News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

 

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Senate backs bill to improve health care for vets
San Francisco Chronicle

The Senate acted Wednesday to help thousands of military veterans enduring long wait times for VA medical care, as the FBI revealed it has opened a criminal investigation into a Veterans Affairs Department reeling from allegations of falsified records and inappropriate scheduling practices.

The Senate bill, approved 93-3, makes it easier for veterans who have encountered delays getting initial visits to receive VA-paid treatment from local doctors instead.

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Health Care Reform In Massachusetts Brings Uninsured Rate To Nearly Zero
Live Insurance News

Among the latest insurance news headlines to come from Massachusetts is the recent publication of statistics that have shown that following the health care reform, the number of residents in the state who are uninsured has dropped to nearly zero.

Massachusetts already had a bit of a head start when it came to the health care reform, as it had already passed somewhat of a similar coverage law in 2006 under Governor Mitt Romney. That said, even though this provided some of the blueprint for the federal Affordable Care Act, nobody ever claimed that either of those laws would ever bring the uninsured rate down to absolutely nothing. At the same, time, though, the latest figures are showing that the state actually isn’t far off.

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Data-Driven Simulation Model Helps Predict Hospital ED Interventions
iHealthBeat

Emergency department and hospital managers could benefit from the use of data-driven simulation models to measure the effects of potential changes to patient flow before implementation, according to a study published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, FierceHealthITreports.

For the study, researchers at the University of Florida developed a robust model using public data to examine two patient flow solutions in two settings:

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Arresting Sepsis Early Saves Money, Lives
Health Leaders Media

Sepsis, which can lead to severe organ failure and shock, is a leading if not the biggest cause of hospital mortality. This insidious, under-recognized consequence of infection sickens as many as 1.1 million people in the United States each year. The mortality rate for sepsis is estimated to be between 28% and 50%.

It also is an expensive disease to treat in a hospital, with healthcare costs estimated at $17 billion a year in the United States, in part because half of sepsis patients require an intensive care unit stay.

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Obamacare wrinkle: California bill seeks to reduce state’s seizure of Medi-Cal recipients’ assets
The Mercury News

California politicians and federal bureaucrats are scrambling to iron out an unexpected wrinkle in the nation’s health care law that is forcing many Americans to choose between health coverage and depriving heirs of much of their inheritance.

California is one of 10 states that recovers a broad array of costs from recipients of Medicaid , the health program for the poor that is called Medi-Cal in California. The policy applies to recipients 55 and older — and only after they die.

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New O-Care delay allowed for 18 states
The Hill

The Obama administration is permitting more than a dozen states not to implement part of ObamaCare’s small business health insurance exchange until at least 2016.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) granted requests for lenience from 18 states in their effort to enact “employee choice” on the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP exchange.

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Congress takes step to extend children’s healthcare program
The Hill

Congress is taking its first step toward extending the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) past next year, when more than 8 million children will lose their health coverage unless lawmakers take action.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation Wednesday that would fund CHIP through 2019. While the program is currently authorized through that year, its budget is set to expire next September.

Rockefeller, who helped craft the program in 1997, praised CHIP for helping reduce the number of uninsured children.

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Bills aim to increase safety for state hospital patients, staff
San Luis Obispo Tribune

Last month’s slaying of an Atascadero State Hospital patient is a grim reminder of the violence two proposed laws targeting state hospital safety reforms would aim to combat.

Legislation that would allow clinicians to see patients’ criminal backgrounds and establish a special treatment program to segregate the state’s most violent mentally ill predators from less-violent patients are being considered by state leaders.

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Cover residential care for eating disorders, court tells plans
San Francisco Chronicle

Health plans in California must provide insurance to cover residential-care treatment for people with anorexia and bulimia, a state appeals court has ruled.

California law requires health plans to cover all “medically necessary treatment” for a number of severe mental illnesses, including the two eating disorders, the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles said Tuesday.

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Alternatives to ACO Strategies Emerge
Health Leaders Media

Physicians are hearing a lot of talk about accountable care organizations as the wave of the future, with many being recruited to join and others trying to make themselves appealing with extensive metrics detailing their quality and efficiency. But what if an ACO is not right for you?

Well, you’re not alone. About 60% of physicians are not committing to an ACO, according to recent research in the journal Health Services Research.

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Hospital board set to fill vacancy
Contra Costa Times

Anyone wishing to serve on the Alameda Health Care District board can now apply for the seat that Jordan Battani held before her resignation. The deadline to apply for the seat, one of five on the board, is June 20.

The individual appointed by the board will serve through November, when the seat will again become vacant and appear on the General Election ballot. The successful candidate in the election will serve out the remaining two years of Battani’s term.

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Probe finds no evidence of higher cancer rates on Treasure Island
San Francisco Chronicle

An investigation by the California Cancer Prevention Institute has determined that there is no evidence of higher-than-expected cancer rates on Treasure Island, a former Navy base that is being readied for redevelopment and has been home to hundreds of San Francisco residents over the past 15 years while cleanup activities are under way.

But there appear to be some caveats to those findings, including the small size of the island’s population and a lack of information about how long people have lived there.

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Dates set for union vote at Sutter’s Modesto hospital
Sacramento Business Journal

Registered nurses at a Sutter Health hospital in Modesto will vote June 26 and 27 on whether they will be represented by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. Modesto Memorial Medical Center has not been organized since it opened in 1970. The hospital has about 850 registered nurses. Key issues in the organizing campaign include complaints of inadequate staffing, requirements that nurses work in clinical areas outside their expertise and lack of hospital respect for their voice in patient-care decisions, nurses say.

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