News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Hospital association leaders push members to educate patients about exchanges
Modern Healthcare

With open enrollment on the public exchanges starting in 15 days, the leaders of the nation’s major hospital associations Monday urged their members to do all they can to help patients learn about the health reform law’s insurance coverage options. People will enroll in coverage only if they understand what’s available to them and how they can access it, American Hospital Association President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said at the start of an hourlong webcast.

Umbdenstock hosted the session along with Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, and Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals.

News Headlines Article

California Clinics Say Measures to Address Primary Care Shortage Are Not Enough
capital public radio

Governor Jerry Brown has already signed a couple of bills, others are awaiting action.

The California Medical Association says they are meant to put more doctors where they’re needed.

Dr. Paul Phinney of the California Medical Association says the bills aim to keep “intact team-based, physician led care. Which basically helps to expand capacity while maintaining quality and safety.”

Governor Brown already signed a physician-supported bill to speed up the licensing of doctors wanting to practice in underserved areas.

News Headlines Article

Hospital MRSA infections fall by more than 50%, report shows
Modern Healthcare

Cases of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections acquired in U.S. hospitals dropped nearly 54% from 2005-2011, according to a new government study. That good news came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a separate report cataloging depth and variety of drug-resistant bacterial threats, concluding that they kill at least 23,000 people and add $20 billion in healthcare costs a year.

News Headlines Article

Hospital Pay to Reflect Care Efficiency Soon
Health Leaders Media

Like it or not, hospitals are bracing for a new, and some leaders say increasingly important, Medicare quality measure that is influencing how much they’re reimbursed with discharges starting on Oct. 1, 2014.

The measure is efficiency, or Medicare spending per beneficiary. Against hospital groups’ objections, officials for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services added the score to the value-based purchasing incentive program algorithm, with a performance period ending Dec. 31, 2013, with an initial weight of 20%, increasing to 25% and possibly higher in later years.

News Headlines Article

Ginsburg to leave Center for Studying Health System Change
Modern Healthcare

Paul Ginsburg, the Harvard-trained economist and health policy expert who founded the Center for Studying Health System Change in 1995, will step down as the organization’s president at the end of the year to pursue consulting work and other activities.

His departure will happen just before the Center for Studying Health System Change—which was established to provide policymakers and private-sector stakeholders about changes in healthcare finance and delivery—will integrate with its sister company, Mathematica Policy Research, on Jan. 1.

News Headlines Article

Health Care Polls Find Obamacare Unpopular On Eve Of Rollout
The Huffington Post

The Affordable Care Act is more unpopular than ever, with those who disapprove divided over whether the law should be reformed or scrapped, according to a Pew Research/USA Today poll released Monday. Forty-two percent of Americans approved of the law, while 53 percent disapproved. That’s the highest rate of disapproval that Pew has found since the law’s passage in 2010. Attitudes among the uninsured were somewhat more positive, with 49 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving.

News Headlines Article

Enrollment for Covered California Opens October 1
News10.net

Are you prepared for the new federal health care laws going into effect next year? Per the federal health care law: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as of January 1, 2014, most adults will be required to have public or private insurance or you may be fined. In addition, all newly sold insurance plans must meet certain requirements. What is Covered California?

News Headlines Article

Researchers Helping Legislative Staff Craft Health Care Reform Message
California Healthline

California is on the cusp of launching the biggest health reform effort in a half-century, with a massive public awareness campaign that’s designed to compel millions of Californians to obtain health insurance. When they see television ads or billboards for Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, or see media stories about the huge expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, Californians will have questions.

News Headlines Article

Insurers in Calif. Health Exchange Limiting Number of Providers
California Healthline

Insurers selling health coverage through California’s insurance exchange have limited the number of doctors and hospitals available to policyholders in an effort to lower premiums, according to an analysis of data by the Los Angeles Times (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 9/14). The ACA’s health insurance exchanges — which primarily will serve individuals and small businesses — are designed to function similarly to websites like Amazon and Expedia, allowing users to choose among various health plans through an easily navigable online store.

News Headlines Article

What will the Affordable Care Act mean for you?
The Appeal-Democrat

Yuba-Sutter residents, like those everywhere else, are facing uncertainty and confusion over whether or not they need to be worried about the Affordable Care Act.

But those who have the most reason to be concerned may not be paying attention, said Russ Brown, a spokesman for Yuba County health and human services.

Brown noted that a recent series of town hall meetings hosted by Yuba County seemed to draw very few young people, those most likely to be uninsured and to be affected by health care reform.

News Headlines Article

Blame Obamacare confusion on old system: Column
USA Today

Americans have had little understanding of the Affordable Care Act since it became law in 2010. With major provisions taking effect in January, half the country still does not know what the law does or what it means for them. While some of the confusion is no doubt due to the law’s complexity and the highly charged political environment, a largely ignored but central factor is that people know little about the deeply flawed health insurance system that got us to this place.

News Headlines Article

Beyond Obamacare: More Big Health Care Changes Ahead
Yahoo! News

Most Americans didn’t notice, but two big companies — IBM (IBM) and Time Warner (TWX) — recently changed their healthcare plans for retirees in ways that could become a model for how regular American workers get their healthcare. This could end up being the biggest change to private coverage since firms started offering health care benefits after World War II.

News Headlines Article

PACs spent more at state level than on federal campaigns
Washington Post

Political action committees spent more money on state-level candidates in just 23 states during the 2012 election cycle than they did on federal candidates in all 50 states, according to a new analysis. The analysis from the Sunlight Foundation shows state-level PACs dished out $1.4 billion to candidates running for governor, attorney general, state legislative and other non-federal offices in those states. All told, PACs spent $1.2 billion on federal candidates.

News Headlines Article

Hospital Groups Reaffirm Support for PPACA, HIX
Health Leaders Media

Leaders from the nation’s three largest hospital associations met on Monday to reaffirm their support for the Affordable Care Act and encourage hospitals to help patients understand their health insurance options when open enrollment begins on Oct. 1.

“This is going forward. This is going to happen. I don’t think there is anything between now and the near future that I could imagine would derail it,” Chip Kahn, president/CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, said at the Monday afternoon webcast sponsored by the American Hospital Association.

News Headlines Article

Young patient wants to spread awareness of childhood cancer
RecordNet

Destiny Herrera just sparkles.

From the dazzling smile to the glitter flecks that mingle with the freckles across her nose and cheeks, the 10-year-old just lights up a room, or on Sunday, Woodward Park in Manteca.

“I have sparkles in my bones,” Destiny said. “Once I sneezed and sparkles came out, so I guess I do have sparkles in my blood.”

She’s also got cancer in her bones, a victim of osteosarcoma.

News Headlines Article

An uninsured physician assistant learns first hand the cost of care
Washington Post

The doctor was adamant. “This is America, not Sweden,” he told me. “We operate.” How did this happen to me, I wondered, looking at him across the ER exam room. How could I, a health-care provider, not have insurance? I had awakened that morning with a mildly upset stomach. Nonetheless, I’d gone to my job (begun only six weeks earlier) as a physician assistant at a clinic in Beverly Hills. I’d seen patients until lunchtime, then attended a research meeting.

News Headlines Article

Hospital polls its employees; Frozen wages since 2009 lead to low morale
Plumas County News

The employees have spoken and Plumas District Hospital administrators plan to do something about it.

Chief Executive Officer Doug Lafferty laid out an action plan during the hospital’s board of directors meeting Sept. 5.

The hospital conducted an employee survey in June and received an 81 percent response rate, up sharply from last year’s 49 percent, and the 20 percent the hospital received in 2007 and 2008.

News Headlines Article

Cancer connected to HPV on rise in Bay Area
KTVU.com

Stinson Beach resident Jeff Swarts was diagnosed with throat cancer last year and he thinks he caught it while performing oral sex in college before he met his wife Pamela. “It is considered a taboo type of cancer because it is sexually transmitted. People are very uncomfortable about talking about it,” said Pamela. “People need to get over it.” Swarts’ wife, journalist Pamela Tom founded an educational website called hpvandme.org. She started it when Swarts got sick.

News Headlines Article

Los Gatos: Medical building to grow out of former car lot
The Mercury News

Trucks hauling dirt and debris and construction workers in bright orange vests are becoming a common sight on Los Gatos Boulevard, as properties vacated by auto dealers are redeveloped. And another one is on its way.

Ground was broken Sept. 9 at 15400 Los Gatos Boulevard, where Swanson Ford once had a collision center and Bob Lewis sold Lincolns and Mercurys.

Now, it’s slated to become a 40,000-square-foot, two-story medical center that will be occupied by doctors from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, which is affiliated with Sutter Health.

Commands