News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

State budget would skim additional money from hospitals, nursing homes
Sacramento Business Journal

California hospitals and nursing homes will continue to tax themselves to generate more Medi-Cal funding from the federal government in 2012-2013, but Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget revision would rake off $150 million from the fund for private hospitals and $47.6 million due to nursing homes. Another $75 million in supplemental payments to hospitals would go into state coffers in 2013-2014.

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Healthcare Costs Top $20K Per Family
Health Leaders Media

The national annual cost of medical care for a typical family of four with PPO coverage has edged up over $20,000 for the first time, according to the actuarial and consulting firm, Milliman.

The 2012 Milliman Medical Index estimates the annual cost at $20,728. That’s a record $1,335 increase in the total cost of care compared with 2011, and the first time the cost has notched above the $20K mark since Milliman started reporting on these costs twelve years ago.

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Medicare, Medicaid overhaul deal unlikely, lawmakers say
Modern Healthcare

Congress is unlikely to reach a “grand bargain” to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid during the post-election lame duck session, according to two congressional budget leaders.

In successive appearances Tuesday at a deficit-reduction summit sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the Budget Committee, and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the panel’s ranking member, agreed that any deal to enact long-term changes to the federal healthcare programs is more likely in 2013.

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Aetna Building National ACO Network
Health Leaders Media

Aetna Inc. is developing commercial ACO and ACO-like relationships with several providers. The company has 10 agreements in place and expects to have a total of 20 under contract by the end of 2012, says Charles D. Kennedy, MD, CEO of aligned care solutions for Aetna.

The ACOs are each centered on a healthcare delivery system, hospital, or integrated delivery network.

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Revised State Budget Plan Cuts To Affect Hospital Bottom Lines
KERO

Hospitals statewide are bracing themselves after the governor released his revised budget yesterday. Hospital officials said the state has already stripped so much in terms of funding and now the new budget could cut more. Public and private hospitals rely on Medi-Cal reimbursement and government supplemental funding.

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May Budget Revise Hits Health Care Hard
California Healthline

Health care reductions made up more than one-third of the additional $6.5 billion Governor Jerry Brown (D) needed to trim since the last budget proposal in January. Five months ago, the governor was only staring down a $9.2 billion deficit. Now it’s estimated at $15.7 billion. Brown’s new proposal released yesterday included about $2.5 billion in cost reductions to health care programs.

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Average annual healthcare cost for a family tops $20,000
Los Angeles Times

Healthcare or a Hyundai?

The average cost of healthcare for a family of four this year has increased nearly 7% to $20,728 annually, according to a new study by benefits consultant Milliman, or similar to the cost of a mid-size sedan.

A quick online search turned up a 2012 Hyundai Elantra selling for $20,728 in Michigan sporting “volcanic” red paint.

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HHS launches health data comparison tool
Modern Healthcare

A new online tool will allow public searches of disparate federal healthcare data sets in one place.

HHS launched the Health System Measurement Project on Tuesday to allow simplified tracking of healthcare trends in access to care, cost and affordability, disease prevention and health information technology, according to a news release.

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Monterey County supervisors put trauma center search in motion
The Mercury News

In about two years, victims suffering traumatic injuries from a horrific car crash to a gunshot wound may no longer be flown out of Monterey County for treatment, remaining at a local hospital instead. That’s because the county is looking to designate a local hospital as a Level II trauma center capable of treating major injuries by June 2014, with the center in full operation a month later.

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Weight-loss surgery triggered rare genetic wasting disorder
USA Today

A year after gastric bypass surgery, Hilary Lane was no longer a size 24 and was fast on her way to fitting into a slim 6. But she never stopped losing weight. The surgery she had in 2005 triggered a genetic mutation to take over her metabolism and prevent her body from processing proteins. The elementary school music teacher had wasted away to 88 pounds by the time she died in April. She was 43.

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Understanding health care
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Elisa Perez, a local medical assistant, said it best after she attended the Petaluma Health Care District’s forum on the Affordable Care Act: “I don’t understand it perfectly, but I’m getting there.”

Perez was one of a roomful of citizens who attended the district’s forum Thursday, in an attempt to better understand the murky waters of health care reform.

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Federal Panel Backs Easier Home Test for H.I.V.
New York Times

A panel of experts on Tuesday recommended the approval of the first rapid, over-the-counter H.I.V. test, meaning Americans may soon be able to give themselves a simple test for the virus that causes AIDS.

The 17 members of the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel decided in a unanimous vote that the benefits of the OraQuick H.I.V. test outweigh its potential risks for consumers.

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Column: Where are the doctors?
USA Today

Women’s reproductive rights were hard-won decades ago, and while there have been encroachments and threats to them over the years, they have generally been supported by the law. And women have availed themselves of those rights in large numbers. Since the choice to terminate an unwanted pregnancy was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, almost one in three women have had abortions.

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