News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Healthcare Job Growth Slows in April
Health Leaders Media

The healthcare sector created 19,000 jobs in April—accounting for nearly one in six of the 115,000 new jobs in the larger economy for the month, new federal data shows.

April job figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that healthcare sector job growth is decelerating apace with slowing job growth across the larger economy. Like healthcare, the overall economy recorded strong job growth in January and February that sharply tailed off in March and April.

News Headlines Article

Hospital ED Wait Times Reveal Huge Variations
Health Leaders Media

Hospital leaders who believe their emergency room patients’ wait times compare well with competitors may have to rethink those assumptions now that two ED wait time quality metrics are posted on the Hospital Compare website.

The times for the 74 hospitals—the first to volunteer their data—show wide variation across the country.

News Headlines Article

Virtual doctors visits catch on with insurers, employers
USA Today

Tired of feeling “like the walking dead” but worried about the cost of a doctor’s visit, Amber Young sat on her bed near tears one recent Friday night in Woodbury, Minn. That’s when she logged onto an Internet site, run by NowClinic online care, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group (parent of health insurer UnitedHealthcare), and “met” with a doctor in Texas. After talking with the physician via instant messaging and then by telephone, Young was diagnosed with an upper respiratory illness and prescribed an antibiotic that her husband picked up at a local pharmacy. The doctor’s “visit” cost $45.

News Headlines Article

Oakland Children’s Hospital gets grants worth $3 million
The Mercury News

Oakland’s Children’s Hospital and Research Center has received two grants worth nearly $3 million that will be used to renovate its primary care clinic, teen clinic and Center for the Vulnerable Child, hospital officials announced Thursday. The two grants come from the federal Affordable Care Act, a comprehensive health care reform law signed by President Obama in 2010, officials said.

News Headlines Article

Health care costs worry workers nearing retirement
USA Today

Health care costs are a top retirement fear, and that’s even though many older workers vastly underestimate how much they’ll have to pay. “Americans — even those who have diligently saved for their golden years — are not prepared for the reality of health care costs in retirement and don’t really understand how Medicare works,” says John Carter, president of Nationwide Financial Distributors.

News Headlines Article

Hospital infections linked to readmissions: study
Modern Healthcare

Two areas commonly targeted for quality improvement—readmissions and healthcare-associated infections—are strongly linked to one another, according to newly published research.

News Headlines Article

FDA: Fewer new drug shortages
Modern Healthcare

The Food and Drug Administration said there are fewer new drug shortages as compared with this time last year.

In a blog post, FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg wrote that there has been a “six-fold increase” in notifications from manufacturers since October, when the agency asked drug manufacturers to voluntarily report potential supply disruptions.

There are currently 42 new drug shortages, compared with 90 new shortages that were reported at this time last year.

News Headlines Article

Healthy S.F. calls for company to pay $1.3 million in past medical expenses for employees
San Francisco Examiner

Employees of a janitorial services firm never received health care benefits required under The City’s Healthy San Francisco program, and now the company must pay $1.3 million to cover the past medical expenses of 275 current and former workers.

Calling the decision by an administrative hearings officer a “groundbreaking case,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office said Friday that the ruling sends a message that the health care policy has teeth.

News Headlines Article

Why emergency rooms don’t close the health care gap
KESQ

For decades, the attempts at health care reform have aimed to increase access. The United States is one of the few industrialized nations in the world that does not provide universal health care to its citizens. And repeatedly, those who oppose it have been forced to argue that access isn’t the problem some make it out to be. Why? The emergency department, they say. After all, it is a commonly held belief that no one can be denied care there. So — in essence — everyone can get free health care if they need it. We have a universal system after all.

News Headlines Article

Federal mediator to work with Enloe, nurses on contract
Chico Enterprise Record

A federal mediator has been appointed to help Enloe Medical Center and the union representing its registered nurses work toward agreement on a new contract. Bargaining teams for the hospital and the nurses’ union had been making progress since negotiations began in November, said Carol Linscheid, who heads the hospital’s human-resources department.

News Headlines Article

Breast cancer is rare in men, but they fare worse
USA Today

Men rarely get breast cancer, but those who do often don’t survive as long as women, largely because they don’t even realize they can get it and are slow to recognize the warning signs, researchers say. On average, women with breast cancer lived two years longer than men in the biggest study yet of the disease in males. The study found that men’s breast tumors were larger at diagnosis, more advanced and more likely to have spread to other parts of the body.

News Headlines Article

Opposing view: Don’t bypass physicians
USA Today

As physicians, our primary concern is ensuring the health and safety of our patients. The Food and Drug Administration has offered a new concept to make more prescription drugs available over the counter (OTC). Proponents claim it could improve patient health and outcomes, reduce patient costs and promote proper medication use. We are skeptical that it would achieve any of these goals.

News Headlines Article

FDA prescription drugs plan would empower you
USA Today

When blockbuster prescription drug Claritin first went on sale over the counter in 2002, many allergy specialists and other doctors warned of dire consequences. Fewer patients would go to doctors, they maintained, and people with more severe problems that might masquerade as simple allergies would go undiagnosed. A decade later, Claritin is still on drugstore shelves, joined by many other medications that were once prescription-only, including other allergy pills and drugs used to treat acid reflux.

News Headlines Article

The Psychology of the ObamaCare Debate
The Health Care Blog

“How can the government make us buy health insurance? What gives them that right?” Sitting on my left while our airplane raced above the clouds, Elizabeth was clearly upset about Obamacare. She wondered why the bill had to be so long, and why Obama would endorse a plan that doubled her health insurance costs. But nothing vexed her more than the individual mandate.

News Headlines Article

Jerry Brown orders task force on Californians’ health care
Sacramento Bee

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley this week to form a task force to write a 10-year plan for improving Californians’ health and controlling health-care costs. In an executive order Thursday, Brown called for a “Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force” to include representatives of patients, providers and labor unions, among others. The group is to report by Dec. 15 on targets for reducing diabetes, asthma, childhood obesity and other chronic conditions, as well as reducing hospital re-admissions and increasing the number of children who receive vaccines.

News Headlines Article

Enabling Patients to Be Part of Their Care
The Health Care Blog

In May 2008, when the Roper poll asked a random sample of Americans “If your medical records and personal health information, such as test results and doctor’s instructions, were available to you online, how likely do you think you would be to access those records and information?” Sixty-five percent said they were somewhat, very, or extremely likely to access their records.

Commands