News Headlines

News Headlines
Healthcare news from around the state and nation

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Supreme Court rules against Obama in contraception case

Some corporations have religious rights, a deeply divided Supreme Court decided Monday in ruling that certain for-profit companies cannot be required to pay for specific types of contraceptives for their employees.

The 5-4 decision based on ideological lines ended the high court’s term with a legal and political setback for a controversial part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law.

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Directories of Doctors Who Treat the Poor Are Inaccurate, Hurting Access
California Health Report

Directories of doctors given to low-income patients across California are highly inaccurate, making it difficult for them to get the health care they’re entitled to under state law, the California Health Report has found.

More than half of the primary-care doctors in provider directories given to low-income patients in three counties in Northern, Central and Southern California are not accepting new patients with Medi-Cal, the state’s low-income health plan, or could not be reached by telephone.

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Federal Panel Backs FluMist For Kids, But The Shot Isn’t Dead Yet
National Public Radio

What’s worse, a shot in the arm or a spritz up the nose? Children increasingly have a choice when it comes to vaccination for influenza.

On Thursday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel that advises the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccinations, voted for the spritz up the nose. It recommended that healthy children ages 2 through 8 get FluMist, a nasal spray flu vaccine, instead of the traditional flu shot.

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9 in 10 New Physician Jobs Follow Employment Model
Health Leaders Media

The shift toward the employed physician model has grown from a stream to a deluge, accounting for more than 90% of new physician job openings at hospitals, medical group, health centers and other healthcare facilities, Merritt Hawkins reports.

The findings were made public Monday in the Irving, TX-based physician recruiters’ annual report, which tracked 3,158 physician and advanced practitioner recruiting searches the firm conducted from April 2013 through March 2014.

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Obamacare: Massive backlog stalls Medi-Cal expansion
The Mercury News

A mountainous backlog of Medi-Cal applications is well into its third month, but California officials have provided little information about how and when the largest such bottleneck in the nation might be cleared.

The California Department of Health Care Services first reported 800,000 pending applications in April. A month later, that number had grown by 100,000 and has not budged much since.

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Confusion over doctor lists is costly for Obamacare enrollees in state
Los Angeles Times

Frustration and legal challenges over the network of doctors and hospitals for Obamacare patients have marred an otherwise successful rollout of the federal healthcare law in California.

Limiting the number of medical providers was part of an effort by insurers to hold down premiums. But confusion over the new plans has led to unforeseen medical bills for some patients and prompted a state investigation.

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Whooping cough epidemic escalates
San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego County has confirmed more than 750 cases of whooping cough so far this year, as an epidemic in California continues to escalate.

Between Jan. 1 and Friday, this region received 759 reports of pertussis, the official name for whooping cough, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. The county saw only 97 cases in the same time frame last year.

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Sutter Health planning to expand Roseville medical center
Sacramento Business Journal

Sutter Roseville Medical Center is moving ahead with plans to build another medical office building and parking garage on its burgeoning campus near Interstate 80.

Construction of a three-story, 60,000 square foot office building and five-story, 475-space parking garage were approved by the city planning commission last week. Construction is expected to begin this fall, with completion next spring.

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Sutter expands training for operating room nurses
Sacramento Bee

Sutter Health is expanding a training program for its nurses that is aimed at staving off an expected statewide shortage of operating room nurses.

This year, the Sacramento-based system of 24 hospitals in Northern California boosted its offering of an accelerated operating room training program from once to five times a year. Sutter Health officials say the system will lose 300 of its 800 surgery nurses to retirement in the next five years, while the need for nurses in the specialty is expected to increase.

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Sutter Health will spend ‘tens of millions’ to expand health data sharing
San Francisco Business Times

Sutter Health, the Sacramento-based nonprofit system that runs many of the Bay Area’s biggest hospitals, plans to spend “tens of millions of dollars” to create a health care data platform to share information between Sutter clinicians and unaffiliated health care providers in Northern California.

Sutter will work with Australia’s Orion Health to build and deploy the so-called “HIE” or health information exchange by May 2015, officials say.

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Surgeons at Tenet’s Desert Regional to lose contracts
The Desert Sun

At a time when Tenet is considering replacing key department contracts at two Coachella Valley hospitals, a handful of orthopedic surgeons at Desert Regional Medical Center have been told their services are no longer needed.

The Palm Springs hospital, operated by Tenet, has sent out 90-day notices to surgeons who work on rotation.

The terminations will become effective in September.

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Kaiser makes healthy investment in brand-new Oakland facility
San Francisco Chronicle

Kaiser’s old Oakland Medical Center and its new, 12-story hospital have the same number of patient beds – 349 – but little else in common.

Inside the nearly 60-year-old hospital, a hodgepodge of six buildings at the corner of Broadway and MacArthur Boulevard, most patients had to share rooms with one or even two other patients. In the new hospital across the street at 3600 Broadway, every patient will have a private room with room service, free Wi-Fi and a pull-out guest bed.

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Disrupted: How Computerization Is Changing the Practice of Medicine In Surprising Ways
The Health Care Blog

The following is an excerpt from the preface of my new book, which is tentatively titled: “Disrupted: Hope, Hype and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s New Age.” Author’s note and request to THCB readers.

If you’re a 24-year-old who does not plan on getting sick for the next couple of decades, this is probably not the blog post for you. By the time you need our healthcare system, it will be wired in ways we can’t imagine today.

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Killer Features of the Next EMR
The Health Care Blog

I was absent-mindedly playing with my iPhone today and took special notice of a feature I have rarely used before. If you swipe all the way to the left on the home screen, you will get a search bar to search all of your iPhone. This includes contacts, iMessages, and apps. I’ve never needed to use this before—a testament to the iPhone’s ease of use. Just prior to this, I was working on some patient notes using my hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR).