support for Health Law; Half Expect Justices to Go Political
KGO

Last month’s hearings on the constitutionality of health care reform didn’t help its popularity: Public support for President Obama’s signature domestic legislation has hit a new low in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, with criticism of the individual mandate as high as ever. Half the public, moreover, thinks the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the legislation on the basis of the justices’ partisan political views rather than the law.

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Supreme Court misunderstanding on health overhaul?
San Francisco Chronicle

A possible misunderstanding about President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul could cloud Supreme Court deliberations on its fate, leaving the impression that the law’s insurance requirement is more onerous than it actually is. During the recent oral arguments some of the justices and the lawyers appearing before them seemed to be under the impression that the law does not allow most consumers to buy low-cost, stripped-down insurance to satisfy its controversial coverage requirement.

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Physicians ask for voice in SVMH merger plans
The Californian - Salinas

Local physicians are asking in a letter for formation of a community group to advise the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital (SVMH) board of directors as the board moves ahead on possible affiliation with or sale of the hospital to another health organization.

They will have input, interim SVMH CEO Lowell Johnson said on Tuesday.

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Drug Data Shouldn’t Be Secret
New York Times

In the fall of 2009, at the height of fears over swine flu, our research group discovered that a majority of clinical trial data for the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu — data that proved, according to its manufacturer, that the drug reduced the risk of hospitalization, serious complications and transmission — were missing, unpublished and inaccessible to the research community.

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Some health care claims must be denied
CBS News

Following my commentary yesterday on the need for a universal mandate for health care coverage, here’s another reality on the topic that all of us — particularly our politicians — need to face: It’s inevitable that some medical claims will be denied any time somebody else, such as a commercial or government insurance entity, is paying the cost. After all, companies most likely won’t reimburse the cost of “snake oil” remedies, and they’ll continue to deny claims for many procedures that haven’t yet been proven to be effective.

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You Get What You Pay For
The Health Care Blog

Two recent research papers remind us that it may be difficult to cut U.S. healthcare spending without harming quality. The first, written by a research team led by University of Chicago economist Tomas Philipson, appears in the latest issue of Health Affairs and has deservedly garnered a fair bit of media attention. The authors examine cancer spending and survival times for patients in the United States and ten European countries during the period 1983-1999 (later data were not available.)

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Giving Patients Choices in Colon Cancer Screening
New York Times

A new study shows that patients are far less likely to undergo screening for colon cancer if their doctors recommend only colonoscopy, rather than offering other screening options. The research suggests that offering patients at risk more choices might help increase the rate of testing for a disease that has long been associated with low screening rates.

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