News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Reform creating budgeting changes
Healthcare Finance News

In light of the cadre of reform measures reverberating through the healthcare industry, hospitals are responding to the pressure by changing up their budgeting formats.

Five or 10 years ago, hospitals largely operated their budgets through their general ledger, which, essentially, served as a vehicle for understanding their cost of running a department, said Jay Spence, vice president of product and solutions strategy for Axiom EPM, a Portland-based performance management software firm.

News Headlines Article

AHRQ: Surgical Admissions Bring 48% of Hospital Revenue
Health Leaders Media

A survey of 2011 hospital costs finds that heart valve procedures were the most expensive operations performed in U.S. hospitals followed by coronary artery bypass procedures, small bowel resections, and cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator procedures.

Based on aggregated costs, however, spinal fusion surgeries drove in the most hospital revenue because of their higher cost per hospital stay and frequency, followed by knee arthroplasty, and percutaneous coronary angioplasty.

News Headlines Article

Just One Dose of Many Common Medicines Can Kill a Child
KQED Radio

Concerns about drug risks have led 28 state attorneys general to ask the Food and Drug Administration to reverse its approval of Zohydro, a long-acting narcotic painkiller, before the medicine is even put on the market. The risks for addiction and overdose from the potent opioid outweigh the benefits of pain relief, critics say. Some point to the risk for children, in particular. A single capsule of Zohydro could kill a kid, the medicine’s instructions warn.

News Headlines Article

Primary Care 2.0: A Vision for a Transformative Solution
The Health Care Blog

There’s scant disagreement that a key to transforming the U.S. health system is strengthening its primary care foundation. But there’s no consensus about how. In last week’s new cycle, evidence of our dysfunction on this central issue was apparent: Last Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics fired a volley across the bow at retail clinics, calling them an “inappropriate source of primary care for pediatric patients (1).” Instead, the society that represents the nation’s 62,000 pediatricians encouraged an alternative—the patient centered medical home it originated in 1967.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals Adapting Amid Continued Drug Shortages
Health Leaders Media

Drug shortages remain widespread and hospitals spent nearly $700 million over three years to cover the additional costs of finding more expensive generic substitutes, according to a survey and analysis from the group purchasing organization, Premier.

“It’s clear that this remains to be a very serious problem that continues to impact patient care and it creates major challenges for our healthcare system and other providers,” Premier COO Mike Alkire said on a conference call with media last week.

News Headlines Article

Health care reform continues for states with insurance exchange disasters
Live Insurance News

The deadline is now less than a month away, and as Americans scramble to make their last minute insurance purchases in order to comply with the health care reform, the Obama administration has bent a few of the rules to help to ensure that people won’t be left without coverage due to struggles with some of the state run exchanges. The federal government has now said that within the states where the health care reform has involved dysfunctional online marketplaces, it will help to pay for certain plans that customers go ahead and purchase on their own.

News Headlines Article

Health Law Provides No Guarantees Of Access To Midwives, Birthing Centers
Kaiser Health News

Insurance coverage for maternity care is required in most individual and small group plans under the federal health law, extending such coverage to plans where it used to be rare. But for women who are interested in services provided by midwives and birthing centers, there are no coverage guarantees, despite the law’s provisions that prohibit insurers from discriminating against licensed medical providers.

News Headlines Article

Software glitch raises doubts as Covered California deadline approaches
Sacramento Business Journal

A software glitch that prompted Covered California to pull online enrollment offline for five days raises questions about functionality as the site prepares for a flurry of activity before open enrollment for the individual market closes March 31. The service was shut down Feb. 19 after the exchange found unreadable information on some applications submitted Feb. 17 until midday Feb. 19, when the function was taken offline.

News Headlines Article

Doctors are key source of narcotics for riskiest users, study says
Los Angeles Times

Doctors are fueling the epidemic of prescription drug addiction and overdose and represent the single largest supplier of these drugs to chronic abusers, according to a government study published Monday. The finding challenges the conventional wisdom that the epidemic is caused primarily by abusers getting their drugs without prescriptions, typically from friends and family.

News Headlines Article

Why do black infants die so much more often than white infants?
Southern California Public Radio

Corran Brown was 22 and just five months pregnant with her second child when she started having contractions. Doctors gave her medication to stop them, but then Brown’s health took a turn for the worse. She developed high blood pressure and had frequent nosebleeds and headaches.

At seven months, doctors gave Brown, who is African-American, an injection to speed up development of the fetus’ lungs. Then they induced labor. For six weeks, Brown went to the hospital to see her baby lying in an incubator.

News Headlines Article

Home births still rising, driven by white moms
Imperial Valley Press Online

Home births have risen to their highest level in about four decades but are still only a fraction of all births, according to a new government report released Tuesday. A little more than 1 percent of U.S. births occur at home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Experts say they remain largely a phenomenon of white women and those who live in remote areas. In the 20th century, births shifted from homes to hospitals. Out-of-hospital deliveries were down to 1 percent by 1969.

News Headlines Article

Strict blood pressure control won’t stem mental decline, study says
Los Angeles Times

Discouraging news for diabetics who are keen to ward off memory problems and keep their brains in peak condition: New research has found that using medication to aggressively drive down blood pressure or improve lipid levels does not do more than standard therapy to stem the decline in cognition that’s common among such patients. In fact, aggressively lowering systolic blood pressure may accelerate brain shrinkage, which is a hallmark of dementia, the new study found.

News Headlines Article

As full disclosure nears, doctors’ pay for drug talks plummets
The Mercury News

Some of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies have slashed payments to health professionals for promotional speeches amid heightened public scrutiny of such spending, a new ProPublica analysis shows.

Eli Lilly and Co.’s payments to speakers dropped by 55 percent, from $47.9 million in 2011 to $21.6 million in 2012.

Pfizer’s speaking payments fell 62 percent over the same period, from nearly $22 million to $8.3 million.

News Headlines Article

FDA meningitis vaccine delay killing Americans
USA Today

The University of California-Santa Barbara began vaccinations for meningitis on Feb. 24. The vaccinations are welcome, but too late for UCSB lacrosse player Aaron Loy, whose feet were amputated after he contracted meningitis in November. The reason Loy and other UCSB students hadn’t already been vaccinated is because the federal Food and Drug Administration has delayed the vaccine’s approval.

News Headlines Article

L.A. County health inspectors rushed nursing home probes
Sacramento Bee

In an effort to reduce California’s backlog of health and safety complaints at nursing homes, Los Angeles County public health officials told its inspectors to close cases without fully investigating them, according to internal documents and interviews.

The effort known as the “Complaint Workload Clean Up Project” has been going on since at least the summer of 2012, according to internal memorandums sent by email to managers and inspectors by county Department of Public Health supervisors.

News Headlines Article

Sacramento County’s high-poverty areas hit hardest by fatal flu
Sacramento Bee

As the influenza virus marched across Sacramento County this flu season, a clear pattern emerged showing where the suffering has been most intense.

Many of the deaths and hospitalizations in intensive care units have occurred in low-income, densely packed neighborhoods, where people are more likely to rely on public transit and to have less access to health insurance than the region-wide average.

News Headlines Article

Fertility clinic debuts new facility — and new air — in San Ramon
San Francisco Business Times

When it comes to making babies in a lab, air quality is key. So, in designing a new facility, executives from the Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area in San Ramon focused on building out a space that would not only accommodate a growing practice, but also house a sophisticated air purification system for the lab. The center recently moved into a 16,500-square-foot space at 100 Park Place in San Ramon after a $4.2 million-build out.

News Headlines Article

Cottage Health System CEO recognized with CHA award
Santa Ynez Valley News

The California Hospital Association CHA has awarded the 2013 Award of Merit to Ronald C. Werft, president/CEO of the Cottage Health System.

The Award of Merit is CHA’s highest honor and is given to a CHA member for outstanding contribution to the California health care community, according to an announcement.

Werft, who served as CHA board chair in 2011, has worked to improve California’s Medi-Cal program, which ranks last in the country in funding health care for Medicaid patients.

Commands