News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

AHA praises electronic claims processing rule
Modern Healthcare

The American Hospital Association likes what it sees in a CMS-proposed interim final rule for two key administrative claims processing procedures for electronic transactions. In a two-page letter to acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner from AHA’s Linda Fishman, senior vice president for policy analysis and development, stated the AHA was “pleased” the federal agency chose to adopt operating rules developed by the Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange.

News Headlines Article

Q&A: Kaiser Permanente CEO Halvorson on Retirement
Health Leaders Media

Kaiser Permanente chairman and CEO George Halvorson says he’ll retire from “the best job in healthcare on the planet” in December 2013

For 10 years, Halvorson has been the chief of two companies—the nation’s largest nonprofit health plan and a health system with 37 hospitals and 600 medical offices—which bring $50 billion in annual revenue from nine million enrollees in nine states. He has been among the highest paid health care executives, earning $7.7 million in 2010, according to a Kaiser spokeswoman.

News Headlines Article

Consumer group fighting insurance rates draws fire
The Bay Citizen

A consumer group that has reaped millions of dollars in fees from insurance companies thanks to a state initiative it wrote is facing a new wave of criticism from Democratic and Republican political consultants and lawmakers.

Critics note that the advocacy group, Consumer Watchdog, profits from the special insurance regulation process it not only created, but dominates. The consultants argue that the group is trying once again to use a ballot initiative to generate more revenue.

News Headlines Article

Benefits of online medical records outweigh the risks.
The Mercury News

A couple of years ago I arrived at my hotel in Berlin after a 12 hour flight and noticed that I had forgotten to pack medication I was taking at the time. Of course, I had no idea the actual name of the medication, let alone the exact dosage. And when I discovered it was missing, it was the middle of the night in California, so I couldn’t call my clinic or pharmacy. But it wasn’t a problem.

News Headlines Article

Insurers Prepare for Exchanges, but Are Exchanges Ready for Them?
The Atlantic

The attraction of the 2010 health law for insurance companies is obvious: Millions of new customers and billions in new spending. Those dollars will flow through state exchanges, online marketplaces where customers can shop for insurance. “This is the largest expansion since the Medicare program in 1965,” said Kelly A. Barnes, health industries leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers, an accounting and consulting firm. “When you look at that from a business perspective, you’ve got a market that you’ve never been able to participate in before.”

News Headlines Article

Kaiser Permanente CEO Halvorson plans to retire
Sacramento Business Journal

George Halvorson, chairman and CEO at Kaiser Permanente, told employees Thursday morning he plans to retire at the end of next year. He will be 66. He’s been at the helm at Oakland-based Kaiser — the dominant health plan and a major employer in the Sacramento region — since 2002. Under his leadership, Kaiser has grown to more than 9 million members, pioneered electronic health records and become a model for the future of health care.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson to retire in December 2013
San Francisco Business Times

George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, plans to retire in December 2013, Kaiser said Thursday morning, and is announcing his intentions now to give Kaiser time to find a successor. Halvorson, 65, has headed the giant Oakland-based integrated health care system since 2002. He will be 66 when he steps down in late 2013.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson to retire
Los Angeles Times

The longtime chairman and chief executive of Kaiser Permanente, George Halvorson, plans to retire in December 2013, and the nonprofit health system is searching for a new leader.

Halvorson, 65, helped build the Oakland company into the nation’s largest nonprofit insurer and hospital system, with more than 9 million customers and nearly $50 billion in annual revenue. It employs 17,000 physicians nationwide. Kaiser is the largest health maintenance organization in California with about 6.6 million members. It runs 35 hospitals in the state.

News Headlines Article

Halvorson retiring as head of Kaiser Permanente
Modern Healthcare

George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., announced he will retire in December of 2013. Halvorson, who is 65 and has held the position since 2002, announced his intention to retire more than a year in advance to give the board of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan adequate time to find a successor, according to a Kaiser news release . Halvorson said in an interview that he expects his successor to join integrated provider Kaiser Permanente before he leaves to ease the transition.

News Headlines Article

Hospital stocks fall on Romney debate performance
Yahoo! News

Shares of U.S. hospital operators fell after Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s strong showing in Wednesday’s U.S. presidential debate raised doubts about the future of President Obama’s healthcare reform. Hospital operators Tenet Healthcare Corp, HCA Holdings Inc, Healthsouth Corp and HCP Inc were all down between 1 percent and 3 percent Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, as it is popularly known, has set forth a mandate that will force millions of Americans to buy health insurance by 2014.

News Headlines Article

Healthcare leaders weigh in on presidential debate
Modern Healthcare

Pollsters, think tank analysts and healthcare interest groups on Thursday dissected the performances of President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who spent a good portion of their first presidential debate Wednesday explaining how they would tackle the nation’s healthcare problems. Families USA, a liberal healthcare consumer group and champion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, accused Romney of “breathtaking falsehoods and misleading statements” in a written statement from Ron Pollack, the organization’s executive director.

News Headlines Article

Americans have mixed feelings about healthcare: Reuters/Ipsos poll
Yahoo! News

It’s no secret that 2010’s Affordable Care Act is unpopular – except when it’s not. Reuters/Ipsos polling reveals a remarkably high level of approval for nearly all the provisions of the act, often in the 80 percent range, even though respondents oppose the legislation, commonly known as “Obamacare,” by 55 to 45.

News Headlines Article

Experts brace for wave of autistic adults
San Francisco Chronicle

Guido Abenes appreciates their concern, but he’d really like his parents to stop worrying about him. He’s 25, he says, and he’s doing fine. But he’s also autistic, part of the generation of young adults who were born during the first big wave of autism cases in the United States two decades ago and are now struggling to strike out on their own. “I tell them sometimes, ‘Stop it, I’m doing things, I’m resourceful,’ ” said Abenes, who is a student at Cal State East Bay. “They’re getting the message, I think. But they still worry.

News Headlines Article

Mixed results for legislation linked to medical care, fraud
California Watch

In the week following Gov. Jerry Brown’s deadline for passing or vetoing hundreds of bills, those affected are examining successes and defeats that touch on cancer care, emergency rooms, prescribing, elder care and compensation to victims of corporate fraud.

Those celebrating include a group of elder advocates who sought more autonomy for the state’s elder care ombudsman.

News Headlines Article

Drug billionaire to match cancer with treatment via blazing-fast DNA analysis
FiercePharma

The richest man in Los Angeles got that way by building drug companies. Now, he wants to build a nation-wide system that allows doctors to decode their patients’ tumors to match them with the proper treatment.

Patrick Soon-Shiong teamed up with Verizon ($VZ), Intel ($INTC), AT&T ($T) and Blue Shield of California, among others, to set up a supercomputer-based, high-speed data network for sharing DNA and other patient data.

News Headlines Article

GOP lawmakers urge halt on meaningful-use payments
Modern Healthcare

HHS should suspend incentive payments to providers in the electronic health-records program and delay penalties to those that do not integrate health IT until the federal department can define clear, interoperable standards, House Republican leaders suggested Thursday in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

News Headlines Article

Doctor gives $150,000 for UC Merced research in area
Sacramento Bee

A local cardiologist has given UC Merced a $150,000 gift with the idea of helping graduates stay in the area after completing their degrees, and help improve and expand the community.

Dr. Vikram Lakireddy wants to continue his family’s long tradition of giving back and donating to the community. The money will be used to establish The Dr. and Mrs. Lakireddy Innovation and Design Clinic Endowed Fund.

News Headlines Article

Probing health care reform
Victorville Daily Press

Health care reform is one of the issues at the heart of the upcoming presidential election, as the cost of health care is skyrocketing.

While both sides exchange verbal attacks to gain footing in the race, they agree on at least on one thing: The current health care system is not working. The United States spends more of its economy on health care than any other nation in the world, but, according to the CIA World Factbook, the country places 50th in the world in life expectancy.

News Headlines Article

Insurance commissioner backs eye care in California health exchange
Sacramento Bee

Rancho Cordova’s Vision Service Plan has a top government ally in its corner in its fight with a state agency over a new insurance program.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is urging the California Health Benefit Exchange to change the rules in VSP’s favor.

Separately, a second eye-care insurer from the region, Superior Vision Services Inc., is also making noise about the rules established by the exchange.

News Headlines Article

Feds announce fraud charges against 91
Modern Healthcare

More than 500 law-enforcement officials have fanned out across the country in the past 24 hours to execute arrests in a coordinated healthcare fraud takedown involving charges against 91 people in seven cities for false Medicare billings allegedly totaling $429 million. Officials with the Medicare Fraud Strike Force—a joint operation of the Justice Department and HHS—described numerous separate schemes in the fraud “hot spot” cities involving alleged false billings for home healthcare ($230 million), mental healthcare ($100 million), ambulance transportation fraud ($49 million) and other types of services, a news release said.

News Headlines Article

Profits drop at Dignity Health
Sacramento Business Journal

Net income at Dignity Health plummeted to $133 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, down more than 86 percent from $961 million the previous year. Revenue climbed 2 percent to $1.5 billion, but operating revenue declined 76 percent to $59 million. And the margin at Dignity, nonprofit parent company of local Mercy hospitals, took a nosedive to 1.3 percent from a four-year high of 9.3 percent in 2011.

News Headlines Article

OB-GYN contracts not renewed at Barton
Tahoe Daily Tribune

Barton Health is looking to hire new obstetricians and gynecologists after two physician groups decided not to renew their contracts with the hospital.

Negotiations fell through after Barton decided to stop managing the Tahoe Women’s Care offices in South Lake Tahoe and Minden, Nev. And some of those physicians say they won’t be taking on any new patients.

As a Californian nonprofit and under the Corporate Practice of Medicine Act, Barton cannot legally employ physicians.

Commands