News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Hospital hiring outpaces overall employment
Sacramento Business Journal

Hospitals and hospital-related spending contribute $11.7 billion annually to the region, a new report concludes. The industry generates more than 84,000 jobs at wages and salaries almost 70 percent higher than the average for all occupations in the state — and the sector is growing twice as fast as overall employment. The numbers indicate the economic clout of a growing industry that expanded during the recession and is poised to continue hiring as the population ages and more people need care.

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Sebelius: Focus is on reform implementation
Modern Healthcare

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated the administration’s position that it does not have a contingency plan ready should the U.S. Supreme Court rule this summer that the 2010 healthcare-reform law is unconstitutional.

“We’re confident that the law is constitutional and we are moving forward with implementation,” Sebelius said after her keynote address at the Atlantic’s Health Care Forum in Washington.

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Health Insurance Gap Hits 26% Of Americans
KCRA Channel 3

The fate of health care reform legislation is still up in the air, resting with the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to rule on the law’s constitutionality in late June. But today’s news about health insurance isn’t about the justices; it’s about the people who had gaps in coverage in 2011.

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To aid patients, Sutter Health employees queried about end-of-life care wishes
Sacramento Bee

When she filled out her advance health care directive form the other day and had it notarized, Patti Pinkerton had no trouble defining her end-of-life wishes. “I said I want two expert opinions before I’m declared brain-dead,” said Pinkerton, 40, a registered dietitian at Sutter Solano Medical Center. In the past week, palliative care teams at the region’s seven Sutter Health hospitals have spent time promoting their “Having the Talk” program among Sutter employees, educating them on the importance of talking to their families about their end-of-life care wishes and then putting in place the appropriate documents that set out those preferences.

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Health resources on Spanish-language site
Sacramento Bee

Californians for Patient Care, the Sacramento-based patient advocacy organization, has launched a Spanish-language website and online database providing access to more than 5,000 low- and no-cost health care resources statewide.

“Nearly 60 percent of California’s uninsured are Latino, and we are pleased to offer the Latino community a trusted resource with a variety of information about how to navigate our complicated health care system,” said Carmella Gutierrez, organization president.

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Preliminary Data From ACO Models Show Improving Quality; Some Question Results
AIS Health

In answering one of the most anticipated questions about the accountable care movement — can ACOs reduce costs and improve quality? — some developers in releasing preliminary data say they’re hitting these targets by reducing or avoiding hospital stays and doing a better job of monitoring chronic illnesses.

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CDC: 2011 was worst measles year in U.S. in 15 years
USA Today

Last year was the worst year for measles in the U.S. in 15 years, health officials said Thursday. There were 222 cases of measles, a large jump from the 60 or so seen in a typical year. Most of the cases last year were imported — either by foreign visitors or by U.S. residents who picked up the virus overseas. U.S. children have been getting vaccinated against the measles for about 50 years.

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Sutter Davis again on ‘100 Top Hospitals’ list
Sacramento Bee

For a second consecutive year, Sutter Davis Hospital has been named one of the nation’s “100 Top Hospitals” by business data provider Thomson Reuters.

Sutter Davis was listed in the “small community hospitals” group and was the only local hospital making this year’s Thomson Reuters list.

The annual study evaluates nearly a dozen factors related to in-hospital care. Thomson Reuters researchers evaluated nearly 3,000 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals nationwide.

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East Hills Health Complex: Could it happen?
Bakersfield Californian

Just two months after Modesto-based Save Mart Supermarkets purchased East Hills Mall in northeast Bakersfield, tentative plans have surfaced to transform the struggling retail center into a county-run public health complex.

Kern County General Services Director Jeff Frapwell confirmed Thursday that an owner-developer group has approached the county with the idea of consolidating several public health agencies into the 24-year-old shopping center.

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Analysis says Calif. prison medical costs too high
Fresno Bee

As the state prepares to resume control of inmate medical care, it must find ways to reduce costs that are triple the national average, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said Thursday.

The federal receivership that has been in place since 2006 has greatly improved the medical care of state prison inmates but also has caused costs to soar, according to the report. California spends $16,000 per inmate for health care services, compared to an average of $5,000 in other states.

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FDA: Contaminated ultrasound gel sickened 16 patients
USA Today

Federal law enforcement officials have seized several lots of ultrasound gel from a New Jersey company after the product tested positive for bacterial contamination. The Food and Drug Administration says the gel tested positive for two strains of dangerous bacteria. The agency reports at least 16 patients at one hospital were infected with bacteria from the product. The gel is used to enhance ultrasound medical images.

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UCSD Medical Center Among Nation’s Top 100 Hospitals, Report Says
San Diego Business Journal

UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest is being recognized as one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. in a Thomson Reuters report released April 16.

UCSD Medical Center has also been honored as an Everest Award winner for achieving both the highest current performance and the fastest long-term improvement over five years. The teaching hospital is one of only 12 hospitals in the nation to receive this recognition, according to a UCSD spokeswoman.

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Leaders Weigh in on Defensive Medicine
Health Leaders Media

Our annual Industry Survey shows that 8% of healthcare leaders count malpractice insurance and litigation among their organization’s top three drivers of healthcare costs. And 58% of physician leaders say they have, in the past year, ordered a test or procedure for primarily defensive medicine reasons. How serious is this issue and what can healthcare leaders do about it?

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Spending measure includes provision to aid rural hospitals
Modern Healthcare

Nearly nine months after many rural hospitals lost access to a program that provides federal backing to lower the cost of hospital construction and renovation loans, a provision to reinstate that fiscal backstop advanced in the Senate.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) added a provision to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill to renew an exemption for critical-access hospitals that allowed more of them to qualify for the Federal Housing Authority’s Section 242 mortgage-insurance program.

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California Legislative Analyst Office says state must reel in prison medical costs
Southern California Public Radio

A new report from California’s Legislative Analyst Office says that reeling in prison medical costs would help sustain improvements when the state resumes control.

Seven years ago, investigators found that an inmate a week was dying from medical neglect in California prisons. That got a federal judge to strip control of prison medical care from the state — and hire a receiver to fix it.

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Democrats expressing buyers’ remorse on Obama’s healthcare law
The Hill

An increasing number of Democrats are taking potshots at President Obama’s healthcare law ahead of a Supreme Court decision that could overturn it. The public grievances have come from centrists and liberals and reflect rising anxiety ahead of November’s elections. “I think we would all have been better off — President Obama politically, Democrats in Congress politically, and the nation would have been better off — if we had dealt first with the financial system and the other related economic issues and then come back to healthcare,” said Rep.

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