News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Hospitals Scrutinize ACOs
Health Leaders Media

Accountable care organizations, heralded as the cornerstone of healthcare reform, remain something of an enigma in the healthcare industry. While ACOs hold the promise of retooling the industry into a leaner, meaner cost-cutting, care-improving machine, there’s still plenty of doubt that ACOs are the way to go, according to results from the 2012 HealthLeaders Media Accountable Care Organization Survey.

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Hospitals try voice recognition for health records
USA Today

If your doctor is talking to an iPad the next time you see her, she may actually be flipping through your file. Voice-recognition technology developers are introducing a slew of products aimed at getting doctors to document patient information more immediately and thoroughly. The technology has advanced far enough, its proponents say, that it can now do more than just passively receive doctors’ input.

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Pharmaceutical Robotics Require Careful Assessment
Health Leaders Media

Pharmaceutical robotics has made its way from futuristic, cutting-edge technology to almost becoming just another highly sophisticated tool that we expect to see in larger healthcare facilities. But that does not mean it is a perfect solution to medication dispensing problems. Before you sign on to a multi-million-dollar pharmaceutical robotics program, consider the potential pitfalls you may encounter on the way to all the benefits.

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St. Joseph Hospital recognized for excellence in lactation care
Times-Standard

The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and the International Lactation Consultant Association have recognized St. Joseph Hospital for excellence in lactation care. The IBCLC Care Award honors facilities like St. Joseph Hospital that have International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and provide a lactation program that is available for breastfeeding families. The hospital has also been recognized for providing breastfeeding training for RN staff.

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California hires relatives of hospital reform effort’s leader
Los Angeles Times

During Nirbhay Singh’s eight years as lead consultant for California’s psychiatric hospitals, state officials hired his relatives, then urged the facilities to use a little-known therapy and psychological questionnaire they had devised, state records and interviews show.

To fill out Singh’s consulting team, the Department of Mental Health in 2006 hired his wife, Judy Singh, whose background is in reading comprehension and adult literacy.

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Consumers see hospital, doc-office prices rise 0.2%
Modern Healthcare

Consumer hospital services prices climbed 0.2% in March, resulting in a price rise of 5.2% for the year ended March, according to seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The hospital services CPI in February had fallen 0.1%, according to the BLS data. The CPI for physician services also rose 0.2% in March and was up 1.3% for the year ended March, according to the BLS. The physician services CPI had fallen 0.5% in February.

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Express Scripts aims to predict medicine problems
San Francisco Chronicle

Express Scripts aims to help patients stay on their meds with a product that predicts who will stop taking prescriptions before the person actually does it. The pharmacy benefits manager is launching ScreenRx, a program that uses a computer to sift through hundreds of factors that affect patients and forecast who is most likely to forget a refill or simply stop taking their drugs. The company then plans to contact those patients to help them stick with their doctor’s orders.

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State insurance chief addresses health care reform during town hall session in Marina
Monterey Herald

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said he is optimistic the U.S. Supreme Court won’t strike down the federal health reform law.

The law will likely survive, he said, because it is based on solid precedent the court’s conservative wing holds dear.

“They keep telling us that they don’t believe in judicial activism, so I’m going to take them at their word,” Jones said on Thursday before a town hall meeting in Marina with Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel.

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S.F. hospital deal could raise health care costs
San Francisco Chronicle

There is growing concern among some city leaders that a controversial deal Mayor Ed Lee has struck with California Pacific Medical Center to build a 555-bed hospital on Cathedral Hill will undermine San Francisco’s efforts to control health care costs. While the mayor has lauded the complex, 229-page agreement as a jobs generator that will bring the city’s hospital network into the 21st century, the deal has raised concerns about how much of the $2.5 billion construction project will be passed on to consumers.

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California state mental hospitals plagued by peril
Los Angeles Times

When Garth Webb was sent to Napa State Hospital, his parents were relieved.

The bellboy and amateur composer from Sebastopol had been in the throes of bipolar disorder when he was charged with threatening the lives of co-workers. His family encouraged him to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, thinking that in a mental hospital he would get the treatment he needed.

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Doctors form independent group
San Mateo Daily Journal

In fact, a group of local independent doctors joined forces to promote their own offices and the services they provide as national health care reform legislation is decided in the courts. With the uncertainty of the national Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, about 165 private practice doctors on the Peninsula have incorporated to find efficiencies in their own offices and to better serve their patients.

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Online study of Avastin breast cancer patients
San Francisco Chronicle

South San Francisco’s Genentech has teamed up with personal genetics company 23andMe for a new kind of study – one that doesn’t require patients to find a clinical trial center or make frequent visits to a doctor’s office. The Bay Area companies are initiating an online effort to recruit 1,000 patients with metastatic breast cancer who have taken Genentech’s Avastin, a drug that had its approval for breast cancer revoked last year over safety and efficacy concerns.

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Region’s hospitals need to collaborate to advance cancer screening, treatment
Sacramento Bee

We are privileged in the Greater Sacramento region, a health care hub for much of Northern California, to have one of the nation’s 44 comprehensive cancer centers. With that prestigious designation comes great opportunity – and great responsibility. With passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, the United States made a commitment to greatly expand cancer research.

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Health Care, Not Coverage
The Health Care Blog

For the next three months, the Supreme Court will mull the constitutionality of the new health care law. At stake is the government’s requirement that its citizens buy private health insurance. But whatever the outcome, it’s a foregone conclusion that some fundamental change must be instituted in the financing of health care delivery. Today, enormous sums of taxpayer money are spent on the administration of health care programs such as Medicaid.

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