News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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New nurses face few prospects
Visialia Times-Delta

College of the Sequoias student nurse Rebekah Piche hovered over an elderly patient at Kaweah Delta Medical Center who happened to be a retired nurse.

The patient, Dorothy Flory, 87, of Porterville, trained in the Navy to become a licensed vocational nurse. She said she never had trouble finding work.

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U.S. healthcare costs the most but isn’t the best: Report
Los Angeles Times

Healthcare in the United States is the most expensive in the world, but it’s not the best, according to new research.

For each person, the U.S. spent $7,690 on medical care in 2009, according to data from the Commonwealth Fund research group. That was 17% of GDP at the time and the most of the 13 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD.

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Med Schools Boost Enrollment, But Residency Slots Threatened
Health Leaders Media

The nation’s medical schools are on track to boost enrollment 30% by 2016, but they may not have residency slots available for all of their new graduates, the Association of American Medical Colleges reports.

AAMC lobbyist Christiane Mitchell says federal funding for graduate medical education programs is under siege on several fronts, and that graduate education at the nation’s medical schools has been targeted for as much as $60 billion in cuts over the next decade.

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Health Net shares tumble 25% as it posts loss, lowers forecast
Los Angeles Times

Health Net Inc. shares plunged 25% as the Woodland Hills insurer posted disappointing first-quarter results and slashed its full-year profit outlook. The company surprised analysts and investors by disclosing an additional $67 million in medical claims that hadn’t been reported in the fourth quarter because of errors in processing claims. Health Net said outside vendors that handle those claims for the company experienced problems with a new industrywide billing format.

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Lobbyists see big boost in revenue for first quarter
Sacramento Business Journal

Business groups, corporations and unions paid lobbying firms almost $42 million to influence state lawmakers in the first quarter of 2012, up 7.5 percent from the same period last year. Almost $12 million of that went to the top 10 lobbying firms, an increase of more than 18 percent from the first quarter of 2011, according to quarterly reports filed with the Secretary of State. All but one are locally based.

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Feds to put up $1.9B for Oregon health overhaul
San Francisco Chronicle

The Obama administration is buying into an ambitious health care initiative in Oregon, announcing Thursday it has tentatively agreed to chip in $1.9 billion over five years to help get the program off the ground. Oregon hopes to prove that states can save billions on Medicaid without sacrificing the quality of health care. Gov. John Kitzhaber’s plan would invest in preventive care to keep patients healthy so they don’t need expensive hospitalizations.

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Ore. coordinated care to receive $1.9 billion from feds
Modern Healthcare

Oregon’s plan to create a network of Medicaid Coordinated Care Organizations moved forward as the names of 14 applicants were released, and it also received a boost as the CMS announced preliminary approval to provide the program with $1.9 billion over five years. The announcement on the funding, which would include $620 million in the first year, was made after two days of meetings Wednesday and Thursday in Washington between Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and officials from the CMS.

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Urgent care centers receive national designation
The Press-Enterprise

The Urgent Care Association of America has awarded St. Bernardine Medical Center’s two urgent care centers with the “Certified Urgent Care Center” designation. This accolade distinguishes both locations as 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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Hospital Plastic Surgery Business Grows
Health Leaders Media

In healthcare, the plastic surgery business is more than skin deep, but not wrinkle free.

Cosmetic plastic surgery is often tied to the variables of economic trends, but some hospital officials are seeing an uptick in certain procedures. Patients are opting for more facelifts and eyelid surgeries. And they are seeking more of the lower-cost procedures such as chemical peels, Botox, and “fillers” to get the shape and proportion of faces, noses, and breasts they want, even if it is temporary.

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Bill would boost Indian reservation health care
The Mercury News

Health care providers will be able to practice on Indian reservations without a California medical license if a bill passed by the Assembly becomes law. Lawmakers on Thursday passed AB1896, which would allow practitioners licensed in other states to work for tribal health care programs without obtaining a California license.

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Hospital retirement bills advance
The Californian - Salinas

Two bills intended to increase hospital accountability are expected to go to the state Assembly floor for a vote as early as next week.

The bills, AB 2115 and AB 2180 introduced by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, passed out of Assembly committees on Wednesday, said a new release from the assemblyman’s office.

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Health care coverage offered illegal immigrants
San Francisco Chronicle

Illegal immigrants and other uninsured Los Angeles restaurant workers are being offered inexpensive health care coverage by a community clinic and a food service worker group. Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles spokeswoman Mariana Huerta says about 75,000 restaurant workers in Los Angeles don’t have access to insurance because they are illegal immigrants.

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Medicare Advantage serves minorities, low-income residents: study
Modern Healthcare

Minority and low-income seniors were more concentrated among Medicare Advantage plans than they were in the overall Medicare program, according to an industry analysis of CMS data.

The analysis (PDF) of the 2010 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey access to care files for noninstitutionalized beneficiaries, released Thursday by America’s Health Insurance Plans, found that 26% of the program’s participants enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans.

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Uninsured not convinced of health-care law benefits
Gridley Herald

Tammy Gonzalez has her doubts about whether President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement –– the Affordable Care Act –– will improve the quality of health care, get costs under control or expand access to health insurance.

The 53-year-old resident of Benld, Ill., is like many people without health insurance nationwide.

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High-Deductible Health Plans: Your Questions Answered
PBS

If the very sound of a “high-deductible health insurance plan” makes your head spin, you’re not alone.

Last week on the PBS NewsHour, health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser explored the growing popularity of these insurance options with high out-of-pocket costs and low premiums, and the questions flooded our inboxes.

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Health insurance law for children is being played out
Los Angeles Times

I just applied for an insurance plan for my 10-year-old daughter, but she was denied because she has asthma. I thought the new health reform law required insurance companies to cover kids.

You’re mostly correct. As of Sept. 23, 2010, insurance companies that sell “child-only” health plans — as well as individually purchased family plans that cover dependents — cannot deny coverage to anyone under the age of 19 because of a health condition.

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