News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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For 2020 Dem Hopefuls, ‘Medicare-For-All’ Is A Defining Issue, However They Define It
Kaiser Health News

Democrats with 2020 presidential aspirations are courting the party’s increasingly influential progressive wing and staking out ambitious policy platforms.

Front and center are three words: Medicare. For. All.

That simple phrase is loaded with political baggage, and often accompanied by vague promises and complex jargon. Different candidates use it to target different voter blocs, leading to sometimes divergent, even contradictory ideas.

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2 Liberal Democrats Are Promoting A Twist On ‘Medicare For All’
The Huffington Post

Rosa DeLauro has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1991, which means she was there when Democrats tried to pass comprehensive health care legislation ― first unsuccessfully, when Bill Clinton was president, and then successfully, when it was Barack Obama’s turn. She took many lessons from those episodes, but one of the biggest was that threatening the insurance of people with good employer benefits is a terrible idea, no matter how appealing the new alternative sounds.

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Healthcare venture capital is growing: 13 latest deals
Becker's Hospital Review

Venture capitalists poured $2.6 billion into healthcare startups in January, and several healthcare venture capital deals were announced in the first half of February.

Below are 13 healthcare venture capital deals announced in the past month.

1. Vicarious Surgical, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of virtual reality software for minimally invasive surgery procedures, completed a $10 million funding round led by Bill Gates’ Gates Frontier.

2. Vor Biopharma, a Boston-based stem cell therapy startup focused on the treatment of hematological malignancies, completed a $42 million Series A financing round led by 5AM Ventures and RA Capital Management.

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More To Come This Week On Optum’s Dispute With Amazon Healthcare Venture Exec
Health Leaders Media

An order from the First Circuit sent the parties back to the District Court for more hearings this week on whether the judge should block former Optum executive David Smith from working for the Amazon-backed healthcare venture.

Parties involved in a trade secrets dispute between Optum Inc. and David Smith, who accepted a senior position with Amazon’s healthcare venture in December, must return this week to the District Court in Boston, where new details about Amazon’s still-gestating project could be forced into public view.

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Seniors Aging In Place Turn To Devices And Helpers, But Unmet Needs Are Common
Kaiser Health News

About 25 million Americans who are aging in place rely on help from other people and devices such as canes, raised toilets or shower seats to perform essential daily activities, according to a new study documenting how older adults adapt to their changing physical abilities.

But a substantial number don’t get adequate assistance. Nearly 60 percent of seniors with seriously compromised mobility reported staying inside their homes or apartments instead of getting out of the house. Twenty-five percent said they often remained in bed. Of older adults who had significant difficulty putting on a shirt or pulling on undergarments or pants, 20 percent went without getting dressed. Of those who required assistance with toileting issues, 27.9 percent had an accident or soiled themselves.

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Discharged, Dismissed: ERs Often Miss Chance To Set Overdose Survivors On ‘Better Path’
Kaiser Health News

The last time heroin landed Marissa Angerer in a Midland, Texas, emergency room — naked and unconscious — was May 2016. But that wasn’t her first drug-related interaction with the health system. Doctors had treated her a number of times before, either for alcohol poisoning or for ailments related to heavy drug use. Though her immediate, acute health issues were addressed in each episode, doctors and nurses never dealt with her underlying illness: addiction.

Angerer, now 36 and in recovery, had been battling substance use disorder since she started drinking alcohol at age 16. She moved onto prescription pain medication after she broke her ankle and then eventually to street opiates like heroin and fentanyl.

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‘Not Letting It Define Us’ — Walking The Runway With Metastatic Breast Cancer
National Public Radio

On a cold, bright Sunday afternoon during New York Fashion Week, nearly six hundred people packed into an old building in Manhattan’s Lower East Side for an unusual lingerie show. The audience shouted exuberantly when the first model stepped onto the runway. Jaleh Panahi, of Kingston, New York, is a 73-year old practicing physician, mother and grandmother who’s had metastatic breast cancer for eight years.

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Digital transformation in healthcare remains complex and challenging
Healthcare IT News

The famous Henry Ford quote seems just as true today as it was at the time, about wanting faster horses. I know from my own experience when I have asked business sponsors, managers and clinicians about problems or pain points they often reach for the nearest solution within sight. This approach misses the deeper technology requirements and fundamentally isn’t really transformative.

The hard part of digital transformation in healthcare is challenging how we work right now and establishing why we maintain the status quo.

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Glimpsing The Future At Gargantuan Health Tech Showcase
Kaiser Health News

Imagine going to the doctor and finding out before you leave the exam room how much your prescribed drug will cost, avoiding sticker shock at the pharmacy.

Or what if you could wear a tiny device at the top of your back that would gently nudge you to sit up straight whenever you slump.

How about not having to sign by hand a raft of hospital registration papers — instead, doing it all online — and using a laptop computer during your stay for health education purposes?

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These 6 healthcare startups will be the next $1B ‘unicorns,’ NYT and analysts predict
Becker's Hospital Review

Six of the next 50 unicorns, or startups valued at $1 billion or more, are related to healthcare, according to a new analysis.

The New York Times and CB Insights — a research firm focused on predicting technology trends — partnered to compile a list of 50 “high-momentum” startups that the organizations believe will one day be unicorns. They identified the 50 companies using the Mosaic algorithm, a metric that combines a company’s financial health, the amount of traction it has and the strength of its market.

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Racial Disparities In Cancer Incidence And Survival Rates Are Narrowing
National Public Radio

For decades, the rate of cancer incidence and deaths from the disease among African-Americans in the United States far outpaced that of whites. But the most recent analysis of national data by the American Cancer Society suggests that “cancer gap” is shrinking: In recent years, death rates from four major cancers have declined more among blacks than among whites.

The report was published online Thursday in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

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Scientific Duo Gets Back To Basics To Make Childbirth Safer
National Public Radio

Brittney Crystal was just over 25 weeks pregnant when her water broke.

It was her second pregnancy — the first had been rough, and the baby came early.

To try to avoid a second premature birth, Dr. Joy-Sarah Vink, an obstetrician and co-director of the Preterm Birth Prevention Center at Columbia University Medical Center, arranged for Crystal to be transported by ambulance from her local Connecticut hospital to New York City, where Vink could direct her care.

Two weeks later Crystal started having contractions. She was given magnesium sulfate to stop them, and made it through the night. Crystal believed there was a future for her coming baby, whom she had named Iris.

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San Diego biotech company teams up with doctors to offer genome sequencing to Tijuana children
San Diego Union-Tribune

Over four decades of volunteering in Tijuana, Dr. Marilyn Jones has come across numerous cases of children suffering from rare and undiagnosed genetic conditions. And even after years spent evaluating these patients on both sides of the border, some still confound the clinical geneticist from Rady Children’s Hospital.

Now through an alliance with the San Diego biotech company Illumina, Jones has a powerful new tool as she works with young Mexican patients and their families: a diagnostic test known as whole genome sequencing.

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Planned Aggie Square Rehab Facility Has UC Labor Unions Concerned Over Outsourcing
capital public radio

The new Aggie Square campus near the UC Davis hospital in Sacramento is being advertised as a hub of innovation for the university, but the new rehab facility there might not be staffed by UC employees.

UC Davis is partnering with a national company called Kindred Healthcare to build the new 40-bed physical rehabilitation center, and that company — which owns 51 percent of the project — will be doing the hiring. When the current rehabilitation units close due to seismic compliance deadlines taking effect in 2020, administration says those workers can apply for jobs with Kindred, or they can take jobs elsewhere in the main hospital or at outpatient clinics. They say no one will be laid off.

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Kaiser Permanente’s New Medical School Will Waive Tuition for Its First 5 Classes
New York Times

Kaiser Permanente, the California-based health system that is preparing to open one of the few American medical schools not connected to a university, was set to announce Tuesday that it would waive tuition for every student in its first five graduating classes.

Kaiser Permanente, which has its own hospitals, clinics, doctors and insurance plan, is following the New York University School of Medicine, which announced last year that it would eliminate tuition for all current and future students. Like N.Y.U., Kaiser’s main goal is to keep students from forgoing lower-paying specialties like family medicine because of crushing debt, or foreclosing the option of medical school altogether because of the cost.

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