News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Democrats spotlight healthcare law on first night of DNC
Modern Healthcare

Democrats used the opening night of their national convention to pitch the healthcare law’s benefits to a national television audience and turn the law into a political asset as the presidential campaign moves into its final weeks.

President Barack Obama pushed for enactment of the 2010 healthcare overhaul “because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine; our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick; and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness,” first lady Michelle Obama said.

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Prolonged CPR has benefits, study shows
The Mercury News

When a hospital patient goes into cardiac arrest, one of the most difficult questions facing the medical team is how long to continue cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Now, a new study involving hundreds of hospitals suggests that many doctors may be giving up too soon. The study found that patients have a better chance of surviving in hospitals that persist with CPR for just nine minutes longer, on average, than in hospitals where efforts are halted earlier.

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CalPERS saves $37 million as medical groups coordinate healthcare
Los Angeles Times

An effort by three healthcare organizations that saved the California Public Employees’ Retirement System $37 million in the last two years is gaining national attention as Medicare and employers search for ways to control rising medical costs.

Blue Shield of California teamed up with the Dignity Health hospital chain, previously known as Catholic Healthcare West, and Hill Physicians Medical Group to coordinate care for 41,000 CalPERS members in the Sacramento area, starting in 2010.

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El Camino Hospital names Mick Zdeblick COO
San Jose Business Journal

Mike Zdeblick has been named chief operating officer of El Camino Hospital. The hospital, with operations in Mountain View and Los Gatos, said in a release that his responsibilities include making sure it has everything in place for its three-year plan that involves “improving individual experience, improving quality and reducing costs.” Zdeblick most recently worked at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Ill., where he was vice president of operations and lead a “campus transformation,” according to a release.

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FDA approves Pfizer drug for rare blood cancer
USA Today

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved a new Pfizer drug to treat a rare form of blood and bone marrow cancer that causes a buildup of unhealthy white blood cells. Pfizer’s Bosulif is a daily pill to treat chronic myeloid leukemia patients who carry a specific genetic variation. The disease is one of four types of the blood cancer, and accounts for about 15% of leukemia cases.

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Dems move to counter GOP messages on reform, Medicare
Modern Healthcare

Democrats are focusing on countering certain Republican healthcare messages, including some that they have found have garnered strong popular support.

Most concerning to Democratic pollsters is that the Republican plans to repeal the healthcare law and add an insurance subsidy option to Medicare to control the program’s costs have polled very well when touted as “protecting Medicare” and “providing choice.”

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Healthcare to take center stage at DNC
Modern Healthcare

The first night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., will feature a range of appeals about the healthcare reform law’s benefits, the obstacles to its passage and issues surrounding its continued implementation.

Tuesday night will feature some of the highest-profile defenders of the law, including first lady Michelle Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

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Millions don’t have their blood pressure under control
USA Today

Despite the well-known perils of high blood pressure, more than half of the 67 million American adults who have the condition don’t have it under control, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a new report out today. “High blood pressure is public health enemy No. 2,” behind tobacco, says CDC director Thomas Frieden. “There is nothing that will save more lives than getting blood pressure under control,” he says.

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Large donation for Memorial Hospital renovation
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has received a $2 million donation from the Ernest L. and Ruth W. Finley Foundation, a major gift that brings the hospital closer to paying for the ongoing $15 million renovation of its emergency department. The donation, the largest yet for the department expansion, brings the amount raised to $4.2 million. Construction crews broke ground on the project in May.

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Doctors warn of drug interactions
San Francisco Chronicle

A failure of communication proved to be life-threatening for Bengt Bostrom. Bostrom went to his internist, Dr. Bradley Jones, to figure out why he was so exhausted. The 71-year-old Texas man was already being treated for prostate cancer, and a specialist had prescribed naproxen to help reduce swelling. If Jones had known that, he’d have added a medicine to protect Bostrom’s stomach.

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Study: Nonprofit hospitals not doing enough to justify tax-exempt status
Ventura County Star

Lawmakers in Sacramento are considering new regulations on California’s hospitals after a series of reports released last month that found private, nonprofit, tax-exempt hospitals might be falling well below their charity care expectations.

Nonprofit hospitals are making minimal provision of charity care to medically or financially indigent people, and often provide lower levels of charity care than non-tax exempt, for-profit hospitals in the state, according to the reports.

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Health Benefit Exchange looks at new names
Sacramento Business Journal

Gearing up to brand itself at an affordable new health insurance program coming for individuals and small employers in 2014, the California Health Benefit Exchange is kicking about names to see what sticks. A decision could be made at the Sept. 18 board meeting. Possibilities run the gamut from the traditional to the “interesting.” Traditional names range from CaliHealth, CalAccess and Wellquest to PACcess and Covered, Cal.

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Search for SVMH CEO begins
The Californian - Salinas

Help Wanted: New chief executive officer needed to run a $300 million a year business in Salinas; experience required.

Finding a new CEO for Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital to fill a vacancy previously held for decades is a little more complicated than placing an ad in the local newspaper. The SVMH Board of Directors voted unanimously Aug. 16 to hire the Witt/Kieffer executive search firm of Irvine for $130,000.

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Fixing Medicare requires seniors to pay quite a bit more
Los Angeles Times

In the Obama campaign’s attack on the Romney-Ryan proposal to “voucherize” Medicare, one accusation is that the plan would force seniors to pay more of their healthcare costs: about $6,400 more per beneficiary, according to a recent TV ad known as “Facts.” Regardless of the “facts” in the ad, this attack takes as a given that any such outcome is undesirable.

Yet asking seniors to pay substantially more is precisely the way to improve Medicare. Here’s why.

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Getting the Right Benchmarks For Stroke Care
The Health Care Blog

Late last week, thanks to Liz Kowalczyk (@globeLizK) of the Boston Globe, I discovered the statewide report on quality of stroke care in Massachusetts. It’s a plain document, mostly in black and white, much of what you might expect from a state government report. Yet, this 4-page document is a reminder of how we have come to accept mediocrity as the standard in our healthcare delivery system.

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Lawmakers allow two hospitals to expand cardiac procedures
Los Angeles Times

Two prominent California hospitals will be allowed to perform some cardiac procedures in outpatient buildings thanks to legislation approved on Friday.

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