News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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10 Technologies Hospital Leaders Should be Watching
Health Leaders Media

The ECRI Institute has released its third annual 10 C-Suite Watch List. The list was compiled by polling various technical colleges at ECRI, along with associates of the company who track hospital and health care operations to figure out which issues were of the most importance to them. While some entries to the top ten list are repeats from last year, many of the entries are new, as various technologies in certain fields have made great strides over the last year.

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More UC Davis medical students headed to primary care
Sacramento Business Journal

Nearly half of the 107 medical school students graduating from the University of California Davis in June will enter primary-care residency programs, the highest percentage in more than a decade. A total of 52 medical school graduates will advance their education in primary care this year, or 48.6 percent of the graduating class. This is the highest percentage since 2002, when the figure was 49.5 percent.

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Gov’t shutdown averted; sequester cuts remain
Modern Healthcare

Federal lawmakers averted a government shutdown after the House of Representatives approved a $984 billion spending bill that will keep the government operating through Sept. 30 and maintains the sequestration cuts that will hit Medicare providers starting on April 1. In a 318-109 vote on Thursday, House members passed the Senate version of the funding measure that will keep all federal agencies and offices running beyond March 27, when the current funding resolution expires.

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Health Insurers Warn on Premiums
The Wall Street Journal

Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation’s biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans.

The projections, made in sessions with brokers and agents, provide some of the most concrete evidence yet of how much insurance companies might increase prices when major provisions of the law kick in next year—a subject of rigorous debate.

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State by state: Implementation of Obama health law
San Francisco Chronicle

A look at how states are putting in place President Barack Obama’s health care law, including health insurance exchanges and expansion of Medicaid coverage, along with the number of people in each state who don’t have health insurance:

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Obama health law anniversary finds 2 Americas
San Francisco Chronicle

Three years, two elections, and one Supreme Court decision after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, its promise of health care for the uninsured may be delayed or undercut in much of the country because of entrenched opposition from many Republican state leaders. In half the states, mainly led by Democrats, officials are racing deadlines to connect uninsured residents to coverage now only months away. In others it’s as if “Obamacare” — signed Mar. 23, 2010 — had never passed.

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Healthcare called key driver of federal deficit
Modern Healthcare

A sober discussion on trimming $4 trillion from the national debt got off to an unusual start. Erskine Bowles, was co-chairman of a commission on fiscal responsibility convened by President Barack Obama, began with a shout-out to his personal orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Walter Beaver, who Bowles said had reconstructed both his knees and both his shoulders.

“Without him, I wouldn’t be here,” said Bowles, speaking at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago.

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Senate Votes Against Key Health-Law Tax
The Wall Street Journal

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday night to repeal a tax on medical-device sales, despite the fact that the levy helps finance the health-care overhaul.

The vote was largely symbolic, but the 79-20 tally signals strong opposition to the 2.3% tax on device sales that went into effect Jan. 1. Even though the levy is meant to help foot the bill for the signature legislative achievement of President Barack Obama’s first term, 33 Democrats as well as independent Sen. Angus King of Maine joined Republican senators in voting to repeal the tax.

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Health-care uncertainty weighs down small firms
Los Angeles Daily News

Jody Manor has run a small cafe and catering company for nearly three decades in Alexandria, Va., only a few blocks from where he was born. Six years ago he purchased an adjoining building, and more recently he started searching for a second location. Whether he moves forward with expansion depends on the price tag of the requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health-care initiative.

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Insurance market swirls with impending deadline
San Francisco Business Times

Health reform in California is roaring down the tracks, but key train stations, railway yards and other bits of infrastructure are still being built. January 1, 2014, is the date Obamacare, in something close to its full-fledged form, will take effect in the Golden State and Bay Area. That deadline is creating plenty of anxiety as insurance companies, consultants, employers and individual employees and consumers prepare for the big day — or try to figure out what it will mean for them.

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States Urged to Expand Medicaid With Private Insurance
New York Times

The White House is encouraging skeptical state officials to expand Medicaid by subsidizing the purchase of private insurance for low-income people, even though that approach might be somewhat more expensive, federal and state officials say. Ohio and Arkansas are negotiating with the Obama administration over plans to use federal Medicaid money to pay premiums for commercial insurance that will be sold to the public in regulated markets known as insurance exchanges.

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Less Than 1% of Health Plan Premiums Spent on Quality
Health Leaders Media

Health insurance providers have spent less than 1% of the premium dollars they collected from policy holders on quality initiatives, a Commonwealth Fund study said.

Insurers spent $2.3 billion on quality improvement activities in 2011, an average of about $29 per policyholder, the report said. Spending on quality initiatives is mandated in a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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When harm in the hospital follows you home
Los Angeles Daily News

A slip of the scalpel, an invisible microbe, a minute miscalculation. It’s estimated that something goes wrong for more than one million people per year during a visit to the hospital. Some patients experience a full physical recovery. Some are never fully healed.

But even if patients are lucky enough to physically heal, their lives may never be the same. Sleep becomes elusive, relationships break apart, and a wall of silence appears between patients and the doctors they trusted.

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Chest cold? Why antibiotics might not be worth the risk
Los Angeles Daily News

Doctors need to give antibiotics to more than 12,000 people with acute respiratory infections to prevent just one of them from being hospitalized with pneumonia, according to a new study.

And that small benefit is outweighed by the very real risks that go along with antibiotics – both from serious side effects and the promotion of resistant “superbugs,” researchers say.

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Autism diagnoses on the rise, study finds
Los Angeles Times

U.S. schoolchildren are being diagnosed with some form of autism at a record rate of 1 in 50, according to a new government study.

That rate of 2% is based on a survey involving tens of thousands of children between the ages of 6 and 17. A similar survey in 2007 found a rate of 1.2%.

Though the increase is likely to fuel speculation that an expanding environmental threat is behind the rise in autism cases, the authors said their report did not support that view.

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F.D.A. Seeks to Toughen Defibrillator Regulations
New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it was moving to toughen regulation of the industry that produces heart defibrillators — devices that are used to jolt a failing heart back into its regular rhythm — after tens of thousands of malfunctions and hundreds of deaths in recent years.

In one case, a nurse was trying to hook up a defibrillator to a patient in cardiac arrest when its electronic screen read “memory full” and then shut down, according to one example provided by the F.D.A.

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Tulare group seeks to recall 3 members of TRMC board
Visialia Times-Delta

A group of voters took initial steps this week seeking to recall three members of the Tulare Regional Medical Center board of directors.

The recall targets are chairwoman Sherrie Bell, vice chairman Parmod Kumar and treasurer Richard Torrez.

Torrez said he received his recall notice at his home Wednesday night.

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Not-for-profit hospitals should provide their fair share of charity
The Desert Sun

Eisenhower Memorial Hospital is an enormous asset to the Coachella Valley.

Established in the late 1960s with the visionary support of Bob and Dolores Hope, it operates facilities in Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Cathedral City and Palm Springs. Its Rancho Mirage campus is home to the hospital, the Betty Ford Center for addiction treatment and the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center for victims of abuse.

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Minority science program at Children’s Hospital receives endowment
Los Angeles Times

A rigorous science program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles aimed at encouraging minority students to pursue a career in the field received an endowment this month that should fund the program for years to come. The Latino and African-American High School Internship Program selects 16 students each year from around Los Angeles County. Under the watch of professionals, they conduct their own research in laboratories at the hospital’s Saban Research Institute.

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Startup Omada Health lands $4.7 million for online program to prevent diabetes
San Francisco Business Times

A startup with an online program aimed at people at risk of developing diabetes raised a Series A round of $4.7 million. The early financing of San Francisco’s Omada Health was led by U.S. Venture Partners. Other investors were The Vertical Group, Founder Collective, New Enterprise Associates, TriplePoint Capital and Kapor Capital as well as angel investors.

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UCSF names Joseph Guglielmo as School of Pharmacy dean
San Francisco Business Times

B. Joseph Guglielmo, who has led UCSF’s School of Pharmacy since the retirement of Mary Anne Koda-Kimble in mid-2012, was named Thursday as dean of the school. Guglielmo will head a school within the University of California, San Francisco, with 1,150 faculty and staff and 980 students, residents and postdoctoral scholars. The school regularly ranks among the nation’s largest, in terms of research funding from the National Institutes of Health, and best.

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