News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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California Hospital Group Proposes Ballot Initiative for Medi-Cal Provider Fee
California Healthline

The California Hospital Association on Wednesday filed a ballot initiative for the November 2014 ballot that would set the percentage the state gets from a fee levied on hospitals and designate how the money is to be spent. The action, which required notification to the state Attorney General’s Office, would lock in place current practices and is not the result of any disagreement with the Legislature, said Jan Emerson-Shea, association vice president.

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Governor signs bill to expand EpiPen use
The Press-Enterprise

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday that adds California to the list of states that allow the certification of scout leaders, camp counselors and other non-medical professionals in the use of life-saving epinephrine auto-injectors. The pen-shaped devices are the antidote to potentially fatal reactions to bee stings, nuts and other allergens. Cases of anaphylactic cardiac arrest are on the upswing, from 20 per 100,000 people per year in the 1980s to 50 per 100,000 in the 1990s, according to the California Hospital Association.

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Healthcare’s Tech Disconnect: Why Aren’t We Building the Products Patients Really Need?
The Health Care Blog

Having been supported by several small business grants from the National Cancer Institute to create online interventions for cancer patients, I have been learning gradually about commercialization models to get our work out to the public. I am dismayed about the major disconnect between eHealth entrepreneurs and eHealth intervention researchers (my personal reference group).

Last year I attended Stanford Medicine X and last week I did a demo of one of our web sites at Health 2.0 in Santa Clara. Both times, I was struck by the assumption in the IT developer and consumer community that giving people realtime feedback about their health will automatically result in major positive changes in behavior, not to mention cost savings for insurers.

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What Covered California Got Right–And What Other States Did Better
The Health Care Blog

On the day that Covered California went live — the very moment that Executive Director Peter Lee declared the exchange “open for business” — staff debuted a video celebrating the launch. The video features photos of cheerful, ethnically diverse people — spliced between scenes of California — holding up signs written in English, Farsi, Korean and other languages that all translate to “open.” (You can watch Lee unveil the video, beginning at the 10:40 mark.)

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Time Running Out to Fix Obamacare Glitches: Experts
Insurance Journal

The Obama administration has a little over a month to fix the technology problems crippling its online health insurance marketplace, or jeopardize the goal of signing up millions of Americans in time for benefits under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, experts said on Thursday. Problems with the federal marketplace’s entry portal serving 36 states, the website Healthcare.gov, continued for a 10th day on Thursday despite signs of gradual improvement, keeping a brake on the ability of consumers to shop for federally subsidized health coverage.

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Provider-network info on insurance exchanges varies by state
Modern Healthcare

Whether consumers shopping for health coverage on the new state insurance exchanges are able to browse health plans’ provider networks and see whether their doctor and hospital are included depends largely on the state in which they live.

Some state-run exchanges have managed to avoid many of the initial technical glitches that have plagued the federally run marketplace.

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‘Covered California’ chief urges Chico State students to sign up
Chico Enterprise Record

The executive director of “Covered California,” the state’s access portal to the Affordable Care Act, was in Chico Thursday urging Chico State University students to enroll in the program and to encourage others to do the same. Peter V. Lee’s visit to Chico was the wrap-up of a north-state tour that had previously taken him to Redding.

He said 180,000 people living in the north end of California are without health insurance, and the arrival of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare,” means “health care is a right, not a privilege.”

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Health Act Embraced in California
New York Times

There are radio and television commercials galore, along with Twitter and Facebook posts and scores of highway billboards. There are armies of outreach workers who speak Spanish, Tagalog, Cambodian, Mandarin and Cantonese, all flocking to county fairs, farmers markets, street festivals and back-to-school nights across the state. There are even dinner parties in Latino neighborhoods designed to reach one family at a time.

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Health exchange takes down doctor directory
San Diego Union-Tribune

Inaccuracies and slow service caused the state’s new health insurance exchange to take down its online doctor and hospital directory Wednesday night, a top official said Thursday.

Dr. Jeffrey Rideout, senior medical adviser for Covered California, said that, in some cases, the directory did not properly list doctors who are working with multiple health plans sold by the exchange. He added that the directory was not loading as quickly as desired.

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State’s GOP lawmakers put politics aside to help constituents understand health law
Sacramento Bee

Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande of Palm Desert opposes the federal health care overhaul. He’s uneasy about its potential adverse effects on small businesses. He worries that it will drive up health care costs. But he’s teaming up with officials from the state’s new health insurance marketplace Oct. 17 to host an informational town hall to help constituents navigate the new system.

“I think there are large concerns on the economy,” said Nestande, who is challenging freshman Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz in the Inland Empire.

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Music Video Asks: Do Doctors Have To Pee In A Cup?
Fox News

Drug tests for students and potential employees are becoming the norm. But what if doctors had to take them too? Californians might get a chance to vote on that.

Just outside the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim a little musical refrain could be heard this afternoon – a 30 second loop of “Pee in a Cup,” – blasting from a truck – aimed at the ears of doctors attending the California Medical Association’s quarterly Board of Trustees meeting.

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Rancho Palos Verdes family struggles with medical bills in caring for son
San Bernardino Sun

Each night for the past five years, Arturo Mendez has awakened every two hours to roll his son, Andrew, from one side of the young man’s limp body to the other.

“I haven’t slept much in years; I am always tired,” Arturo said.

Andrew, who is paralyzed on the left side of his body, must be moved regularly or his skin will deteriorate under the weight of his large 20-year-old frame. He can’t comb his own hair, and can only manage to say “agua” when he is thirsty and “ham” when he is hungry — he can also say “momma.”

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My Return to American Health Care
The Health Care Blog

A year and a half ago, my husband, James Morgan, and I moved back to the U.S. after living 10 years in France. We returned more or less kicking and screaming. We had been away long enough to lose some of our American culture and to prefer the European way of life, despite our squabbles with it–and every American abroad has some squabbles. I had discovered I was a born expat, something I’d suspected my entire adult life — from my first trip to Europe when I was 19 years old–but hadn’t arranged to test until my younger daughter graduated from high school.

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Kaiser Permanente in Vacaville awarded Level II trauma center designation
The Reporter

Kaiser Permanente’s Vacaville hospital will be the first Level II trauma center in Solano County. The Solano Emergency Medical Services Cooperative board unanimously decided Thursday morning to approve a recommendation from an independent review panel of experts and the American College of Surgeons that Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center get the designation.

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