News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

AHA warns on impact of rate cuts for hospital-based docs
Modern Healthcare

Congress is focused on using a $7 billion reduction in Medicare evaluation and management payments for hospitals as a way to help pay for delaying a looming physician pay cut, according to hospital officials and advocates.

The long-discussed reduction in evaluation and management rates for hospital-based clinicians to the level paid to office-based physicians has gained traction with members of Congress as a way to help offset the estimated $25.2 billion cost of a one-year patch for the sustainable growth-rate formula.

News Headlines Article

Health insurance rates could shoot up
San Francisco Chronicle

California health insurers are proposing double-digit rate increases for hundreds of thousands of policyholders, drawing criticism that health insurers are padding their profits as the nation prepares to carry out the federal health care law. Anthem Blue Cross, the state’s largest for-profit health insurer, wants to raise rates an average of 17.5 percent for 744,000 members in February, with some Anthem policyholders seeing increases as high as 25 percent.

News Headlines Article

Audit finds billions in unverified Medicare spending
Washington Post

Medicare has paid doctors and hospitals billions of dollars to switch from paper to electronic health records without verifying that the new systems meet required quality standards, according to a federal audit released Thursday.

The funds, which total $4 billion, have been distributed since 2011 under an incentive program aimed at encouraging various types of medical providers to computerize their record-keeping systems.

News Headlines Article

Wright Lassiter’s Audacious Vision for Safety Nets
Health Leaders Media

The long-term survival of safety net hospitals hinges less on reimbursement rates and more on questions of access, says Wright Lassiter, chief executive officer at Alameda County Medical Center in Oakland, CA. That’s one reason why the safety net hospital he runs has recently agreed to buy the 136-bed San Leandro Hospital, which current owner Sutter Health had wanted to turn into a rehab center, shutting an emergency room with 25,000 annual visits.

News Headlines Article

Republicans feud over Obamacare
POLITICO

Republicans have been fighting Democrats for years over Obamacare. Now, they’re fighting each other. In red-state capitols in places like Idaho, Tennessee and Mississippi, Republicans are clashing over whether to participate in a Democratic president’s signature legislative achievement. At issue are the state-based health care exchanges, set to start in 2014, which will create new marketplaces for people who can’t get insurance elsewhere.

News Headlines Article

Voters Come Clean on Health Care
ABC News

Voters who backed President Obama and those who supported Mitt Romney just can’t seem to agree on key health care issues, a new study suggests. But they’ll have to compromise if they want change in Washington. The study, which drew on the combined data of three pre-election and exit polls, found that Obama supporters were three times more likely to say that health care was the most important problem facing the country.

News Headlines Article

ONC: Nearly half of docs e-prescribing using EHRs
Modern Healthcare

Nearly half of U.S. physicians are now writing prescriptions electronically using their electronic health-record systems, according to a new report from HHS‘ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The report relies on data provided by the Surescripts electronic prescription network.

By June 2012, according to the ONC, 48% of physicians nationwide were e-prescribing using an EHR, up from 7% in December 2008.

News Headlines Article

913 in Berkeley may be ID theft victims
San Francisco Chronicle

More than 900 people who were taken to hospitals by Berkeley Fire Department crews may have had their personal information stolen by a Florida crime ring that victimized people nationwide to collect millions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds, authorities said Thursday. Berkeley officials said the city has begun notifying 931 people that information including their name, date of birth and Social Security number may have been stolen from an agency that collects bills for ambulance rides.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser proposes new hospital
The Press-Enterprise

Kaiser Permanente officials have submitted a conceptual plan application for a 1.2 million-square-foot medical center in Temecula that would include a two-tower hospital and multiple medical office buildings. While still in its infancy, the project, if successful, could bring an additional 250 hospital beds to the region that has long seen a shortage of hospital beds.

News Headlines Article

Blue Shield exec Geyer takes on new title, duties
Sacramento Business Journal

Rob Geyer, a Blue Shield of California executive in El Dorado Hills who oversees customer operations, will get a new title and more duties next year as the health plan boosts efforts to improve the way it handles the customer experience. As senior vice president for customer quality — a new position — Geyer will report directly to Blue Shield President and chief operating officer Paul Markovich, who becomes CEO on Jan. 1.

News Headlines Article

Dialogue on doc shortage must continue
Bakersfield Californian

Kern County struggles to attract and retain medical professionals, especially doctors and specialists. This we’ve known for some time. What we don’t yet know is how to solve this problem. At a forum in Bakersfield on Tuesday night, a panel of health care experts discussed several possible solutions to the problem, but clearly no silver scalpel exists to our doctor shortage. Still, it’s essential we continue this conversation and consistently try new ways to overcome this obstacle.

News Headlines Article

Patients’ choices narrower, yet cost of insurance rises
Los Angeles Times

It’s hard enough having a serious condition like cancer or kidney failure. It’s even worse, some might think, when your health insurer says you have to buy your medicine from the pharmacy of its choice — or pay the full amount for expensive life-saving drugs elsewhere.

Yet that’s precisely what Anthem Blue Cross is telling people who require so-called specialty medicines, which are used for complex conditions and can cost thousands of dollars a month.

News Headlines Article

ACOs: Is There a “There” There?
The Health Care Blog

A recent analysis of the ACO market by Oliver Wyman market suggests we’re well on our way toward being “there.” My personal take on this report: Provocative, fresh, thoughtful, well reasoned, expansive — albeit a bit of a stretch However, I suspect many others will describe it as: Speculative, harebrained, unsupported, overly extrapolative, out-to-lunch, wishful to the point of being woo woo So now that I hopefully have your attention, what’s this report all about?

News Headlines Article

What the Rick Scott Decision Says About the Future of Health Care in the U.S.
The Health Care Blog

In 2009, Rick Scott founded Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, a health care pressure group opposed to President Obama’s health reforms. In 2010, Scott ran for governor of Florida on a mission to repeal Obamacare. In 2012, Scott … will work to implement Obamacare. For some conservatives, it’s a shocking reversal. Leaders of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative organization backed by the influential Koch brothers, were publicly disappointed in the Florida governor — who not so long ago said the Affordable Care Act was “the biggest job killer in the history of the country.”

News Headlines Article

What is the Cost of Living with HIV?
KQED Radio

Saturday is World AIDS Day, a time when we take stock of where we are globally in the fight against the disease and — according to its mission – show support for people living with HIV. KQED’s Joshua Johnson had an unusually moving way of going about showing support on this morning’s air. He interviewed our colleague Mark Trautwein, editor of KQED’s Perspectives series.

Commands