News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Feds Stonewall ICD-10 Summit
Health Leaders Media

ICD-10 advocates attending a two-day summit in Washington, D.C., got stonewalled by federal officials who declined Tuesday to provide a new start-up date for the medical coding set.

Godwin Odia, who is leading the Medicaid ICD-10 implementation for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updated stakeholders on the status of Medicaid readiness at the federal and state level, but didn’t go much beyond that.

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Cyberattack Drill Exposes Healthcare Industry’s Vulnerabilities
Health Leaders Media

Healthcare providers, like other industries, are not always very good at sharing cyber-attack intelligence with each other. But according to findings of a first-of-its-kind April 1 simulated drill, improvements are now underway specifically in the healthcare industry.

The industry-wide exercise, CyberRX, presented participants with a series of challenges which “exercised elements within each of the organizations,” said Kevin Charest, chief information security officer for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Connected Health Opportunities For Medicaid’s Most Vulnerable Patients
HealthAffairs Blog

The February issue of Health Affairs features a series of articles on connected health and highlights the potential for telehealth and telemedicine to reshape how health care is delivered, consumed, tracked, and even paid for. With funding support from Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit, the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) recently conducted a series of focus groups that showed how one key Medicaid population — medically and socially complex, low-income individuals — stands to gain from these advances.

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Measure barring Covered California from hiring certain felons fails
Los Angeles Times

A bill barring the state’s health insurance exchange from hiring individuals convicted of certain felonies failed to advance Tuesday. Under the proposal by Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare), Covered California would not be able to hire people who have been convicted of certain crimes–felonies concerning breach of trust or dishonesty–for jobs where enrollees’ financial or medical data could be accessed.

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Make Sense? Competition, Not Higher Premiums, May Turn Out to Be the Biggest Threat to Obamacare Buyers
The Health Care Blog

There have been lots of news reports, including some from me, about insurers raising premiums 10 percent or more on the Obamacare exchanges next year.

But for most people who bought health coverage in the Obamacare exchanges, that’s not really a concern. That’s because the vast majority of Obamacare buyers so far have received tax credits to reduce the cost of that coverage.

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Managed Care Contract Negotiations Morph Under PPACA
Health Leaders Media

Negotiating a managed care contract is not the same as it was even a few years ago. The changing healthcare landscape has produced a number of new considerations and twists on the familiar issues.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the move toward accountable care has put a much greater emphasis on quality measures than in previous years, says Greg Chittim, a senior healthcare IT consultant at Arcadia Healthcare Solutions in Burlington, Mass. All of the power providers have in managed care negotiations is in their ability to prove that they can manage quality and cost more effectively than the next guy, he says.

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Assembly Health Committee Hearing is Long on Rhetoric, Short on Facts on Charity Care Bill
PR Newswire

The California Hospital Association (CHA) today released a Fact Check to correct inaccurate claims made by proponents of Assembly Bill 1952, a measure that would impose a 5 percent mandate for charity care on most not-for-profit hospitals. The bill would create a one-size-fits-all charity care requirement across diverse communities in California. “This bill mandates that hospitals meet prescriptive program requirements that take away from a hospital’s ability to meet the unique needs of its community,” said CHA President/CEO C. Duane Dauner.

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Nurses push for better hospital safety after stabbings
Sacramento Business Journal

Weekend stabbings of two registered nurses at two separate Los Angeles hospitals heighten the need for stronger safety measures in California hospitals, nurses say.

The first incident occurred at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar early Sunday morning, when a man made it past a weapons screening center and stabbed a nurse in the upper body, according to the Los Angeles Times. Several hours later, a man walked into Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, passed through a weapons screening area, and stabbed a nurse in the ear, the Times reported.

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Gilead Sciences’ hepatitis C drug a smashing success
San Francisco Chronicle

Gilead Sciences’ breakthrough hepatitis C drug may have smashed the record books.

The Foster City company said Sovaldi generated nearly $2.3 billion in the first three months of the year, easily surpassing analysts’ estimates of $1 billion. That would make Sovaldi the best-selling new drug of all time, according to some analysts.

“This is the biggest launch of a new drug in first-quarter sales that we’re aware of,” said Michael Yee, an analyst for RBC Capital Markets.

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Kaiser, Blue Shield contribute $28 million to defeat rate-regulation initiative
San Francisco Business Times

Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California have contributed $23.8 million to defeat a November ballot initiative that would allow California’s insurance commissioner to deny health premium increases seen as excessive. The funding went to Californians Against Higher Health Care Costs, a lobbying group backed by insurers, the California Medical Association, the California Hospital Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, the Bay Area Council and many other medical associations, business groups and even a few

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Sutter’s Sacramento Sierra Region recogized among top health systems
Sacramento Business Journal

Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region has won recognition as one of the nation’s 15 top health systems in terms of quality care and patient safety. Michigan-based Truven Health Analytics named the top health systems Tuesday. The study is part of the company’s 100 Top Hospitals program. The study gathered data from more than 300 organizations and singled out 15 that achieved the best health outcomes.

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Sutter Health’s regional system ranked among nation’s best
Sacramento Bee

Sutter Health’s Sacramento Sierra Region has been named one of the nation’s “15 Top Health Systems” for 2014 by by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven Health Analytics, which annually evaluates health facilities and organizations nationwide.

The Sutter system serving nine counties was among five recognized in Truven’s evaluation of medium-size health systems.

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Lucile Packard establishes beachhead in Sunnyvale with building purchase
Silicon Valley Business Journal

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital is moving into Sunnyvale for the first time as it stretches out in the region to put services closer to patients. Packard this week closed on an 80,000-square-foot building on roughly 6 acres at 1195 W. Fremont Ave., at the intersection of W. Fremont Ave. and Highway 85. The property was built in 1998 and was owned by LaSalle Investment Management. A price was not immediately available, but county records show an assessed value of $28 million.

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Palm Drive board to discuss proposals to keep facility open
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

The Palm Drive Hospital board is scheduled to meet Wednesday to publicly review proposals that seek to keep the cash-strapped facility from closing on April 28.

The only item on the agenda is board review of two proposals to define future services and operations at the hospital site. The noon meeting will be held at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts at 282 S. High St.

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