News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Planning Commission approves California Pacific Medical Center hospital project
San Francisco Examiner

Despite a split among community groups, unions and residents on the $2.5 billion California Pacific Medical Center hospital project, the San Francisco Planning Commission gave the nod late Thursday to the controversial development that could place a massive new hospital at one of The City’s busiest corners. After a nearly 10-hour hearing — the majority of which was public comment — the commission voted 5-1 to certify the environmental impact report for the project, and also gave approval to several other parts of the deal, including a development agreement between The City and the Sutter Health affiliate that took months to negotiate.

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SVMH plans town hall meetings on affiliation process
Contra Costa Times

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital will hold a series of town hall meetings in the next three months to give the public an opportunity to weigh in on the vetting process for potential partners. Board president Jim Gattis announced the town hall meetings during an update on the affiliation process at Thursday’s board meeting. The forums have been scheduled for May 16, June 7 and July 19, said hospital spokeswoman Adrienne Laurent.

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How Predictive Modeling Cuts Hospital Readmissions
Health Leaders Media

With the looming threat of reimbursement losses for preventable 30-day readmissions, healthcare organizations nationwide are analyzing care transitions in an effort to achieve better outcomes and keep patients from returning to their facilities unnecessarily. While transition programs show promise in helping hospitals reduce their readmission rates, predictive models are also being used successfully in tandem with these programs.

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Hospital M&A activity heating up, report says
Modern Healthcare

Hospital mergers and acquisitions have heated up in the first quarter of this year—with no slowdown in deal-making activity expected. A report from Irving Levin Associates recorded 23 hospital deals in the first quarter of 2012, a 5% increase over the same period last year and a 10% increase over the fourth quarter. In total, hospital deals amounted to $129 million in the first quarter of this year.

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Molina Healthcare fights to keep growing
Los Angeles Times

Healthcare companies are tripping over themselves to profit from a flood of government contracts for treating the poor and disabled, and a family-run company in Long Beach with nearly $5 billion in revenue is trying to stay ahead of the pack. Amid the growing competition, Molina Healthcare Inc. is facing new hurdles. It has lost two key state contracts in Ohio and Missouri and its shares have tumbled 23% in recent weeks.

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Health insurers to give $1.3 billion in rebates, study finds
Los Angeles Times

U.S. consumers and employers will receive about $1.3 billion in rebates from insurance companies this year, according to a new study quantifying a key early benefit of the healthcare law that President Obama signed in 2010.

That will translate to a few dollars to more than $150 apiece for nearly 16 million consumers nationwide, the report by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found.

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California Pacific Medical Center plans approved
San Francisco Chronicle

California Pacific Medical Center cleared a major hurdle in its quest to build and renovate five facilities across San Francisco on Thursday when the Planning Commission handed it a key approval. The hospital network’s $2.5 billion construction project, which includes building a 555-bed hospital on Cathedral Hill, is its solution to complying with upcoming state seismic safety standards.

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Sutter Davis named one of nation’s top hospitals
Daily Democrat

For the second consecutive year, Sutter Davis Hospital was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare. It is the only hospital in the greater Sacramento region to receive the recognition.

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San Bernardino County stroke center network expands coverage area
San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino County’s network of specialized stroke centers has recently filled-in key coverage area’s on its eastern borders, with the addition of two hospitals. The network has now reached about 80 percent of its original vision, said Dr. Reza Vaezazizi, medical director of the Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency, which oversees the system.

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Urgent Care Center in Fontana earns significant honor
Fontana Herald News

The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA) has awarded St. Bernardine Medical Center’s two Urgent Care Centers (including one in Fontana) with the “Certified Urgent Care Center” designation.

This distinctive accolade, offered to only a few select centers in the country, distinguishes both locations as true centers of care that must provide patients with walk-in, extended-hour medical attention from licensed health care providers for a wide range of medical conditions, plus offer onsite X-ray and laboratory services.

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Self resigns as Seneca District Hospital CEO
Plumas County News

Doug Self, chief executive officer for Seneca Healthcare District (SHD), submitted his resignation to the board of directors Friday, April 20.

He has accepted the position of chief operating officer for the Carson-Tahoe Health System (CTHS), which is based in Carson City.

Self did ask and receive approval from CTHS to extend his departure from the district for a period of 60 days, which would make June 30, the closing of the district’s 2011-12 fiscal year, his final day at Seneca.

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Few options to curb specialty-drug costs: study
Modern Healthcare

There are few options to control increasing spending on high-cost specialty drugs, which raises questions for the insurers, employers and patients grappling with growing usage of specialty drugs, according to a study from the Center for Studying Health System Change.

Specialty drugs are typically biologics developed to treat complex medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or cancer.

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New health programs need a managed approach: report
Modern Healthcare

The federal government needs a plan for managing the various programs and projects that resulted and will result from recent healthcare legislation, argues a new report from the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System (PDF), which offered its own take on how that plan could look.

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Tulare hospital election measure slammed
Visialia Times-Delta

A June ballot measure proposing by-area elections instead of at-large elections for hospital trustees is weighted in favor of a single Hispanic district instead of two, claimed three individuals who spoke during the public comment period of Wednesday’s Tulare Local Healthcare District Board of Directors meeting.

Ballot Measure D on the primary ballot is the result of a lawsuit, filed in 2007 by seven Hispanic citizens, which claims that at-large elections dilute Hispanic representation and violate the California Voting Rights Act of 2001.

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Bakersfield Memorial debuts Kern County’s first pediatric ICU
BakersfieldNOW.com

Tucked away inside Bakersfield Memorial Hospital is a brand new department. It’s the first of it’s kind in Kern County.

“It is the only, first and only, pediatrics intensive care unit in the southern San Joaquin Valley,” said Gary Frazier, the vice president of business development and strategy for the hospital. Now, the hospital said, critically ill children or kids who need specialized care do not need to be transferred out of town.

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Scripps Memorial Hospital To Replace ER
10News.com

The project, when complete, will replace the current ER, which is less than half the size, with only a dozen beds, compared to the 27 planned for the new facility, according to Scripps Health. A second floor on the new structure will hold three dozen inpatient beds in private rooms. Around 40,000 patients use the hospital’s emergency department annually. Scripps Health said the population of coastal North County has increased 20 percent in the past decade, and the hospital’s caseload has gone up accordingly.

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Feds accept hospital’s remedy plan
Gilroy Dispatch

A plan of correction addressing “serious” and “critical” deficiencies at Saint Louise Regional Hospital received the stamp of approval from the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which will conduct an unannounced follow-up survey within the year to ensure the hospital is meeting all the conditions of participation as a Medicare provider. While the logistics of the survey are “an open book” in terms of when it will take place and what will come under the magnifying glass, “it’s not an open book test,” said CEO Joanne Allen Tues

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Mission Bay Hospital Project Wins International Innovation Award
UCSF Today

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay’s design and construction team has received an international award honoring the many innovative approaches being used to create the world-class hospital complex in San Francisco.

The Celebration of Engineering and Technology Innovation — or CETI — Award, recognizes organizations for their significant achievements in innovation and the implementation of new and emerging technologies.

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Merck posts big Q1 profit jump on lower charges
San Francisco Chronicle

Drugmaker Merck & Co. said Friday that its first-quarter profit jumped 67 percent despite lower-than-expected sales, due to lower spending on production, marketing and research as well as an arbitration charge a year ago. The maker of Singulair for asthma and allergies said net income was $1.74 billion, or 56 cents per share, up from $1.04 billion, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

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Progress with HIV undercut by unmet needs
San Francisco Chronicle

Scientists have been hailing recent triumphs in the treatment and prevention of HIV, but a UCSF study released this week shows that for a large group of impoverished HIV patients, a simple lack of food and shelter is making them sicker than the infection itself. Unmet subsistence needs – not having a place to sleep and not having access to regular meals, clean clothes or good hygiene – had the largest single effect on the physical and mental health of patients in the UCSF study of 288 homeless men.

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SF needs quake-safe CPMC hospitals
San Francisco Examiner

San Franciscans last week were reminded of the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed most of The City and tragically took many lives. We were once again reminded that The City always needs to be prepared.

Seismically safe hospitals are key to our recovery efforts. Not only do we need to keep our hospital patients safe, we need to ensure that San Franciscans have access to medical services.

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Better news on apps at Kaiser Permanente, but still no iPhone version
San Francisco Business Times

Kaiser Permanente, which hyped its mobile device app’s progress back in January before it had a lot to crow about, has some real numbers now. To wit, the Oakland-based health care giant says 94,367 of its Android apps have been downloaded — up from just 2,100 in late January. Meanwhile, 74,295 locator apps, used by Kaiser members to locate their nearest Kaiser hospital or clinic, have found their way onto mobile phones.

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How Obama Botched and Bungled the Health Reform Message
The Health Care Blog

While it’s comforting to just blame the GOP for the unhappiness with health reform threatening the president’s re-election, the truth is that Barack Obama repeatedly botched, bungled and bobbled the health reform message. There were three big mistakes: The Passionless Play While Candidate Obama proclaimed a passionate moral commitment to fix American health care, President Obama delved into legislative details.

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