News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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1 in 3 Medical Directors in Line for Bonus Pay
Health Leaders Media

Adding a medical director to a hospital’s staff is costing some healthcare institutions about $1 million each year, while creating a lucrative career path for the physicians who are hired in that role.

This year, nearly 35% of medical directors are getting bonuses, 8% more than last year, a compensation survey shows.

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Southern California health care administrator selected to head Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
The Mercury News

After the sudden departure of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s CEO four months ago, a health care administrator from Southern California was appointed on Wednesday to take over the vacant post. Paul Lorenz, currently the chief deputy director for the Ventura County Health Care Agency, will earn an annual salary of $251,535 to head the county’s 574-bed acute care hospital. His predecessor, Linda M. Smith, served for 18 months and exited the office with a salary of $284,866.

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’No-Pay’ Policy for HAIs Does Not Reduce Infections
Health Leaders Media

A Harvard study raises questions about whether paying for performance—or penalizing hospitals for poor performance—improves quality of care.

The researchers examined whether the federal policy that took effect Oct. 1, 2008 prohibiting reimbursement for acute care services necessitated by hospital-acquired bloodstream or urinary tract infections provoked those infection rates to decline.

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Report sees savings in changing care settings
Modern Healthcare

Changing patient-care settings—without re-designing the way care is provided—could save the Medicare program about $34.7 billion over 10 years, according to a new report released by the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation. Researchers from Dobson DaVanzo and Associates conducted the study, called the Clinically Appropriate and Cost-Effective Placement (CACEP) project, to understand how episodes of care are provided, and to examine models of home health that could be effective in the Medicare program.

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Reports: Judge lets Prime-Landmark deal proceed
Modern Healthcare

Prime Healthcare Services, Ontario, Calif., has received court approval to buy Landmark Medical Center, Woonsocket, R.I. Local media reports said Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein gave the go-ahead for the transaction less than two weeks after Prime disclosed it had reached a deal for the 133-bed medical center. For-profit system Prime, which focuses on turning around distressed hospitals, stepped in to buy Landmark the day after negotiations fell apart with private equity-backed Steward Health Care System, which dropped its bid on Sept. 27.

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Sutter consolidating 1,000 back-office jobs to Roseville
Sacramento Business Journal

Sutter Health plans to consolidate 1,000 back-office jobs to a new shared services center in Roseville over the next 18 months, Sutter officials announced Wednesday. The site is part of an office complex formerly occupied by Hewlett Packard Co. The net number of new jobs for the Sacramento region is unclear because some existing local jobs will consolidate there, too. But one local real estate expert said most of the jobs would be new to the region.

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Eight vie for four seats on Tri-City board
North County Times

Eight candidates vying for four open seats on the Tri-City Medical Center board seem upbeat about the future of the public health care district, but several are calling for greater collegiality among the elected officials who run the Oceanside hospital.

There are three incumbents and five challengers on the ballot this year. Some have spent their careers in medicine, while others have served in local government or education.

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Tri-City profits have tamed of late
North County Times

Tri-City Healthcare District CEO Larry Anderson was winning awards as recently as February for “the remarkable financial turnaround at the Oceanside Hospital,” as a news release put it.

Shortly after that, the public hospital agency’s numbers started showing signs that the turnaround is losing steam.

The agency —- which serves Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista —- has lost money two out of the past five months. In four of the past five months, the district failed to meet its profit projections.

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Doctors, staff to gather for California Medical Association meeting
Sacramento Business Journal

About 750 doctors and 150 staff will converge on downtown Sacramento this weekend, generating an economic boost for the city courtesy of the California Medical Association’s annual House of Delegates. The Sacramento-based trade group hosts the meeting on its own stomping grounds every other year. Participants will convene Saturday through Monday at the Sacramento Convention Center. Meetings also will be held at the nearby Sheraton and Hyatt hotels.

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Health care reform helps L.A. clinic meet rising demand
HealthyCal.org

South Los Angeles, maybe best remembered as ground zero for the 1992 Rodney King riots, now boasts an unexpected draw. Patients are traveling from other parts of Los Angeles to seek care at the South Central Family Health Center, a clinic that provides health care to the uninsured – and is using grants from the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act to innovate and grow.

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Inside Medicine: In-hospital cardiac arrest common – and a tangle
Sacramento Bee

Despite our expectations that we go to the hospital to get well, each year more than 200,000 people have their heart stop unexpectedly – cardiac arrest – while in the hospital.

In most cases treatment involves cardiopulmonary resuscitation. How effective are hospitals at dealing with these emergencies? Based on our experience watching a cardiac arrest on TV, we might assume hospitals are nearly always successful at CPR.

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Napa medical group rejoins Blue Shield
Napa Valley Register

All physicians with the Napa Valley Family Medical Group are once again contracted with Blue Shield insurance.

The new contract became effective Aug. 1 and is good for three years, said Lindy Wagner, of Blue Shield of California’s Corporate Communications office.

About 10 physicians with offices in Napa and St. Helena belong to the Napa Valley Family Medical Group.

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New Landmark California Acupuncture Health Insurance Law
HealthCMI

New landmark legislation establishes acupuncture health insurance benefits for California citizens. California Governor Jerry Brown signed California State Legislature Assembly Bill AB 1453 into law on September 30th. The bill, authored by Assemblymember Bill Monning (D-Carmel), establishes the details for California’s essential health benefits and takes effect in 2014.

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Report highlights problems in employer health insurance plans
Live Insurance News

A new report from Truven Healthcare, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan suggests that as health insurance costs grow, productivity amongst employees declines. This is due to a trend amongst U.S. employers who are looking to reduce the amount of money they pay in providing health insurance benefits for workers by having employees pay a larger share of monthly premiums. Many employers claim that this tactic is necessary to continue providing employees with benefits, but as prices grow, employees are becoming less productive in their jobs.

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OIG: Medicare exposed to financial losses from ID theft
Modern Healthcare

Although the CMS managed to notify the nearly 14,000 Medicare beneficiaries whose medical identities were stolen in a recent two-year period, the agency failed to meet legal requirements designed to minimize financial losses to the program, a government watchdog found. The HHS inspector general’s report issued Wednesday examined the 14 reported CMS security breaches from Sept. 23, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2011, resulting in the stolen medical identities of 13,775 Medicare beneficiaries.

It found the agency failed to meet several legal requirements, including steps designed to stop payment for services linked to the stolen beneficiary numbers.

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Kaiser Permanente notes early breast cancer screenings key for survivors
San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The national survival rate for breast cancer patients is 91 percent. Kaiser Permanente’s patients’ survival rate is 93 percent, noted Dr. Hong Yoon Plurad.

Plurad, a surgeon and director of the Breast Center at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park (KPBP) Medical Center, said that small increase in the survival rate is the result of several efforts by Kaiser Permanente.

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Seton Medical Center, affiliate donate almost $900,000 to San Mateo County’s Measure A sales tax hike campaign
The Mercury News

While San Mateo County officials maintain they have yet to decide how to distribute $60 million a year if the Measure A half-cent sales tax increase passes on Nov. 6, Seton Medical Center and its parent group have donated $885,868 to the campaign. The Daly City hospital admits it could use a slice of the tax revenue to pay for costly state-required seismic safety work.

The $765,805 Seton donated and $120,063 its parent organization, Daughters of Charity Health System, chipped in together account for roughly 90 percent of the $990,970 raised so far by the “Yes on Measure A” campaign, finance statements released Friday show.

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Nonpayment policy not impacting infection rates: study
Modern Healthcare

The federal government’s 4-year-old nonpayment policy for hospital-acquired conditions has had no measurable effect on rates of several types of healthcare-associated infections specifically targeted by the program, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In October 2008, the CMS stopped reimbursing hospitals for 12 hospital-acquired conditions, including patient falls, late-stage pressure ulcers, air embolisms and certain healthcare-associated infections.

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CalPERS considers 85% rate hike for long-term care policies
Sacramento Bee

CalPERS is preparing to impose a rate hike of up to 85 percent on most of its long-term care insurance policyholders.

The rate hike would begin in 2015 and would be phased in over two years. It would affect three-fourths of the 150,000 CalPERS members who’ve bought long-term care policies, which pay for stays in nursing homes, convalescent homes and so on.

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Health Insurance Industry Supports Reform but Gives Bigger Bucks to Opponents
All Gov

Their lips may say “yes,” but their contributions say “no way.” While publicly supporting President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform plan, health insurance companies have given millions of dollars to Republicans dedicated to repealing it. From the industry’s top trade group to the largest insurers, executives endorsed Obama’s plan to impose significant changes on medical care.

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