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News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Stand Up To Cancer special raised $81 million
Los Angeles Business Journal

Stand Up To Cancer said more than $81 million has been pledged so far in connection with its star-studded Sept. 7 fundraising telecast. Major networks ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC donated one hour of simultaneous, commercial-free primetime for the nationally televised fundraising special, which was broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

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Well-informed patients take more active role, survey finds
Modern Healthcare

Low-income patients who are well-informed about their conditions and treatment options are more likely to take an active role in managing their own care, according to survey results released Monday by the Blue Shield of California Foundation. Using data gathered during phone interviews with more than 1,000 Californians, researchers found that patients who felt informed were much more engaged.

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Slideshow: 10 Healthcare IT Predictions
Health Leaders Media

In honor of National Health IT Week, here are 10 predictions for healthcare IT over the next 12 months—none of them involving Meaningful Use or ICD-10! If half or more of these predictions actually come true in the next year, healthcare will be better for it.

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Excessive dental X-rays can expose patients to unnecessary radiation and expense
Washington Post

Many years ago, Jay W. Friedman, a Los Angeles dentist, referred a woman to a renowned periodontist. A few years later, she told Friedman that the periodontist exposed her every year to a full-mouth periapical X-ray that showed her teeth from root to crown. Friedman told her that gum disease progresses very slowly and that she didn’t need those yearly X-rays, which require more than a dozen exposures.

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Valley Fever Cases Soar, Harm Remains Hidden
KQED Radio

Valley fever starts with the simple act of breathing. The fungal spores, lifted from the dry dirt by the wind, pass through your nostrils or down your throat, so tiny they don’t even trigger a cough. They lodge in your lungs. If you’re fortunate – and most people are – they go no further. But if you are one of the more than 150,000 people stricken with coccidioidomycosis every year nationwide, it’s because the spores have sent roots into the moist tissue of your lungs.

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Wide-ranging agenda for Health IT Week
Modern Healthcare

The 7th Annual National Health IT Week kicked off with a focus on consumer access to health information technology, but events targeting privacy, security, best practices, public awareness, IT in rural settings, educational opportunities and even some grassroots lobbying also are on the schedule through Friday. On Tuesday, starting at 1 p.m.

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Blood Infections Plunge 40% Under Safety Protocol
Health Leaders Media

A four-year project undertaken by some units in 1,100 U.S. hospitals has reduced central line-associated bloodstream infections by 40%, more than 2,000 infections, saving more than 500 lives and avoiding more than $34 million in healthcare costs.

That was the message Monday from Johns Hopkins infection control guru Peter Pronovost, MD, who developed CUSP, the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program, a culture change and teamwork model that uses “the science of safety” to achieve hospital results.

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Fact Check: Mitt Romney on ‘Obamacare’ and Pre-Existing Conditions
KGO

Mitt Romney said Sunday he doesn’t want to get rid of all of “Obamacare,” a statement that at first seemed to indicate he’d softened his position on President Obama’s health care law. “Well, I’m not getting rid of all of health care reform,” Romney said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.

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Romney promises, then retracts, key aspects of healthcare reform
Los Angeles Times

At first glance, it looked like Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had once again altered his position on healthcare reform.

“I’m not getting rid of all of healthcare reform,” he said on “Meet the Press” over the weekend. “Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I’m going to put in place. One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.

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GOP Medicare plans would sock elderly, report says
Modern Healthcare

Republican proposals to replace Medicare insurance benefits with vouchers that seniors could use to buy insurance would drive up healthcare costs for the nation’s elderly, said a newly released report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, an advocacy arm for the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress.

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Ovarian cancer screenings not recommended as a routine
Washington Post

A federal government task force recommended Monday that women not get routinely screened for ovarian cancer because doing so can put them at increased risk for unnecessary harm, such as major surgery.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of national experts, said it continues to discourage screening in women at average risk for ovarian cancer, which has the highest mortality rate of all types of gynecological cancer and is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women.

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Support key in medical-home transition: study
Modern Physician

Medical groups with 10 or fewer physicians that received financial and organizational support were more likely than those not receiving aid to achieve advanced designation as a patient-centered medical home, a small study found.

The research, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, compared the progress toward National Council for Quality Assurance designation as a patient-centered medical home among 18 solo or small medical groups receiving support and 14 groups without.

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Faith leaders support Medicaid expansion
Modern Healthcare

Sister Simone Campbell, the Catholic nun who led the “Nuns on the Bus” two-week tour this summer to oppose Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) House budget, has joined other faith leaders in urging the nation’s governors to support the reform law’s Medicaid expansion.

“As a person of faith who deeply values all of life, it is a pro-life stance to make sure all of these folks are covered and have access to quality, affordable healthcare,” Simone said during a conference call Monday hosted by Faith in Life, a Washington, D.C.-based organization established to advance faith in the public arena.

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County weighs treatment for 8 babies exposed to TB at Methodist Hospital
Sacramento Bee

Sacramento County public health officials said Monday they were determining whether to start giving antibiotics to eight infants in Methodist Hospital of Sacramento who were exposed to tuberculosis while in the neonatal intensive care unit.

An individual with active tuberculosis spent time in the neonatal facility from Aug. 23 to Sept. 3, public health officials said.

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Hospital wing debuts Saturday
Sacramento Bee

The $70 million south wing of Marshall Medical Center in Placerville won’t officially open for business for four to six weeks, but this Saturday, you can be among the first to see its new birthing center and emergency room.

After four years of construction and many more years of planning, chief executive James Whipple said, the two units now can offer patients greater privacy and units designed around their needs.

He paints a picture of the current situation in the ER: “Let’s see, it’s 11 o’clock in the morning, and I would bet that … we probably have patients in hallways because w

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More cardiologists working for hospitals
Modern Physician

Most cardiovascular practices are still owned primarily by physicians, but hospital ownership of practices continues to rise, and now the percentage of cardiologists employed by physician-owned practices is the same as the percentage employed by hospitals, according to an American College of Cardiology survey.

The ACC compared the results of this year’s survey, conducted between June and August, to those from 2007. According to the survey, 35% of cardiologists today are employed by a hospital-owned practice, and 35% are employed at a physician-owned practice.

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Health centers not just for the sick, anymore
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

In a move that illustrates how health-care facilities are evolving beyond their age-old mission of treating illness, the Petaluma Health Center has opened its new exercise facility to the general public.

This month, the health center began offering fitness classes to both patients and local residents. Offered at discount prices, the courses include two Zumba classes and two yoga classes, with more offerings on the horizon.

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AHRQ program lowers central line-associated infections by 40%
Modern Healthcare

A national project targeting central line-associated bloodstream infections has lowered overall rates of such infections by 40% among participating hospitals, according to government data released Monday. The initiative, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is known as the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program, or CUSP, a set of simplified best practices, culture changes and measurement tools used to address safety-related problems in healthcare.

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Ovarian Cancer Screenings Are Not Effective, Panel Says
New York Times

Tests commonly recommended to screen healthy women for ovarian cancer do more harm than good and should not be performed, a panel of medical experts said on Monday. The screenings — blood tests for a substance linked to cancer and ultrasound scans to examine the ovaries — do not lower the death rate from the disease, and they yield many false-positive results that lead to unnecessary operations with high complication rates, the panel said.

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Healthy S.F. fees shouldn’t go to business owners
San Francisco Examiner

Diners in San Francisco see the note on the bill all the time — text saying a fee has been added to the tab to pay for workers’ health insurance through Healthy San Francisco, The City’s universal health care program.

When the program started in 2008, its goal was to provide universal health care for San Franciscans and those who work at businesses in The City.

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