News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Fitch: ICD-10 Could Hurt Nonprofit Hospitals’ Credit Ratings
Becker's Hospital Review

Revenue stream disruption caused by the ICD-10 conversion has the potential to negatively affect some nonprofit hospitals’ credit ratings, according to a report from Fitch Ratings.

Fitch Ratings believes the majority of the rated organizations in the nonprofit healthcare sector will be prepared for the Oct. 1 deadline, and available assets will help offset the IT and training costs during the transition.

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Workers’ Comp Needs to Catch Up with Healthcare Changes: Economist Gruber
Insurance Journal

Workers’ compensation must align itself with the rest of the changing healthcare system to avoid increased cost-shifting by workers and medical providers, according to an economist involved in the Massachusetts and Obama administration healthcare reforms.

Jonathan Gruber, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), urged 400 attendees at the annual conference of the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) in Boston to consider where workers’ compensation is relative to the rest of the nation’s healthcare system.

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ObamaCare Premiums to Rise, But Who Will Pay Them?
The Wall Street Journal

According to the Journal, “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said health-insurance premiums ‘are likely to go up’ in 2015, an acknowledgment that the Obama administration doesn’t believe the sweeping changes to the health-insurance marketplace will end premium increases in the near term.” Testifying Wednesday before the House Committee on Ways and Means, Mrs. Sebelius added that she expects next year’s prices to rise “at a smaller pace than what we’ve seen” in previous years.

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Doctors testing Google Glass to get real-time patient data
CNET News.com

While the general public appears to still be making up its mind about Google Glass and the idea of wearing a face computer, in some fields of work the wearable could be a helpful asset. One such field is medicine. By using Glass, doctors won’t have to use their hands to dig through files, search computers, or look up facts on a tablet. With a simple nod of the head or blink of the eye, they could get all of the real-time information they need without having to leave a patient.

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Obesity options expand under Obamacare
San Diego Union-Tribune

Federal health reform has given doctors a new prescription for weight loss — and a potential new business opportunity for everyone from gym owners to personal trainers.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, all new health plans in the nation must cover obesity screening and counseling at no cost to patients, an official with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirmed Wednesday.

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So how many have paid ACA premiums?
POLITICO

The White House insists it doesn’t know how many people are fully enrolled in Obamacare, but insurers say they’ve handed over enough data to show that the sign-up numbers are not as rosy as federal officials say. The latest administration figures show that 4.2 million people have selected health plans in the new insurance markets. Insurance industry officials at four of the big national health plans tell POLITICO that about 15 to 20 percent of people who have signed up have not yet paid their first monthly premium — the final step to get coverage.

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Payers Detail Strategies That Drive Consumer Satisfaction
Health Leaders Media

J.D. Power and Associates’ annual consumer survey of health plan members released this week provides insight about changes in the broad health insurance marketplace and gives a glimpse of how consumers are faring as their role in several markets grows.

The 2014 J.D. Power consumer study is based on data collected in December and January. It reflects the impact of healthcare reform efforts under way nationwide, with at least one surprising result, said Rick Millard, director of J.D. Power’s healthcare practice.

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EHR Spending Continues, But Jury Still Out on ROI
Health Leaders Media

Of all the capital investments made by healthcare leaders, none appears more unproved than the move from paper to electronic health records. In the past decade, billions in public and private money, boosted by nearly $20 billion in federal incentives over the past three years, have been poured into EHRs. What has that money bought?

On Capitol Hill last summer, with healthcare’s cost curve just barely starting to bend, patience was in short supply. Concerns about lack of interoperability among purchased EHRs mounted.

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Medicare Changes Prompt Enrollees to Reconsider Plans
New York Times

When Don and Elizabeth Dersch, of Chester, Va., both 68, became eligible for Medicare a few years ago, they carefully weighed the costs of traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, the coverage provided by private insurers. They chose Medicare Advantage.

Their plan from Anthem covered the doctor visits, treatment, testing and hospital coverage that traditional Medicare covers, and it offered low co-payments, Medicare D prescription drug coverage and a Y.M.C.A. membership.

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Health Mandate Won’t Be Delayed, Sebelius Says
New York Times

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said Wednesday that the Obama administration would not extend the deadline for people to sign up for health insurance or delay the requirement for most Americans to have coverage.

And she declined to say whether the administration was still committed to its original goal of enrolling seven million people in private coverage through federal and state exchanges by March 31.

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Congratulations, Doctor, On Your Federally-Subsidized “Hardship”
The Health Care Blog

At HIMSS 2014, the health information technology’s (HIT) largest annual confab, the bestest-best news we heard from a policy perspective, and maybe even an industry perspective, was the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) dual announcement that there will be no further delays for either Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU-2) or ICD-10. Perhaps we should have immediately directed our gaze skyward in search of the second shoe preparing to drop.

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Can you tell the difference between gobbledygook and your medical record?
Sacramento Bee

If you think your doctor’s penmanship is atrocious, it probably is. There’s a reason for that: So her signature cannot easily be copied. If you think reading your medical record will be easier than recognizing your doctor’s signature, think again. Medical schools teach a method of note-taking that, for better or worse, looks like a secret code for medical professionals. It’s a tough one to crack if you want to read your medical records.

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The ACO Hypothesis: What We’re Learning
The Health Care Blog

Last month, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported first-year results from the Medicare Shared Saving Accountable Care Organization Program (MSSP).

As noted in a previous post, shifting to an accountable care model is a long-term, multi-year transition that requires major overhauls to care delivery processes, technology systems, operations, and governance, as well as coordinating efforts with new partners and payers.

Participants in the MSSP program are also taking much more responsibility and risk when it comes to the effectiveness and quality of care delivered.

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UC Davis School of Medicine moves up rankings for primary care
Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis School of Medicine ranks No. 16 among America’s top medical schools in primary care, according to new listings released Wednesday by U.S. News & World Report. That’s up from No. 19 last year and No. 24 the year before. University of California Davis also did slightly better among top among medical schools in research, with a ranking of 40. That’s up from 42 the last two years.

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