News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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UC Davis graduating its first class of nurses
Sacramento Bee

Nurse Charley Johnston, 32, finds goodness in all corners of his career: in his challenging new nursing job, in his two years at the UC Davis School of Nursing – even in the future of health care in general.

But ask Johnston what he finds most inspirational and he’ll go right back to the very beginning.

That’s when, five years ago, philanthropist Betty Irene Moore came to donate $100 million to UC Davis, moving the School of Nursing from dream to reality.

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How Hospitals Can Shape Sustainable Cost Control
Health Leaders Media

It is among a healthcare leader’s greatest challenges: how to make truly sustainable, long-term cost reductions instead of annual, tactical cuts. The frustration to move from the immediate and into the long-term cost-reduction phase is perhaps best summed up by these comments from a physician organization CFO who participated in the November 2011 HealthLeaders Intelligence Report Cost Containment: Overcoming Challenges:

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Gov’t report: health cost relief only temporary
San Francisco Chronicle

If only the economy were growing as fast. Despite a recent easing of medical costs, the nation’s health care spending will keep outpacing economic growth for the foreseeable future, government experts said Tuesday in a forecast that signals more upheaval for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as private insurance. President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul will add $478 billion in spending over the 2011-2021 period covered by the projections, expanding coverage to some 30 million uninsured people.

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Romney Advisor Offers Views on Healthcare Policy
Health Leaders Media

Michael Leavitt, the former Utah governor and federal government official tapped by Mitt Romney to head his healthcare transition team, has been under conservative fire for embracing some aspects of the Affordable Care Act such as health insurance exchanges.

But speaking at the closing session of the Third National ACO Summit in Washington, D.C., last week, Leavitt was quick to align himself with the free market powers of the healthcare system.

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Romney health care vision short on detail
San Francisco Chronicle

Anticipating the death of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, Mitt Romney outlined his plans Tuesday to expand coverage to the nation’s uninsured, while protecting at least one popular safeguard that would be eliminated should the Supreme Court strike down the law. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee promised to help maintain coverage for those with pre-existing health conditions and expand tax breaks to individuals wishing to purchase health insurance directly, instead of through their employer.

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Bay Area nurses prepare for strike at Sutter Hospitals
KTVU.com

Bay Area nurses were preparing to go on strike at eleven Sutter Hospitals in the Bay Area Wednesday morning for a one-day action that is expected to last five days. This is the fourth time the nurses have put up a picket line. “There’s been some cuts to the community that Sutter has done and we’re out tomorrow protesting those cuts,” said Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, a nurse at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.

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Blue Shield sued over insurance policy shifts
San Francisco Chronicle

When Blue Shield of California raised the rates for Robert Jeffrey Martin’s family insurance policy by 23 percent, the health insurer offered him two options: Stay in his expensive old plan or switch to a policy that offered his family skimpier benefits with a higher deductible. Martin, 59, knew finding a new insurer would be tough and felt like he had no choice. The Gilroy farmer, who grows olives trees and bottles his own olive oil, switched to the new policy.

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Alzheimer’s gene found to affect women over men
San Francisco Chronicle

A gene that’s been known for two decades as the largest inheritable risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease mostly affects the brains of women, not men, according to a team of researchers from Stanford and UCSF. The gene variant known as APOE4 is the most common genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s – only about 15 percent of people carry the gene, but it’s found in more than half of all Alzheimer’s patients.

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Radiation Concerns Rise With Patients’ Exposure
New York Times

Even in health care systems in which doctors do not bill for each test they administer, the use of diagnostic imaging like CT and PET scans has soared, as has patients’ radiation exposure, a new study has found.

The study, published online on Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, says that while advanced medical imaging has undoubted benefits, allowing problems to be diagnosed earlier and more accurately, its value needs to be weighed against potential harms, which include a small cancer risk from the radiation.

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Hospital PPI up 0.2% in May; doc-office figures flat
Modern Healthcare

Wholesale prices for hospital services increased 0.2% in May after a 0.3% climb each of the prior two months, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last month’s increase was marginally higher than the 0.1% rise the same month the prior year. For the year that ended in May, wholesale hospital prices increased 2.3%. That’s compared with the 2.1% growth during the previous 12 months. Wholesale physician prices were flat in May after a 0.1% decline in April, the preliminary Producer Price Index figures show.

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Calif. leads in doc placement: MGMA
Modern Healthcare

A California location and signing bonuses are helpful when recruiting physicians, according an MGMA report, Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey: 2012 Report Based on 2011 Data.

The report, which contains data on 4,602 physicians in 739 medical organizations, was done in collaboration with the National Association of Physician Recruiters and features information on guaranteed compensation and other enticements—including signing bonuses, loan forgiveness and paid relocation expenses—that recruiters use.

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UC Merced health director eyes health center improvements
Merced Sun-Star

UC Merced senior Mony Chim has noticed a difference at the student health services center since its new medical director came on board. Chim said Dr. Brandon Boggs is approachable and a good people-person. “I’m glad he’s there,” the 23-year-old said. “He’s been really helpful.” Boggs began to work at UC Merced as the university’s first full-time medical director during this past spring semester.

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Emergency healthcare workers discuss caring for kids and infants during disasters
San Francisco Chronicle

What would you do right now to prepare a children’s hospital or pediatric ward for an earthquake? This was the question posed by conference organizers to the health professionals and emergency center managers who attended the California Neonatal/Pediatric Disaster Coalition Conference in downtown Oakland last week to review strategies to improve emergency preparedness procedures for neonatal and pediatric patients.

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Why one health insurer won’t extend Obamacare’s benefits
Washington Post

Insurers promising to uphold some of Obamacare’s benefits, even if the Supreme Court overturns the law, looks to be all the rage in health policy this week. UnitedHealth is doing it. Aetna is doing it. Humana, too. But one of the Affordable Care Act’s biggest supporters refuses to jump on the bandwagon. Blue Shield of California has, among health plans, been one of Obamacare’s biggest cheerleaders.

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