News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

AMA Seeks to Stop ICD-10, Cites Soaring Costs
Health Leaders Media

The American Medical Association on Wednesday released a study it sponsored showing that projected physicians’ implementation costs for the federally mandated ICD-10 medical coding set will be as much as three times higher than initial estimates.

Coupled with the release of the study, AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, released a copy of the letter she sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to “strongly” reconsider the ICD-10 mandate, which takes effect Oct. 1.

News Headlines Article

Strategies for Safer Hospital Medicine Also Cut Costs
Health Leaders Media

A decade ago, young doctors fresh out of residency would loyally follow their senior mentors, diligently emulate their sage practices, and rarely second-guess. That’s just the way it was in medical training.

But in a dozen or so hospitals—from San Francisco to San Jose and Boston to Baltimore—the tables are turning on the senior physician guard.

News Headlines Article

Computer system upgrades delay licensing for nursing graduates
Los Angeles Times

In December, Ben Villarreal graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Samuel Merritt University’s nursing program in Oakland. In short order, he received two job offers at UC hospitals with programs for new graduates.

But with less than a month to go before his start dates, the 22-year-old said he is concerned that he could lose both promising opportunities. As of mid-February, California’s Board of Registered Nursing still hadn’t given him the go-ahead to take the nursing exam needed to get his license and start a new job.

News Headlines Article

U.S. launches new global initiative to prevent infectious disease threats
Washington Post

Faced with what they describe as a perfect storm of converging threats from infectious disease epidemics, U.S. officials are launching a global effort Thursday with more than two dozen countries and international organizations to prevent deadly outbreaks from spreading.

The goal is to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats where they start. That’s more effective and less costly than treating sick people after diseases spread.

News Headlines Article

Poll: Obesity overtakes drug use as top health worry about California’s kids
The Mercury News

Californians are more worried about kids getting fat than using illegal drugs, according to a Field Poll released Wenesday.

The poll, conducted for the California Endowment, shows that the number of Californians who list unhealthy eating or a lack of physical activity among kids’ two top health risks grew from 53 percent a decade ago to 59 percent today. In contrast, the percentage of Californians who felt drug use among children was one of the top two risks decreased from 49 percent to 43 percent.

News Headlines Article

More than 1M signed up for health coverage in January
USA Today

More than 1.1 million people signed up for health insurance coverage through state and federal exchanges in January, including a rising number of young, healthy enrollees, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday.

That’s 3.3 million now covered by private plans, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

While enrollment has grown, it is still short of the 4.4 million enrollees that HHS had projected by this point, according to a document the department provided last September.

News Headlines Article

Obamacare beats a January enrollment projection
Washington Post

The Obama administration has beaten a monthly health insurance enrollment target for the first time, according to data released Wednesday showing that more than 1.14 million people signed up for health plans in January in the new insurance marketplace.

The latest enrollment data from the Obama administration show that 3.3 million people have signed up for private health insurance through federal and state insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act.

News Headlines Article

Over 1 Million Added to Rolls of Health Plan
New York Times

More than 1.1 million people signed up for health insurance through federal and state marketplaces in January, according to the government, and the number of young people enrolling increased faster than that of any other group.

The results were hailed by Obama administration officials, who expressed increased optimism that they had overcome their initial stumbles and erased many doubts about the viability of the health care law.

News Headlines Article

Obamacare exchanges report healthy enrollment numbers
San Francisco Business Times

Enrollment in Obamacare’s insurance exchanges grew by 1.1 million people in January, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

That means 3.3 million had signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange, or state exchanges during their first four months of operation.

“We’re seeing a healthy growth in enrollment,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a conference call with reporters.

News Headlines Article

Health insurance enrollment on target in January
Washington Post

For the first time since the federal and state health-insurance marketplaces opened early last fall, the number of people who signed up for coverage exceeded the government’s expectations for the month in January, bringing the overall total to about 3.3 million.

Across the country, nearly 1.2 million people enrolled in health plans last month through the new insurance exchanges — more than federal officials had envisioned when they compiled monthly targets late last summer, weeks before the sign-ups began.

News Headlines Article

Health care enrollment rises; more young adults sign up
Sacramento Bee

Nearly 3.3 million Americans have enrolled in health coverage on state and federal health insurance marketplaces as of Feb. 1 and sign-up rates for young adults continued to grow, according to new figures released Wednesday by the Obama administration.

The federal HealthCare.gov marketplace has logged 1.9 million enrollees since enrollment began in October, while another 1.4 million have signed up for insurance coverage through state-based exchanges.

News Headlines Article

Most states lag in health insurance sign-ups
San Francisco Chronicle

Most states are still lagging when it comes to sign-ups under President Barack Obama’s health care law, but an Associated Press analysis of numbers reported Wednesday finds a dozen high-achievers getting ahead of the game.

Huge disparities are emerging in how well states are living up to federal enrollment targets, and that will help determine if the White House reaches its unofficial goal of having 7 million signed up by the end of March, six weeks away.

News Headlines Article

Obamacare enrollment continues to increase
Los Angeles Times

Health insurance sign-ups under President Obama’s healthcare law have continued to surge, as more than 1.1 million Americans selected a private plan in January on new marketplaces created by the law.

That brings to nearly 3.3 million the number of Americans who have enrolled in coverage since the marketplaces opened in October, according to new data released by the Obama administration.

News Headlines Article

ObamaCare Still Not Working
The Wall Street Journal

Liberals and their media allies are celebrating the fact that more than one million people signed up for the Affordable Care Act’s new insurance plans in January, bringing the total so far to 3.3 million. But the new customers aren’t young enough to make the economics of ObamaCare work, and of course signing up doesn’t mean that someone is a paying customer. Or as former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin puts it in a recent posting on Twitter: “Enrollment at 3.3 million.

News Headlines Article

HealthCare.gov is improving: Opposing view
USA Today

HealthCare.gov continues to perform well under strong demand, and it has had more than 3.4 million site visits this month alone. The traffic shows there continues to be strong demand for affordable medical coverage. Consumers are shopping, applying and enrolling online every day. This Saturday is the final day to enroll in Marketplace coverage that begins on March 1.

News Headlines Article

Obamacare errors weaken support: Our view
USA Today

Nearly four years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, you’d think most of the kinks would have been worked out. And, of course, you’d be completely wrong.

True, the website that could sign up only six customers on Oct. 1, the day it debuted, is working better. The administration said Wednesday that 1.9 million people have signed up in the federal marketplace.

News Headlines Article

California leads nation in Obamacare signups with more than 725,000
San Francisco Business Times

California accounts for more than 1 in 5 of the nearly 3.3 million people who signed up on Affordable Care Act exchanges through Feb. 1, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That adds up to 728,086 Californians.

But neither the feds nor the Covered California exchange have yet said how many of those 728,086 California residents have paid for their health plans and thus are actually enrolled.

News Headlines Article

California dominates health care enrollment
Sacramento Business Journal

Nearly 3.3 million people signed up for insurance coverage from state and federal exchanges by Feb. 1, and California continues to lead the race.

New federal numbers released Wednesday show 3,299,492 people picked plans through exchanges during the first four months of open enrollment. Twenty-two percent of those — 728,086 — are people who shopped in the new marketplace in California.

News Headlines Article

San Diego’s Covered California Enrollment Ahead of Projections
California Healthline

By the end of December 2013, slightly more than 45,000 people in San Diego County had enrolled in a private health insurance plan through Covered California, about 2,000 more than the goal of enrolling 43,000 by the end of March.

According to the state’s most recent enrollment statistics, San Diego has already surpassed its target, reaching 105% of its goal by the end of December. Statewide, California has met 86% of the statewide target it hopes to meet by the end of open enrollment March 31.

News Headlines Article

Covered California pulls small employer portal; enrollment continues on paper
Sacramento Business Journal

Covered California pulled its SHOP enrollment portal offline Wednesday to fix problems and upgrade the site.

The portal is projected to be back online in the fall. In the meantime, enrollment will continue using paper applications. The shut down responds to complaints by small business owners and insurance brokers attempting to enroll them in the Small Employer Health Options Program.

The new version of the online portal is expected to increase efficiency and improve steps that determine eligibility, implement changes and issue invoices.

News Headlines Article

California Republicans seeking to capitalize on health law vulnerabilities
Sacramento Bee

The Barack Obama impersonator is well into promoting the president’s health insurance overhaul when he concedes a deficiency of the law: “It’s not going to stop you from doing stupid things.”

“But if those stupid things were to break your legs, it is going to be right there,” the impressionist says in the introduction to “Tell a Friend, Get Covered,” a promotional Web video produced on behalf of Covered California for $1.37 million.

News Headlines Article

Cancer CAREpoint is all about non-medical care for cancer patients
The Mercury News

When Bernice and George Bajada attended a fundraiser in July 2013 for the newly formed Cancer CAREpoint nonprofit, it was to support a good cause. It was an enjoyable afternoon party in the elegant Atherton gardens of high tech notables Carol Bartz and Bill Marr, and the Bajadas were pleased to be there and to donate.

“We went to the benefit in Atherton, never thinking we would be cancer patients,” says Bernice.

It wasn’t long after that, George says, when his arm started getting numb and tingling, and he thought he had a pinched nerve.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser breaks ground on new hospital
San Diego Union-Tribune

The transformation from ballots to beds began Wednesday morning in Kearny Mesa as Kaiser Permanente broke ground on its first new hospital in 40 years.

Kaiser San Diego will build its second hospital, with a 450-bed capacity and a price tag of about $900 million, on a 19-acre Ruffin Road parcel just west of Interstate 15 that was formerly home to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters and other county offices.

News Headlines Article

Unfair Practices Claim Against Quest May Stick
Courthouse News Service

A group of labs can advance a class action accusing Quest Diagnostics of conspiring to monopolize the biological-testing market, a federal judge ruled.

Rheumatology Diagnostics Laboratory (RDL), Pacific Breast Pathology Medical Corporation (PBP), Hunter Laboratories and Surgical Pathology Associates (SPA) first filed the antitrust complaint in November 2012 against Aetna, Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and Quest Diagnostics.

News Headlines Article

State senator’s bill seeks health aid for undocumented; costs unclear
Southern California Public Radio

In an effort to make health insurance available to undocumented immigrants who are barred from receiving federal benefits under the Affordable Care Act, state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) plans to unveil legislation on Friday that would commit the state to help pay for their coverage. Questions remain about how much his measure would cost taxpayers if it becomes law.

Lara’s office would not comment on the legislation before it’s released, but advocates who have been helping him draft the bill say it will include two main provisions.

Commands