News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Republicans will kill your health care and, indirectly, maybe even you: Today’s talker
USA Today

There has been so much tawdry and titillating news this week, you may not have noticed that people you elected took another step toward killing your health care. And perhaps indirectly … you.

Republican attorneys general (supported by President Donald Trump) filed a lawsuit to kill the Affordable Care Act, a case heard this week by a federal appeals court in New Orleans. 

If the lawsuit succeeds (it may well end up at the Supreme Court), the prohibitions against being denied health care coverage for preexisting conditions will disappear and Obamacare would suddenly cease to exist, more than 20 million Americans could find themselves without health insurance. Just like that. 

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Trump signs executive order revamping kidney care, organ transplantation
Washington Post

The Trump administration pledged Wednesday to reduce end-stage kidney disease by 25 percent over the next 11 years by providing better care of people early in the progression of the disease and doubling the number of transplants performed in the United States.

In an executive order signed by President Trump Wednesday morning, the administration also committed to move many people receiving kidney dialysis away from commercial centers to less expensive, more convenient in-home care. By 2025, the administration wants 80 percent of newly-diagnosed kidney failure patients to receive a transplant or get dialysis at home.

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Trump admin to overhaul kidney disease care, reimbursement
Modern Healthcare

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order making sweeping changes to kidney disease treatment.

In addition, the CMS launched five new payment models to revamp kidney care. The administration’s changes include revising rules to ensure that kidneys reach patients more quickly, moving more patients into home dialysis, encouraging development of artificial kidneys and increasing the number of kidneys available for transplantation.

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Trump Administration Announces Plans To Shake Up The Kidney Care Industry
National Public Radio

The Trump administration has announced an ambitious plan to change treatment for kidney disease in the United States.

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday directing the Department of Health and Human Services to develop policies addressing three goals: reducing the number of patients developing kidney failure, reducing how many Americans get dialysis treatment at dialysis centers and making more kidneys available for transplant.

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Trump administration abandons plans to limit drug rebates
Modern Healthcare

The Trump administration has withdrawn its proposal to eliminate drug rebates in Medicare and Medicaid plans, striking another significant blow to its broader plans to curb rising drug costs.

The proposed HHS rule, first unveiled in January, would have excluded the rebates drugmakers pay to pharmacy benefit managers from protections from anti-kickback laws.

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Legislation to stop patients getting massive ER bills is on life support
San Francisco Chronicle

The attempt by two San Francisco politicians to stop hospitals around California from sticking patients who receive emergency care with outrageous bills is on life support.

Assemblyman David Chiu on Tuesday said he is holding back his bill that was inspired by news of San Francisco General Hospital’s unfair billing practices after intense lobbying from hospital CEOs around the state urging his colleagues to kill it.

The bill was supposed to be heard in the Senate’s health committee Tuesday, but Chiu said its passage would have required amendments making the bill worthless, and he wasn’t willing to move ahead with them.

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Biden Calling ACA ‘Breakthrough’ For Mental Health Parity Highlights Gaps
Kaiser Health News

In a sit-down interview with CNN, 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden touted the Obama administration’s passage of the Affordable Care Act, asserting that this law evened out the playing field when it came to insurance coverage of mental and physical health.

“We made parity between mental health and physical health,” Biden told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “It was a fundamental breakthrough in how we thought about how things should work.”

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A black mother told not to scream in labor asks: Can California fix racism in maternity care?

Bettye Jean Ford was in her second trimester when the pressure she had been feeling in her abdomen for weeks turned to excruciating pain. She rushed to a Los Angeles emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and sent home with antibiotics. Still cramping severely, the first-time expectant mother spent the next 24 hours trying to sleep.

The next morning, her obstetrician found her dilated and sent her to the hospital next door where an ultrasound confirmed she was in labor.

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CHIME: Children’s hospital CIOs earn highest base salary
Modern Healthcare

Chief information officers at children’s hospitals tend to have higher salaries than peers at other healthcare institutions, according to data from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

Senior healthcare IT executives, including CIOs, from children’s hospitals made an average salary of $309,028 in 2018, according to CHIME. That compares to the $287,385 average salary earned by executives from academic medical centers, as well as the overall average base salary of $235,806 across organization types.

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San Francisco’s hospitals grapple with severe mental health care shortage for children
San Francisco Business Times

A more than yearlong, ongoing contract battle between Kaiser and its clinicians’ union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, is part of a larger crisis playing out throughout the city — and nationwide — of lacking mental health services for children.

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Former Sutter executive named Dignity Health Medical Foundation’s new CFO
Sacramento Business Journal

Rancho Cordova-based Dignity Health Medical Foundation has named Theresa Hylen, a longtime executive at Sacramento-based Sutter Health, as its new chief financial officer.

Dignity’s medical foundation includes a network of 950 medical providers and 800 affiliated network providers in California. The organization also operates 15 medical groups and 124 clinic locations across the state.

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Bill targeting Kaiser executive compensation disclosure moves forward
Modern Healthcare

California’s Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that aims to boost not-for-profit health systems’ public disclosure requirements for executives’ deferred compensation.

AB 1404, drafted by California state Assembly member Miguel Santiago, a Democrat, would close an alleged loophole that allows not-for-profit systems to hide deferred compensation when not-for-profit entities are used to provide a supplemental retirement plan to employees that work for a for-profit arm of the company. The legislation would require organizations to tell the secretary of state the total amount of deferred compensation allocated by the not-for-profit entity every year, the name and title of each individual, whether taxes were paid on the deferred compensation, and the agreement or legal document governing the deferred compensation.