News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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1 in 3 Healthcare Workers Skip Flu Shots
Health Leaders Media

Despite efforts by the government and the health systems and hospitals that employ them, some healthcare workers continue to resist getting vaccinated against seasonal influenza. Healthy People 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ most recent 10-year agenda for improving the nation’s health, set a target that 90% of healthcare personnel (HCP) be vaccinated against influenza by the year 2020. Its interim goal is targeting that by 2015, 70% of HCP get the flu vaccine.

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Filmmaker explores health care issues in “The Waiting Room” at Oakland’s Highland Hospital
The Mercury News

When Bay Area filmmaker Peter Nicks started working on “The Waiting Room,” his documentary about Oakland’s Highland Hospital, one fact stood out immediately: the overwhelming diversity of the human stories he encountered. One day, for instance, a renowned drummer from West Africa got sick and wound up in the hospital. Almost overnight, dozens of Africans living in Alameda County were at the man’s hospital bedside with instruments, singing, dancing and partying. Another day a man who had worked for Richard Nixon came in after suffering a stroke. Neither man had insurance.

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Training key to rollout, Cedars-Sinai exec says
Modern Healthcare

Ten years ago, arguably the most famous fizzle in healthcare information technology history happened when Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles scrapped its “big bang” implementation of a computerized physician-order entry system. The much publicized failure of a then-health IT leader sent a chill through the healthcare IT industry. In March, the hospital completed a seven-phase, five-year effort to buy and roll out a commercial EHR system with a hospitalwide implementation of CPOE, said Darren Dworkin, its senior vice president of enterprise information systems and chief information officer.

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Sacramento is test market for health care contracting, payments
Sacramento Business Journal

Watch the Sacramento health care market because it is a perfect Petri dish for new contracting and payment arrangements, says health economist Paul Ginsburg. With four powerful nonprofit health systems – each aligned with physician groups – Sacramento is the most organized market in the state. The strong presence of HMOs, growing dominance of Kaiser Permanente and influence of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System makes Sacramento a good place for innovative approaches like narrow networks and global payments that require health plans, hospitals and doctors to work together, Ginsburg said recently at a Sacramento forum.

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Multivitamin Use Linked to Lowered Cancer Risk
New York Times

After a series of conflicting reports about whether vitamin pills can stave off chronic disease, researchers announced on Wednesday that a large clinical trial of nearly 15,000 older male doctors followed for more than a decade found that those taking a daily multivitamin experienced 8 percent fewer cancers than the subjects taking dummy pills. While many studies have focused on the effects of high doses of particular vitamins or minerals, like calcium and vitamin D, this clinical trial examined whether a common daily multivitamin had an effect on overall cancer risk.

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Healthcare CIOs Opt for the Cloud
Health Leaders Media

Cloud computing is taking hold in healthcare as a form of data sharing and for archival storage, an infrastructure cost-cutter and a time-to-market accelerator, and even as a method of recovering from disaster. But as author William Gibson famously said, if the future is already here, it isn’t evenly distributed yet, and cloud computing is a textbook example. Concerns about security, privacy, regulatory compliance, and service-level agreements are just a few of those cited in and around healthcare as go-slow signals for adoption of the cloud.

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Lapses at Big Drug Factories Add to Shortages and Danger
New York Times

Weevils floating in vials of heparin. Morphine cartridges that contain up to twice the labeled dose. Manufacturing plants with rusty tools, mold in production areas and — in one memorable case — a barrel of urine.

These recent quality lapses at big drug companies show that contamination and shoddy practices extend well beyond the loosely regulated compounding pharmacies that have attracted attention because of their link to an outbreak of meningitis.

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NCHS expands to include family health services in Carlsbad
The Coast News

In a quest to provide more health care to residents of all ages, NCHS (North County Health Services) is converting its Pediatrics Services in Carlsbad to a comprehensive Family Medicine Health Center.

This relocation will also include a marked expansion for these services at its 1295 Carlsbad Village Drive address. The new health center, 2,700 square feet in size, will actually double its current space.

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State program for medically uninsurable lowers premiums
Sacramento Business Journal

The state insurance program for people who are medically uninsurable due to their health condition voted Wednesday to decrease members’ premiums next year an average of 12 percent. The Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board was looking at an average rate increase of almost 10 percent for the program, but a bill signed by the governor last month allows the agency to subsidize rates to stem disenrollment.

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Surgery safety effort could hurt hospital revenue: study
Modern Healthcare

Efforts to reduce post-surgical complications such as infections could lead to substantial drops in hospital revenue, according to a study published online in Health Affairs that examined the business case for such programs.

Citing the current fee-for-service model, the authors said such quality-improvement programs could result in far lower reimbursement rates for hospitals. Average reimbursement revenue for a surgical patient who experiences complications is $36,730, or about $13,000 more than the average reimbursement for a patient who experiences no complications, they said.

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El Centro Regional Medical Center pediatric care cut
Imperial Valley Press Online

It’s been two days since pediatricians servicing El Centro Regional Medical Center have been off the job following a contract impasse with the hospital, forcing ECRMC to outsource some of its services.

The county was notified about the issue Monday and so was the state, said Imperial County Emergency Services Manager Cedric Cesena.

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CDC: More young men hospitalized for heart failure
Modern Healthcare

Fewer women ages 65 years and older were hospitalized for congestive heart failure in 2010 than in 2000, but this improvement was offset by an increase in congestive heart failure hospitalizations for men younger than 65, according to a new data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. There were about 1 million congestive heart failure hospitalizations in both years, resulting in a rate of 32.8 hospitalizations per 10,000 people in 2010 compared with 35.5 in 2000.

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Doctors, survivors work to create greater awareness of ovarian cancer
Los Angeles Daily News

Its nickname is “The Silent Killer.”

For most women though, that’s an inaccurate description of ovarian cancer.

Dr. Beth Karlan of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center even testified before Congress in 2005 stating that both physicians and women need to be aware that ovarian cancer does, in fact, have symptoms.

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Sacramento County program offers health care for poor
Modesto Bee

Sacramento became the latest county Wednesday to unveil a medical program to provide care for some of its poorest residents until the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, who is credited for her role in supporting the effort, told public officials and medical industry leaders at a south-area clinic that the Low Income Health Program will provide a “bridge to health care reform, ensuring Sacramento County residents have the coverage they need until full implementation” of the federal act.

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How Wal-Mart May Have Just Changed the Game on Health Care
California Healthline

Entitlement spending: Discussed. The contraception mandate: Made an appearance. But once again, the most important health care story of the week didn’t come up in the primetime presidential debates. And no — “Road to Reform” isn’t referring to the oft-overlooked Medicaid program, but more news from the private sector: Wal-Mart’s decision to directly contract with six leading hospitals, which could be a real game changer.

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Are Doctors Too Wary of Drug Companies?
New York Times

Not long ago, I asked a colleague for advice on a patient. He offered up a couple of treatment options, then stopped to show me a new medical app on his electronic tablet. With a few swipes of his finger, he summoned a compilation of research articles, synopses and even entire textbooks that, printed and bound, would have filled shelves in a library.

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New Hope for Mental Health
The Huffington Post

The statistics are staggering: one in two Americans will struggle with a psychiatric disorder in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization lists depression, schizophrenia and addiction among the five most common illnesses affecting people between the ages of 18 and 44.

For those Americans living with often-undiagnosed conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, addiction or an eating disorder, effective mental health care can have a significant beneficial impact on their health and well being.

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