News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

 

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CMS Resets ICD-10 Start Date
Health Leaders Media

After one month of silence, the federal government has announced that it will reset ICD-10 implementation for Oct. 1, 2015, the earliest date allowed by law.

“We are so happy about this,” Lynne Gordon Thomas, CEO of the American Health Information Management Association said in a telephone interview Thursday evening.

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CMS Releases 2015 IPPS Proposal
Health Leaders Media

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Wednesday afternoon released the 2015 proposed rules for Medicare’s hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System.

The 1688-page document does not contain changes to the so-called “two-midnight rule” which is the subject of a lawsuit brought against CMS by the American Hospital Association and four regional associations and four healthcare organizations.

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Slideshow: The New Primary Care Model—A Patient-Centered Approach to Care Coordination
Health Leaders Media

Patients with new insurance coverage via the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are likely to access the system through a PCP. These physicians also are being courted by payers, government agencies, and health systems to innovate in practice design and in accountability for outcomes and costs. As the focus shifts to prevention, care of chronic illness, and population health, the primary care physician will play a pivotal role.

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10 Ways Innovation Could Help Cure the U.S. Health Spending Problem
The Health Care Blog

The United States spends more than $2 trillion per year on health care, surpassing all other countries in per capita terms and as a percentage of gross domestic product. New, expensive medical technologies are a leading driver of ballooning U.S. health care spending. While many new drugs and devices are worthwhile because they substantially extend lives and reduce suffering, many others provide little or no health benefit.

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A Late Rush to Sign Up for Insurance
New York Times

The number of people signing up for health insurance through the federal marketplace soared in March, exceeding the number who signed up in the previous five months, the Obama administration said Thursday in its final report on enrollment under the new health care law.

The report, for the first time, provided information about the racial and ethnic backgrounds of those signing up.

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State Obamacare enrollments hold at 1.4 million
San Diego Union-Tribune

The government’s latest enrollment report shows that 1.4 million Californians signed up for Obamacare policies in the program’s first six-month open enrollment period.

That number is up ever so slightly from the 1,395,929 enrollments cited by Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, on April 17 when the agency provided the public with a final snapshot of its enrollment.

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Younger Americans sign up for health care — through private exchange
Sacramento Business Journal

Forty-two percent of all eHealth Inc. shoppers during open enrollment for the individual market were 18 to 34 years old – the target population that tends to skirt insurance but is needed to balance risk in insurance programs. This compares to 28 percent of all sign-ups in the state and federal health insurance exchanges authorized by the Affordable Care Act.

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State-by-state differences in Obamacare enrollment could affect rates
Los Angeles Times

Sign-ups for insurance through President Obama’s health law varied widely across the country in the first year for the online marketplaces, according to a government report released Thursday that shows consumers flocked to coverage in some states but not in others. These differences could exacerbate regional variations in premiums next year, with potentially steep rate increases for people in states with low enrollment.

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California has almost 1 in 5 new health exchange sign-ups in nation
Sacramento Business Journal

More than 8 million people signed up for coverage from state and federal exchanges during the first enrollment period for the new insurance marketplaces that ended March 31, and almost one in five live in California. New federal numbers released Thursday show 8,019,763 people picked plans through exchanges during the six-month period to sign up for coverage. More than 17.5 percent of those — 1,405,102 — are California residents.

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California leads the way on Obamacare enrollments
Fresno Bee

Out of the 8 million people who enrolled in Affordable Health Care Act insurance plans, Californians led the way, according to a report released Thursday by Kathleen Sebelius, the head of the federal Health and Human Services agency.

In California. 1,405,102 people enrolled in health plans through the state’s health marketplace, known as Covered California.

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Who Should Pay Doctors?
The Health Care Blog

Honest Pay for Honest Work.

Times have changed. And it’s time they change again.

In the past, medical care was more episodic than it is now. People went to see the doctor when they felt unwell. Diabetes affected mostly older patients, who didn’t live long enough with the disease to develop complications. There were no blockbuster drugs for high cholesterol, Hepatitis C, fibromyalgia or chronic heartburn; we didn’t manage nearly as many patients on multiple medications as we do now.

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Why can’t our hospitals cut costs by 35 percent?
San Francisco Business Times

Hospitals have long talked a good fight about cutting costs without doing much. Moves by a Seattle-based health care system to take a deep scalpel to some prices are raising the question: Why can’t Bay Area hospitals do the same?

Swedish Health Services in Seattle slashed prices on Jan. 1 for nine in 10 outpatient procedures by an average of 35 percent. Officials called it a response to changes inspired by the Affordable Care Act that have intensified competition and focused the health care industry’s attention on affordability.

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Wolk bill to address school nurse shortage passes two committees
Daily Democrat

Legislation to provide access to a qualified school nurse for the state’s neediest students earned passage from both the Senate Health and Senate Education Committees Wednesday.

“Access to a school nurse is important for students’ health and their ability to learn. But because of years of state budget cuts many students in California don’t have access to a qualified nurse,” said Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, the author of Senate Bill 1239.

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Pfizer guts it out in obesity, diabetes deal with Second Genome
San Francisco Business Times

Pfizer Inc., with the help of South San Francisco’s Second Genome, wants to peer into the gut to discover how the cast of bacterial characters there plays a role in obesity and diabetes. The companies said Friday they will work with Massachusetts General Hospital to study the microbiome — the community of trillions of bacteria in the gut — of about 900 people. Specifically, the study will look at obese people with type 2 diabetes and those who have not been diagnosed with the condition.

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LA’s top doctor wants Washington to regulate e-cigarettes
Southern California Public Radio

The Director of Public Health for Los Angeles County, Jonathan Fielding, cut short his vacation to join officials from New York, Boston and Chicago in the nation’s capitol Thursday to ask the federal government to regulate electronic cigarettes.

Cities have taken the lead in regulating the non-combustible tobacco. Last month, the City of Los Angeles updated the municipal code that prohibits e-cigarettes in all smoke-free areas — indoor workplaces, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, parks, beaches and farmers markets.

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Voluntary staff reductions at Barton Hospital
Tahoe Daily Tribune

Forty-two workers are leaving Barton Hospital by mid-May, having signed up for a voluntary separation program that promises to send them off with a healthy severance package.

The staff reduction is part of a larger push to reduce costs and improve efficiency at the not-for-profit South Lake Tahoe hospital.

“Employees could apply to participate.

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Alameda Hospital joins Alameda Health System
Contra Costa Times

Alameda Hospital officially joined Alameda Health System on Thursday.

This is the second independent hospital the health system has taken over in the past year. It took control of San Leandro Hospital on Oct. 31.

The East Bay medical network also includes Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro and Highland Hospital and John George Psychiatric Pavilion in Oakland.

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Sequoia Hospital unveiling new $275 million pavilion
San Mateo Daily Journal

The public gets its first look this weekend at Sequoia Hospital’s new $275 million pavilion which caps seven years of construction at the Redwood City campus and includes three floors of private rooms that double its bed count.

The pavilion adds more than 148,000 square feet to the hospital campus and brings its bed total to 208. The four-story pavilion includes three floors of larger patient rooms and also houses the hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute, Center for Total Joint Replacement, a Hybrid Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Hybrid Operating Room.

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Sequoia Hospital celebrates new health care facility
The Almanac

Sequoia Hospital unveils its latest health care facility on Friday, May 2.

The $275 million, four-story “pavilion” adds 104 beds and 148,270 square feet to the Sequoia campus, located at 170 Alameda de Las Pulgas in Redwood City. The facility will house a heart institute, joint replacement center, and cardiac catheterization lab. It will start accepting patients this summer, according to the press release.

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