News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Senator Barbara Boxer urges uninsured to sign up for health plans
Los Angeles Daily News

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer made a rare appearance to the San Fernando Valley Thursday to make a pitch for the Affordable Care Act and encourage millions of eligible Californians to sign up for health insurance beginning on Oct. 1. Boxer held a press conference at Valley Community Clinic in North Hollywood to outline benefits she said were already experienced by millions of Californians because of the ACA, including the 8 million residents who now receive preventative care and 400,000 young adults who are provided coverage under their parents’ plans.

News Headlines Article

UPS dropping health coverage for working spouses
Washington Times

Citing in part the new health care law, the United Parcel Service said it will drop health coverage for about 15,000 working spouses of employees who are eligible for coverage from their own employers. The company said the move was its best option to keep health care costs in check, given the health care law’s fees and mininum-coverage requirements. “Since the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide affordable coverage, we believe your spouse should be covered by their own employer — just as UPS has a responsibility to offer coverage to you, our employee,” the company said in an undated memo first reported Wednesday by Kaiser Health News.

News Headlines Article

Surgery Risk Calculator Predicts Complications
Health Leaders Media

For the first time, surgeons now have a sophisticated risk calculator said to accurately predict the chance of death or any number of other bad outcomes, such as renal failure or infection, for nearly any surgical procedure done in a U.S. hospital. “The old way we were assessing risk was very simple and it only applied to three or four operations, and only gave three outcomes,” says Karl Bilimoria, MD, director of Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center at Northwestern University who developed the calculator with the American College of Surgeons.

News Headlines Article

Medical apps offer cheaper, more accessible care – and privacy issues
Sacramento Bee

Smartphones and tablets are go-to gadgets to count calories, document daily jogs, measure heart rates and record sleep patterns. Some applications now even analyze blood sugar levels, track fertility or monitor moods for signs of depression.

Inexpensive and easy to use, mobile medical apps are also booming business: more than 97,000 varieties are available. By 2017, the mobile industry tracker Research2Guidance predicts, the market will grow to $26 billion. By then, the firm estimates, half the world’s more than 3.4 billion smartphone users will have downloaded health apps.

News Headlines Article

Deaf, blind man called example of ‘patient dumping’
San Francisco Chronicle

Timothy Martin is deaf, blind and homeless, and in April he stumbled off a one-way ride from a Reno mental hospital onto the streets of San Francisco.

He found his way to a bar in the Castro neighborhood where, he says, he was thrown out and wound up crying on the sidewalk until an ambulance took him to San Francisco General Hospital.

Since then, the 47-year-old Martin has lost a leg, run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency medical bills, and landed in the city’s Laguna Honda long-term rehabilitation hospital.

News Headlines Article

Sen. Boxer promotes health care reform during visit to Los Angeles
Los Angeles Times

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) attacked Republicans on Thursday for their repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare, saying threats to shut down the government or limit the debt ceiling are irresponsible and ineffective.

“The big problem we have are Republicans,” she said, speaking at a health center in North Hollywood. “They are the obstacle.”

Despite the continued discussions about repeal, Boxer said the states and federal government are moving forward with the Affordable Care Act and plan to begin enrolling people in new coverage options in October.

News Headlines Article

80 House members: Shutdown better than ‘Obamacare’
San Francisco Chronicle

More than a third of House Republicans urged their leader Thursday to trigger a government shutdown rather than fund the implementation of the health care overhaul they call “Obamacare.”

A letter from 80 Republicans asked Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to resist any spending bills that would accommodate the new health care law, which is nearing a critical stage of signing up millions of Americans for health coverage.

News Headlines Article

Health care reform seminar set
The Press-Enterprise

HRBC Insurance in partnership with Riverside Physician Network will host two free Health Care Reform Seminars to prepare local businesses about upcoming health care compliance changes taking effect in October. The seminars will be held from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. at the Mission Inn on Tuesday, Aug. 27, and at Ontario Airport Hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 28, and include a free lunch for each guest.

News Headlines Article

Health insurance up to you
RecordNet

A marketplace like no other is opening soon.

Beginning Oct. 1, people without health insurance can shop for what is promised to be affordable health care coverage.

It’s all part of the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. For the past three years, various parts of the law have been implemented:

News Headlines Article

State health exchange will test its message in San Diego
San Diego Union-Tribune

Starting in early September, San Diego County residents will get a first look at television ads for Covered California, the state’s new health exchange, because the region is one of three test markets selected to vet spots before they air statewide.

Covered California spokesman Dana Howard said Thursday that the San Diego, Sacramento and Chico-Redding markets were picked because they have a diverse mix of residents and have comparatively inexpensive television advertising rates.

News Headlines Article

Where’s the healthcare reform push for provider education?
FierceHealthcare

For most people, a vacation means leaving work far behind, but not for me. So while a recent trip to the Dominican Republic was a small break from editing and writing about the healthcare industry, I still found myself getting caught up in (or starting) discussions about healthcare and healthcare reform. Although, it wasn’t my fault–I sat next to a nurse who worked at a hospital in the greater Philadelphia area at dinner one night.

News Headlines Article

California Endowment to give $9.2 million to help consumers sign up for Obamacare options
San Francisco Business Times

The California Endowment, a leading Golden State foundation targeting the health care landscape, said Thursday it’s giving $9.2 million over three years to help California consumers explore new insurance options under Obamacare. That includes new public and private health exchanges and other options. The grant money will go to the Health Consumer Alliance, the Endowment said in an Aug. 22 statement.

News Headlines Article

Employers take closer look at private insurance exchanges
Modern Healthcare

With public small-business insurance exchanges opening Oct. 1, two studies released this week show employer interest in private insurance exchanges is growing.

In its annual survey of employer health benefits released Tuesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29% of employers with 5,000 or more employees are considering private exchanges as an option for buying healthcare coverage for their employees.

News Headlines Article

U.P.S. to End Health Benefits for Spouses of Some Workers
New York Times

United Parcel Service has told its white-collar employees that it will stop providing health care coverage to their spouses who can obtain coverage through their own employers, joining an increasing number of companies that are restricting or eliminating spousal health benefits. U.P.S., the world’s largest package delivery company, said its decision was prompted in part by “costs associated with” the federal health care law that is commonly called Obamacare.

News Headlines Article

Why your boss is dumping your wife
Market Watch

The United Parcel Service UPS will no longer cover employees’ spouses on the company health plan. And while it’s not the only company to have adopted the policy, it’s among the largest. Some 15,000 UPS spouses who can obtain health coverage through their own jobs will be dropped from the plan. In a memo to employees, the company explained that the change was intended to offset the effects of the Affordable Care Act, which were expected to increase its health care costs by 4%.

News Headlines Article

UPS drops health benefits for spouses in U.S.
San Francisco Chronicle

United Parcel Service’s decision to drop health benefits for 15,000 of its workers’ spouses may be a sign of the future, as U.S. businesses grapple with rising medical bills and the added burdens of Obamacare.

The nation’s fourth-largest employer said Wednesday that it will no longer offer health coverage beginning Jan. 1 to spouses who can get it through another company. UPS cited the 2010 health care law as part of its thinking, saying it would increase costs and provide other insurance options for spouses.

News Headlines Article

UPS to end health coverage for working spouses
San Francisco Chronicle

United Parcel Service Inc. plans to drop health-insurance benefits for working spouses of nonunion employees if they can get coverage elsewhere. It blames the change partly on the new health-care law.

UPS estimates that 15,000 of the 33,000 spouses it covers will be dropped. The change is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 for spouses of U.S. employees. The worldwide parcel-delivery company says it’s just going with the crowd. UPS cited a benefits consultant’s survey that found more companies are planning on restricting benefits for working spouses.

News Headlines Article

Hospital Facing Medi-Cal Cuts
Alameda Sun

Alameda’s financially ailing hospital is preparing to take another hit, in the form of a retroactive $450,000 payment for Medi-Cal cuts imposed in 2011 as a state budget- balancing move. The cuts are slated to go into effect in January 2014.

The cuts will be painful for Alameda Hospital, its chief executive officer, Deborah E. Stebbins, said. Luckily the cuts are not as troublesome as for some of the state’s rural hospitals or facilities in San Francisco reportedly struggling to stay open.

News Headlines Article

CalPERS audits will revoke coverage for ineligible dependents
Sacramento Bee

After giving insurance subscribers a chance to step up on their own, CalPERS has launched a series of audits intended to clear out tens of thousands of people receiving government health coverage who don’t qualify for benefits.

The nation’s second-largest health insurance purchaser suspects at least 22,000 people covered by state and local agencies’ plans shouldn’t be on the rolls.

News Headlines Article

Harassment allegations against California hospital official probed
Los Angeles Times

The executive recruited two years ago to correct deep-seated problems at the state’s mental hospitals is the subject of a sexual harassment investigation that was launched within a week of her state Senate confirmation, according to two independent sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

Kathy Gaither, chief deputy director of the Department of State Hospitals, has been on paid administrative leave since July 15.

News Headlines Article

Meet our six Excellence in Healthcare honorees
Silicon Valley Business Journal

If you don’t know the names of the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s six Excellence in Healthcare honorees, you should. These professionals have made groundbreaking changes in various areas of the healthcare world. There’s the surgeon whose pioneering technique revolutionized the operating room, a pharmacist whose innovative program could change the way you take your medications, and a pediatrician who is using backyard dirt to improve his patients’ health.

News Headlines Article

Community leaders, docs invited to town hall on health insurance exchange
Bakersfield Californian

Kern County residents can’t buy health insurance from the state’s benefits exchange until October, but representatives from California’s new marketplace will visit Bakersfield Friday to talk about the exchange and the Affordable Care Act. Friday’s event is targeted toward physicians and community leaders but open to anyone, according to staff for Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield. Salas is hosting the meeting. The town hall will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the East Bakersfield Veterans Hall, 2101 Ridge Road. Doors open at 4 p.m.

News Headlines Article

Retain Healthy SF program
San Francisco Chronicle

With time getting short, Mayor Ed Lee is wringing his hands about the coming implementation of the Affordable Care Act and how it is going to interact with San Francisco’s landmark Health Care Security Ordinance.

It’s time for him to speak up and make it clear that San Francisco intends to protect its program to give workers reasonable access to health care, instead of calling for months of added study.

Commands