News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Calif. MD Supply Concerns May Boost Networks, Reimbursements
AIS Health

Reported doctor shortages in some California communities are being exacerbated by the millions of new enrollees entering the health care system through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and by physicians opting out of exchange-plan networks because of low reimbursement rates, some providers contend. The situation may be giving providers new power to negotiate higher reimbursements from insurers, according to recent press accounts that indicate insurers have upped their rates in some cases to ensure adequate networks.

News Headlines Article

Hospital Violence Prevention Bill Advances In State Senate
KPBS

A bill that would require hospitals to have violence prevention plans in all units is making its way through the state Senate. Growing concerns about health worker safety prompted the measure. Two nurses were stabbed in separate incidents on the same day at two Los Angeles-area hospitals last month.

News Headlines Article

Find Deeper Healthcare Supply Chain Savings
Health Leaders Media

As margins shrink and budgets tighten in reaction to healthcare reform and the development of value-based reimbursement models, hospitals and health systems need to trim as much expense as possible from the supply chain in order to remain financially viable.

Simply relying on a group purchasing organization to contract with vendors for competitive pricing is not going to cut it anymore. What hospitals need now are strategies for finding deep, sustainable reductions that move the dial even further on supply-chain costs.

News Headlines Article

Medical Devices and Patient Safety: A Promising Path Forward
The Health Care Blog

In an era of sophisticated information technology and rapid communication, the medical device community lags far behind other fields in its ability to alert patients about safety concerns. For example, auto manufacturers and government regulators are able to quickly identify potential safety concerns by linking reports of crashes, malfunctions and defects with individual vehicle identification numbers (VINs). They can then communicate recalls to affected customers by using their VIN.

News Headlines Article

Fewer in U.S. lack health insurance, but issues remain: poll
Reuters

The percentage of adults in the United States who lack health insurance has fallen to its lowest rate since 2008, down to about 13 percent in April from a peak of 18 percent last year, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.

The decline coincided with the October 2013 launch of the health insurance exchanges that allowed people to buy coverage on their own under the Affordable Care Act and accelerated as the deadline to buy coverage neared, the nonpartisan research organization said.

News Headlines Article

State Officials Prioritized Insurance Exchange Over Enrollment System for the Poor
HealthyCal.org

As they scrambled to open the insurance gates to millions of Californians under the federal health law, state officials prioritized the open-marketplace enrollment system over one for low-income residents, according to state documents and officials.

That decision significantly contributed to the backlog of about 900,000 applications to Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health program.

News Headlines Article

So What Does the Expanded Enrollment Mean?
The Health Care Blog

Last Thursday, HHS released the final enrollment stats for health exchange enrollment for 2014. Here’s what we learned: 8.1 million enrolled in a plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace. 3.8 million (47% of total) since the end of February including 1.2 million in the much-watched 18-34 age cohort. 54% are female; 28% are between the ages of 18-34; 63% are white, 17% black, 11% Hispanic, 8% Asian/other 20% chose a bronze plan, 65% chose silver, 9% gold, 5% platinum and 2% catastrophic.

News Headlines Article

Covered California moves into new space
Sacramento Business Journal

About 360 staff at Covered California start work at a new executive headquarters across the street from Cal Expo on Monday morning. An independent state agency, Covered California operates the new state health benefit exchange. The agency has worked out of offices at 560 J St., property scheduled for development when a new arena is built downtown.

News Headlines Article

105K local Medi-Cal applicants still waiting for approval
San Diego Union-Tribune

About 105,000 recent Medi-Cal applicants are waiting for final approval on their benefits because of slow communications between county and state computer servers, officials confirmed Friday.

Rick Wanne, deputy director of eligibility operations at the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, said that, in many cases, it is difficult to transmit completed applications to the state for final approval.

News Headlines Article

Washington considering survey on Medicaid doctors
Modern Healthcare

Medicaid enrollments through the new health exchange in Washington state have exceeded officials’ expectations, but questions remain about whether there will be enough doctors to serve the influx of newly insured low-income patients.

The state Health Care Authority, which oversees the federal-state program for the poor and disabled, is in talks with the University of Washington and the Washington State Medical Association to do a statewide survey of doctors this summer to see if the federal health law’s temporary bump in Medicaid payments to doctors was an incentive that helped keep

News Headlines Article

Bakersfield nurse agrees with state legislation for hospital security
KERO

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.

News Headlines Article

Study: Rural doctors make more
Modern Healthcare

Dr. Porcia Love laughs when asked if she stays busy at Montgomery Dermatology.

“I have a lot of patients, which is a great thing,” Love said.

She spoke while working on her day off so she could squeeze in a few more people, but the Montgomery native always expected to be this busy. It’s one of the reasons she decided to practice here.

News Headlines Article

A Holistic View of Evidence-Based Medicine
The Health Care Blog

On Tuesday of this week (4/29/14), I was on the Katie Couric Show to discuss Integrative Medicine.

Somewhat ironically, I returned from Manhattan that same day to a waiting email from a colleague, forwarding me a rather excoriating critique of integrative medicine on The Health Care Blog, and asking me for my opinion. The juxtaposition, it turns out, was something other than happenstance.

News Headlines Article

New hepatitis C drugs’ price prompts an ethical debate: Who deserves to get them?
Washington Post

Simple math shows the challenge facing U.S. taxpayers, patients and insurers following the launch late last year of two expensive new drugs to treat hepatitis C.

If all 3 million people estimated to be infected with the virus in the United States were treated with the drugs, at an average cost of $100,000 per person, the amount spent for all prescription drugs in the country would double, from about $300 billion in a year to more than $600 billion.

News Headlines Article

HIX Enrollment Data Shows Wide Variances Among States
Health Leaders Media

The early results are in. While federal officials appear to have beat expectations for 2014 HIX enrollment nationwide, the performance of the new public exchanges varies state-to-state.

In a 45-page report released Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided detailed demographic data on the people who signed up for individual health insurance policies on the new public exchanges between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014.

News Headlines Article

Anthem Blue Cross launches neighborhood pharmacy network
Sacramento Business Journal

Anthem Blue Cross launched a neighborhood pharmacy network for its Medi-Cal members in Sacramento and nine other counties Thursday that provides low-income Californians with a choice between local providers and big chain pharmacies. The idea is to provide access to a pharmacy within one mile of members’ homes. Piloted in 19 rural California rural counties starting in November 2013, the network appears successful in improving access and quality.

News Headlines Article

Pfizer shares fall on 15% Q1 profit drop
USA Today

Pfizer shares fell Monday after the pharmaceutical giant reported its first-quarter profit had dropped 15% due to cheaper generic competition that continues to reduce sales of its multiple medicines, plus the end of some partnerships with other drug makers. The stock was down more than 2.4% at $30.00 a share shortly after U.S. financial markets opened. Pfizer, which recently has made three unsuccessful offers to acquire rival AstraZeneca, confirmed its 2014 profit forecast for earnings per share of $2.20 to $2.30 and revenue of $49.2 billion to $52.3 billion.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals respond to earthquake readiness survey
Whittier Daily News

In a marked turnaround from a prior survey, more than 90 percent of California’s hospitals have provided key information sought by state and federal officials about their preparedness for earthquakes and other disasters.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported last year that only 50 percent to 60 percent of hospitals in Southern California had returned a 2011 survey.

News Headlines Article

Stanford researchers hope plasma injections from the young rejuvenate Alzheimer’s patients
San Francisco Business Times

What if a few shots of a young person’s plasma could halt Alzheimer’s disease in an older person? How beautifully simple. After all, hospitals and clinics for decades have infused hemophiliacs, patients with immune system disorders or those with traumatic injuries with the yellowish liquid spun out of fresh blood and made up of water, hundreds of proteins, hormones, clotting factors and the like.

News Headlines Article

Sonoma Valley Hospital to expand home health services
North Bay Business Journal

Sonoma Valley Hospital is expanding its Skilled Home Health Care service into Marin and Napa counties, rebranding it as Healing at Home as part of an effort to keep hospital readmissions at a minimum while delving further into offerings outside of the hospital setting. While the hospital has offered its skilled home health service since 1989, officials said the program has seen a steady increase in demand in Sonoma Valley, particularly given the high percentage of seniors in the region.

Commands