News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Damage from Healthcare Data Breaches Spreading
Health Leaders Media

Almost twice as many people were affected by healthcare data breaches in 2011 as in 2010, according to a report released on Wednesday. The total number of breaches dropped by 32% to 145 but the number of people affected by those breaches doubled to 10.8 million.

The drop in occurrences reflects increased security controls and investigation procedures put in place to uncover data breaches, explains Tyler Quinn, a CPA who co-authored the report for Kaufman, Rossin, and Co., a Miami-based accounting and business consulting firm.

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Bill would offer newborn testing for heart disease
The Mercury News

Hospitals with programs for newborns would have to offer tests for congenital heart disease under a bill approved by the state Senate. Sen. Elaine Alquist, a Democrat from Santa Clara, says AB1731 would bring California’s newborn screening program in line with modern medical standards. The Senate approved the measure Wednesday on a 26-8 vote, sending it back to the Assembly.

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California had ninth-highest medically uninsured rate in 2010
Sacramento Bee

California had the nation’s ninth highest rate of medically uninsured residents in 2010, according to a new Census Bureau report. The report — which covers those under 65 years old, the age at which Medicare kicks in — found that 6.7 million of the state’s 32.5 million under-65 residents lacked medical insurance, for a rate of 20.7 percent.

Texas had the nation’s highest rate of 26.3 percent, while Massachusetts, at 5.2 percent, was the lowest, thanks largely to a program that its former governor, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, championed.

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How One Hospital Works to Win Over Patients
Health Leaders Media

The Stony Brook (N.Y.) University Medical Center’s staff role-plays scenarios about what can go wrong with patients at the 597-staffed-bed hospital and how to make it right. In these make-believe scenarios, “patients” may fuss. Demand. Need above-and-beyond assistance.

They are … well … being impatient patients, and the idea is for hospital staff, especially nurses, to keep their cool, while showing that they are concerned. Do the right thing. Care.

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Dems, GOP bring Medicare debate to Tampa
Modern Healthcare

Hours before Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) scheduled remarks at the Republican National Convention, Republicans and Democrats in Tampa, Fla., promoted their respective messages on Medicare, a top issue in this presidential campaign since the Wisconsin Republican became Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Together, the Democratic National Committee and the Obama for America campaign hosted a news conference featuring Democratic lawmakers and citizens, including Florida resident Carole Nenninger, who spoke about how the Medicare program helped her manage soaring medical bills since her husband was diagnosed with cancer five years ago.

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Reform law is biggest threat to Medicare, Ryan says
Modern Healthcare

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) energized the crowd at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday when he said the greatest threat to Medicare is the 2010 healthcare law that has become the hallmark legislation of the Obama administration.

“Obamacare comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country,” the GOP’s vice presidential nominee told an audience that erupted in cheers and applause.

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Moving Beyond Traditional Hospital Operations: The Value of Integrating Service Lines
Becker's Hospital Review

By now, most hospital leaders have realized that traditional strategies of running a hospital will not be sufficient to reach their quality and revenue goals. New models such as accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes are forcing hospitals to collaborate with others to coordinate care more efficiently and safely. To improve coordination of care with outside organizations such as other hospitals and health systems, however, hospitals need to first improve coordination of care within their own institution.

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U.S. lags on curbing preventable deaths: study
Modern Healthcare

Americans younger than 65 years old had higher rates of potentially preventable death rates compared with their peers in France, Germany and the U.K., according to a new study. The study, published today in Health Affairs and funded by the Commonwealth Fund, examined amenable mortality, which is defined as deaths that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective healthcare before age 75, among patients in four countries from 1999 to 2007.

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Consumer-driven plans match traditional insurance on enrollee satisfaction: survey
Modern Healthcare

The satisfaction of enrollees with so-called consumer-driven health insurance plans has matched support that traditional insurance plans receive from their beneficiaries, according to a recent survey. The Employee Benefit Research Institute, a Washington-based health policy research organization, has tracked the satisfaction of enrollees in high-deductible insurance plans paired with various types of savings accounts since 2006.

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Groups join alliance to monitor development of Health Benefit Exchange
Sacramento Business Journal

The California Medical Association and the Food & Drug Council have joined a statewide alliance of business and labor leaders, health plans, providers and patient advocates monitoring developments in the California Health Benefit Exchange. The goal is to ensure the new health insurance program for individuals and small employers will lower costs, improve quality and expand access to health care for all Californians.

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Inside Medicine: Sham surgery is a real aid in research
Sacramento Bee

Why would anyone agree to have surgery that had a high chance of not helping them?

To see why, we need to understand a tiny bit about clinical research studies.

When researchers set out to design a good study to see if a drug works, they recruit a group of people, all of whom have the condition that might be treated by the test drug.

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WellPoint shares rise after Braly resigns
Modern Healthcare

Investors pushed WellPoint’s stock higher following the resignation of Angela Braly as president and CEO. The Indianapolis-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee, which announced Braly’s departure Tuesday, saw its share price climb 7.8% in the hours after markets opened Wednesday. The stock closed at $61.80, up $4.41, or 7.68%.

WellPoint said John Cannon, the company’s executive vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and chief public affairs officer, would serve as interim CEO.

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Health Care: An Alternate Economic Universe
The Health Care Blog

In July, 2012, the US economy produced roughly the same volume of goods and services as it did five years earlier with five million fewer workers. Yet, during the first four years of the recession (May 2007 to May 2011), the US health system, despite slowing or declining utilization, added 1.149 million workers. Key sectors, specifically hospitals and physician offices, grew their workforces despite declining admissions and office visit volume.

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How to Replace the AMA
The Health Care Blog

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. There is nothing less powerful than an idea whose time has come and gone. In 1846, and for more than 100 years after that, the American Medical Association as a nationwide organization for all physicians was a powerful idea whose time had come. It worked well for many things and OK for many more.

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