News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Healthcare Employment Has Been Exploding
San Francisco Chronicle

U.S. companies added 217,000 jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and a decent chunk of them came in the healthcare industry.

The healthcare industry added 34,000 jobs last month, which amounts to twice its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. A significant portion of that number came from the ambulatory healthcare services sector, which includes increases in physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, and home healthcare services.

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Whooping cough cases pass 500
San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego County tallied more than 500 whooping cough cases in the first five months of this year, putting it on pace to surpass epidemic infection rates seen in 2010 and fueling ongoing concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine designed to combat this highly contagious disease.

Preliminary numbers compiled by the county Health and Human Services Agency show that 580 confirmed cases of pertussis — the other name for whooping cough — were reported through May.

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Pilot UC program would help doctors finish school faster
Sacramento Business Journal

An accelerated medical school pilot program through University of California Davis will get started this summer, and a bill is moving its way through the Legislature to make it easier for doctors to complete their educations faster, according to Capital Public Radio.

Assembly Bill 1838, which has moved to the Senate, doesn’t cut corners, according to its sponsor, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla. It is, however, a way for students to incur less debt, and to get out in the field faster to address a shortage of primary care doctors.

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When the worst medical advice comes from the patient
Los Angeles Times

In the ongoing debate over how healthcare decisions ought to be made, doctors are generally seen as the ones running the show — the ones who decide who does the deciding. But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes patients hijack the whole process. True story: A fellow with a cold came to see Dr. John Santa asking for antibiotics. Santa carefully explained that antibiotics wouldn’t do the man any good because his cold was caused by a virus, and antibiotics only work on bacterial infections.

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Why Health-Care Reform Might Mean More Jobs, Less Automation
The Wall Street Journal

New regulatory and data reporting requirements are making it more expensive for health-care insurers to maintain and upgrade automated claims processing systems. Guest Contributor Al Davis suggests that decreasing automation and increasing personnel could lead to more cost-efficient outcomes.

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Healthcare Competition Policy Needs a Makeover, Says Policy Analyst
Health Leaders Media

The healthcare system features a unique blending of subsidies and regulations that make it difficult to fabricate a comprehensive and effective competition policy, says William M. Sage, MD, JD, a healthcare policy expert at the University of Texas at Austin. As a result, Sage says, antitrust watchdogs and regulators should place more attention on whether or not the goods and services created by healthcare providers are valuable to consumers.

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Is this the end of Medicare?

Medicare was always a dogfight. It became law in the most extraordinary circumstances: one of a handful of bills passed during the only joint sitting of Federal Parliament in the nation’s history, after the double dissolution election in 1974. As the Whitlam government prepared to introduce the system – then known as Medibank – its opponents rallied. The Australian Medical Association marshalled a million-dollar ”Freedom Fund”, donated by members. Determined to stop bureaucrats interfering with patients, it hired a former Miss Australia to front its publicity campaign.

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A doctor takes a look in the Medicare mirror
Southern California Public Radio

After decades of fighting to keep how much Medicare pays individual doctors a secret, the federal government bowed to pressure from journalists and consumer groups and released the information in April.

The data let reporters – and anyone else – figure out who is getting paid by Medicare for what. A few docs at the top of the Medicare pay pyramid made headlines. Some pathology groups, which analyze blood and tissue samples, bill Medicare for all of their tests under one physician’s name.

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10 Things You Can Do With CMS Data
The Health Care Blog

Five years ago, my mother needed an orthopedic surgeon for a knee replacement. Unable to find any data, we went with an academic doctor that was recommended to us (she suffered surgical complications). Last month, we were again looking for an orthopedic surgeon- this time hoping that a steroid injection in her spine might allay the need for invasive back surgery. This time, thanks to a recent data dump from CMS, I was able to analyze some information about Medicare providers in her area and determine the most experienced doctor for the job.

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Scale of medical decisions shifts to offer varied balances of power
Los Angeles Times

Patients never used to worry about making healthcare decisions. They didn’t have to. Their doctors made just about all of their decisions for them. Everyone simply assumed that doctors knew what was best.

But that paternalistic view of doctors as know-it-alls has gone by the board, says Dr. Clarence Braddock, vice dean for education at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.