News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Data discrepancies found in many ACA sign-ups
Modern Healthcare

More than 2 million people who got health insurance under President Barack Obama’s reform law have data discrepancies that could jeopardize coverage for some, a government document shows.

About 1 in 4 people who signed up have discrepancies, creating a huge paperwork jam for the feds and exposing some consumers to repayment demands, or possibly even loss of coverage, if they got too generous a subsidy.

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Hospitals Saving Millions In States That Expanded Medicaid: Study
The Huffington Post

Hospitals in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act have witnessed a significant decrease in the volume of uninsured patients treated and the amount of charity care provided in the first quarter of 2014, according to a new study by the Colorado Hospital Association released Monday.

After gathering data from 465 hospitals in 30 states — 15 that expanded Medicaid and 15 that did not — the report concluded that in states that chose to participate in Medicaid expansion, the average charity care cost per hospital decreased from $2.8 million to $1.9 million.

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Cancer Hospitals Study Yields ‘Confusing’ Findings
Health Leaders Media

As might be expected, accredited cancer centers perform better on public process measures and patient experience than non-accredited hospitals. But they performed worse on most of 10 outcome measures such as rates of hospital-acquired infections.

That’s the conclusion from a paper published in the June issue of the Annals of Surgery by Karl Y. Bilimoria, MD, an oncology surgeon at Northwestern University in Chicago and his colleagues.

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Palm Drive Hospital eyes debt relief, new bond funds to aid re-opening
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Representatives from both the Palm Drive Hospital board and the hospital’s foundation said this week they are hopeful Gov. Jerry Brown will sign a bill that will offer some bond debt relief and possibly make available to the district millions of dollars in bond escrow funds.

Those funds, they said, are critical to efforts currently underway that would revive the shuttered hospital in some form or another.

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Application ‘inconsistencies’ under health law
San Francisco Chronicle

Many of the 8 million people who signed up for coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care now have an asterisk next to their names.

A government document provided to The Associated Press indicates that at least 2 million people enrolled for taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance have data discrepancies in their applications. Each individual has at least one mismatch between key personal information they supplied and what the government has on record.

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California Health Secretary on ‘Disruptive Innovation’ of the ACA
KQED Radio

Diana Dooley is head of California’s Department of Health and Human Services and — in that role — also serves as chair of the Covered California board.

So when the New York Times came to town last week and held its Health for Tomorrow conference at UCSF, organizers invited me to interview Dooley about how the Affordable Care Act is rolling out in California.

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HHS To Disburse $300M to Community Health Centers Under ACA
California Healthline

On Tuesday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the availability of $300 million in grants to help community health centers nationwide expand their services, staff members and service hours, The Hill reports (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 6/3).

The grants will be disbursed through HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration under the Affordable Care Act (Teske, Bloomberg BNA, 6/3). According to HHS, there are about 1,300 community centers that operate more than 9,000 facilities and offer care to more than 21 million patients in the U.S. and its territories.

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Special enrollment period allows more consumers to obtain Covered California health coverage
Modesto Bee

When Covered California’s first open enrollment period ended on April 15, thousands of people were still left uninsured. Most will not able to purchase a health care plan until the second cycle of open enrollment comes around in November, but some may be able to obtain coverage before then.

According to Covered California officials, consumers are eligible to participate in a “special enrollment period,” if they’ve gone through a qualifying life event, such as marriage, divorce, loss or change of job, the birth of a child and becoming a citizen.

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Lost in the Health Care System?
The Health Care Blog

“As a PCP, I’ve seen the morale in my area, and I see a major crisis coming if the complaints are ignored.”

“I’ve lived in the hell that is American health care…”

A devoted physician wrote these words in reaction to a recent blog post we wrote. And he is clearly not alone. In our new book The Doctor Crisis, we report on the widespread unhappiness, frustration, dissatisfaction, and anger of so many American physicians.

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Pioneer ACO Program Ripe for Improvement, Providers Say
Health Leaders Media

It is far easier to get lost in an alphabet soup of acronyms than it is to find branding genius at a US federal agency.

But officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services chose wisely when they picked “pioneer” as the key word for the moniker of their most ambitious gainsharing program. The Pioneer Accountable Care Organization model mirrors the pioneer experience of the 1800s wagon trains in the American West.

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Fewer California Teenagers Are Having Babies
ABC News

Fewer California teenagers are having babies than in years past. State officials recently announced the teen birth rate has hit an all-time low.

California’s teen pregnancy rate is going down. So much so, it’s at a record low with just under 26 births per every 1,000 teens in the state. Health officials say the eight percent decrease is good news.

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California teen birth rate continues to fall
Southern California Public Radio

State public health officials say California’s teen birth rate has fallen for another year, continuing a longer-term downward trend.

From 2011 to 2012 — the latest year for which data are available — the state’s teen birth rate fell 9 percent, from 28 to just under 26 births for every 1,000 females aged 15 to 19.

Nearly every major racial and ethnic group experienced a drop. Pacific Islanders saw a 13 percent decline, from 22.7 to 19.8 births per 1,000 females.

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California will get $7.1 million in settlement with GlaxoSmithKline
San Francisco Chronicle

British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline will pay a total of $105 million to more than 40 states to settle allegations that the company illegally promoted its asthma and antidepressant drugs, and California will receive $7.1 million, the largest share, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Wednesday.

As part of the settlement, GlaxoSmithKline will now be prohibited from paying salespeople incentives to encourage drugs to be used for “off-label,” or non-approved, conditions; and from using paid doctors to promote the company’s drugs.