News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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UC Davis School of Nursing receives accreditation
Sacramento Bee

Just in time for graduation, the UC Davis School of Nursing received its sought-after accreditation from the independent Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Still, the accreditation must be renewed after five years, the maximum period granted to new nursing programs.

“The accreditation represents a substantial achievement,” said Heather Young, associate vice chancellor for nursing at UC Davis and founding dean of the school. “It means our first class graduates from a newly accredited program.”

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Reaching out to the undocumented and uninsured
HealthyCal.org

Since Maria Alfaro and her family came to California from El Salvador eight years ago, getting sick has not been an option. Alfaro has no health insurance. Neither does her husband, who works in the fields in rural Mecca, about 40 miles east of Palm Springs. Their 16-year-old son is in the same situation. Scraping by on about $1,000 a month, they can’t afford private coverage. And they don’t qualify for most public programs because they are undocumented immigrants.

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HHS auditor looks to update self-disclosure rules
Modern Healthcare

HHS‘ inspector general’s office plans to revise the rules for how healthcare providers can turn themselves in for potential violations of the fraud and anti-kickback laws in order to receive quick settlements.

Since 1998, the inspector general has collected more than $280 million and resolved at least 800 such self-disclosures from physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers, according to a notice scheduled to be published in Monday’s Federal Register (PDF). The office also has provided periodic guidance and amendments to the rules along the way.

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Health care: State uncertain as top court steps in
San Francisco Chronicle

When President Obama’s health care overhaul became law two years ago, California lawmakers jumped into action. Within months, they adopted several state laws that implement or build on the federal measure, including one to create a state health insurance exchange and another to allow young adults up to age 26 to remain covered by their parents’ health insurance policies. Lawmakers passed more bills related to the overhaul last year and continue to debate sweeping proposals now.

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Possible outcomes in pivotal health care law case
San Francisco Chronicle

Some are already anticipating the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Barack Obama’s health care law as the “decision of the century.” But the justices are unlikely to have the last word on America’s tangled efforts to address health care woes. The problems of high medical costs, widespread waste, and tens of millions of people without insurance will require Congress and the president to keep looking for answers, whether or not the Affordable Care Act passes the test of constitutionality.

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AMA, AHA at Odds Over ‘Surprise’ Medicare Final Rule
Health Leaders Media

The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association are at odds over two provisions in a final Medicare rule that give physicians more influence over hospital decisions. And each organization stated its case with heated language in letters to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The AHA likened the new rule to a “surprise switcheroo,” while the AMA says that if the AHA, using “very troubling” logic, got its way, “patients would be astonished and appalled to learn” of rules excluding medical staff members from service on the governing body.

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Supreme Court review of health care under microscope (and stopwatch)
Washington Post

If you thought the ways to analyze the Supreme Court’s marathon arguments about President Obama’s health-care law had been exhausted, you were wrong.

A Texas trial consultant with an unflagging interest in all things high court-related has taken a stopwatch and magnifying glass to all six hours and 14 minutes (and seven seconds) of the relevant back-and-forth of the late March arguments.

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Californians anxious about pending ruling on Affordable Care Act
News10.net

California has put a lot of work into preparing for President Barack Obama’s health care reform law to take full effect in 2014.

And because it has the highest population of any state, it would see billions in new federal dollars flowing its way if that happens, especially to its Medicaid program, health care analysts say.

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Orange County’s ‘bridge’ to health reform
Orange County Register

When Orange County Supervisors debated earlier this year whether to allow the county’s Health Care Agency to apply for $40,000 in grants funded through the federal health reform law, board Chairman John Moorlach was clear about why the measure suffered a 3-2 defeat. “I’m taking the posture that if it’s anything to do with – I’ll use the term Obamacare – I’m going to be a ‘no,’” Moorlach said.

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California health insurance rates may soon be on the rise for small businesses
Live Insurance News

Some California health insurance companies have proposed a rate increase for small business plans which will bring the price up by more than 10 percent and could become effective as soon as July or August. Aetna, which has already received the scrutiny of state officials earlier in 2012, is now planning to hike up its premiums by an average of 10 percent, with increases skyrocketing by as much as 24 percent for certain employers.

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Sacramento area Kaiser hospitals get top safety rating
Sacramento Bee

Fifteen Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California – including those in Sacramento and Roseville – received top safety grades from the Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. They were among 28 Kaiser Permanente hospitals around the country that received the top grade in the safety report, which examined records of more than 2,600 hospitals nationwide.

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AMA unveils five-year strategic plan
Modern Healthcare

Although the future direction of the U.S. healthcare system remains uncertain as the nation waits for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the nation’s oldest and largest physician organization has a roadmap for where it will go in the next five years. Speaking during the opening day of the annual American Medical Association House of Delegates meeting, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO Dr. James Madara unveiled the organization’s “rolling” five-year strategic plan…

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Panel’s report blames drug shortages on FDA regulation
Modern Healthcare

A new report from a Republican-led House oversight committee (PDF) has found that regulatory activity by the Food and Drug Administration at drug-company facilities has led to a shortage of generic, injectable medications.

According to the findings from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the FDA’s regulatory activity has shut down about 30% of total manufacturing capacity at four of the nation’s largest producers of injectible medications:

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A welcome let-up in health costs that may not last
San Francisco Chronicle

Is it too good to be true?

Health care spending has eased up recently, a welcome respite for government and corporate budgets. But why has it? And will relief last or are medical costs on a roller coaster, like gas prices? One explanation for the slowdown says it’s a temporary consequence of the recession and an economy that can’t seem to hit its stride.

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Is nurses union a health hazard?
Sacramento Bee

The California Nurses Association can place its record of campaign wins against any of the other big-time players on the left. But watching its lobbyists work the Capitol halls, I’m left to wonder which side they’re on.

At a time when unions are on the decline, the California Nurses Association has had undeniable successes, doubling its size in a 10-year period to 86,000 members and doubling assets to $70 million in the past five years, its latest report to the U.S. Department of Labor shows.

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Workplace health programs pay big dividends
The Mercury News

What do low productivity, growing cost of health care coverage and risk of long-term disability have in common? They can all be improved with prevention and wellness in the workplace. Businesses provide health insurance coverage to nearly 60 percent of Americans and are an important part of the solution to cut health care spending and improving our nation’s health.

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Calif. Runs With Health Law Without Waiting On Supreme Court
National Public Radio

Many states have done nothing to implement the health overhaul law, saying they’ll wait to see how the Supreme Court rules. Not California. The country’s most populous state got out in front first on implementing the law, and it hasn’t slowed down in recent weeks as the rest of the country waits to hear from the high court.

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Why the Supreme Court’s Healthcare Decision Will Mean a lot … and Not so Much
The Health Care Blog

Like waiting outside the Vatican for the puff of white smoke, the nation sits on edge awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act. The ruling, which is likely to be announced next week, could toss out the entire healthcare reform bill, chop off one of its limbs (probably the so-called individual mandate), or leave the ACA intact. Whatever the ruling, it will be chum for the blogosophere, particularly in the heat of presidential silly season.

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