News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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How Health Care Changed While You Were Watching the Election
California Healthline

After a seemingly endless presidential campaign, we’re just days away from the Nov. 6 election. And to be sure, health care issues remain at the forefront. Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have tried to claim the high ground as Medicare’s number one defender. In his latest column, the New York Times’ Paul Krugman argues that next week’s vote “is, to an important degree, really about Medicaid.”

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Dignity Health’s Mercy General gets new president
Sacramento Business Journal

Dignity Health has hired a new president at Mercy General Hospital and a chief physician executive for the Greater Sacramento-San Joaquin area. Edmundo Castaneda replaces longtime hospital president Denny Powell, who retired in June. The top doctor job — a new position — went to Dr. Karl Ulrich. Both men started their new jobs this month. Castaneda, 42, comes to Mercy General from Tenet Healthcare Corp.’s Sierra Medical Center in El Paso, Texas.

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Employer-based health coverage declining at small firms, study finds
Modern Healthcare

Although most Americans still receive health insurance coverage through their employers, new findings from the Commonwealth Fund show that fewer than half of U.S. employees in small firms were eligible for and were offered health insurance through their jobs in 2010, compared with 58% in 2003.

From 2001 to 2011, the study noted, the portion of individuals under the age of 65 who were covered by employer health plans fell to 57% from 68%. During this period, fewer workers in small firms—or those with 50 or fewer workers—were offered health insurance, were eligible to enroll in their company’s health plans, and were actually enrolled.

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Groups urge pricing transparency in healthcare
Modern Healthcare

Several employer groups across the country are calling on health plans and healthcare providers to make healthcare pricing more readily available to their employees and consumers by 2014. Catalyst for Payment Reform—a not-for-profit organization of large employers and healthcare buyers that includes 3M, Delta Airlines, Dow Chemical Co., the Walt Disney Co. and Xerox Corp.—is directing the effort. In a statement to health plans and healthcare providers, Catalyst for Payment Reform calls for wider availability of price data for those who use and pay for healthcare.

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Obamacare will affect health care coverage
The Daily Titan

The Affordable Care Act, now commonly known as “Obamacare,” will be put into full effect in 2014. For the students at Cal State Fullerton, this will have little effect on the services offered in the Student Health and Counseling Center (SHCC), but method of payment is another story. Anthem Blue Cross, the current health insurance provider to Cal State students, has announced that they will be withdrawing services from the California State University in 2014 as a result of the universal health care mandated by the Affordable Care Act, according to Kathy Spofford, associate director of the SHCC.

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VSP to add 400 jobs after favorable state ruling
Sacramento Bee

Vision Service Plan isn’t going anywhere. In fact, a favorable decision by a state agency Tuesday prompted the Rancho Cordova insurer to green-light a plan to add 400 jobs in the area.

The state agreed to rewrite the rules governing California’s fledgling online insurance market, a crucial piece of President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the health care system.

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Self-referral boosts Medicare imaging costs: GAO
Modern Healthcare

In 2010, it’s estimated that providers who self-referred patients for advanced imaging made about 400,000 more referrals than they would have had they not had a financial interest in the imaging equipment and that these referrals cost the Medicare system an additional $109 million, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

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Retail clinics gain repeat customers: study
Modern Physician

People who visit a retail or convenient-care clinic instead of a primary-care doctor for a minor illness may be less likely to visit a physician the next time they have a similar condition, according to a study by Rand Corp. researchers.

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Improving Patient Safety Through Electronic Health Record Simulation
The Health Care Blog

Most tools used in medicine require knowledge and skills of both those who develop them and use them. Even tools that are themselves innocuous can lead to patient harm. For example, while it is difficult to directly harm a patient with a stethoscope, patients can be harmed when improper use of the stethoscope leads to them having tests and/or treatments they do not need (or not having tests and treatments they do need).

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