News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Obamacare to bypass undocumented immigrants
Fresno Bee

Fresno farm laborer Javier Carreon tried for two weeks to ignore pain radiating up his right leg to his back, but when it got worse last week he finally went to a doctor.

“I hardly come to the doctor. I just came because it’s very painful; it’s very strong,” he said in Spanish in an exam room at the Clinica Sierra Vista health center on Elm Avenue.

He is one of many undocumented immigrants who delay care because they are poor, uninsured and in the country illegally.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals Question Medicare Rules on Readmissions
New York Times

It is no longer enough for hospitals to make patients healthy enough to leave. Now, as part of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul, they are spending millions of dollars to keep those patients from coming back, often acting like personal assistants to help them manage their post-hospital lives. While federal statistics show the effort is beginning to reduce costly and unnecessary readmissions, a growing chorus of critics is asking whether the government policy, which penalizes hospitals that have high readmission rates, is unfair.

News Headlines Article

Final rule issued on expanded Medicaid funding
Modern Healthcare

Although HHS on Friday released a final rule regarding the expanded 100% federal funding of the cost of new Medicaid beneficiaries, the department is still accepting comments on the methodology states can use to determine whether a new beneficiary qualifies for the enhanced funding.

That methodology is important, since if a person is not deemed “newly eligible,” then they do not qualify for the 100% federal match, but instead, the lower matching rate for those already enrolled in Medicaid.

News Headlines Article

Scores Predict Readmission Likelihood
Health Leaders Media

Executives at hospitals getting socked with readmissions penalties up to 3% of their Medicare reimbursement may dream of a formula that accurately predicts which patients will return within 30 days, and which of those they can prevent.

But a team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, collaborating with a team in Bern, Switzerland, is closer to making that dream come true for patients with medical illnesses, (but not for surgical patients).

News Headlines Article

Healthcare law threatens California jobs, business group says
Los Angeles Times

California could lose more than 26,000 jobs as a result of a tax provision in the federal healthcare law, a small-business advocacy group said. A study by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation found that employment in the Golden State may see a loss of from 14,322 to 26,296 jobs by 2022 because of the Health Insurance Tax provision.

News Headlines Article

Calif. bill challenges tax exemption for profitable not-for-profits
Modern Healthcare

California hospitals are decrying a bill supported by organized labor that threatens to strip tax exemptions from profitable not-for-profit hospitals in the state. Officials with the California Nurses Association say the proposed law—AB 975—is an attempt to bring more accountability to money-making hospitals that use tax exemptions to turn tidy profits and give hefty salaries to executives.

Hospital officials say the law seeks to impose a misguided “one-size-fits-all” approach to community benefits that will punish the most-charitable hospitals and harm programs for the poor by taking away tax exemptions.

News Headlines Article

Soroptimists honor six ‘Women of Distinction’
Modesto Bee

Soroptimist International of Modesto honored six “Women of Distinction” during its annual Women’s Recognition and Student Scholarship Awards program Thursday evening at the McHenry Museum. The Women of Distinction were recognized for achievements in professional business or volunteer activities.

News Headlines Article

New center at SVMH tackles sleep disorders
The Californian - Salinas

The opening in March of the new Sleep Medicine Center at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital parallels a growing understanding of the links between sleep and health, and in many cases they can be dramatic.

With 87 different types of sleep disorders afflicting patients and causing an untold number of illness, either directly or indirectly, health-care providers are taking seriously the problems created by the lack of shut-eye. And patients should as well.

News Headlines Article

Self-help fights childhood obesity: UCSD study
San Diego Union-Tribune

Overweight children and their parents can shed extra pounds on their own, if they get guidance from medical experts, according to a new study led by UC San Diego researchers. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, indicates that self-help programs may be realistic ways to reduce childhood obesity. Kerri Boutelle, an associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine, led the study.

News Headlines Article

Mammogram law takes effect Monday
San Diego Union-Tribune

Starting Monday, women in San Diego County and across the state will get a warning in the mail if their mammogram shows they have dense breast tissue.

Studies show that dense tissue can make preventive mammogram screenings less effective at detecting early-stage cancers.

Federal law already requires health providers to report the results of mammograms to women in writing, and now those letters will have to include an extra paragraph if density is an issue.

News Headlines Article

Health plans in California rated in new state report card: Which ones got the most stars? The least?
Contra Costa Times

California’s largest health plans are now immunizing more children and meeting other quality measures, but many patients report they are not able to get the care they need quickly and easily. These are among the findings of the 12th annual report card released Wednesday by the state Office of the Patient Advocate. The report is designed to enable consumers to compare the quality of care delivered by the state’s 10 largest commercial health maintenance organizations, six largest preferred provider organizations and 209 medical groups.

News Headlines Article

Calif. Gov. Brown Announces Appointments for March 29, 2013 to the California Workforce Investment Board
California Newswire

Today, Calif. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced the following appointments: First, Roberto Barragan, 52, of North Hills, has been appointed to the California Workforce Investment Board. Barragan has been president of the Valley Economic Development Center since 1999. He was executive director at Community Financial Resource Center from 1993 to 1994 and executive director of the Mission Economic Development Association from 1989 to 1993.

News Headlines Article

Safety issues threaten Hoag funding
Orange County Register

Hoag Hospital and Hoag Orthopedic Institute have been threatened with the loss of federal Medicare funding after inspections turned up patient health and safety deficiencies in Newport Beach and Irvine. In a January inspection of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a finding of immediate jeopardy – the highest level of potential patient harm – because flu and pneumonia vaccines and medications were stored at improper temperatures.

News Headlines Article

A.D.H.D. Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise
New York Times

Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These rates reflect a marked rise over the last decade and could fuel growing concern among many doctors that the A.D.H.D. diagnosis and its medication are overused in American children.

News Headlines Article

CMS considering waivers for private coverage Medicaid alternative
Modern Healthcare

The Obama administration is showing willingness to let some states steer new Medicaid funding to private coverage in the new individual insurance marketplaces in order meet the coverage goals of the healthcare reform law. The CMS will consider granting a “limited number” of state waivers for demonstration that test what happens when states give Medicaid enrollees the option of taking a subsidy to buy a private plan, according to new guidance issued Friday.

News Headlines Article

Medicaid expansion won’t bury docs: report
Modern Physician

If history is a guide, the expansion of Medicaid coverage will not overwhelm the nation’s physicians as some have feared, according to a report in the Medicare & Medicaid Research Review. That’s the opinion of researchers from the Government Accountability Office and the Washington-based Center for Studying Health System Change who found that the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 1997 did not create a deluge of patients that the nation’s pediatricians couldn’t handle.

News Headlines Article

Marketing plan devised to sell Americans on health reform
BakersfieldNOW.com

How do you convince millions of average Americans that one of the most complex and controversial programs devised by government may actually be a good deal for them?

With the nation still split over President Barack Obama’s health care law, the administration has turned to the science of mass marketing for help in understanding the lives of uninsured people, hoping to craft winning pitches for a surprisingly varied group in society.

News Headlines Article

GOP seeks to benefit from Sebelius admission on healthcare cost hikes
The Hill

Republican campaign officials are claiming new momentum for 2014 after the Obama administration admitted that some consumers could see their health insurance premiums rise under healthcare reform. This week’s surprise concession from federal Health secretary Kathleen Sebelius played into the GOP’s No. 1 message against the Affordable Care Act — that it will raise healthcare costs.

News Headlines Article

Practice Redesign Isn’t Going To Erase The Primary Care Shortage
The Health Care Blog

Most experts agree that primary care needs to be re-invented. There are a lot of promising ingredients of practice redesign: better scheduling, electronic medical records with patient portals, redesigned clinician workflow, and work sharing. Linda Green’s intriguing article in the January Health Affairs simulates a strategic combination of these changes and argues if they all happened at once, we would have no primary care physician shortage.

Commands