News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Intubation in ICU Linked to PTSD
Health Leaders Media

Mechanical ventilation may prompt severe hallucinatory or delirious symptoms for patients in the ICU, who even as long as two years later might experience symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

That’s the finding from Johns Hopkins University researchers, who followed 186 patients hospitalized with acute respiratory illness.

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Portola hospital could face closure over Medi-Cal reimbursement reductions
Sacramento Bee

Within the next few weeks – even days – the hospital that has been saving lives in this rural Plumas County community since 1910 may itself face mortality.

Eastern Plumas Health Care is confronting a combination of reductions in its Medi-Cal reimbursements that amount to as much as 25 percent of the total, said Tom Hayes, administrator of the 75-bed hospital.

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Tulare hospital weighs wage cuts, layoffs
Fresno Bee

Tulare Regional Medical Center employees are bracing for pay cuts and possible layoffs as administrators slash spending because of fewer patients and a construction project gone awry. Sherrie Bell, chairwoman of Tulare Local Health Care District’s board of directors, said wage cuts are expected to be announced today, and layoffs and furloughs are on the table. “We lost $4 million from July to December,” Bell said. “There will be cutbacks.”

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Percentage of males in nursing tripled over 4 decades, says Census Bureau
Southern California Public Radio

Men make up less than 10 percent of U.S. nurses, but on average make about $9,600 more a year than their female counterparts. That’s according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which released a study that showed the proportion of male nurses tripled between 1970 and 2011 – from 2.7 percent of the workforce to 9.6 percent. But despite the fact that men are overwhelmingly outnumbered by women in the profession, the former are still out-earning the latter: For every dollar male nurses earn, female nurses earn 91 cents.

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Truven Top 100 Hospital Scores Measure ‘Leadership Impact’
Health Leaders Media

Emphasizing that this year’s Truven Health Analytics 100 Top Hospitals list “is not an advertising scheme,” senior vice president Jean Chenoweth says the 2013 winners list reflects “a balance scorecard,” that keeps “all the goals and mission of the whole organization in mind.” This year the top hospitals list, formerly published as the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Hospitals, gives equal weight to 9 elements of hospital performance:

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Two Sutter hospitals make national list
Sacramento Business Journal

Two Sutter hospitals have made a national list for performance. Sutter Medical Center Sacramento and Sutter Davis Hospital were the only hospitals in the Sacramento region to make the 100 top hospitals list, as judged by Truven Health Analytics. Truven, formerly the health-care business of Thomson-Reuters, evaluates performance in mortality, medical complications, patient safety, patient stay, expenses, profitability, patient satisfaction, clinical standards of care, post-care mortality and readmission rates.

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Two Sutter facilities receive national honor
Sacramento Bee

Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, and Sutter Davis Hospital are among the nation’s “100 Top Hospitals” in the latest annual study released by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven Health Analytics.

Truven, which provides a wide range of health care data, evaluated U.S. hospitals in 10 key areas of patient care and overall operations.

Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, was on the 2013 list among top teaching hospitals, and Sutter Davis was listed in the subset of small community hospitals.

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California Organizes ICD-10 Consortium
Becker's Hospital Review

A consortium has formed in California to help ready payors, providers and professionals for the shift to ICD-10 in October 2014. The California ICD-10 Collaborative aims to provide a setting for shared learning and training to implement the new system. Its members include major hospital systems, such as St. Joseph Health in Orange, Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles and Scripps Health in San Diego, as well as payor Blue Shield of California and others.

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The stakes are high in health care reform
Capitol Weekly

We are in the countdown to a monumental change that will affect the lives of most every American in one way or another. In 308 days, health coverage through the Affordable Care Act begins for tens of millions of Americans, millions in California alone. In 216 days, the doors swing open for enrollment to start. California’s Health Benefit Exchange—Covered California— will build and hold open the front door for Californians to obtain their health insurance starting October 1, 2013.

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Study Sees More Breast Cancer at Young Age
New York Times

The incidence of advanced breast cancer among younger women, ages 25 to 39, may have increased slightly over the last three decades, according to a study released Tuesday. But more research is needed to verify the finding, which was based on an analysis of statistics, the study’s authors said. They do not know what may have caused the apparent increase. Some outside experts questioned whether the increase was real, and expressed concerns that the report would frighten women needlessly.

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Aetna announces new tech division: Healthagen
Modern Healthcare

Aetna has created Healthagen, a new division to provide health and technology services to employers, payers, providers and consumers. Healthagen brings together population health management solutions and health information technologies from its ActiveHealth Management, iTriage and Medicity business units. “Our combined solutions enable providers to deliver the highest quality and highest value care, and support individuals to be more engaged and informed at every point in their healthcare journey,” Dr. Charles Saunders, CEO of Healthagen, said in a news release.

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Policy experts, health care leaders offer landmark roadmap for better health care at lower cost
U.C. Berkeley News

An unprecedented, year-long collaborative effort involving policy experts from UC Berkeley, CEOs of major health insurers and health care delivery systems, and leaders from California’s public sector has produced a detailed roadmap that would transform the state’s health care system and improve care and outcomes while saving billions of dollars in the process.

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Grant spending questioned at health center
San Diego Union-Tribune

The federal government is questioning the use of millions of dollars in stimulus grants awarded to the San Diego region’s largest community health center operator. A report released Tuesday by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services calls for the possible refund of more than $4.5 million in grant money awarded to Family Health Centers of San Diego under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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Medicaid physician pay boost stalled
Modern Healthcare

No states appear to have implemented a temporary Medicaid physician pay boost more than eight weeks after it was supposed to have gone into effect, according to provider groups tracking the issue.

The highly anticipated move boosting 2013-14 pay for Medicaid primary-care services provided by physicians to Medicare payment levels was required to go into effect Jan. 1, according to provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But delayed federal rules implementing the pay hike have pushed back the logistical process that will provide the funds to those physicians.

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Tulare County Hopes to Help Low-Income Residents with New Healthcare Program
KSEE

Pending federal approval, Tulare County’s indigent residents will have improved access to preventative medical coverage as early as next month through the Low Income Health Program or LIHP. On Tuesday, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the LIHP, also known as TulareCare, as presented by staff from the Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA).

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Are Price Controls the Answer?
The Health Care Blog

A recent article in Time magazine by Steven Brill, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” is a brilliantly written expose of the excesses and outrages of health care pricing. In reaction to the story, some have suggested the price controls are the appropriate (or the only) way to rectify the situation.

A recent story in the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, “Steven Brill’s 26,000-word health-care story, in one sentence,” suggests that US health care costs and cost growth are so high because we do not use rate setting, i.e., price controls. In fact, I think it’s not easy to establish whether that is indeed the case.

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