News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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A Plan To Cover Immigrants Would Divert Public Health Dollars
Kaiser Health News

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants the state to provide health coverage to low-income young adults who are in the country illegally, but his plan would siphon public health dollars from several counties battling surging rates of sexually transmitted diseases and, in some cases, measles outbreaks.

Public health officials describe the proposed reallocation of state dollars as a well-meaning initiative that nonetheless would have “dire consequences” to core public health services.

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Judge halts 340B Medicare rate cuts for hospitals
Modern Healthcare

A federal judge late Monday blocked the Trump administration’s Medicare cuts to 340B hospitals, saying the new rates aren’t lawful for 2018 and 2019.

However, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras did not grant hospitals the permanent injunction against the cuts that they wanted. Instead, he ordered the department to take “first crack” at a remedial measure with a status update due Aug. 5.

“The secretary’s deficiencies here were substantial,” the judge wrote in a decision late Monday.

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GOP senators warn drug price controls could come
Modern Healthcare

Two Republican senators on Tuesday issued sharp warnings to the pharmaceutical industry about price controls.

The GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday showed that the Trump administration’s idea of an international reference model, aimed at just a subset of Medicare drugs, has transformed at least some Republican thinking on the drug-pricing policy debate.

The so-called international price index demonstration hasn’t been officially proposed yet, but congressional GOPers are skeptical of the policy.

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CMS touts faster approvals for Medicaid waivers
Modern Healthcare

The CMS approved state plans to amend Medicaid 16% faster last year than they did in 2016, according to new federal data.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that the agency will improve the waiver process that allows states to make changes to Medicaid such as eligibility requirements and rates.

“When this process doesn’t work, it can create bureaucratic headaches that hinder their ability to effectively manage their program,” Verma wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

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Top GOP senator calls for CMS to delay interoperability rule
Modern Healthcare

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday called for the Trump administration to give providers more time to implement part of a major rule to promote interoperability in healthcare.

The CMS and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT issued two rules in February that target information blocking, implement interoperability and require all health IT companies to use the same application programming interface two years after the policies are finalized. Hospitals also will be required to send doctors notifications when a patient is discharged.

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Some Senators Urge Caution, Some Carp At Pace Of Healthcare Ehr Adoption
Health Leaders Media

ONC was asked to consider slowing down the two-year implementation window, but one committee member blasted a ‘dysfunctional’ healthcare system as technology laggards.

A Senate committee during a status update Tuesday on the proposed rules for electronic health records under the 21st Century Cures Act offered mixed messages to policymakers charged with implementing those provisions.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, repeatedly raised concerns about past mistakes with HIT adoption under the Meaningful Use initiatives and warned that the pace of implementation under the 21st Century Cures Act was too hasty. He urged policymakers to proceed with caution.

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Hundreds of women die each year from pregnancy issues. Most of the deaths could be prevented
The Washington Post

Hundreds of women die preventable deaths of complications from pregnancy each year in the United States, even weeks or months after childbirth, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts say recognizing contributing factors such as racial disparities and working toward solutions are key in saving lives.

The CDC confirmed in a report released Tuesday that about 700 women die each year in the United States from cardiovascular conditions, infections, hemorrhages and other complications related to their pregnancies — up to a year after delivering their babies. In about 60 percent of the cases, the deaths could have been prevented, in part, with proper medical intervention, as well as better access to it, the researchers noted.

 
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CDC: 3 out of 5 maternal deaths are preventable
Modern Healthcare

Three out of five pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable, and federal health officials want providers to keep a watchful eye for factors that could lead to maternal mortality.

Approximately 700 women in the U.S. die each year due to pregnancy- or birth-related complications up to a year after delivery, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new report on Tuesday.

From 2011 to 2015, nearly 31% of maternal deaths happened during pregnancy compared with 36% that occurred on the day of delivery and up to one week after, while 33% happened one week to one year after delivery.

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Meth Vs. Opioids: America Has Two Drug Epidemics, But Focuses On One
Kaiser Health News

Kim had been wine tasting with a friend in Sonoma, Calif. They got into an argument in the car that night and Kim thought someone was following them. She was utterly convinced. And she had to get away.

“I jumped out of the car and started running, and I literally ran a mile. I went through water, went up a tree,” she said. “I was literally running for my life.”

Kim was soaking wet when she walked into a woman’s house, woke her from bed and asked for help. When the woman went to call the police, Kim left and found another woman’s empty guesthouse to sleep in — Goldilocks-style.

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How Hospital ER Sleuths Race To Identify An Unconscious Or Dazed Jane Or John Doe
National Public Radio

The 50-something man with a shaved head and brown eyes was unresponsive when the paramedics wheeled him into the emergency room. His pockets were empty: He had no wallet, no cellphone and not a single scrap of paper that might reveal his identity to the nurses and doctors working to save his life. His body lacked any distinguishing scars or tattoos.

Almost two years after he was hit by a car on busy Santa Monica Boulevard in January 2017 and was transported to Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center with a devastating brain injury, no one had come looking for him or reported him missing. The man died in the hospital, still a John Doe.

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Medical schools overhaul curriculum to better prepare future docs
Modern Healthcare

Brooke Wagen didn’t have a typical third-year medical school experience.

Instead of going through the clinical rotations students usually are exposed to, Wagen spent the year interviewing elderly residents who lived in the housing developments close to her home in Austin, Texas. Wagen talked to 30 residents over age 65 to try to understand how they viewed their health and social situation.

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Employers Leaning Toward High-performance Networks, Acos To Improve Care Access
Health Leaders Media

Employers are increasingly focused on improving access and quality of care for their workers, according to a new survey.

Within the next three years, nearly half of employers plan on implementing high-performance networks (HPN), centers of excellence (COE), onsite or nearby health centers and accountable care organizations (ACO) as ways to provide quality and affordable healthcare options, according to a Willis Towers Watson (WTW) survey released Wednesday morning.

Eighty percent of respondents intend on having COEs within a health plan, a 29% jump year-over-year, and the number of employers who plan on including HPNs more than doubled to 65%.

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5 Things You Didn’t Expect To Hear About Connected Healthcare
Health Leaders Media

Connected healthcare is not about technology, says a Partners HealthCare expert; changing physicians’ culture, attitudes, and training could diminish burnout and enhance humanity.

For more than a quarter century, Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, vice president of Connected Health at Partners HealthCare in Boston, has led novel initiatives, testing and piloting new models of healthcare that involve emerging technologies. The organization he helms focuses on connected healthcare, which moves the point of care from the hospital or doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients.

According to Kvedar, connected healthcare encompasses the following concepts:

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Exclusive: East Bay cancer fighter opens new manufacturing center
San Francisco Business Times

A Hayward-based company has made an important step toward getting its novel cancer-fighting tool to market.

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LifeCare long-term care hospitals file for bankruptcy
Modern Healthcare

LifeCare Holdings, a Plano, Texas-based operator of long-term acute-care hospitals, filed for bankruptcy on Monday in U.S.

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Adventist Health enters joint venture to bring transparency to cost of care
Sacramento Business Journal

Adventist Health is launching a new platform that could light up some of the shadows around the costs of health care.

The Roseville-based health system is one of four organizations that are launching cost-tracking software called Analytics for Risk Contracting, or ARC. Adventist Health said last week that it formed a joint venture for ARC, alongside New York-based Montefiore Health System, Los Angeles-based consulting firm Cope Health Solutions and Heritage Provider Network, which manages nine Southern California medical groups.

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