News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Providers Lag as Healthcare Consumers Set Agenda
Health Leaders Media

Healthcare consumers appear willing to dump the doctor’s office for cheaper and more convenient retail and remote alternatives that could amount to tens of billions of dollars in lost revenues for traditional providers if they fail to adapt, according to a report from PwC’s Health Research Institute.

Despite controlling nearly 20% of the economy, traditional healthcare is years if not decades behind other industries when it comes to adopting a business model and technologies that assess and meet consumer needs.

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Health IT: The Coming Regulation
The Health Care Blog

The Food and Drug Administration has spent decades refining its processes for approving drugs and devices (and is still refining them), so what would happen if they extended their scope to the exploding health software industry? The FDA, and its parent organization, the Department of Health and Human Services, are facing an unpleasant and politically difficult choice.

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Obamacare costs less than expected, but there’s a catch
Sacramento Business Journal

Obamacare’s insurance coverage provisions will cost the federal government about $36 billion this year, $5 billion less than the Congressional Budget Office projected back in February.

That’s mainly because health insurance premiums in the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act came in less than expected, according to Monday’s update from the CBO. That’s good for the individuals who purchased plans from these exchanges, but it’s really good for taxpayers, because they’re the ones who are footing much of the bill for this coverage.

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What a Physician-Led ACO Can Teach Us about Getting It Right
The Health Care Blog

Several of the provisions included within the Affordable Care Act in 2011 designate Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) as formal, contractual entities.

However, in the real world ACOs come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

When compared to larger, hospital-sponsored ACOs, rural and small physician-led ACOs face a tough challenge, because despite limited resources they need to come up with substantial upfront capital and infrastructure investment to establish a strong ACO foundation.

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Obamacare: Tuesday midnight deadline looms for last-minute health care applicants
Vallejo Times-Herald

That ticking sound you’re hearing isn’t just the clock counting down to today’s deadline to file your taxes.

Californians who started but were unable to finish their applications for a health care plan by the original March 31 open enrollment deadline have until midnight today to complete the process.

“People have had since October to enroll. These are the final hours,” said Larry Hicks, a spokesman for Covered California, the state’s health care exchange.

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Clinics Wait For More Patients in Obamacare Wake

St. James Health Center is ready for the onslaught.

The community health clinic, one of the busiest in San Jose, sits on the corner of 2nd and Julian streets near downtown. Doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other health-care providers here treat some of the poorest patients in Santa Clara County — patients whom many expect to have newly-minted health insurance this year as the federal Affordable Care Act kicks in.

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Deadline Tuesday: Final Days to Enroll for 2014 Health Insurance
KQED Radio

Time’s up.

After various extensions, the deadline to finish signing up for a health plan under the Affordable Care Act is here. People have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to complete their applications. Dana Howard from the state marketplace Covered California says the deadline is real. There will be no more grace periods for people who encounter long lines or technical difficulties on the website. There will be no special dispensation this time for people who wait until the last minute.

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Final Covered California Deadline is Midnight on April 15

The deadline to complete the application process for Covered California is tomorrow.

If you started the process by March 31, you now need to complete it by tomorrow or face a penalty.

Covered California spokesman Dana Howard says the time to act is now.

“At 11:59 p.m. on April 15, that will be the last absolute minute that you can complete an application that you started before March 31 for enrolling in a Covered California health plan,” Howard said.

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California measles cases rise to 56; only 4 at same time last year
Southern California Public Radio

California has reported 56 cases of measles this year, after officials from the California Department of Public Health confirmed five more cases of measles this week. Among the new cases, two were intentionally unvaccinated and one had appropriate vaccination.

There were only four cases in the state at the same time last year. Only one of the newly reported cases is in Southern California. Orange County officials increased the tally there to 22. The man contracted the disease locally, according to a county spokeswoman.

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Nursing home care in Sacramento costs well above median
Sacramento Business Journal

The cost of long-term care in California in 2014 is higher than the national median. Some of the costs in the Sacramento region are higher yet. The annual cost of a private room in a Sacramento-area nursing home now tops $116,000, well above the state median of $104,000 and national median of $87,600. A semi-private room tops $92,500 in Sacramento, $88,800 in California and $77,300 nationwide.

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L.A. health care consultancy expands to Texas
Los Angeles Business Journal

Precision Health Economics, a health care economics and policy consultancy, is expanding to Austin where it plans to open its fifth location.

The Austin office will house research and executive administrative functions, though employees at the company can work in any of its offices, the company said in a statement. A company spokeswoman told Austin Business Journal that it expects to hire 10-15 employees within a year, with room on site to grow.

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Foes of Palm Drive closure pledge public action to keep hospital open
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Supporters of Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol said Monday they’ll do everything possible to keep the cash-strapped facility open — even if requires civil disobedience in the form of a physician takeover of the hospital’s emergency room.

That was the promise made by Dr. Jim Gude, director of Palm Drive’s intensive care unit, at an evening public forum at Community Church in Sebastopol.

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Merced project seeks health coverage for all uninsured
Merced Sun-Star

Almost 21 years ago, Adriana Flores left her hometown in Guadalajara, Mexico, to relocate to Livingston with her husband and 10-month-old son. Since then, Flores has not visited a doctor or sought any type of preventive health care service simply because she can’t afford it.

Flores, 41, now lives in Merced and is one of the 8,750 undocumented immigrants in the city who do not qualify for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA excluded undocumented immigrants from insurance coverage provided through Medi-Cal and the health care exchange.

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Health care consulting company Hubbert Systems sells
Sacramento Business Journal

A Sacramento consulting firm specializing in health care technology integration for large public programs, Hubbert Systems Consulting, has been acquired. Boston-based Public Consulting Group announced the acquisition of Hubbert on Monday. Terms of the deal were not released. Public Consulting Group president Bill Moskakowski said Hubbert’s reputation was “built upon over 20 years of delivering quality results to its clients in the public sector and together with PCG, we will continue that mission.”