News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Healthcare reform seen as continuing regardless of election results
Modern Healthcare

Healthcare reform will continue no matter what happens with next month’s elections, agreed a panel of experts speaking Monday at the MGMA-ACMPE annual conference in San Antonio. What the panelists didn’t agree on were scope-of-practice issues and the role of physicians in providing team-based care. Moderated by MGMA-ACMPE President and CEO Dr. Susan Turney, the program was titled “The State of the Healthcare Industry” and included speakers representing employers, hospitals, payers and physicians who answered questions including the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the rise of healthcare consumerism.

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Healthcare costs top U.S. executives’ concerns: Adecco survey
Yahoo! News

U.S. corporate executives are more worried about providing healthcare benefits to their employees than about issues like wages, taxes or attracting qualified workers, according to a survey by the world’s No. 1 staffing company, Adecco SA. In Adecco’s poll of senior executives, 55 percent named healthcare benefits as their biggest current business challenge, and about a third say they are holding back hiring because of healthcare reforms introduced by U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Facing Medicare pay cut, many doc groups ready to curtail service: survey
Modern Healthcare

Almost half (45%) of physician group practices responding to an MGMA-ACMPE survey said they would cut back on appointments for new Medicare patients if Congress does not act to avert a steep Medicare physician pay cut. Meanwhile, 76% of those surveyed said they would reduce staff salaries and/or benefits, and 60% reported they have delayed buying new equipment or facilities in the past decade as lawmakers made short term fixes to Medicare’s sustainable growth-rate formula.

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Medical schools see gains in applicants, minority enrollment
Modern Physician

Amid fears of a looming physician shortage, the number of medical school applications and enrolled students showed encouraging growth during the past year, according to newly released figures from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

More than 45,000 students applied to medical school in 2012, up 3% from last year, and first-time enrollment increased 1.5% to 19,517 students, the AAMC said in a news release. The group predicted a 30% spike in total medical school enrollment by 2016.

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Healthgrades: Which states have the safest hospitals?
USA Today

Arizona, California, Illinois and Ohio scored the best marks for hospital care in a new report that says quality varies “significantly” from state to state in key health areas linked to mortality rates.

During 2005-2011, hospitals in those states outperformed others when treating patients for four key conditions or procedures studied: coronary artery bypass graft, heart attack, pneumonia and sepsis, according to the report to be released today by Healthgrades, a for-profit provider of information about physicians and hospitals.

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Disparity in pay divides doctors
Washington Post

Recently, a medical student confided in me a thought that few in our profession would dare say aloud: “We may have come to medical school to help people, but we choose our specialty careers based on potential salaries.”

This in part explains why the most-prized residencies are in fields such as dermatology and radiology, whose procedures generate high fees.

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What health care overhaul means, now and next year
Times-Standard

The full benefits of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 go into effect in January 2014, but the program manager for HICAP isn’t sure many Americans understand the major changes already in effect or in the pipeline. ”It’s no mystery why people are confused,” said Martha Johnson, program manager for the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program. “It’s complicated, details are still being worked out, and it’s been the center of political debate for the last four years.

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Children’s Hospital gala raises $2.6 Million
Los Angeles Business Journal

Supermodel Heidi Klum, basketball star Pau Gasol and The Walt Disney Co. were honored this Saturday at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ “Noche de Ninos” gala for their support of the hospital. The event attracted nearly 1,000 attendees and helped raise more than $2.6 million to fund critical hospital needs, Children’s said. The hospital’s signature biennial event aims to raise unrestricted funds to benefit patient care, medical research and families in need at Children’s Hospital.

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As many insurers drop child-only policies, states try to intervene
Washington Post

One of the first provisions of the Affordable Care Act to take effect prohibited insurers from turning down children younger than 19 on the grounds that they had a preexisting medical condition. The provision was supposed to make coverage more accessible to vulnerable kids whose families were trying to buy coverage on the individual market. Instead, it had the opposite effect: Insurers in many states stopped selling child-only policies.

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Patients should keep doctors informed of their medications and health history
Washington Post

Usually I go into a doctor’s appointment armed with a million questions, but I’ve never thought too deeply in advance about what information the medical professionals might need from me.

That’s unfortunate, because coming to any provider equipped with at least some background knowledge about your medical history can help you get better, more personalized and targeted care, says primary-care internist Foster Montalbano of Springfield Family Medicine.

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Settlement Eases Rules for Some Medicare Patients
New York Times

Tens of thousands of people with chronic conditions and disabilities may find it easier to qualify for Medicare coverage of potentially costly home health care, skilled nursing home stays and outpatient therapy under policy changes planned by the Obama administration. In a proposed settlement of a nationwide class-action lawsuit, the administration has agreed to scrap a decades-old practice that required many beneficiaries to show a likelihood of medical or functional improvement before Medicare would pay for skilled nursing and therapy services.

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Health insurance shopping? Getting informed on reform is a good place to start
Scoop

Health care reform is a hot topic, and not just for candidates running for political office. The cost of health care impacts the financial well-being of most Americans.

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Treating uninsured immigrants after health care reform
HealthyCal.org

The Affordable Care Act was intended to provide insurance for the uninsured – with one notable exception. Undocumented immigrants and lawfully present immigrants who’ve been here less than five years are excluded from health care reform. They are not eligible to purchase private insurance on state exchanges and they remain ineligible for Medicaid. National Immigration Law Center Health Policy Attorney Sonal Ambegaokar says the decision to exclude those populations was purely political — since excluding them undermines the effectiveness of the reform.

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Medicare and cost-shifting
GlendaleNewsPress.com

In the months leading up to the passage of “Obamacare” in 2010, there was a flurry of pro-and-con Mailbag letters regarding Medicare Advantage, the private insurance-company-run plans with a Medicare contract. Well, in the first debate, President Obama claimed that the Affordable Health Care Act reduces Medicare “overpayments.” This would reportedly include some $180 billion otherwise slated to go to Medicare Advantage plans.

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Report on reform’s free-market roots is puzzling to some
Modern Healthcare

A new study from the left-leaning Urban Institute says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act relies on market-based principles to achieve its goals, which opponents of the law say they find puzzling. Released Friday, the brief report from authors Randall Bovbjerg and Stan Dorn starts with the premise that although critics of the 2010 law refer to it as a government takeover of the U.S. healthcare system, it is actually based on pro-competitive reforms reminiscent of the Reagan era.

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Stop Cancer Research?
The Health Care Blog

Now here is a novel idea to save lives and stop the cancer plague; stop trying! Sounds as crazy to me, as it does to you, but this idea actually may have merit. Some smart people are saying that we have spent too much money for little gain, thus it is time to give up and by retreating win more battles in the war on cancer, than by charging ahead. The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) is the second largest cancer research agency in the United States, after the National Cancer Institute, controlling a pot of $3 billion dollars, most of which funds basic science and clinical research.

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