News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

ACA has not reduced ED visits, study finds
Modern Healthcare

Emergency department visits have continued to rise even as more Americans gained health insurance after the Affordable Care Act came into play, according to a new study.

ED visits increased by 2.3 million a year between 2006 and 2016, with the proportion of uninsured ED visits relatively unchanged from 2006 to 2013, making up between 14% and 16% of visits, the study published Friday in JAMA Network Open found.

News Headlines Article

Destination Limbo: Health Suffers Among Asylum Seekers In Crowded Border Shelter
Kaiser Health News

Immigrants from Mexico and Central America seeking asylum in the United States frequently end up at border shelters in Tijuana, Mexico. They stay in them for weeks as they wait for the U.S. government to approve or deny their applications.

Most of the refugees get sick during their journeys due to insufficient food, a lack of clean water and poor sanitation at camps and shelters along the way. But perhaps their biggest health problem is depression and anxiety: They have suffered violence and been threatened by gangs and left behind everything they know in the world.

News Headlines Article

Next Generation ACO participants for 2019 drop to 41
Modern Healthcare

There are 41 accountable care organizations in the CMS‘ Next Generation ACO Model for 2019, which represents a substantial decline from 2018 when 51 organizations were in the model.

Data updated on CMS’ site this week shows that 12 ACOs that participated in 2018 have either left or were booted from the program for the 2019 performance year. The latest exodus of participants comes after the model lost seven ACOs in March 2018, bringing the total number of participants in 2018 down from an initial 58 to 51.

News Headlines Article

CBO changes how it estimates insurance coverage
Modern Healthcare

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will factor new consumer and employer preferences in its estimate of how proposed legislation will impact insurance coverage and premiums.

The agency’s new insurance model aims to address longstanding complaints from Republicans on how the CBO makes pivotal estimates on the impact of new legislation, especially surrounding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

News Headlines Article

HHS launches program to cut opioid overdoses by 40 percent in three years
Washington Post

The Trump administration announced an ambitious program Thursday to reduce deaths from opioid overdoses by 40 percent over three years in hard-hit communities across several states.

The $353 million effort will test the idea that the best approaches to combat the drug crisis are well known but poorly implemented and coordinated. It will employ a comprehensive strategy in each community that encourages the involvement of doctors, treatment providers, law enforcement, courts, churches and even housing providers — an approach that has worked in a few places.

News Headlines Article

CMS proposes $887 million boost to SNFs
Modern Healthcare

The CMS on Friday proposed increasing payments to skilled nursing facilities by $887 million, or 2.5%, in federal fiscal 2020, as the agency hopes to align their pay with value-based care.

The agency said in a notice that it will use a new case-mix model starting in October. The model will focus Medicare payments based on the patient’s condition and resulting care rather than the amount of care provided.

The SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program currently scores any SNF on measures such as hospital readmissions.

News Headlines Article

HHS extends comment period for interoperability rules
Modern Healthcare

HHS has extended the comment period for two proposed interoperability rules, the agency announced Friday morning.

The CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released their long-awaited interoperability and data-blocking proposals in February. The proposals outline how regulators will require providers and insurers to share medical data with patients, such as through application programming interfaces that connect electronic health records systems with third-party apps.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals Stand to Lose Billions Under ‘Medicare for All’
New York Times

For a patient’s knee replacement, Medicare will pay a hospital $17,000. The same hospital can get more than twice as much, or about $37,000, for the same surgery on a patient with private insurance.

Or take another example: One hospital would get about $4,200 from Medicare for removing someone’s gallbladder. The same hospital would get $7,400 from commercial insurers.

News Headlines Article

Health Care Digest: Attacking a deadly infant virus, Medicaid’s smoking gun and exporting genetic expertise
San Francisco Business Times

In the grand scheme of biotech fundraising, $6 million is a pittance. Just don’t tell Meissa Vaccines Inc. co-founder and CEO Marty Moore.

Moore left Emory University in Atlanta and moved west, joining co-founder and former MedImmune vaccines researcher Roderick Tang in San Carlos, to tap synthetic biology and reverse genetics to develop a longer-lasting vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus.

News Headlines Article

These California bills would train nurses, judges and police how to spot their own biases
Los Angeles Times

California saw a decrease in the number of women who died giving birth in 2013, as the maternal mortality rate climbed across the country, according to state officials. But expectant black mothers across the state are still three to four times more likely to die from complications at childbirth than white women.

State health researchers say the wide disparity probably isn’t attributed to social factors, such as patients’ levels of education or socioeconomic backgrounds. Instead, they point to evidence of racism and implicit bias in the medical community: A survey of white medical students and residents published in 2016 by the University of Virginia found that roughly half of those who participated believed myths about biological racial differences, including that black patients tolerate more pain and have thicker skin.

News Headlines Article

California seismic safety rules pose expensive challenge for Sonoma County hospitals
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

If a major earthquake were to hit Sonoma County, Healdsburg District Hospital’s original structure that currently houses inpatient services would not collapse or endanger patient lives, according to its current seismic rating.

While services at the hospital’s 11-year-old emergency department would likely be uninterrupted by a big temblor, the hospital’s original 50-year-old structure would probably be incapable of caring for patients.

News Headlines Article

Amid Opioid Prescriber Crackdown, Health Officials Reach Out To Pain Patients
National Public Radio

A pharmacist in Celina, Tenn., was one of 60 people indicted on charges of opioid-related crimes this week, in a multistate sting. John Polston was charged with 21 counts of filling medically unnecessary narcotic prescriptions.

He was also Gail Gray’s pharmacist and the person she relied on to regularly fill her opioid prescriptions.

“I take pain medicine first thing in the morning. I’m usually up most of the night with pain,” she says. “I hurt all the time.”

News Headlines Article

A Promising Anti-HIV Drug Poses A Dilemma
National Public Radio

If you live in a wealthy country, you have choices about your medical care.

Let’s say you’re a young woman who is HIV-positive and find out there’s a new treatment that’s much better for your long-term health. But there’s a potential problem: If you get pregnant, the drug could cause a serious birth defect in your baby.

In the U.S., Europe and other wealthy areas, a doctor will explain the benefits and the risks. If you choose the new drug, the doctor will prescribe birth control.

News Headlines Article

Dental care is tough to find for people with autism, other developmental disorders
Washington Post

When Ava Terranove began feeling oral pain last July, her parents took her to her regular dentist. The dentist determined that Ava, who has an autism-like condition, needed two root canal procedures to treat infected teeth. Because of her developmental disability, Ava, now 15, requires general anesthesia for nonroutine dental work. The dentist, like most of his peers, was not equipped to provide it. The girl’s parents, schoolteachers who live in Huntington Beach, Calif., called other dental offices in the region.

News Headlines Article

A guide to your mind while you’re pregnant
The Washington Post

Pregnancy can be joyful. But for many, a positive pregnancy test can feel like an admission ticket to an intense roller-coaster ride.

There’s the pressure of choosing a name, deciding on a birth plan and managing relatives’ reactions. There are weird, gross and uncomfortable bodily sensations. And all too often, there’s a sense of fear, trauma and even loss.

Popular pregnancy guidebooks mostly focus on body and baby, not a pregnant person’s mind. “What No One Tells You” does the opposite.Written by reproductive psychiatrists Alexandra Sacks and Catherine Birndorf, it’s a guide to the inner experience of pregnancy, birth and the first year postpartum.

News Headlines Article

Postpartum depression is one of the most common complications of childbirth. Researchers are homing in on risk factors.
The Washington Post

After Ann’s daughter was born, the infant cried a lot because of acid reflux. “When she wouldn’t stop, I got angry. I felt like a monster,” said Ann, who requested that she be identified only by her middle name because of privacy concerns.

At first, the new mother chalked up her irritability and guilty feelings to stress and sleep deprivation, but when the worrisome feelings lingered, Ann knew something was wrong.

When her daughter was 6 months old, Ann saw her physician, who diagnosed her with postpartum depression (PPD), the most common complication of childbirth, affecting 1 in 7 women, according to the American Psychological Association.

News Headlines Article

Caring for relative and fear you’ll make mistake? Millions do, AARP report says
Sacramento Bee

About a quarter of the nation’s 40 million family caregivers live with the fear that they will make a mistake on vital medical tasks such as giving injections or caring for wounds that could harm their loved ones, according to an AARP report released this week.

“Many of the changes in the health care system, such as earlier discharge and chronic disease self-management, carry major expectations for families to step up to more complex care and involvement. Yet, too often they are unprepared and do not get the support they need to assume these important roles,” said Heather Young, dean emerita at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis. “This report provides direction for future action to improve the lives and capacity of family caregivers.”

News Headlines Article

Why Do Doctors Overtreat? For Many, It’s What They’re Trained To Do
National Public Radio

When family physician Jenna Fox signed on for a yearlong advanced obstetrics fellowship after her residency to learn to deliver babies, she knew she’d need to practice as many cesarean sections as possible.

The problem was, she also knew C-sections aren’t always good for patients. Many women’s health experts argue they’re often unnecessary and increase health risks for mom and baby. Doctors are working to decrease high C-section rates in hospitals around the country. Fox and her colleagues on the labor and delivery floor at the University of Rochester try hard to prevent them, particularly primary C-sections, when a woman needs one for her first baby.

Commands