News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Setting a Rigid Time Limit Limits Physicians
CHA response to California Healthline

Observation services are post-stabilization services that include ongoing short-term treatment, assessment and reassessment before a decision can be made regarding whether patients will require further treatment as hospital inpatients or are able to be discharged from the hospital.

Two bills introduced in the California Legislature this year (SB 1238, Hernandez and SB 1269, Beall) aim to limit the amount of time a patient could remain under observation. Specifically, these bills would require a patient either to be discharged or admitted as an in-patient after no more than 24 hours. Setting a rigid time limit on how long a patient may remain in observation (as an outpatient) limits a physician’s ability to determine if an inpatient admission is medically necessary.

News Headlines Article

FDA Harnesses Power of Claims, EHR Data for Monitoring Drug Safety
Health Data Management

A pilot program for the Food and Drug Administration’s Sentinel active surveillance system, dubbed Mini-Sentinel, is leveraging electronic healthcare data — principally claims data but also including data from EHRs — to monitor the safety of FDA-regulated medical products. According to Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Mini-Sentinel system can survey more than 350 million person years of observation, 4 billion pharmaceutical dispensings, and 4.1 billion patient encounters.

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New tech transmits patient EKG from ambulance to hospital
News10.net

New technology that was tested in a Carmichael hospital for one year is likely responsible for saving lives.

Sacramento Metro Fire is now using EKG machines that can transmit the EKG image directly to participating hospitals and physicians.

“It will go to their iPad,” Metro Fire’s Ric Maloney said. “They can see exactly what’s on there.”

News Headlines Article

Intelligence Report: Financial Health Calls for a Clinical Strategy
Health Leaders Media

Cost containment and revenue cycle activities involve buttressing the organization’s fiscal health through smart spending and ensuring funds that are owed to the organization are, after all, delivered to the organization. Traditional approaches to cost containment often are part of the annual budgeting process, directed by the finance team within administration. The conventional activity of the revenue cycle function is largely to confirm the accuracy and completeness of submissions to payers and troubleshoot claims denials.

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Report: Covered California’s big enrollment masks problems
Sacramento Business Journal

Covered California deserves credit for strong enrollment in its first year, but must fix serious deficiencies in its outreach and enrollment efforts, a new study finds.

Enrollment lagged for Californians with limited English proficiency. There were cultural and linguistic problems. Funding was inadequate, given the amount of work enrollment counselors had to do, concludes a study by the Berkeley-based Greenlining Institute.

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More Than Half of Calif. Residents Are Surprised by Medical Bills
California Healthline

More than half of California residents are surprised by the cost of the medical services they receive, according to a new survey by TransUnion Healthcare, Payers & Providers reports.

Details of Survey
For the survey, researchers polled 7,407 representative residents from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

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Insurance expansion paying off for hospitals
Modern Healthcare

Many providers are already seeing the payoff from insurance expansion across the country, but those that haven’t are redoubling their sign-up efforts to reach the most challenging of their uninsured patients, said panelists at the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s 2014 Annual National Institute.

Cooper University Hospital is located just across the river from Philadelphia in Camden, N.J., a city with a 40% poverty rate. It also sometimes holds the distinction of having the country’s highest murder rate.

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Take Advantage of ICD-10 Delay
Health Leaders Media

With the ICD-10 transition delayed until October 1, 2015, physicians have more time to assess their switchover programs and look for weak points. Working with referral partners is likely to be a shortcoming for most physician practices, and the ICD-10 delay means you can fix the problem.

Coordinating with referral partners will be especially important for specialists who get their patients from another resource, says David Zetter, founder of Zetter HealthCare in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and a member of the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants.

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Few Doctors Warn Expectant Mothers About Environmental Toxics
National Public Radio

Doctors regularly counsel expectant mothers about the risks associated with smoking, drinking and poor nutrition during pregnancy.

But many obstetricians are reluctant to speak with them about the potential dangers posed by toxic substances in the environment — things like heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides.

That is the conclusion reached by a recent survey of 2,500 obstetricians, the results of which were published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Heart Of The Matter: Treating The Disease Instead Of The Person
National Public Radio

A 56-year-old man is having lunch with his wife at a seafood restaurant just outside Boston when he develops crushing chest pain. He refuses an ambulance, so the man’s wife drives him to the ER.

What happens next says a lot about the difference that being a doctor or a patient can make in how one feels about the health care system.

First, how did the patient and his wife see the trip to the hospital?

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New research: low-dose aspirin regimen can cut risk of pancreatic cancer
Sacramento Bee

People on a long-term, low-dose aspirin regimen can cut their risk of pancreatic cancer nearly in half, according to a new study by researchers at Yale University. People who took 75 mg to 325 mg of aspirin per day for six years or less reduced their risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 39 percent, according to the study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

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VMC launches $25 million campaign for new Women and Children’s Center
The Mercury News

In a strategic move expected to shake up the South Bay’s hospital landscape, the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Foundation on Tuesday kicked off a $25 million fundraising campaign to create a Women and Children’s Center at VMC.

The proposal seeks to consolidate pediatric, maternity and postnatal services in an existing building at the public hospital, which has historically served the county’s low-income patients.

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Sneak peek: Kaiser’s new $1 billion Oakland hospital
Sacramento Business Journal

The Business Times got a sneak look at Kaiser Permanente’s new Permanente’. Dr. John Loftus, its physician-in-chief, and interim Area Manager Claude Watts Jr. led a tour of the new facility. The estimated $1 billion project includes a 12-story, 349-bed hospital, connected 229,000-square-foot medical office building and 1,200-space parking garage. The complex is notable for cool technology, high-tech displays of kids’ art and private rooms. On the west side, it offers breathtaking views of downtown Oakland, San Francisco and two world-renowned bridges.

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Saddleback Memorial Medical Center to open new cancer center
Orange County Register

For many patients, being treated for cancer can be a long, confusing and painful journey. The oncology staff at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills is aiming to make the experience less so by bringing together many of its services under one roof. On Saturday, the hospital is set to open to the public the MemorialCare Cancer Institute, a building near the hospital dedicated to caring for patients with cancer.

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