News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Most healthcare provisions stripped from government-shutdown deal
Modern Healthcare

U.S. Senate leaders have agreed on a deal acceptable to the White House to end the government shutdown and temporarily raise the nation’s debt ceiling, with almost all healthcare provisions stripped out. The deal would fund the government at current levels through Jan. 15, continuing the budget sequestration, and extend federal borrowing authority through Feb. 7. Senate and House negotiators would have to reach agreement by Dec. 13 on a framework for tax and spending policies over the next decade.

News Headlines Article

Covered California removes glitchy online directory of doctors
Los Angeles Times

Checking up on a doctor is becoming a major snag for Obamacare shoppers in California.

Three weeks into open enrollment, the state’s insurance exchange, Covered California, has pulled its online directory of medical providers after acknowledging there are serious problems with the information. The California Medical Assn. says it found mistakes such as obstetricians labeled as ophthalmologists and the wrong doctors described as fluent in Russian and Farsi.

News Headlines Article

UCSF studying health of S.F. seniors in choirs
San Francisco Chronicle

It seems true that singing in a choir can be therapeutic, especially for older adults, but a groundbreaking clinical trial is under way in San Francisco to see whether science agrees.

Over the next five years, researchers at UCSF will create a dozen senior choirs throughout the city to compare the physical strength, balance, memory and moods of singers versus non-singers.

News Headlines Article

High Court’s Health-Law Decision
The Wall Street Journal

If you want to see what will happen to individual health policies next year once Obamacare takes effect, you might take an online trip through the eHealth Inc. web site.

EHealth , an online insurance broker, has been selling policies over the web since 1999 and is expected to play a role in helping to sign up applicants for President Obama’s health-care overhaul in coming weeks. But you can shop for policies to take effect now, or when the Affordable Care Act takes full effect on Jan. 1.

News Headlines Article

What You Really Need to Know About Health Care Reform (aka Obamacare)
The Huffington Post

After all the dust settles and democracy returns to sanity, many of us will still be left with a big question: What really is all this health care fuss about anyway, and what does it really mean for all of us? Words can be a trigger for all sorts of crazy emotions, but whether you call it “Obamacare” or “health care reform” doesn’t really matter, because the only real cure is accurate information.

News Headlines Article

Kid Coverage Complete, One Step Closer to the End Game
Mission & State

Bryce from Anthem Blue Cross returned my call this morning, telling me the provider finder tool won’t be up until the end of October or beginning of November, when the kinks are worked out. He’s apologetic and promises to call me when the tool is available again. True confessions of an insurance salesman—now that’s something that doesn’t happen every day.

News Headlines Article

ObamaCare’s Black Box
The Wall Street Journal

The White House set low expectations for the Affordable Care Act’s October 1 debut, so anything remotely competent should have seemed like a success. But three weeks on, the catastrophe that is Healthcare.gov and the 36 insurance exchanges run by the federal government is an insult to the “glitches” President Obama said were inevitable.

This isn’t some coding error, or even the Health and Human Service Department’s usual incompetence.

News Headlines Article

Covered California generates loads of data, but keeps the number of enrollees under wraps
San Francisco Business Times

So, two weeks in, Covered California is piling on the statistics, releasing late yesterday a flurry of figures: number of unique visitors to its web site since Oct. 1, number of calls to its call centers, number of navigators certified and number of navigators not certified. The numbers got picked up by the Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times and others. But one number was missing: how many people have completed applications for coverage.

News Headlines Article

The Basics of California Coverage
San Francisco Chronicle

If you have health insurance through your job or know someone who does not have health insurance, your coverage will only get better. The Affordable Care Act does provide a sense of security and protection in terms of your health care coverage needs should you decide to leave your job tomorrow.

Even those who are healthy today know that they need health insurance just in case. No one can predict when he or she will get sick or have an accident.

News Headlines Article

Changing healthcare one patient at a time
The Acorn

Healthcare reform isn’t just about equal access and quality healthcare; it’s going to be about creating an experience that inspires people to care for themselves and participate in their medical care, says Dr. Cherlin Johnson, the 2007 founder of Executive ER.

Located in the Summit at Calabasas on Agoura Road, Executive ER is a full-service urgent care facility that offers residents access to board-certified emergency medicine doctors without the wait usually encountered in hospitals.

News Headlines Article

Learn About Health Care Reform at Thursday Forum
Petaluma Patch

Have a question about health care? Unsure how to enroll for coverage? The Petaluma Health Care is looking to help. It will hold a community forum on federal health care reform from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Petaluma Community Center, 320 North McDowell Blvd. “Staffed with certified enrollment counselors, we will be hosting enrollment events as well as holding open hours and making appointments for community members to sign up for coverage,” the center says on its website.

News Headlines Article

Doctor examines myths about mammograms
Thousand Oaks Acorn

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women today. In 2013, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women, and approximately 39,620 women will die from it. The good news is that with regular breast cancer screenings, most women can significantly increase their chances of beating the disease.

News Headlines Article

Big shifts seen in Mass. insurance market after rules limit consumer options
Modern Healthcare

As millions of Americans began to shop in newly created markets for health insurance, a new study of health plan choice in Massachusetts found major shifts in its health insurance market after the state set new rules that limit consumer options.

The results may be significant for states that have some regulatory authority over health insurance markets created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to the study’s authors and health policy experts.

News Headlines Article

Family of Missing Woman Found Dead at SF Hospital Still Waiting for More Info
NBC Bay Area

A week after a missing woman was found dead on a San Francisco General Hospital stairwell, her family is still awaiting answers from authorities and thinks legislation might be necessary to prevent a similar case from happening again. Lynne Spalding, a 57-year-old woman who had been admitted to the hospital for an infection on Sept. 19, disappeared two days later. Spalding, who family members said was frail and may have been confused due to medication she was taking, remained missing for more than two weeks despite searches of the hospital and surrounding neighborhoods.

News Headlines Article

SF General makes protocol changes after woman’s death
KTVU.com

More than a week after a body was found in a fire stairwell, San Francisco General Hospital says it is making it more difficult for patients to slip through the cracks. Lynne Spalding, 57, was found dead in a fourth floor stairwell last Tuesday, weeks after she was reported to have disappeared from her room Sept. 21. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department provides security for SF General, and as of Wednesday, there were multiple investigations underway into why a search by deputies did not find her earlier.

News Headlines Article

Hospital CEO Pay, Patient Outcomes Not in Sync
ABC News

CEOs at nonprofit hospitals earned an average of $600,000 a year — and in some cases, more than $3 million — but there was no correlation between high pay and good outcomes for patients, according to a new study.

CEOs were paid more at hospitals that got high patient satisfaction scores; used more high-tech equipment including advanced imaging machines; had more beds and were located in large urban areas.

News Headlines Article

Stress may contribute to higher risk of dementia – study
ABC News

We all have stress, but new research shows it may be worse for you than you think. The stress you’re experiencing now could affect you later. As the director of medical staff services at a busy San Pedro hospital, Denise Eastburn is always juggling. “I’m always on call, 24 hours a day,” said Eastburn. This 44-year-old mother of two says balancing home and work is always a struggle.

News Headlines Article

New HMO option for seniors
Monterey Herald

People age 65 and older in Monterey County have a new option when it comes to health insurance.

The parent company of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula began enrollment of a new Medicare HMO plan this week to begin Jan. 1.

Health maintenance organizations typically reduce the cost of traditional health insurance because they can be used in place of Medicare and supplemental plans.

News Headlines Article

UnitedHealth’s 3Q profit edged up 1 percent
San Francisco Chronicle

UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s third-quarter earnings inched up 1 percent in a rare performance that failed to trump Wall Street expectations, and the nation’s largest health insurer gave a less-than-reassuring vibe to investors by narrowing its 2013 forecast instead of raising it.

The Minnetonka, Minn.,-based company said Thursday that it raised the bottom end of its previous forecast for 2013 earnings by a nickel to $5.40 to $5.50 per share.

News Headlines Article

Nurses and Patients Petition Kaiser Permanente Manteca
Fox40

Several dozen nurses and patients held a rally at the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Manteca Wednesday, urging administrators to keep the facility open. Kaiser has not said said the hospital will close, but nurses say the elimination of key services and closing the third floor of the hospital is a clear indication that its days are numbered. “We need a full fledged running hospital, we’re good nurses and we want to care for our community … with all of our services here,” said Ruth Somera, a nurse who has worked at the hospital for 18 years.

Commands