News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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87% of Physicians Say Quantity of EHR Alerts ‘Excessive’
Health Leaders Media

Electronic health records systems are the latest source of information overload.

Nearly one-third of physicians miss electronic notifications of test results in electronic health record systems, according to a research letter published this week in JAMA. Of the 2,590 primary care providers surveyed in the Department of Veterans Affairs by the researchers, 86.9% perceived the quantity of EHR alerts to be excessive, and 69.6% said they received more alerts than they could effectively manage.

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Skimpy mental health net leads to dumped patients
Sacramento Bee

In what appears to have been an egregious case of interstate patient dumping, a 48-year-old severely disturbed schizophrenic says he was released from a state mental institution in Las Vegas more than two weeks ago, put on a Greyhound bus to Sacramento and told to call 911 when he got here.

Confused and dazed, James Flavy Coy Brown was taken by police to Loaves & Fishes, the social services facility north of downtown that provides assistance to homeless people.

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Study: No negative side effects to remote telehealth
Modern Healthcare

The use of telehealth remote monitoring interventions was not shown to boost patients’ mental and physical quality of life in a study published in the British Medical Journal, but there were no negative side effects to the treatment either. Researchers from City University London’s School of Health Sciences and other institutions collected self-reported physical and mental quality-of-life scores relating to mobility, self care, ability to perform usual duties, pain and discomfort, anxiety and depression from patients diagnosed with either chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart failure.

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Put Medi-Cal expansion on the front burner
Los Angeles Times

The 2010 healthcare reform law has three interlocking goals: to expand insurance coverage, improve the quality of care and slow the rise of healthcare spending. The first goal is the costliest, requiring federal and state governments to extend public and private insurance plans to millions of people who can’t afford to pay the full price. Yet bringing them under the insurance umbrella is crucial to improving the quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their care.

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Survey: Too many EHR alerts could lead to missing test results
Modern Healthcare

The information deluge unleashed by electronic health-record systems could lead to physicians missing notification of abnormal test results, and this could lead to delays in patients receiving the care they need, according to a survey of primary-care practitioners (physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants) with the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department.

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EHR a Money-Loser for Most Physicians
Health Leaders Media

Adopting electronic health records appears to be a money-losing proposition for most physicians, especially specialists and those in smaller physician groups.

The average physician would lose $43,743 over five years after adopting EHRs and only 27% of physicians would profit through the transition away from paper records without federal financial aid.

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High court declines to resolve dispute in eating disorder case
Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to enter the fray over when a health insurance plan administrator is allowed to raise new grounds for denying a claim for medical benefits, an issue which has divided the federal courts of appeal.

The high court denied a request by Blue Shield of California to decide whether a health insurance plan covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is entitled to provide an initial explanation for denying a beneficiary coverage and to then, later on, assert new reasons for refusing coverage.

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Anorexia coverage appeal is rejected
San Francisco Chronicle

The U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal Monday by an insurance company protesting a lower court’s ruling that required the insurer to cover the stay in a residential care facility of a San Mateo woman who suffered from anorexia. An earlier ruling in Jeanene Harlick’s suit against Blue Shield of California had established that state law requires insurers to provide the same coverage for medically necessary treatment of mental disorders, like hers, as for physical injuries and illnesses.

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Federal probe sought of alleged ‘dumping’ of mental patient in Sacramento
Sacramento Bee

A California state lawmaker is calling for a federal investigation into the alleged “dumping” of a Nevada mental patient last month in Sacramento.

Hospital and health officials in Nevada, meanwhile, vowed to look into the circumstances surrounding the patient’s release and issue a public report about what happened.

“We don’t take this lightly at all,” said Dr. Tracey Green, Nevada’s state health officer.

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Sequester expected to sock health centers
Modern Healthcare

Community health centers will serve about 900,000 fewer patients in 2013 because of sequester-related funding cuts, according to a report. Researchers at the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University projected the service delivery impacts on the federally funded health centers from the sequester, which four days ago began cutting $85 billion in federal spending this year.

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Healthcare reform faces challenges
The Reporter

Set on a gritty corner of Oakland’s International Boulevard, the nonprofit Street Level Health Project offers free checkups to patients who speak a total of 22 languages, from recent Mongolian immigrants seeking a doctor to Burmese refugees in need of a basic dental exam. It also provides a window into one of the challenges for state officials who are trying to implement the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul.

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Health care reform opportunities a challenge for highly diverse population with many languages
The Mercury News

Set on a gritty corner of Oakland’s International Boulevard, the nonprofit Street Level Health Project offers free checkups to patients who speak a total of 22 languages, from recent Mongolian immigrants seeking a doctor to Burmese refugees needing a dental exam. It also opens a window on one of the challenges for state leaders who are trying to implement the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul.

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Health care spending is transferred out of ICU
Visialia Times-Delta

Health care spending last year rose at one of the lowest rates in a half-century, partly the result of cost-saving measures put in place by the 2009 health care law, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Spending for medical care has increased modestly for five consecutive years, the longest period of slow growth since Medicare began in 1966. This respite comes just before a massive expansion of health insurance starts Jan. 1, 2014.

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Health care reform to be discussed in Lodi
Lodi News-Sentinel

Lodi-based MCV Insurance Producers will present two seminars Tuesday on how President Barack Obama’s health-care reform bill will affect local businesses. A seminar especially for farmers and winery owners will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Oak Ridge Winery, 6100 E. Highway 12, Victor. Part of the seminar will focus on employers with seasonal workers.

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Signups begin for low income health program
Monterey Herald

Dozens of people stood in line to apply for ViaCare, some as early as 6:30 a.m. Monday, on the first day for poor, uninsured residents to sign up for the county’s new low income health program.

A handful of people began lining up at the county-owned hospital more than an hour before applications were available, said a Natividad Medical Center spokeswoman.

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City strikes deal for two new hospitals
San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco officials have struck a deal with California Pacific Medical Center to build two seismically safe hospitals following months of negotiations after city supervisors balked at the original agreement Mayor Ed Lee had negotiated. Under the new compromise, to be announced Tuesday, the Sutter Health affiliate will scale back the size of its planned hospital on Cathedral Hill from 555 beds to 274, and expand the capacity of a rebuilt St.

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Study ties employer wellness initiatives to steep drop in hospital stays
Modern Healthcare

One of Missouri’s largest employers saw a sharp, rapid drop in hospital visits by workers and their families for costly and chronic conditions after insisting employees in its most popular, generous health plan enroll in wellness initiatives. Outpatient costs, meanwhile, increased almost as much as hospital costs fell.

The results, published in the journal Health Affairs, found an estimated 41% drop in hospital stays between January 2004 and December 2006 for stroke, heart disease (hypertensive and ischemic), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute pulmonary infections among employees and dependents with health benefits from BJC HealthCare.

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Blood’s Shelf Life May Be as Short as 3 Weeks
Health Leaders Media

A small study of how blood ages in storage, and after being transfused in patients who underwent spinal fusion surgery suggests a worrisome finding for the world’s blood banking industry, hospitals and transfused patients: Blood stored longer than 21 days appears to stiffen, making it less able to squeeze into small capillaries and organs that need it.

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What Apple Can Teach Health Care About Thinking Different
The Health Care Blog

Apple Incorporated has grown to be among the most valuable and most envied companies on earth. Its products are ubiquitous and beloved by many of their users. Last year, the firm generated nearly $26 billion in profits on revenues of $108 billion.

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Physician Entrepreneurs
The Health Care Blog

I have been taking a vacation from blogging as I try to get through a very busy academic quarter. But my last blog, “My Son the Electrician” elicited a lot of comments and I have always wanted to follow up. And today I see that the Chicago Sun Times has generously quoted me, in particular noting how I liken physicians to entrepreneurs. Lest anyone get the wrong impression, let me briefly explain what I mean. Like entrepreneurs, physicians launch their careers by making large investments – up to ten years of post-graduate training.

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