News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Doctor Shortage Seen Growing to 130,000 With U.S. Cap: Health
San Francisco Chronicle

With a shortage of doctors in the U.S. already and millions of new patients set to gain coverage under President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, American medical schools are struggling to close the gap. One major reason: The residency programs to train new doctors are largely paid for by the federal government, and the number of students accepted into such programs has been capped at the same level for 15 years.

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Lawmaker wants CBO to review legislation on doc-pay, IPAB
Modern Healthcare

A House Republican who is also a physician raised the possibility this week that avoiding a steep Medicare physician pay cut in January could deepen cuts for physicians under a coming cost control panel. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) requested an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of any legislative patch to prevent a looming 27% cut in Medicare physician payment rates scheduled to occur in January.

Specifically, Roe wanted Congress’ nonpartisan accountants to determine if freezing current rates would add to cuts that the Independent Payment Advisory Board is required to begin making in 2015.

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Healthcare Business Models Clash with Reforms
Health Leaders Media

Healthcare executives responding to a survey say the nation will see major changes in the way healthcare is delivered and paid for in the next five years as providers and payers struggle to do more with less.

Most of those executives, however, also believe that the fee-for-service-based business models they’re using now will be at least “somewhat sustainable” or fare even better in the face of new challenges brought on by healthcare reform.

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WellPoint CEO Braly quits amid sagging results
San Francisco Chronicle

WellPoint Inc. President and CEO Angela Braly resigned Tuesday amid investor frustration with disappointing financial results at the nation’s second-largest health insurer. The Indianapolis-based company announced that its executive vice president and general counsel, John Cannon, will serve as interim president and CEO. With Braly’s departure, lead director Jackie Ward was named the non-executive chair of the board of directors, WellPoint said.

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MU Stage 2 Final Rule Elicits Few Cheers
Health Leaders Media

The final rule for Meaningful Use Stage 2 released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services “looks a lot better than some people feared,” says Jeffrey Smith, assistant director of advocacy for College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), which represents 1,400 healthcare CIOs at hospitals and clinics. The rule, which delays the onset of MU Stage 2 until 2014, specifies the criteria that eligible professionals, hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAH) must meet to qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments.

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Sutter Memorial taking steps to rid neonatal ICU of bacteria
Sacramento Bee

Steps are being taken to rid the Sutter Memorial Hospital neonatal intensive care unit of MRSA after about 20 babies tested positive for the bacteria.

In addition to the 20 infants who tested positive, two babies showed symptoms of the drug-resistant bacteria. Those two babies have mild conjunctivitis, weeping from the eyes, that in those two cases is related to MRSA.

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More medical treatment not always better
San Francisco Chronicle

When it comes to medical care, many patients and doctors believe more is better. But an epidemic of overtreatment – too many scans, too many blood tests, too many procedures – is costing the nation’s health care system at least $210 billion a year, according to the Institute of Medicine, and taking a human toll in pain, emotional suffering, severe complications and even death.

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Health insurers offer new products in preparation for healthcare reform
Modern Healthcare

While waiting for Michigan’s health insurance exchange to open in 2014, small businesses and individuals seeking health insurance have a few more options, with new products offered by UnitedHealthcare Michigan and Health Alliance Plan of Michigan.

Health insurers in Southeast Michigan are already gearing up their small business and individual health insurance products to prepare for 2014, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Act of 2010 fully kicks in and most individuals are required to purchase insurance.

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Sharp Cuts in Dental Coverage for Adults on Medicaid
New York Times

Banned from tightening Medicaid eligibility in recent years, many states have instead slashed optional benefits for millions of poor adults in the program. Teeth have suffered disproportionately. Republican- and Democratic-controlled states alike have reduced or largely eliminated dental coverage for adults on Medicaid, the shared state and federal health insurance program for poor people. The situation is not likely to improve under President Obama’s health care overhaul: it requires dental coverage for children only.

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UCLA study suggests Partners for Children benefits patients, state
Los Angeles Times

For two months Stephanie Aldana’s son complained of intense pain in his back and tremors in his legs. Doctors visits revealed nothing. She could do little but try to comfort 10-year-old Isaac as his feet swelled and his mobility deteriorated. Then Isaac lost sensation below his waist and an emergency MRI led to stark news: The fourth-grader had Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer that can attack the bones.

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GOP platform includes repeal of healthcare reform law
Modern Healthcare

Delegates at the 2012 Republican National Convention released the party’s official platform, which includes repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while restoring Medicare payment cuts that the 2010 law authorized. As expected, the Republican Party promises massive changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are elected president and vice president.

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Health Benefit Exchange consolidates into single space
Sacramento Business Journal

Almost 50 full-time staff at the California Health Benefit Exchange moved into a new space on J Street in downtown Sacramento last weekend. They used to be split between two locations — one in Natomas and the other on G Street in Sacramento. The new site at 560 J Street is the former home of the California Department of Education. The new space is big enough to accommodate about 200 workers — and hiring is happening at an aggressive pace, as the program continues to yield economic benefits to the Sacramento region.

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Patients plan rally to save CPMC cardiac exercise class
San Francisco Examiner

A 50-year-old class that helps once-hospitalized cardiac patients recover and rebuild strength in their hearts is in danger of closing to make room for patients who still need doctor-prescribed exercise.

Patients in Phase 3 of California Pacific Medical Center’s cardiac recovery program were notified last week of the closure of the class, slated for Thursday. Many said they worry they won’t have the same quality of care during their recovery.

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Interprofessional Education Expert Seeks to Improve Health Care
UCSF Today

Scott Reeves, PhD, director of UCSF’s Center for Innovation in Interprofessional Education, will take the national spotlight in Washington, DC, this week as co-chair of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) workshop that aims to improve health care.

Reeves, professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Interprofessional Care, is co-leading a two-day public workshop, “Improving Health by Linking Education Practice Using Interprofessional Education” at the Keck Center of the National Academies.

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Don’t repeal Affordable Care Act
North County Times

The Affordable Care Act needs fixing, not repealing.

Consider these facts:

Need: The U.S. spends twice as much on health care than any other country, yet we rank lower than 37th in the world. Costs escalate every year, while our raking slips lower. Turkey, Mexico and the U.S. are the only developed nations without universal coverage. Our system needs fixing now, not sometime in the future.

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Hospitals…Thinking About Getting Into Health Insurance? 6 Reasons To Lie Down Until the Urge Goes Away
The Health Care Blog

Gregg Masters reports on a recent Kaiser Health News article: Hospitals Look to Become Insurers, As Well as Providers of Care”.

This is the dumbest idea I’ve heard since “I’m going to invest all my money in Facebook’s IPO and get rich!”

Here are six reasons why:

Commands