News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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AHA, HFMA take aim at expanded tax forms
Modern Healthcare

Certain changes to the IRS Form 990 included in the Patient and Protection and Affordable Care Act are not only burdensome, but they do not afford hospitals the protections that an earlier law intended, two provider organizations wrote in a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service. Responding to call for comment, the American Hospital Association and Healthcare Financial Management Association said Part V of Form 990 Schedule H is not compliant with the Paperwork Reduction Act, a 1980 law intended to reduce paperwork for both the federal government and the public.

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IT top financial priority at not-for-profit hospitals: survey
Modern Healthcare

Capital spending, particularly on information technology, is expected to remain stable or even increase over the next five years at not-for-profit hospitals, according to a Fitch Ratings survey.

The survey found that not-for-profit hospitals ranked spending on IT as their top priority—as a way to manage costs, increase quality of care and adapt to new reimbursement methods like bundling and pay-for-performance.

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Fate of ‘uninsurables’ hinges on Supreme Court
The Mercury News

Cancer patient Kathy Watson voted Republican in 2008 and believes the government has no right telling Americans to get health insurance. Nonetheless, she says she would be dead if it weren’t for President Barack Obama’s health care law. Now, the Florida small businesswoman is worried the Supreme Court will strike down her lifeline. Under the law, Watson and nearly 62,000 other “uninsurable” patients are getting coverage through a little-known program for people who have been turned away by insurance companies because of pre-existing medical conditions.

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Many Rare Mutations May Underpin Diseases
New York Times

The task of finding the genetic roots of common disease seems much harder, dimming the promise of personal genomics and the chances of quick medical payoffs from the human genome project, given new data about the human genome in two reports published online in the journal Science on Thursday. It now appears that large numbers of very rare genetic mutations may underlie common human diseases like schizophrenia and cancer. But because the mutations are so rare, costly studies involving large numbers of patients would be needed to identify their role in each disease.

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Good Cholesterol May Not Lower Heart Risk, Study Suggests
San Francisco Chronicle

Raising good cholesterol, a goal pursued by Merck & Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. as the next milestone in cardiac care, may not cut heart attack risk, says a study that challenges the development of drugs that may generate billions of dollars in sales. The report, in the U.K. medical journal The Lancet, found that people with a genetic condition that causes high HDL have the same heart-attack risk as the general population. The results come from a computer analysis of 20 studies.

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Genetic testing doesn’t increase healthcare use: study
Modern Healthcare

Genetic testing does not drive increased use of health services, according to the results of a study published online by the journal Genetics in Medicine.

The National Institutes of Health-led study found that the increased information about disease risk that results from genetic testing does not appreciably drive up or diminish participants’ demand for follow-up healthcare, according to an NIH news release.

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Health policy experts due in desert
The Desert Sun

Several experts on health policy and politics will join 1,400 physicians and health care leaders for a conference in Palm Desert.

The California Association of Physician Groups’ annual Healthcare Conference is at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort today and Saturday.

Topics are to include market consolidation, health care reform and coverage expansion.

Today’s scheduled speakers include:

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Medical boards’ actions against docs up 6.8% in 2011
Modern Healthcare

Driven in part by the Florida Board of Medicine, state medical boards’ disciplinary actions against physicians increased 6.8% in 2011, and 4.9% more doctors had their medical licenses or license privileges revoked or suspended, according to the Federation of State Medical Boards Summary of 2011 Board Actions (PDF).

The annual summary compiles the disciplinary actions taken by the FSMB’s 70-member medical and osteopathic boards from the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories. The boards recorded a total of 6,034 disciplinary actions in 2011, as compared with 5,652 in 2010.

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Patient group rouses Oakland against the ‘Silent Killer’
HealthyCal.org

A rag-tag band of protesters is becoming familiar on the streets of Oakland and they’re not part of the Occupy movement. This miniature society, which has a “Hep C Free Oakland” as its goal, is a group of patient-volunteers and staff members from a medical clinic focused on treating hepatitis C in people with addiction problems. The Organization to Achieve Solutions in Substance Abuse (OASIS), established in 1999, is a locus of hepatitis C research and education in Oakland.

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FAH offers cautious support for ICD-10 delay
Modern Healthcare

The Federation of American Hospitals expressed cautious support for the CMS‘ proposed one-year delay in the compliance deadline for the nationwide conversion to ICD-10 diagnostic and procedural codes.

In April, the CMS proposed extending the ICD-10 compliance deadline from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014, and the position of the trade association of for-profit hospitals is that a single year of additional delay could be just about right.

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Mass. Senate passes healthcare payment reform
Modern Healthcare

The Massachusetts Senate quickly passed legislation that would take dramatic steps to overhaul the way healthcare is paid for in the state and aggressively control the growth in how much it costs.

Both chambers of the Massachusetts legislature just last week introduced ambitious and broadly similar bills aimed and getting a handle on healthcare spending in the state, which has been the focus of national attention since enacting a sweeping health reform law in 2006 that’s widely viewed as the template for the insurance provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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Feud colors clash over California’s health care rates
Sacramento Bee

The stage is set for an immense political clash over regulation of health insurance with multibillion-dollar stakes and an impact on virtually every Californian.

Consumer Watchdog battled insurers over regulation of auto and other personal insurance 24 years ago and won, claiming that it has saved consumers tens of billions of dollars since.

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AIDS researchers sideline women
Los Angeles Times

At any one time, hundreds of clinical trials are underway in the U.S. to test simpler and more effective ways to treat and prevent HIV infection, which afflicts more than 1 million people in this country. Most of those in the U.S. with HIV — and with AIDs in its full-blown stage — are men. So, understandably, men make up the majority of the participants in the trials.

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Mayor Lee agrees to restore year’s worth of AIDS/HIV funding cut by feds
San Francisco Chronicle

Mayor Ed Lee announced at a meeting Thursday morning with AIDS service providers that he will use city money to backfill $6.6 million in federal cuts to AIDS and HIV care in the city for the new fiscal year that starts July 1. “Despite continuing local budget issues, we remain committed to funding critical care services for people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco,” Lee told City Insider. “We have worked collectively to protect these programs and services and we will continue that collaboration to find solutions in future budget years.”

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