News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Disappointed Democrats shrug: 2020 election about health care, economy
The Sacramento Bee

The newly released summary of the Mueller report has already emboldened Republicans to declare victory, encouraged by the special counsel’s conclusion that neither Donald Trump nor any of his campaign officials colluded with Russian actors during the 2016 presidential election.

But to Democrats already formulating their party’s message for the 2020 election, the findings were a reminder to get back to the pocketbook issues that delivered the party the House last fall.

“Our plan is going to continue to focus on the negative impact Trump’s policies have had on American families,” said Josh Schwerin, spokesman for the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA, a group that has pledged to spend millions of dollars opposing Trump’s re-election. “And that has always been our plan.”

News Headlines Article

The Health 202: Why Congress isn’t expanding virtual health care
The Washington Post

Major hospital networks experimenting with virtual care insist the approach is saving them loads of money. But Congress’s official scorekeeper doesn’t necessarily agree — and that makes lawmakers wary of expanding telehealth.

As we detailed in Friday’s Health 202, hospital networks including Mercy in the St. Louis area and Providence St. Joseph Health along the West Coast are leading the way with remote patient monitoring and consultations as a way to overcome physician shortages and deliver more immediate, specialized care.

News Headlines Article

Study: Reinsurance to cost feds $30 billion to support ACA insurers
Modern Healthcare

Adopting a nationwide reinsurance program to bolster Affordable Care Act insurers would cost the U.S. $30.1 billion over three years, according to a new study.

The study published Thursday in the Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision and Financing projects that a reinsurance program with an 80% payment rate for expenditures between $40,000 to $250,000 would cost the federal government $9.5 billion in 2020 or $30.1 billion from 2020-2022.

News Headlines Article

Obamacare exchanges grew more competitive in 2019
Modern Healthcare

More Americans live in an area where three or more health insurers sold coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2019 compared with the year before, according to an Urban Institute analysis published Thursday.

That’s important because premiums are generally lower in places where multiple health insurers compete to sell insurance plans. But while competition on the exchanges is improving, it still isn’t on par with 2017 levels, according to the analysis.

News Headlines Article

States Push For Caregiver Tax Credits
Kaiser Health News

Gloria Brown didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Her husband, Arthur Brown, 79, has Alzheimer’s disease and had spent most of the night pacing their bedroom, opening and closing drawers, and putting on and taking off his jacket.

So Gloria, 73, asked a friend to take Arthur out for a few hours one recent afternoon so she could grab a much-needed nap. She was lucky that day because she didn’t need to call upon the home health aide who comes to their house twice a week.

News Headlines Article

California’s healthiest counties are also some of its wealthiest. Is yours on the list?
Sacramento Bee

A new study revealing California’s healthiest, and least healthy, counties highlights the divide between both urban and rural California as well as richer and poorer counties.

The study, published Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, ranked every county by two metrics: Health outcomes, measured by factors such as premature deaths, percentage of people in poor or fair health, the number of poor physical and mental health days taken and babies with low birthweight; and health factors, measured by factors such as hea

News Headlines Article

Sepsis treatment costs shoot up $1.5 billion for hospitals over three years
Modern Healthcare

The cost of treating patients who develop sepsis in the hospital rose by 20% in just three years, with hospitals spending $1.5 billion more last year than in 2015, according to a new analysis.

The report, published Thursday by Premier, found that although the number of patients who developed sepsis during their hospital stay declined by 15% from 2015 to 2018, those patients were more likely to get septic shock—the most severe form of sepsis—and therefore cost more to treat.

News Headlines Article

Lawmakers, officials seek to ramp up scrutiny over electronic health records
Modern Healthcare

Lawmakers and government officials are seeking to ramp up scrutiny over electronic health records.

A week after whistleblower allegations against Community Health Systems’ related to its electronic health record implementation were revealed, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) asked the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for information on the ONC’s processes to ensure compliance with the government’s Promoting Interoperability program before paying out incentives.

News Headlines Article

The Big Number: Fatal heart attacks at ‘historic low’ of 12 percent
The Washington Post

Although heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, chances of dying of a heart attack are now at a “historic low” of 12 percent. That’s down by more than a third since 1995, according to a new Yale study that analyzed two decades of data on about 4.4 million Medicare patients hospitalized with heart attacks, including deaths within 30 days of heart attacks. The study also reports that “an increasingly smaller number of people” are having heart attacks — hospitalizations for a heart attack have declined by 38 percent since the mid-1990s. Hospital readmissions and repeat heart attacks also are occurring less often, the study researchers found.

News Headlines Article

Could excessive sleep during pregnancy be related to stillbirths?
The Washington Post

It can be difficult to sleep while pregnant. Any number of issues can interrupt sleep, including the frequent need to urinate, back pain, abdominal discomfort and shortness of breath, among others. Moreover, disruptive sleep during pregnancy can be risky for the fetus, contributing to curbing growth. But a recent study suggests that excessive, undisturbed sleep may be a problem, too.

Sleeping continuously for nine or more hours may be related to the danger of late stillbirth, that is, the loss or death of a baby before or during delivery.

News Headlines Article

Are The Risks Of Drugs That Enhance Imaging Tests Overblown?
National Public Radio

One of the most widely used drugs in the world isn’t really a drug, at least not in the usual sense.

It’s more like a dye.

Physicians call this drug “contrast,” shorthand for contrast agent.

Contrast agents are chemical compounds that doctors use to improve the quality of an imaging test. In the emergency room, where I work, contrast is most commonly given intravenously during a CT scan.

News Headlines Article

I am not a robot. I’m a doctor and my patients need the real me.
USA Today

The patient appeared to be dying. She had chronic lung disease, and she had been told she had little reserve left and had barely survived on home oxygen for the past few years. Each time she picked up a lung infection, the buzzards circled closer. Now she had tripped, fallen, broken a bone, had surgery, and her subsequent infection seemed to have pushed her past the point of no return. Still, I held off the palliative care/comfort care team for as long as I could, and she rallied. Everyone saw how tough she was and a fighter and praised my intervention, but it just wasn’t enough in the end and she died.

Commands