News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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CHA Responds to Comments on Charity Care Legislation by Assemblymember Rob Bonta
Sacramento Bee

The following statement is issued by C. Duane Dauner, President/CEO, California Hospital Association:

If AB 975 is intended to improve access to quality health care in California’s communities, it actually does just the opposite. California’s not-for-profit community hospitals provide many community benefits that go far beyond the strict and unrealistic definition of charity care that is proposed in AB 975.

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CA lawmakers look to expand scope of some medical professionals
Sacramento Bee

Citing a need for more medical professionals able to treat patients who will soon have health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, state Sen. Ed Hernandez on Wednesday introduced a package of bills to expand the services that optometrists, pharmacists and nurse practitioners can offer patients.

The so-called “scope of practice” bills set the stage for a massive fight with the state’s physicians, who will look to protect their role as gatekeepers to medical care.

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Readmissions Prevention Begins at Admission
Health Leaders Media

Too often, hospital-based care teams start to develop a plan for readmissions as part of the traditional discharge process. Maybe a patient navigator is brought in or the education nurses are consulted, often in the last hours of what has likely been a prolonged inpatient stay. It’s just not the best time to start planning for an effective transition of care, says Greg Johnson, DO, chief medical officer of Parkview Health based in Fort Wayne, Ind.

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Spreading the Word about California’s Health Care Exchange
HealthyCal.org

California’s new health insurance marketplace — part of federal health reform — is preparing a massive information blitz to let state residents know about their new options for buying coverage. The health benefit exchange, called Covered California, will start enrolling members in October of this year for insurance coverage that will begin next January.

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Worker shortage may hurt progress on IT: report
Modern Healthcare

The federal government has long estimated there would be a shortage in the healthcare information technology labor force, but, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the talent shortfall may be even larger than the government expected. “Companies are scrambling to fill a talent void that could impede progress toward meeting government and consumer expectations,” said the authors of the 18-page report, “Solving the Talent Equation for Health IT.”

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Senate Dems propose $275B in healthcare cuts
Modern Healthcare

The first Senate Democratic budget proposal in four years would cut federal healthcare spending by $275 billion over 10 years.

The spending blueprint offered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the Budget Committee, would reduce—but not eliminate—annual deficits through an even combination of tax increases and spending cuts.

The healthcare cuts—for which few details were provided—were part of $975 billion in overall cuts the budget would implement over the coming decade.

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Bills aim to address expected doctor shortage in California
Modern Healthcare

A Democratic California state lawmaker introduced a package of bills Wednesday to address an expected doctor shortage as the state prepares to insure millions of new patients under federal healthcare reforms.

Sen. Ed Hernandez of West Covina said his bills would expand services that can be provided by nurse practitioners, optometrists and pharmacists in order to help alleviate a shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in rural areas and inner cities dominated by minorities. The bills are SB491, SB492 and SB493.

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Bills would allow pharmacists, optometrists to offer care
News10.net

There’s wide agreement that the bottleneck in California health care — too many patients and too few doctors — could get much worse with the implementation of federal changes.

But expect some Capitol clashes this spring on one idea to ease that congestion: allow more patient care to be done by health professionals who aren’t physicians.

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Study assesses breast radiation risk
Sacramento Bee

Radiation treatment for breast cancer can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease, doctors have long known. But the size of the added risk has not been clear.

Now, a new study offers a way to estimate the risk. It finds that for most women the risk is modest and outweighed by the benefit from the treatment, which can halve the recurrence rate and lower the death rate from breast cancer by about one-sixth.

According to the study, a 50-year-old woman with no cardiovascular risk factors has a 1.9 percent chance of dying of heart disease before she turns 80.

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Working together to curb rising health care costs
Capitol Weekly

The health care field is facing a multitude of unprecedented changes as California prepares to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The impending changes make it increasingly important to consider the different factors affecting affordability and quality of care. For some time now, health care costs have been on the rise. As we face new reforms which may add to costs, it’s time we look carefully at how we can work together to bring down existing cost drivers while readying ourselves for the coming reform.

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FDA plans to ease Alzheimer’s drug approval
Sacramento Bee

The Food and Drug Administration plans to loosen the rules for approving new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

Drugs in clinical trial would qualify for approval if people at very early stages of the disease subtly improved their performance on memory or reasoning tests, even before they developed any obvious impairments. Companies would not have to show that the drugs improved daily, real-world functioning.

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Insurance expert to discuss changes
San Diego Union-Tribune

Health care reform is coming and the health insurance industry is bracing for change.

Gordon Colburn, who has spent more than 30 years in the insurance and financial services field, will be talking about the impending changes in a speech presented by the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

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Building a New SuperTool to Prevent Infections
The Health Care Blog

Over the past few years there has been a huge push across the country to reduce healthcare associated infections (HAIs). This has created a big market for entrepreneurs. In fact, according to BCC Research the market for HAI prevention products is expected to be $14 billion by 2016, at which time the market for antibiotics to treat HAIs is expected to be only $6 billion.

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St. John’s nurses targeted for layoffs are reassigned or accept severance
Ventura County Star

The majority of the 36 nurses and other health care workers targeted for layoffs at St. John’s hospitals in Oxnard and Camarillo have new positions or accepted voluntary separation packages.

“No one involuntarily lost their jobs,” said Chris Slane, a Service Employees International Union Local 121RN representative. “There were a few who took voluntary severance and left. Some just got tired.”

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Small pediatric practices may lack resources to become medical homes: study
Modern Physician

Small primary-care pediatric practices may be disadvantaged when it comes to achieving designation as a medical home, according to a study conducted by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Primary-care practices are under financial pressure to become designated as medical homes, which receive extra funding under the healthcare reform law to coordinate patient care and lower overall costs.

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Obama names final members to long-term care commission
Modern Healthcare

President Barack Obama has named his three appointees to the long-term care commission that Congress created earlier this year to establish and finance a system that ensures long-term care services and supports are available to those who need them.

The president appointed Henry Claypool, a former HHS administrator who now serves as the executive vice president of the American Association of People with Disabilities; Dr. Julian Harris, the director of Massachusetts’ Medicaid office, and Carol Raphael, vice chair of the AARP’s board of directors.

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Ed Hernandez’s health care bills set stage for fight with doctors
Sacramento Bee

Citing a need for more medical professionals to be able to treat patients who will soon have health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, Sen. Ed Hernandez today introduced a package of bills allowing optometrists, pharmacists and nurse practitioners to expand the services they can offer patients. The so-called “scope of practice” bills set the stage for a massive fight with the state’s doctors, who will likely fight to protect their role as gatekeepers to medical care.

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S.F. supes OK CPMC’s Cathedral Hill deal
San Francisco Business Times

David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Tweeted Tuesday evening at about 7:26 p.m. that the board had approved the latest compromise plan to allow California Pacific Medical Center to build its long-delayed Cathedral Hill campus at Geary Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue. “After 5 months of negotiations, CPMC deal term sheet finally approved by @SFBOS!” Chiu Tweeted.

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Hospital nursing chief addresses protests
Times-Standard

As the chief nursing officer at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, I have the opportunity to witness the wonderful, high quality care that our nurses provide to our patients every day. Our nursing staff is the backbone of our hospital care and I am proud to call these individuals my colleagues. We could not act as the county’s medical safety net without the hard work and dedication of our RNs.

Commands