News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Hospital pricing, executive pay ballot measures nixed as union, hospital strike deal
Sacramento Bee

Averting a costly ballot fight, a prominent labor union has agreed to pull a pair of measures that would limit how California hospitals price medical care and compensate their executives. The union dropped the effort after reaching what officials described as a sweeping labor agreement with the California Hospital Association, an organization that had been poised to battle the union over its ballot campaign. Officials from the two organizations described the agreement only in vague terms.

News Headlines Article

Insurers Say Most Who Signed Up Under Health Law Have Paid Up
New York Times

Most of the people choosing health plans under the Affordable Care Act — about 80 percent — are paying their initial premiums as required for coverage to take effect, several large insurers said Tuesday on the eve of a House hearing about the law.

But the health insurance industry said the total of eight million people who signed up included “many duplicate enrollments” for consumers who tried to enroll more than once because of problems on the website.

News Headlines Article

IPPS Proposed Rule Pinches Hospitals
Health Leaders Media

Medicare and Medicaid have been under the budget knife for years. The proposed 2015 IPPS rules from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released last week have hospital officials asking a pressing payment question: How low can you go?

“It’s really starting to chip away at hospitals,” says Joanna Hiatt Kim, vice president of payment policy at the American Hospital Association. “We really can’t pin it on CMS because they are implementing cuts in a statutory manner.”

News Headlines Article

Web research precedes many calls to a doctor
San Francisco Chronicle

The doctor’s office is now the place many American adults go for a second opinion. The first opinion, research shows, comes from the Internet. Almost three-quarters of U.S. Internet users say they’ve sought some kind of health information online in the past 12 months, and about one-third of adults admit they’ve done online research in attempts to diagnose themselves or someone else. These are the results of a 2013 survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

News Headlines Article

Obamacare, minimum wage don’t scare California small biz owners
Sacramento Business Journal

Most California small business owners don’t think Obamacare and a rise in the minimum wage will have a negative effect on their operations, indicating that fears associated with those changes aren’t resulting in real harm for many. Sixty-three percent of small business owners said the Affordable Care Act has had a neutral or positive effect on their operations, according to a survey by California Bank & Trust. The survey found 72 percent of small businesses said a rise in the minimum wage wouldn’t hurt their businesses.

News Headlines Article

How many people does it take to fix a Covered California glitch?
Southern California Public Radio

Like many young, healthy people, Alison Chavez had what she called an “oh-s—” insurance plan. It had a high deductible, and was intended to protect the 36-year-old triathlete in case she got into a bike accident, or injured herself while running trails.

But last summer, Chavez was diagnosed with cancer in her left breast. She also learned she had the BRCA 1 gene, which indicated a high predisposition for cancer in her other breast.

News Headlines Article

Los Angeles County residents flooded Covered California site in final weeks
Los Angeles Daily News

New figures released Tuesday show that tens of thousands of Los Angeles County residents rushed to sign up for health care plans through Covered California in the final weeks of enrollment, pushing the numbers of insured well pass early estimates.

Nearly 401,000 L.A. County residents chose an insurance plan within the six-month period beginning October 1 and ending on March 31 through Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act health plan exchange. The figures show that nearly half signed up in the last three weeks of enrollment.

News Headlines Article

Calif. Hospital Association, union reach deal on organizing rules
Modern Healthcare

The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West announced it will drop its push for two California ballot initiatives to cap hospital prices and executive compensation under a new deal with hospitals to create an organizing “code of conduct.”

Dave Regan, president of the labor group, and C. Duane Dauner, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association, unveiled the deal, which includes a jointly funded $100 million campaign to boost Medicaid reimbursement and promote reforms to the safety-net insurer.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals, health care union sign pact
Orange County Register

California’s largest health care union Tuesday abandoned two ballot initiatives to rein in patient costs and executive compensation, as part of an agreement with the hospital industry to push for more state funding for indigent care. United Healthcare Workers West, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, and the California Hospital Association announced they together would spend $100 million over the next two years on a “joint advocacy committee” to boost Medi-Cal funds, whether through legislation or a 2016 ballot initiative.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals and union make deal to avoid ballot measure fight
Los Angeles Times

California hospitals have reached a deal with the state’s largest healthcare union to avoid an expensive and potentially nasty ballot measure fight this fall that would have cast a harsh spotlight on high medical costs and executive salaries.

As part of Tuesday’s agreement, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West dropped proposed ballot initiatives to limit hospital charges and cap what nonprofit hospitals pay their executives.

News Headlines Article

HHS claims big gains on readmissions, hospital-acquired harms
Modern Healthcare

The Obama administration says the number of Medicare patients returning to hospitals within 30 days fell further in 2013, amounting to 150,000 fewer readmissions since January 2012.

HHS describes the progress on readmissions in a brief report out Wednesday that claims the administration’s quality initiatives and partnerships have achieved significant successes, including a reduction in hospital-induced harms credited with saving 15,000 lives and $4 billion.

News Headlines Article

Telemedicine Still Facing Barriers in Many States
Health Leaders Media

With more than 7 million people signing up for coverage under federal healthcare reform and millions more gaining coverage under Medicaid Expansion, providers now need to reach more rural patients than ever before. But providers and payers in many states are still struggling with outdated laws and other obstacles in their effort to reach patients in remote areas.

But experts say those barriers to care are slowly disappearing as more states pass laws to allow Medicaid to reimburse providers.

News Headlines Article

County hospital, public safety agencies facing yearend shortfalls
Valley News

The Board of Supervisors agreed today to allocate an additional $10 million in support of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and another $2 million for the county fire department to help the agencies overcome deficits lingering on their books as the fiscal year winds down.

The board voted unanimously to make the adjustments, without comment, during a block motion approving a number of items on its policy agenda.

A third-quarter update on the 2013-14 budget was submitted by the county Executive Office, which indicated most agencies will end the current fiscal year in the blac

News Headlines Article

Patients with chronic conditions less edgy about online health privacy
Sacramento Business Journal

More than two thirds of U.S. consumers with chronic conditions believe patients should have access to all their health care information, a new survey shows. And roughly half think the benefits of online health records outweigh privacy concerns.

These patients worry more about other personal information stored digitally, such as online banking — 70 percent said they are worried about that. They also worry about the security of in-store credit card use (69 percent) and online shopping (68 percent). Sixty-five percent expressed concern about online health records, according to the 2014 patient engagement survey by Accenture.

News Headlines Article

Diabetes surging among American youth
Orange County Register

The rate of type 1 and type 2 diabetes among young people jumped significantly between 2001 and 2009, according to data on millions of children, adolescents and teenagers. The study, conducted at the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of North Carolina, found that prevalence of type 1 diabetes rose 21 percent from 2001 to 2009. The groups examined in each year were large – more than 3 million people under age 20.

News Headlines Article

UCLA Study: Even With Coverage, Undocumented Use Fewer Services
California Healthline

UCLA researchers yesterday released a study that found the undocumented population in California uses far fewer health care services than U.S. citizens — even among those undocumented individuals who have insurance coverage. According to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study: According to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study: Undocumented immigrants in California see the doctor and visit emergency rooms significantly less often than U.S.

News Headlines Article

San Pablo: Voters reject tax to fund Doctors Medical Center
Contra Costa Times

Doctors Medical Center looks destined for closure after voters on Tuesday rejected a mail-in parcel tax measure that supporters had said was needed to keep open the area’s only public safety-net hospital.

Only 51.93 percent of voters — about 16,000 residents — supported the tax, which needed two-thirds approval to pass.

News Headlines Article

SV Hospital Foundation names new board members
Sonoma Valley Sun

Bill Lynch, Jennifer Hainstock, Bill Brinton and David Good have joined the board of the Sonoma Hospital Foundation, bringing “a wealth of financial, development, strategic planning, communications, and legal experience,” said Selma Blanusa, foundation executive director.

Lynch is the retired former editor and publisher of The Sonoma Index-Tribune. A lifelong Sonoma Valley resident, he was born at Burndale Hospital, which was Sonoma’s first hospital.

Commands