News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Report: Delay in employer mandate will have little effect on coverage
Sacramento Business Journal

The one-year delay in the employer mandate under federal health reform will have virtually no effect on the number of uninsured Americans and little effect on government spending, a new report by the Urban Institute concludes. The Obama administration announced July 2 that employers with 50 or more workers will have an extra year to provide coverage or pay a penalty so federal officials can iron out questions about reporting requirements in the law.

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Despite concerns, officials plan to stay on schedule for Stage 2 requirements
Modern Healthcare

Despite concerns that some providers are lagging in the adoption of electronic health records, federal officials plan to stay on schedule in requiring hospitals to meet Stage 2 meaningful-use requirements, the officials said Wednesday.

Democratic and Republican senators representing rural states ran through a litany of concerns and obstacles rural providers face in meeting the requirements of the program that provides financial incentives to adopt and use qualifying electronic health records.

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What You Need to Know About Obamacare Scams
The Health Care Blog

The FTC has found that healthcare fraud has been on the rise lately, and will likely continue to increase until October. Let’s talk about how to spot the scams and avoid any problems when you’re ready to make the switch over to Obamacare. One of the most popular healthcare scams that’s been circulating as October 1st approaches is known as the “Obamacare card.” It’s a technique used by fraudsters to steal consumers’ credit card information and social security numbers.

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Obama in staunch defense of health care law
CBS News

Eager to counter Republicans intent on repealing his health care law, President Obama will argue that it’s working and hold up as proof half a billion dollars in rebates insurance companies are sending to some 8.5 million consumers as a result.

At the White House on Thursday, Mr. Obama will argue that his Affordable Care Act is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of consumers. The rebates average about $100, spokesman Jay Carney said.

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Obama talks up health care rebates, lower premiums
San Francisco Chronicle

Eager to counter Republicans intent on repealing his health care law, President Barack Obama will argue that it’s working and hold up as proof half a billion dollars in rebates insurance companies are sending to some 8.5 million consumers as a result. At the White House on Thursday, Obama will argue that his Affordable Care Act is holding insurance companies accountable and putting money back into the pockets of consumers. The rebates average about $100, spokesman Jay Carney said.

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Obama speech to herald reform law benefits
Modern Healthcare

President Barack Obama on Thursday will tout the benefits that Americans with existing health insurance will receive under his signature healthcare law, as his administration ramps up its promotional campaign to get people to sign up for coverage this fall. The White House speech will tout the $100 average rebates per family that 8.5 million privately insured Americans, or their employers, will receive from their insurers this summer under the reform law’s provision that insurers can’t pocket more than 15% to 20% of premiums for profit and administrative costs, according to a senior administration official.

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House votes to delay parts of health care law
CBS News

The Republican-led House voted on Wednesday to delay core provisions of President Barack Obama’s health care law, emboldened by the administration’s concession that requiring companies to provide coverage for their workers next year may be too complicated.

After a day of heated rhetoric, the House voted largely along party lines, 264-161, to delay by one year the so-called employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

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As Obamacare rolls out, county agencies and providers jockey for federal and state funds.
Monterey County Weekly

A little talking gecko has long been a fixture of car insurance advertising, and if the Affordable Care Act goes as planned, health insurance providers will get just as creative. The health care reform bill creates a competitive marketplace for health insurance and also expands government-provided health care. With an estimated 55,000 low-to-moderate-income Monterey County residents expected to qualify for expanded coverage, local government agencies and nonprofits in the health care sector are expanding outreach to inform the uninsured about their options.

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How much demand for health care will ACA generate? No one really knows.
HealthyCal.org

Forecasting the impact of the Affordable Care Act requires researchers to head into the unknown. “Let me start saying that nobody really knows what the impact will be. Everyone is estimating and making assumptions,” said Ignacio Navarro, assistant professor at California State University Monterey Bay and a researcher helping Monterey County forecast the potential impact of the ACA.

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Dialogue on mental health Saturday at Sacramento Convention Center
Modesto Bee

Sacramento experts and community leaders will host a dialogue Saturday about mental health, becoming one of the first 10 cities to join the national conversation on mental health, an initiative President Barack Obama called for in early June. “Its a time to take a step back and reflect on how we can hold a conversation about this issue, which typically has been kept in the shadows,” said Tom Campbell, senior associate with America Speaks, a nonprofit organization for public engagement. “People can recognize that they’re not alone in this.”

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Healthcare CFOs Sing Reform Blues
Health Leaders Media

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is designed, in part, to provide more patients with health insurance through expanded Medicaid eligibility and the introduction of government-run health insurance exchanges that will allow low-income individuals to purchase medical coverage at a subsidized rate.

The goals include improving access to care for this segment of the population and reducing the amount of uncompensated care provided by the nation’s hospitals.

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Cardiac Registry Readmission Rates Now Public
Health Leaders Media

Hospital Compare, the Medicare agency’s website for public inspection of hospital quality, is now posting unique 30-day readmission rates for patients who underwent percutaneous coronary interventions or PCIs or angioplasty at 300 hospitals that volunteered to allow their data to be released. The new section of the website shows whether those hospitals had better, worse, or average risk-adjusted readmission rates.

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Medical center and gynecology program rank high
The Press-Enterprise

A specialty program at Loma Linda University Medical Center has been ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The gynecology program at Loma Linda University Medical Center was ranked No. 47 in the country by U.S. News & World Report, which, for the fourth year in a row, also ranked the medical center the No. 1 hospital in Southern California’s Inland area for 2013-14.

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Bay Area nurses complain about Sutter’s electronic medical records
Sacramento Business Journal

Nurses are complaining about a new EPIC medical records system at Sutter Health’s East Bay hospitals has caused problems with safe care and put patients at risk, according to the California Nurses Association. Nurses cited a variety of serious problems with the new system in more than 100 reports filed by registered nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center campuses in Berkeley and Oakland. This is not just happening at Sutter, the union acknowledges.

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UnitedHealth 2Q profit up as enrollment improves
Modern Healthcare

UnitedHealth Group’s second-quarter net income rose almost 8%, buoyed by steady enrollment growth. The nation’s largest health insurer’s earnings topped Wall Street estimates. It also raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast Thursday.

UnitedHealth is the first major health insurer to report earnings every quarter. As the industry leader based on revenue, many see it as a bellwether for other insurers. Its shares edged up in premarket trading.

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Women’s Hospital at El Camino Hospital celebrates 20 years
The Mercury News

More than 85,000 babies have been born at the Women’s Hospital at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View since it was built 20 years ago. While the Women’s Hospital is known for its state-of-the-art birthing facility–recognized as the best place to have a baby by Bay Area Parent–the hospital has evolved to offer an array of services that address all aspects of women’s health since its opening day in 1993.

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Tulare City Council OKs loan to TRMC for clinic
Visialia Times-Delta

The City Council approved Tuesday issuing a loan to Tulare Regional Medical Center to help pay for development impact fees for the planned west side clinic.

As proposed by Vice Mayor Craig Vejvoda, money from the economic development fund will be used to pay the fees, making the city’s general fund whole. The hospital, however, is still responsible for paying about $40,987 over the next five years.

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Adventist Health seeks insurance license
Modern Healthcare

The push by hospital operators into the health insurance business continues as pressure increases to prepare for alternatives to fee-for-service payment. Adventist Health, a large California-based health system with 18 hospitals in four states, is expected to seek California’s approval for an insurance license before the end of the year.

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Kaiser rate-hike plan goes to S.F. supervisors
San Francisco Chronicle

After holding them up for a week, a Board of Supervisors committee reluctantly agreed Wednesday to send the package of proposed 2014 health care rates to the full board for consideration – including the controversial 5.25 percent increase from Kaiser Permanente.

The decision makes it less likely that the 46,000 public employees and retirees that depend on Kaiser through the city’s Health Service System will see their service disrupted at the end of the year, a risk that officials from the city’s health system had warned against.

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Marin General Hospital to put $394 million bond on Nov. 5 ballot to rebuild
San Francisco Business Times

The Marin Healthcare District’s board of directors, which runs Marin General Hospital, has voted to put a $394 million bond issue on the Nov. 5 ballot to fund the rebuilding of the Greenbrae hospital. The funds would pay for most of the cost of the estimated $500 million project, required for seismic reasons and to update and modernize the aging facility. The bond issue could be controversial because of its size, the tenuous nature of the economic recovery, and the fact that many Marin County residents are Kaiser Permanente enrollees who use Kaiser facilities or cross the Golden Gate Bridge to seek care in San Francisco.

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