News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Doctor shortage could take turn for the worse
USA Today

The U.S. is currently facing a severe shortage of doctors.

The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that by 2020, the shortage will amount to more than 90,000 doctors, including 45,000 patient care physicians. Why such a shortfall? The baby boom generation is getting older and will require more medical care in the coming years. The newly enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will soon require most people to obtain health insurance, leading millions more to seek care. Finally, a third of all doctors plan to retire this decade.

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Preventable Error Reporting Hindered by Fear of Reprisal
Health Leaders Media

Hospitals and other healthcare organizations have done a good job in the last 20 years building mechanisms to monitor and report preventable errors. However, those efforts are hobbled by clinicians’ reluctance to report colleagues’ mistakes for fear of retaliation, according to a new report from the National Association for Healthcare Quality.

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OIG Issues EHR Fraud Survey
Health Leaders Media

Attention, hospitals that have attained meaningful use status: The U.S. government may be asking you some tough questions as part of its oversight mandate, and you will have to answer quickly.

Providers have until Friday, October 26, to respond to an 18-page, 54-question survey probing their electronic health record system data entry habits, security practices, and more.

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Hospital volunteer understands plight of newborns in critical care
Los Angeles Times

Tiny 10-day-old Hunter Carrillo lay sedated on an elevated bed at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, hooked to a massive machine taking the place of his heart, lungs and kidneys.

His parents, Tami and Joe, hovered nervously nearby. Every few minutes, Tami Carrillo carefully stepped around the tangle of cords and monitors to get a closer look at her newborn son and to briefly hold his fingers.

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Dems, GOP see advantage in Medicare debate
Modern Healthcare

A little more than two weeks before Election Day, Republicans and Democrats alike say Medicare is working to their political advantage in campaigns for the White House and Congress. They can’t both be right, and no matter which side is, this is one campaign clash with consequences extending well beyond Nov. 6. Mitt Romney “would replace guaranteed benefits with a voucher system,” says a commercial that President Barack Obama’s campaign aired in several states this fall. “Seniors could pay $6,000 more a year.

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Questions for Medicare in outbreak
Modern Healthcare

Medicare is coming under scrutiny in the meningitis outbreak that has rekindled doubts about the safety of the nation’s drug supply.

The giant health insurance program for seniors long ago flagged compounded drugs produced for the mass market without oversight from the Food and Drug Administration as safety risks. In 2007, Medicare revoked coverage of compounded inhaler drugs for lung disease.

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State Policy Leaders Steer Clear of Politics at Conference
California Healthline

With close to 700 health policy experts, bureaucrats and state administrators gathered three weeks before the country elects a president and most of Congress, you’d expect some political chatter. Not so much. Compared with last year when much of the agenda — as well as hallway talk — revolved around the Supreme Court’s impending decision on health care reform, “what-if” discussions about the November election were conspicuously absent at this year’s National Academy for State Health Policy national conference.

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Officials: Breast cancer rates improve, but screenings still essential
Napa Valley Register

Diane Van Deusen melted down for about a day and a half when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of this year — but she soon decided there was no way to face cancer other than head-on.

Van Deusen, 55, will have her last radiation treatment this Monday at Queen of the Valley Medical Center. Her cancer was caught at “an extremely early stage” by a mammogram, which she credits for helping save her life.

“My cancer hadn’t permeated the tissue, which was excellent for my prognosis,” Van Deusen said.

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The Public Eye: Lawsuit says Sacramento County denies medical aid to poor
Sacramento Bee

Among urban California counties, Sacramento County pays the second-lowest amount to recipients of General Assistance – called the aid program of last resort.

The base amount is $234 a month, minus $40 for medical care and $25 for a bus pass – leaving $169 in cash.

Now the county is being accused of depriving recipients of the medical services they pay for through the County Medically Indigent Services Program.

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Hospital district board candidates raise tens of thousands
Mountain View VOICE

Candidates for the El Camino Hospital District’s board of directors are courting voters with ads and mailers, according to recent campaign financial reports. Most of the candidates report taking in upwards of $10,000 in contributions and loans, and are spending that money on campaign literature, newspaper advertisements and website design services. The biggest spenders on the campaign are incumbents John Zoglin and Wes Alles, who have spent a grand total of about $15,870 so far — about $1,000 more than the $14,763 they have thus far raised.

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Healthcare district surveys challenges
The Desert Sun

The Desert Healthcare District Board is one of the toughest among this year’s local elections, with two newcomers vying for one of three seats held by seasoned incumbents.

The newcomers are Dr. William Grimm and Ron Stewart, while the incumbents are Mark Matthews, Dr. Sidney Rubenstein and Dr. Mark Solomon.

We asked each candidate several questions. Solomon did not respond to The Desert Sun’s inquiries.

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Diabetes Study Ends Early With a Surprising Result
New York Times

A large federal study of whether diet and weight loss can prevent heart attacks and strokes in overweight and obese people with Type 2 diabetes has ended two years ahead of schedule because the intensive program did not help.

“I was surprised,” said Rena Wing, the study’s chairwoman and a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University’s medical school.

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Health Care Issues Continue To Take Center Stage as Election Nears
California Healthline

During a campaign rally in northern Virginia on Friday, President Obama criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s recent efforts to appeal to women and moderate voters, saying his opponent is suffering from “Romnesia,” The Hill’s “Blog Briefing Room” reports. Obama noted that Romney is “backtracking and sidestepping” on a number of issues, including abortion. “If you say you would protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a debate and say you would be delighted to sign a bill that banned all abortions… you need to get a thermometer, take your temperature, because you might have Romnesia,” Obama said.

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Remedy for Tri-City blues up to voters
North County Times

Coastal North County residents should be cramming like crazy before casting ballots for their public hospital district’s board of directors. The down-ticket contest is one that normally gets little or no attention from voters. However, given the board’s recent past, residents ought to be studying harder and asking tougher-than-normal questions before marking their choices. Up for grabs is a voting-majority of four seats on Tri-City Healthcare District’s seven-member board.

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