News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Report: O-Care to save large corporations hundreds of billions
The Hill

The Affordable Care Act could save some of America’s largest corporations hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade, according to a market analyst group. According to a report by S&P Capital IQ released Thursday, S&P 500 companies will likely move their employees from employer-provided health insurance plans to the healthcare exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, saving employers nearly $700 billion through the year 2025. If current healthcare inflation stays constant, those savings could be greater than $800 billion, researchers found.

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WellPoint profit falls 21%
Los Angeles Times

WellPoint’s first-quarter net income fell 21 percent as the nation’s second-largest health insurer adjusted to coverage changes introduced by the health care overhaul. But the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer touted the underlying strength of its business and once again raised its 2014 forecast after reporting on Wednesday quarterly earnings that topped Wall Street expectations. Its stock climbed in premarket trading after it released results.

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Study on Calif. Nurse Practitioners Under the Affordable Care Act – More than $1.8 Billion in Savings Possible
California Newswire

With more than 3.3 million more Californians now covered by the Affordable Health Care Act and Medi-Cal, granting full practice authority to nurse practitioners is “one of the most effective steps” California can take to increase the supply of primary care providers while maintaining high quality health care and driving down costs, according to a report released today by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

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Health Care Reform and the Futures of Primary Care and Psychiatry
The Huffington Post

What does health care reform have to do with the futures of primary care and psychiatry? A lot, and most of it is still under our collective radar screen.

Both fields are essential to our health care system, and both face critical shortages even as the demands for their services are increasing. Demands are accelerating as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) starts to provide greater access to care for millions of previously uninsured patients. And in both cases, the ACA will not do much to relieve these shortages.

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Health care bills still due for 3rd of enrollees, Republican polling shows
Washington Times

Only two-thirds of people who signed up for health care coverage on the federal Obamacare marketplace had paid their first month’s premiums as of April 15, according to a House Republican-led survey of every insurer on the exchange system.

The Energy and Commerce Committee trumpeted the data as proof of what Republicans have claimed for weeks: Many of the roughly 8 million Americans who signed up for private coverage under President Obama’s signature overhaul have not confirmed their enrollments through payments.

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GOP: Health signups lagging
Modern Healthcare

A report by House Republicans says that one-third of people who signed up for health insurance through new federal exchanges hadn’t paid their first month’s premium as of mid-April.

But administration officials, outside experts and the insurance industry questioned the conclusions. The report by Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans found that 67% of people who’d signed up for health insurance under the president’s signature health law had paid as of April 15.

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Obamacare in Jail: How San Francisco Policy Helps Inmates
KQED Radio

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is implementing a new city law allowing its staff to enroll inmates into health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi believes that making sure people have health coverage when they’re released will help prevent them from committing another crime and coming back. “I believe that will go a long way to helping us improve public safety by using a public health strategy,” he said.

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Doctors, hospitals and insurers team up
Orange County Register

In an office building across the street from St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, midlevel managers from Blue Shield of California gathered around a conference table last week with representatives of St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare. The setting was unremarkable, but the conversation that took place was part of an increasingly common collaboration between a larger insurer and one of its key medical providers.

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California Bill Would Extend Medi-Cal to Undocumented Immigrants
capital public radio

The California Senate Health Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would make undocumented immigrants eligible for Medi-Cal benefits.

Backers of the bill say it would prevent millions of people from having to forego needed medical care because they can’t afford it.

Democratic State Senator Ricardo Lara says SB 1005 would give immigrants access to a system they help pay for.

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Fewer California employers offer wellness initiatives
Sacramento Business Journal

Fewer employers in California offer wellness initiatives compared to the U.S. as a whole, a new study shows. Sixty-one percent of employers in the state offer some type of wellness program, resource or service to their employees compared to 72 percent for the nation overall, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Yet more employees are taking advantage of wellness initiatives when they are offered, the study shows.

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Singer Associates: Agency Business Report 2014

Client successes at San Francisco-based Singer Associates in 2013 came at the local and international level.

There was the city of San Bruno, embroiled in a battle for regulatory reform after a gas plant explosion caused by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Singer Associates was able to levy pressure through the media, elected officials, and regulatory agencies that helped increase the fine against the utility from $500 million to $2.5 billion, according to agency president Sam Singer.

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Bakersfield nurse agrees with state legislation for hospital security

Nurses across the state are hopeful that a new bill moving through the California Senate will improve safety for hospital staff.

Senate Bill 1299, introduced by Senator Alex Padilla, would require the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt standards that would require hospitals to have a work place violence prevention plan as part of its injury and illness prevention plan to protect health care workers from violent and aggressive acts.

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Children’s Oakland residents unhappy about contract stalemate: “No change” since UCSF took over
San Francisco Business Times

Some 90 resident physicians at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland are upset about a year-long stalemate in contract talks — and the doctors in training say they’ve seen little or no change since the former Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland affiliated with UCSF early this year.

In fact, according to head union negotiator Asella Donovan-Blood, the residents’ negotiating team went to the bargaining table with management a few days after Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and wife Lynne Benioff gave $50 million to the Oakland pediatric hospital, and saw “no change” in the hospital’s attitude.

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Stanford Hospital introduces 3D breast screening
ABC News

Stanford Hospital is now offering a technology that could potentially identify breast cancers more accurately, with fewer false alarms.

A case in point is patient Sylvia Lew, who’s a firm believer in the value of having an annual mammogram. But she says her first appointment turned into a nerve wracking ordeal after she received a follow-up phone call.

“They said we need you back to do more imaging. So I guess as all women, I freaked out. Is there a problem?

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Twin Cities Community Hospital receives top rating
Paso Robles Daily News

Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton received the top grade from one of the nation’s leading patient safety advocacy organizations. The hospital received an “A” in The Leapfrog Group’s Spring 2014 Hospital Safety Score rating system.

“Receiving a fifth ‘A’ score in a row really emphasizes our commitment to providing safe, quality healthcare to our patients,” said Twin Cities Community Hospital CEO Mark Lisa.

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New surgical suite opens at French Hospital Medical Center

French Hospital Medical Center is advancing its cardiac services.

The George Hoag Family Advanced Hybrid Surgical Suite opened Wednesday.

The O.R. is designed for different medical teams to work side by side, from a cardiologist and a surgeon to a radiologist.

In the past, some patients had to travel a couple hundred miles to stanford or USC to get different procedures, but now, it happens in San Luis Obispo, including a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement or TAVR.

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SV Hospital expands home health program
Sonoma Valley Sun

Sonoma Valley Hospital’s Skilled Home Health Care service has a new name and a bigger mission. The nationally-recognized program has been renamed “Healing At Home” and is expanding its services in Sonoma county and entering Marin and Napa counties.

“Growing demand for high quality skilled home health care has encouraged us to look beyond the Sonoma Valley, where we have been a leading provider for 25 years,” said Barbara Lee, director of the program.