News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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More Rankings, Less Value?
HealthLeaders Media

The crowded field of hospital rankings, ratings, lists, and grades elicits strong opinions from both the organizations attempting to measure and rate quality, and the organizations that are on the receiving end of letter grades, star designations, and appearances on top-10 lists. Critics of these proliferating hospital evaluations have a laundry list of complaints: The methods aren’t transparent enough, consumers don’t pay attention, and the grade, rating, or ranking given out doesn’t match up with other public reports.

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Medical Training Gets a Second Life
HealthLeaders Media

Telemedicine isn’t just a cost-saving way to treat patients in remote locations. It’s also another way to train medical professionals.

While some medical schools are adding programs that emphasize the development of empathy and observational skills, others are using technology as their gateway a heightened learning experience.

The University of Michigan School of Nursing uses the online virtual world, Second Life. Through its virtual Wolverine Clinic, medical students can log in with their own avatars and work through various scenarios.

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FDA approves first DNA-based test for colon cancer
Modern Healthcare

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first screening test for colon cancer that uses patients’ DNA to help spot potentially deadly tumors and growths.

The Cologuard test from Exact Sciences detects irregular mutations in stool samples that can be an early warning sign of cancer. Patients who test positive for the mutations should undergo a colonoscopy to confirm the results.

Doctors have long used stool tests to look for hidden blood that can be a warning sign of tumors and precancerous polyps.

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Crime in Assisted Living: What Happens After
KQED Radio

When families place a loved one in an assisted living facility, there’s an expectation that if something goes wrong, there will be consequences. Mistakes will be addressed. If crimes are committed, they will be prosecuted. Or at least investigated by law enforcement.

But that’s not always what happens.

Take the case of Stacey Siriani of San Diego County. Her experience with assisted living began four years ago when she got an awful phone call from Houston. Her father was involved in an auto accident that left him brain damaged.

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Wal-Mart wants to be your doctor with new in-store clinics
KERO

Groceries, clothes, school supplies — you can get everything at Wal-Mart — and soon that might include health care.

The retail giant recently opened up six health care clinics inside some of its stores in Texas and South Carolina and it plans to open another six by the end of the year.

This isn’t Wal-Mart’s first stab at the health care industry — they’ve made deals with local health care providers to put clinics in their stores in the past, but the efforts have been hit and miss.

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Hospitals up for sale provoke concerns about facilities’ fates
San Francisco Chronicle

Daly City and labor leaders on Monday urged state officials to keep Seton Medical Center open as a full-service, acute care hospital even if new owners take over.

Seton’s parent company, Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, have put the Daly City hospital up for sale along with five other financially strapped hospitals.

“What we’re looking for is a buyer that’s going to continue to operate this hospital in a manner similar to Daughters of Charity,” Daly City Mayor David Canepa said shortly before a news conference Monday.

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Residencies a shot in the arm for Inland doctor shortage
The Press-Enterprise

Local health officials say that if they can get young doctors to come to the Inland Empire as medical residents, there is a good chance they will stay here and set up practice. Adding more residencies has long been seen as a strategy to increase the chronically low numbers of physicians in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. But it’s only been in the past decade that there has been a solid push to add resident positions. The opening of a medical school at UC Riverside has energized the effort.

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San Mateo company hopes to bring high tech to health insurance
San Francisco Business Times

A San Mateo company is trying to break new ground by becoming the first high-tech health insurance provider.

CollectiveHealth launches Tuesday with a new approach to deliver health insurance, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury News.  CollectiveHealth will focus on small and mid-size companies that are looking for an alternative to their traditional health plans, but some doubt it is much different than other competitors in the market.

The firm plans to throw out complicated explanations of benefits and bills. It’ll replace the paperwork and red tape with easy-to-understand software.

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UC Davis medical school dean opens specialty surgery clinic
Sacramento Business Journal

Six months after Dr. Julie Freischlag became dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine and vice chancellor for human health sciences, she has opened a clinic on campus to continue her own specialty surgery and research. The clinic treats thoracic outlet syndrome, which occurs when blood vessels or nerves running from the upper body through the arm become compressed, causing problems that range from reduced mobility and pain to life- and limb-threatening blood clots.

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TRMC reaches $7.9 million settlement over expansion
Visialia Times-Delta

Construction on a new medical tower at Tulare District Medical Center, already delayed for months, could be delayed furhter while the hospital district seeks a new company to oversee the work.

Fresno-based Harris Construction Co., Inc., which was contracted to manage the project, is walking away after reaching a settlement with the Tulare Local Healthcare District in which it and its subcontractors will receive more than $7.9 million they claim is owed them.

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