News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Hospital IT leaders say they’re short-staffed, worried about retention
Modern Healthcare

Slightly more than two-thirds (67%) of hospital information technology leaders in a recent survey say their departments are short-staffed, while nearly three out of four (74%) say they need more staff or clinical software implementations and support, according to the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The 15-page report by the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based association for healthcare CIOs said it received 163 members’ responses to the online survey made available in July.

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Nurses have tentative agreement with Sutter’s Mills-Peninsula Health Services
Sacramento Business Journal

Registered nurses have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with Mills-Peninsula Health Services, an affiliate of Sacramento-based Sutter Health. The three-year proposed settlement between the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United and Sutter’s two-hospital system in Burlingame and San Mateo was reached late Tuesday. A ratification vote will be held next week. The proposed contract covers about 750 nurses.

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FTC, Calif. AG Put Pressure on M&A — and Confuse Providers
California Healthline

Today is the Federal Trade Commission’s birthday, but hospitals aren’t celebrating. The agency has deepened its pressure on hospital deal-making — scrutinizing dozens of mergers, filing motions to block several acquisitions and even examining whether hospitals’ purchases of physician groups may be anti-competitive.

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Will Health Systems Do Anything About Health?
Health Leaders Media

Should health systems care about health? What do they plan to do about it? These questions are not as snarky as they may seem. The real strategic choice facing hospitals and health systems over the next decade is whether they will evolve their mission from its focus on sick care to health care.

I posed this question last week to a number of chief financial officers from across the country who gathered for two days of idea exchange at our annual HealthLeaders Media CFO Exchange.

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Poll: Most Americans say health care law will endure
The Reporter

It still divides us, but most Americans think President Barack Obama’s health care law is here to stay. More than 7 in 10 say the law will fully go into effect with some changes, ranging from minor to major alterations, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.

Only 12 percent expect the Affordable Care Act — “Obamacare” to dismissive opponents — to be repealed completely.

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Los Angeles chooses Anthem plan that excludes Cedars-Sinai, UCLA

The city of Los Angeles has chosen an Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of California narrow network plan, which excludes Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Health System, for its employees. The Los Angeles Times reported that Anthem cut the two prestigious providers because of their high costs, which are as much as 50 percent more than competitors, but don’t offer measurably better quality of care.

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ACO Involvement Advances With Blue Cross Blue Shield Deals
Becker's Hospital Review

Many Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, and other commercial payors, have announced accountable care organizations with providers recently, increasing payor participation in coordinated-care, according to The AIS Report on Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. “If you were charting ACOs, there would be a steep growth curve of the last 18 months,” William TenHoor, president of TenHoor & Associates, said in the report.

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Knee replacements soar among US older folks
North County Times

Just like age-defying baby boomers, older folks have seen a surge in knee replacement surgeries, driven partly by a desire to stay active and by joint-damaging obesity.

The findings are in a study of more than 3 million Medicare patients, aged 65 and older, who got artificial knees from 1991 through 2010. Almost 10 percent of the operations were redos _ replacing worn-out artificial joints.

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Nurses reach contract deal
San Mateo Daily Journal

After working without a contract for more than a year, about 750 registered nurses have reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement with Mills-Peninsula Health Services. Details of the deal are scarce, however, as California Nurses Association members will take a vote Thursday, Oct. 4 on whether to ratify the new contract. A tentative three-year deal was reached Tuesday night after months of negotiations that led to a few one-day strikes and subsequent four-day lockouts. The contract, if approved, will cover this past year and expires in June 2014.

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Sutter Medical Center lands anchor tenants for new Santa Rosa office building
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa has landed two anchor tenants for the new 80,000-square-foot medical office building planned for its new hospital campus in north Santa Rosa.

Santa Rosa Surgery and Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation will anchor the new office building, according to the Hammes Company, which is heading development, leasing and financing initiatives for the building.

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Personalized Cancer Treatments Approach Tipping Point
Health Leaders Media

When then President Richard Nixon in 1971 called for a “cure for cancer,” he envisioned a crusade akin to the efforts that developed the atomic bomb and led to the moon landing.

But more than 40 years later, it has proven to be an elusive goal, and one that has changed dramatically over the decades. Now, the vision has transformed from seeking a singular cure for cancer to finding a multitude of cures for a complex disease that differentiates into the hundreds of types.

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Agency: Medicare refills strong drugs despite law
San Francisco Chronicle

Medicare routinely refilled pain pills and other restricted medications that are barred by federal law from renewal without a fresh prescription, government inspectors said in a report Thursday. The report based on 2009 data found three-quarters of contractors who processed prescriptions for the Medicare Part D program wrongly refilled some medications classed as Schedule II controlled substances, which include strong pain killers and other drugs considered at high risk for abuse. Those refills were worth a total of $25 million.

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Supervisors back retiree health premium payments
Sacramento Bee

By a narrow margin, Sacramento County supervisors on Tuesday reaffirmed their support for a controversial benefit – health insurance payments for retirees.

Because the benefit isn’t vested – and the county has been cutting numerous services in recent years – some supervisors have argued that the county should end it.

The benefit is expected to cost $1.4 million in 2013, according to an actuarial report presented to supervisors Tuesday.

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Parents, doctors and kids celebrate the fight against pediatric cancer
San Francisco Chronicle

Amidst the clamor of construction and downtown traffic Tuesday, a crowd of patients, nurses and doctors met outside of Kaiser Oakland’s Pediatric building to support National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Adorned in school bus-yellow t-shirts emblazoned with “Little Kids Get Cancer, Too,” health care providers and families gathered outside the hospital’s pediatric unit in downtown Oakland. Together, the group rallied to promote childhood cancer awareness and celebrate patients’ personal triumphs against the disease.