News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Blue Shield of California CEO Bruce Bodaken to retire at year-end
San Francisco Business Times

Bruce Bodaken, the longtime chairman, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, will retire at year-end, the San Francisco-based health plan said Wednesday morning. Bodaken, 60, became CEO in January 2000. He joined Blue Shield as executive vice president and chief operating officer in 1994, and added the president title a year later. Paul Markovich, Blue Shield’s current COO, will become president and a board member on June 1, and will take on the CEO title in January.

News Headlines Article

Individual Health Policies Fall Short, a Study Finds
New York Times

More than half of all medical insurance policies sold to individuals now fail to meet the standards of coverage set by the federal health care law under review by the Supreme Court, a new study says.

Even if the law is upheld, employer-provided insurance plans are likely to continue to be more generous, but the law would significantly improve the quality of coverage for individuals in several ways, the researchers concluded.

News Headlines Article

For Hospitals and Insurers, New Fervor to Cut Costs
New York Times

Giselle Fernandez is only 17 but she has had more than 50 operations since she was born with a rare genetic condition. She regularly sees a host of pediatric specialists, including an ophthalmologist, an endocrinologist and a neurologist at UCLA Health System. Her care has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars so far, and she will need special treatment for the rest of her life.

While UCLA Health System has long prided itself on being at the forefront of treating patients like Giselle, it is now trying to lower sharply the cost of providing that care.

News Headlines Article

Insurers may face credit threat if reform stands: Moody’s
Modern Healthcare

Insurers could face credit stress if the Supreme Court upholds some or all of the healthcare reform law, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

The ratings agency, in a new report, called a decision from the court to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “a negative credit event” for insurers. The law restricts insurer revenue and introduces new regulations for the sector, the rating agency said.

News Headlines Article

Individual plans miss reform-law targets: study
Modern Healthcare

The majority of individual health plans in a representative sample for the year 2010 did not meet the standards and benefits required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to the findings of a new Health Affairs study.

Researchers used the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust 2010 Employer Health Benefit Survey to examine group plans and sampled enrollment data in five states through interviews with marketing managers at insurance carriers for the individual plans.

News Headlines Article

PSA test: The real problem is the rush to treatment, doctor says
Los Angeles Times

The PSA test should not be a routine screen for men of any age, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force declared earlier this week. The assessment wasn’t about saving money but was based on a review of the science on PSA screening — what were the benefits and what were the harms?

To recap: The task force concluded from two large studies that over a period of 10 years, one prostate cancer death at most was saved from PSA screening for every 1,000 men screened.

News Headlines Article

Urologists ‘Outraged’ Over PSA Test Challenge
Health Leaders Media

The nation’s leading urology associations are fuming over a federal panel’s report this week that discredits the widely used prostate-specific antigen screening test for prostate cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in a report that the PSA test is too inaccurate, creates needless anxiety for patients, and can lead to costly and potentially harmful follow-up procedures.

News Headlines Article

Lodi Memorial Hospital may offer more services at Galt clinic
Lodi News-Sentinel

Despite reports by city of Galt staff that Lodi Memorial Hospital is expanding its services there, a hospital spokeswoman said the plans are not yet firm. The city is seeking to have the hospital offer general surgery, pediatrics and cardiology, among other specialties, after an outside survey found the services lacking for Galt residents. Currently, the hospital’s medical services office on Civic Drive offers family practice, obstetrics and a blood drawing station from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

News Headlines Article

The health care reform timeline for rebates
Live Insurance News

An analysis performed by the Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that there will be rebates totaling $1.3 billion for consumers and businesses by the end of August this year.

This money will come from insurance companies that spent more than the maximum allowed on non-care expenses.

News Headlines Article

Healthcare advocates call governor’s budget revision a “body blow.”
Monterey County Weekly

It was bad enough when California was looking at a $9.2 billion budget deficit. But a recent update upped that estimate to almost $15.7 billion, and now Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing even deeper cuts.


The May revision includes about $2.5 billion in cuts for services to kids, seniors and the disabled.


News Headlines Article

New Marian Regional Medical Center opens
Lompoc Record

The countdown to the opening of the new Marian Regional Medical Center finally ended Tuesday and a new era in health care dawned in the Santa Maria Valley. A small army of nurses, aids, volunteers and Hancock College emergency services academy students carefully moved roughly 100 patients from the old hospital into their private rooms in the new four-story, 235,000-square-foot facility.

News Headlines Article

F.D.A. Panel Votes Against Expanding Use of an Anticoagulant
New York Times

A federal advisory panel narrowly recommended against expanding the use of the Johnson & Johnson drug Xarelto on Wednesday, saying concerns over dangerous bleeding outweighed evidence that the drug helped reduce the risk of blood clots in patients with serious heart problems. Xarelto is an anticoagulant drug that was approved last year to prevent blood clots in patients undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery and for people with a common form of heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation.

News Headlines Article

Obama Health Care Hangs on Business Clause Queried by Court
San Francisco Chronicle

When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the justices said next to nothing about racial equality, the ideal that drove the landmark law’s enactment. Instead, the court cited the constitutional clause that lets Congress regulate interstate commerce, saying the law barred discrimination at hotels and restaurants used by travelers moving across state lines.

News Headlines Article

Docs win most malpractice suits, but road is long
HealthNews

Malpractice claims against U.S. doctors are often dismissed, and when they go to trial, the verdict is usually in the doctor’s favor, according to a new study. But even when a case is dismissed, the road is typically long for both doctors and the patients suing, researchers said. “Most claims go in favor of the physician, and they take a long time to resolve,” said lead researcher Dr. Anupam B. Jena, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

News Headlines Article

Why the individual mandate?
Porterville Recorder

In last week’s column, I talked about some of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, on which the Supreme Court will soon announce its decision. Most of those provisions are popular according to polling, but one did not poll well — the individual mandate.

It has been a goal of policy makers for decades to get the United States to full coverage of all of its citizens.

News Headlines Article

Save the Country with Preventive Care
The Health Care Blog

We are entering the season of presidential politics, of bunting and cries of “What about the children?” and star-spangled appeals to full-throated patriotism. So here’s mine: Do you count yourself a patriot? Do you care about the future of this country? (And while we are at it, the future of your hospital.) If so, bend your efforts to find ways to care for the least cared for, the most difficult, the chronically complex poor and uninsured.

News Headlines Article

A second opinion about the PSA prostate cancer test
Los Angeles Times

So the PSA test for prostate cancer should be abandoned, according to a government advisory panel? Not in the opinion of highly regarded Santa Monica urologist Milton Krisiloff, who was my doctor in the late 1990s when I lived on that side of town. “I think the PSA is an excellent test when it’s used properly,” said Krisiloff.

Commands