News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Are Doctors Overpaid?
National Public Radio

Every year, medical students apply for residencies at hospitals around the country through the National Resident Matching Program. It’s like a dating app for med students and hospitals, and it culminates this Friday, which is Match Day, when more than 30,000 students find out who they’ve got a really long date with. Some people view Match Week as a beautifully engineered dance between supply and demand that ensures the best and brightest learn how to be good doctors at top hospitals.

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New Health Plans Expose The Insured To More Risk
Kaiser Health News

One health plan from a well-known insurer promises lower premiums but warns that consumers may need to file their own claims and negotiate over charges from hospitals and doctors. Another does away with annual deductibles but requires policyholders to pay extra if they need certain surgeries and procedures.

Both are among the latest efforts in a seemingly endless quest by employers, consumers and insurers for the holy grail: less expensive coverage.

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Trump taps Sharpless as FDA acting commissioner
Modern Healthcare

The Trump administration on Tuesday named Dr. Ned Sharpless as acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Sharpless, who is the current director of the National Cancer Institute, will take the place of outgoing commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who surprisingly announced his resignation earlier this month.

“We look forward to the agency continuing its important work. Dr. Sharpless’ deep scientific background and expertise will make him a strong leader for FDA,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

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Nation’s cancer chief appointed acting FDA commissioner
Washington Post

National Cancer Institute Director Norman “Ned” Sharpless will become acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday. Sharpless, 52, an accomplished researcher, oncologist and administrator, has been director of the cancer institute for about 18 months, earning good reviews from cancer advocates, patient groups and academic researchers. He will succeed Scott Gottlieb, who announced his resignation last week and with whom he has a cordial relationship. Gottlieb supported his appointment.

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From urgent care to pharmacists, the struggle to get my kids antibiotics drove me to tears
USA Today

Early one recent Sunday morning, my kids woke up not feeling well. Due to a health notice from their school, I knew I needed to get them to urgent care for medicine right away or they wouldn’t be allowed to go to school the next day.

I am a single mother. I am also an entrepreneur, working in women’s leadership training and consulting. Keeping my kids home from school for a day means I can’t work. As the sole financial supporter of my children, not working is not an option.

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Health Care Price Tags Won’t Find You the Best Doctor
The Health Care Blog

Say you want to know which baseball players provide the most value for the big dollars they’re being paid. A Google search quickly yields analytics. But suppose your primary care physician just diagnosed you with cancer. What will a search for a “high value” cancer doctor tell you?

Not much.

Public concern over bloated and unintelligible medical bills has prompted pushback ranging from an exposé by a satirical TV show to a government edict that hospitals list their prices online.

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Hospitals could lose $800 billion from Medicare buy-in, AHA says
Modern Healthcare

Hospital groups on Tuesday pushed back against mounting Democratic support for a public option, saying the policy will lower Medicare reimbursement for providers as people leave commercial plans.

In a new analysis of a universal Medicare buy-in policy, the American Hospital Association and Federation of American Hospitals on Tuesday projected hospitals would lose $800 billion over a decade through the lower Medicare reimbursements and raise premiums within the private market—disrupting the employer insurance market where the majority of people get coverage.

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Blue Shield of California, Teladoc support Paradise, CA patients in wake of fires
Mobile Health News

Blue Shield of California has tapped Teladoc to assist with a $2 million relief effort for Paradise, California, the small town that was ravaged last year by fires.

The fire destroyed the largest clinic of Paradise Medical Group, one of the town’s major hospitals.

Blue Shield has helped the hospital in a number of ways, including assisting with its relocation to a new space in Chico, California. The insurer also reached out to Teladoc, which is offering telemedicine service at no additional cost to all PMG patients.

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Opioid Litigation Brings Company Secrets Into The Public Eye
National Public Radio

America’s big drugmakers and pharmacy chains are scrambling to respond to hundreds of lawsuits tied to the deadly opioid epidemic. Billions of dollars are at stake if the companies are found liable for fueling the crisis.

Even before judgments are rendered, companies like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and CVS are already suffering damage to their reputations as evidence in civil suits reveals more about their internal workings.

“The narrative is clearly shifting on this story,” said David Armstrong, a senior reporter with ProPublica, who has covered the drug industry for years.

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Measles Is Spiking Around The Globe. How Worried Should We Be?
National Public Radio

The world has two kinds of measles problems. In low-income countries like Madagascar and in strife-ridden countries like Yemen, the disease takes a toll because vaccines are not available or accessible or affordable.

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Commercial healthcare prices rose three times faster than inflation
Modern Healthcare

Commercial healthcare prices in metro areas are rising while usage is falling, according to a new analysis. Prices increased 13% as utilization dropped 17% from 2012 to 2016, a new iteration of the Health Care Cost Institute’s analysis of more than 1.8 billion commercial claims revealed. Metro areas with higher prices tended to have lower use, and vice versa, HCCI researchers found. The report reinforces significant price variation for common medical procedures that contributes to rising U.S. healthcare spending.

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