News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Trump Administration Rule Would Undo Health Care Protections For LGBTQ Patients
Kaiser Health News

A new Trump administration proposal would change the civil rights rules dictating whether providers must care for patients who are transgender or have had an abortion. Supporters of the approach say it protects the freedom of conscience, but opponents say it encourages discrimination.

The sweeping proposal has implications for all Americans, though, because the Department of Health and Human Services seeks to change how far civil rights protections extend and how those protections are enforced.

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‘Patients Will Die’: One County’s Challenge To Trump’s ‘Conscience Rights’ Rule
National Public Radio

Moral and religious objections to providing health care sometimes arise in medicine: A medical assistant might not agree with blood transfusions. A nurse might not want to assist in sex reassignment surgery.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services put out a new rule that “implements full and robust enforcement” of existing laws that protect what the administration calls “conscience rights” for health care workers. The rule is set to go into effect on July 22.

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Physician, hospital groups gear up for fight on surprise medical bills
Modern Healthcare

Debate over Congress’ proposals to ban surprise medical bills has intensified, as physicians, hospitals and insurers war over legislation.

On the surface, the lobbying fight is over which party—hospitals, physicians or insurers—should shoulder more of the out-of-network costs that are currently being offloaded to patients. But House and Senate committees want to go further than that, in order to capture what those costs actually are and curb their inflation.

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Health Workers Still Aren’t Alerting Police About Likely Elder Abuse, Reports Find
National Public Radio

It can be hard to quantify the problem of elder abuse. Experts believe that many cases go unreported. And Wednesday morning, their belief was confirmed by two new government studies.

The research, conducted and published by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, finds that in many cases of abuse or neglect severe enough to require medical attention, the incidents have not been reported to enforcement agencies, though that’s required by law.

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Your doctor may be playing medical video games at work. That could be good for your health
USA Today

Can playing video games be a prescription for good health?

Dr. Zubin Damania thinks so.

Two to three times a week, the UCSF/Stanford-trained internist and founder of the Turntable Health primary care clinic, is on his smartphone playing video games.

Damania isn’t seeking a diversion by parachuting into a “Fortnite” battle royale.

Instead, ZDoggMD, as he’s known by his pseudonym as a producer of healthcare videos and live shows, is among the 400,000 medical professionals practicing the craft of medicine through a series of games from Level Ex, a Chicago videogames developer whose titles are specially designed for doctors, med students and other healthcare providers.

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Daily HIV prevention pill urged for healthy people at risk
Modern Healthcare

Doctors should offer a daily HIV prevention pill to healthy people who are at high risk of getting infected with the virus, an influential healthcare panel recommended Tuesday.

The new guidelines aim to help cut the nearly 40,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. each year.

Screening people for the HIV virus also is critical. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reiterated its long-standing advice that everyone ages 15 to 65 — and anyone who’s pregnant — should be regularly screened, a step to early, life-saving treatment.

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Never Say ‘Die’: Why So Many Doctors Won’t Break Bad News
Kaiser Health News

After nearly 40 years as an internist, Dr. Ron Naito knew what the sky-high results of his blood test meant. And it wasn’t good.

But when he turned to his doctors last summer to confirm the dire diagnosis — stage 4 pancreatic cancer — he learned the news in a way no patient should.

The first physician, a specialist Naito had known for 10 years, refused to acknowledge the results of the “off-the-scale” blood test that showed unmistakable signs of advanced cancer. “He simply didn’t want to tell me,” Naito said.

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‘An Arm And A Leg’: Forget The Shakedown. To Get Paid, Hospitals Get Creative.
Kaiser Health News

An unexpected hospital bill can bust the family budget. More and more Americans have health plans that require them to pony up a high deductible before insurance kicks in. That leaves lots of people with bills they can’t pay. Turns out, that’s a crisis for hospitals too, and some are getting creative about collecting debt.

A few years ago, a table saw accident sent woodworker Jim Crannell to the emergency room with a bloody gash in his finger. The pain was bad, and afterward Crannell was bracing for a ghastly medical bill, too. But at discharge, he got an offer that promised to ease his financial suffering.

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AMA maintains its opposition to single-payer systems
Modern Healthcare

The American Medical Association will remain opposed to proposals for the U.S. to create a single-payer healthcare system. The group voted narrowly to maintain its stance on Tuesday at its annual House of Delegates meeting.

Delegates of the largest physicians’ organization voted 53% to 47% against adopting an amendment to remove the AMA’s formal opposition to a single-payer healthcare system, ending days of contentious debate that pitted the organization’s leadership against a contingent represented largely by medical students.

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The AMA has a new president-elect
Modern Healthcare

The American Medical Association has named Dr. Susan Bailey as its new president-elect.

The Texas-based allergist and immunologist will be the third consecutive woman physician to hold the office, according to the association.

Bailey, 63, will oversee one of the largest medical associations in the country. The AMA, headquartered in Chicago, has more than 250,000 members.

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Apple, Microsoft support ONC’s data-sharing fees, API proposals
Modern Healthcare

Tech giants Apple and Microsoft recently wrote the CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to weigh in on their companion interoperability and information-blocking proposals, overwhelmingly voicing support for the two rules. Apple, unsurprisingly, was enthusiastic about the agencies’ effort to connect patients with their health data via third-party apps.

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Proposed 200 Homes for Mentally Ill Homeless at Fairview Prompts Local Debate
Voice of OC

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to “immediately” explore providing 200 homes with support services for mentally ill homeless people at Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa has sparked local debate, as a variety of different groups vie for part of the 118-acre property after it closes.

Fairview, which was opened in 1959, once housed about 2,700 people with intellectual and development disabilities on its sprawling campus of about 60 buildings, including residential living areas, a main kitchen, auditorium, and park.

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