News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Missed, wrong diagnoses most dangerous errors, study says
Modern Healthcare

They rarely get the attention paid to never events, such as wrong-site surgery or death from a medication error, but errors involving missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses are the most common, costly and dangerous mistakes made in the U.S. healthcare system, argue the authors of a study in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety. Researchers analyzed 25 years of malpractice data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, looking specifically at more than 350,000 claims that led to payouts.

News Headlines Article

San Francisco probes alleged psychiatric-patient dumping
Los Angeles Times

The city attorney Monday announced a formal investigation into allegations that Nevada’s primary state psychiatric hospital had bused hundreds of indigent mentally ill patients out of state with few or no resources.

The allegations of patient-dumping were brought to light by the Sacramento Bee. The paper reported that at least 36 of 1,500 patients discharged by Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas over the last five years had been sent to San Francisco on Greyhound buses.

News Headlines Article

CPOE could reduce unneeded CT scans: study
Modern Healthcare

Use of a computerized physician-order entry system with decision-support alerts could reduce redundant CT scans, lower imaging costs and reduce unnecessary radiation exposure, according to research in JAMA Internal Medicine. Spurred by fast-growing rates of expensive imaging procedures, researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the Center for Evidence-Based Imaging, Brookline, Mass., designed a study aimed at assessing whether notification of recent CT scans could change physician behavior and curb overuse.

News Headlines Article

Feds aim to audit 5% of participants in EHR program
Modern Healthcare

About one in 20 participants in the federally funded electronic health-record incentive payment program can expect to be audited for compliance with meaningful use and other program criteria, a federal official said Monday.

In January, the CMS extended a second arm to its audit program for the EHR incentive payment program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, adding payment applicants to an audit target list that since October 2012 has included only providers whose payments already have been received.

News Headlines Article

How to Deliver Patient-Centered Care: Learn from Service Industries
The Health Care Blog

Over the past decade, patient-centered care has become a mantra for high-quality health care. Policymakers, researchers, physician-leaders, and patients have all cited the need for care to be tailored to patients’ unique needs and preferences. And there is solid evidence that patient-centered care can help improve care quality and reduce costs. However, in the rush to become more patient-centered, the health care system has misplaced its focus.

News Headlines Article

Diagnostic errors are leading cause of successful malpractice claims
Washington Post

Diagnostic errors, not surgical misadventures, obstetrical mistakes or improperly delivered medications, are the main source of successful malpractice claims. However, little is being done to identify such errors and measure their effects. Those are among the conclusions of a study that examined 25 years of malpractice payments, which by law have to be listed in the National Practitioner Data Bank maintained by the federal government.

News Headlines Article

Diagnostic Errors Common, Costly, and Harmful
Health Leaders Media

Wrong site surgeries and medication mishaps get all the gory malpractice headlines, but diagnostic errors are a larger, deadlier, and costlier problem, according to a study released Monday by Johns Hopkins researchers. “We have said repeatedly that the fundamental premise is if you don’t have the diagnosis right you can’t possibly get the treatment right unless occasionally you get lucky,” says David E. Newman-Toker, MD, an associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study being published online in BMJ Quality and Safety.

News Headlines Article

San Francisco to probe allegations of Nevada ‘patient dumping’
Sacramento Bee

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today announced a formal investigation into whether the State of Nevada improperly “dumped” psychiatric patients to his city and across California. In a letter to the director of Nevada’s Department of Health and Human Services sent this morning, Herrera demands that the state turn over documents related to its aggressive practice in recent years of discharging mental patients to Greyhound buses and transporting them across the country.

News Headlines Article

US hospitals send hundreds of immigrants back home
San Francisco Chronicle

Days after they were badly hurt in a car accident, Jacinto Cruz and Jose Rodriguez-Saldana lay unconscious in an Iowa hospital while the American health care system weighed what to do with the two immigrants from Mexico. The men had health insurance from jobs at one of the nation’s largest pork producers. But neither had legal permission to live in the U.S., nor was it clear whether their insurance would pay for the long-term rehabilitation they needed.

News Headlines Article

A look at immigrant patients deported by hospitals
San Francisco Chronicle

Over the last five years, American hospitals have sent at least 600 immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally back to their home countries to avoid paying for long-term care after serious illness or injury. The Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University has documented “medical repatriation” cases in 15 states involving patients from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Lithuania, Mexico, the Philippines and South Korea.

News Headlines Article

Covered California plans updates on model health plan contract, supplemental benefits
Sacramento Business Journal

The board at Covered California, the state health benefit exchange for individuals and small business employers, will provide updates on program planning, service centers and the enrollment system at a meeting Tuesday in Sacramento. The meeting will be held from 9 to 4 at 1500 Capitol Ave., but the public portion is expected to begin about noon. Action is expected on a proposed model health plan contract and how the exchange will handle enrollment in supplemental dental and vision benefits.

News Headlines Article

Health-care reform panel session set
The Press-Enterprise

The new federal health care reform law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, but there are still many questions from citizens, businesses, industries and students as to how it will affect them. To help clarify these, a special health care reform panel session, comprised of legal experts and representatives from the insurance and medical fields, will be held on Thursday, April 25, at Cal State San Bernardino’s Santos Manuel Student Union.

News Headlines Article

Doctors may order fewer lab tests if they know how much the exams cost
Washington Post

Doctors may order fewer laboratory tests during a patient’s hospital stay if they know how much the tests cost, a new study suggests. Researchers found that health-care providers at Johns Hopkins Hospital ordered about 9 percent fewer lab tests, such as blood work, when their computerized records system displayed the price.

News Headlines Article

IRS weighs U.S. health coverage rules in tax lobbying fight
Reuters

Are ski instructors seasonal workers that should get health care coverage by their employer under President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul?

That is just one of many details the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has to work out by January 2014, with hordes of special interest groups lobbying the agency between now and then.

News Headlines Article

Hospital ‘ACE’ Teams Curb Adverse Events, LOS, Costs
Health Leaders Media

Hospitals that use special Acute Care of the Elderly teams to target complex needs of their frail, elderly patients can see a drop in a dverse events and shorter lengths of stay, even if the patients aren’t housed in a dedicated unit but are scattered throughout the hospital.

And if the targeted care takes place in a distinct hospital unit, average costs for treating those patients, as well as 30-day readmissions, can drop too.

News Headlines Article

California Considers Expanded Roles for Nurses in Primary Care
capital public radio

Some nurse practitioners in California already see patients without a doctor in the room. Patients like Anastacia Casperson.

Casperson has struggled with homelessness and drug addiction, Now, she’s at Glide Health Services, a clinic in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.

Clark uses the visit as an opportunity to ask about other health matters – like her efforts to quit smoking. After a half hour visit, Casperson left with a prescription. She says she’s been coming to this clinic for a few years.

News Headlines Article

In rural California, physician shortages expected to increase
HealthyCal.org

In the coming year, millions of currently uninsured Californians will gain coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act — but that does not necessarily mean it will be any easier for them to see a doctor. As the state prepares for the expected onslaught of newly insured patients, health-care professionals are warning there may not be enough doctors — particularly, those practicing primary care — to meet the increased demand.

News Headlines Article

AMA initiative to target diabetes, heart disease
Modern Healthcare

By working with ongoing national campaigns and “galvanizing America’s physicians,” the American Medical Association will be seeking to reduce the deaths and healthcare costs associated with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the AMA, said the organization has earmarked $6 million for the first year of its multiyear Improving Health Outcomes initiative, which could continue for a decade or more.

News Headlines Article

Assemby approves limit on cancer drug cost
The Mercury News

Some cancer patients in California could see their out-of-pocket costs reduced under a bill that has passed one house of the Legislature. AB219 caps the cost to patients for oral anticancer drugs at $100 per prescription. It passed the Assembly Monday on a 62-10 and was sent to the Senate. Democratic Assemblyman Henry Perea of Fresno, the bill’s author, says the treatment can cost thousands of dollars per month and may be a patient’s only option.

News Headlines Article

Analysis: Slow growth in health spending largely due to recession, weak economy
Modern Healthcare

The recession and weak recovery are by far the biggest culprits behind recent record-slow growth in health spending, according to a new analysis. The results suggest that any relief enjoyed by employers, households or state and federal budgets as the downturn dampened health spending could evaporate as the economy rebounds.

News Headlines Article

More babies born full-term at Sutter hospitals under new safeguards
Sacramento Bee

Babies are arriving on their own schedules these days at Sutter hospitals, and that’s good for their health, officials say.

Concerned about a nearly two- decade escalation in the rate of elective, early births, Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento and Sutter Roseville Medical Center participated in a national study aimed at making sure more babies spend at least 39 weeks in the womb.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser program leads to huge reduction in Vicodin and Oxycontin prescriptions
Southern California Public Radio

Much of the recent attention on the nation’s prescription drug epidemic has focused on corrupt or negligent doctors. But there’s another significant problem in the medical community — many physicians are routinely prescribing powerful drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin because they don’t know how addictive and dangerous they can be. A two-year program at Kaiser Permanente has drastically reduced the number of prescriptions for these brand name drugs by teaching front-line doctors how to safely prescribe pain medication.

News Headlines Article

Plan for new Marin General Hospital complex raises concerns about traffic, parking, aesthetics
Marin Independent Journal

Traffic congestion, parking and aesthetics topped the concerns Marin County planning commissioners voiced Monday after reviewing plans for a new $500 million Marin General Hospital complex at the site of the existing hospital in Greenbrae.

The Planning Commission provided comments and held a public hearing on the environmental impact report for the project even though it will have no say on whether the report is approved. Under the California Environmental Quality Act, that authority resides with the Marin Healthcare District board.

News Headlines Article

Sierra Health looking to award grants for mental health respite
Sacramento Business Journal

The Sierra Health Foundation has issued a request for proposals to provide around-the-clock drop-in mental health respite services for Sacramento residents in crisis. The program is expected to provide brief respite for those in crisis and their caregivers. A grant of $1 million is available to fund the program over two years.

News Headlines Article

Planned Parenthood opposed for King City health clinic
Monterey Herald

A county health committee declined Friday to recommend approval of a bid by Planned Parenthood Mar Monte to move in to a county health clinic in King City after a protest from a Seaside community group.

Supervisor Fernando Armenta told a Planned Parenthood representative during Friday’s county Health and Human Services committee meeting the topic was simply too politically charged and any such request would likely be sent straight to the full Board of Supervisors for debate. Armenta called the issue a “really big political firecracker” with a “short fuse on it.”

News Headlines Article

Lazarus: A roadblock to collecting travel insurance benefits
Los Angeles Times

Barbara Butkus bought an airline ticket in November to fly from Palm Springs to Washington, D.C., a month later for a family reunion.

Just to be on the safe side, Butkus, 80, also bought travel insurance while booking her flight through Orbitz, the online travel agency. The coverage was from Allianz, a leading provider of travel insurance.

News Headlines Article

The Extinction of the Primary Care Clinic Nurse
The Health Care Blog

The Passenger Pigeon. The Dodo bird. The primary care clinic nurse. All are extinct, driven out existence by a changing habitat, competition and over-hunting.

Commands