News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Court: Unsupervised nurses can give anesthetics
San Francisco Chronicle

The state Supreme Court has refused to bar specially trained nurses from giving anesthetics to hospital patients in California without a doctor’s supervision. The court’s order, issued last week, ends a legal battle between an alliance of nurses and hospitals, on one side, and California physicians, who were joined on the other side by the American Medical Association and doctors’ organizations in other states.

News Headlines Article

CMS to reconsider rule requiring hospital boards to include medical staff
Modern Healthcare

CMS officials say they’ll reconsider requiring hospital boards to include a member of the medical staff after complaints from the American Hospital Association and other critics. The complaints stemmed from a May 16 final rule overhauling hospital and critical-access hospital conditions of participation for Medicare and Medicaid. The AHA submitted a letter dated June 5 ripping the requirement and demanding it be rescinded. In a memo issued on June 15 (PDF), the CMS said those complaints led them to alter their stance.

News Headlines Article

McConnell: Time to ’start over’ on health care
San Francisco Chronicle

The top-ranking Republican in the Senate calls the Obama health care law the first step in “Europeanizing America” and says Congress should “start over” if the system is ruled invalid by the Supreme Court. Kentucky’s Sen. Mitch McConnell says Republicans believe Americans want to “repeal the whole thing.” McConnell tells “CBS This Morning” the GOP is ready to try again for a “grand bargain” with Democrats to federal deficits.

News Headlines Article

Trauma in the ER: Who covers the uninsured?
Los Angeles Times

Trauma surgeons at MedStar Washington Hospital Center didn’t know the name of the young man wheeled into the trauma center, unconscious and bleeding from his face and head after being hit by a car. Nor did they know he lacked insurance. But as they worked to save his life, doctors and nurses at the capital’s largest hospital ran a dizzying battery of lab tests and high-tech scans. Surgeons operated repeatedly, at one point removing a portion of his skull to relieve pressure on the brain.

News Headlines Article

Millions still go without insurance if law passes
San Francisco Chronicle

One of the biggest misconceptions about President Obama’s health care overhaul isn’t who the law will cover, but rather who it won’t. If it survives Supreme court scrutiny, the landmark overhaul will expand coverage to about 30 million uninsured people, according to government figures. But an estimated 26 million Americans will remain without coverage — a population that’s roughly the size of Texas and includes illegal immigrants and those who can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket for health insurance.

News Headlines Article

Anti-’Obamacare’ ad campaigns outspend supporters 3-to-1
Los Angeles Times

With anticipation building for the Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s healthcare reform law, a survey has found that advertising purchases opposed to the law more than tripled those in support of it, $250 million to $76 million.

The survey, conducted by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, shows just how dominant the anti-“Obamacare” movement’s advertising purchases have been since the president’s election in 2008.

News Headlines Article

SVMH suitors get more time to make their pitch
Monterey Herald

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital’s two prospective suitors will have a little more time to practice their sweet talk.

That’s because the hospital’s affiliation consultant, Cain Brothers, has notified Salinas Valley Memorial administrators that the “due diligence” process needed more time and the deadline for potential partners HCA Healthcare and Natividad Medical Center to submit formal letters of intent has been extended until early July.

News Headlines Article

Big companies offering more on-site health care for employees
Washington Post

On-site workplace clinics used to be primarily focused on patching up people who got injured on the job. Then companies added primary care and started emphasizing preventive screenings and other “wellness” services. Now, some big employers are beefing up their clinic offerings further with a host of add-ons, including physical therapy, dental and vision exams, mental health counseling and even acupuncture and massage.

News Headlines Article

Administration mulls pared health law
San Francisco Chronicle

Democratic sources tell the Associated Press that the Obama administration plans to move ahead with major parts of the president’s health care law if its most controversial provision doesn’t survive a looming Supreme Court decision. Even if the requirement that most individuals have health insurance is declared unconstitutional, the remaining parts of the law could have far-reaching impact.

News Headlines Article

More hospitals protect gay patients, report says
Washington Post

An increasing number of U.S. hospitals have adopted policies that explicitly ban discrimination against lesbian, gay and bisexual patients, according to a report to be released Tuesday.

An annual survey by the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, found that over 95 percent of more than 400 hospitals and clinics included sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and nearly 80 percent included gender identity in those policies.

News Headlines Article

Health insurance options for college students
Washington Post

College students and their families will have better options for health insurance in the upcoming school year, but there will be higher costs, too.

Undergraduate students typically stay on a parent’s plan or purchase a health plan through their school. Graduate students often also have those options. Many students choose the first option now that plans are required by the 2010 health law to cover children up to age 26.

News Headlines Article

3.1 million young people covered after health care law
USA Today

More than 3.1 million Americans ages 19 through 25 are covered by their parents’ medical insurance policies because of a provision in the 2010 health care law, the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce today. That’s up from 2.5 million in December. About 75% of people in that age group now have insurance, up from 64% in 2010, records show.

News Headlines Article

California Health Care Providers Offer Discounts for Cash Payment
heartlander

Many hospitals and doctors offer cash discounts for medical bills for their patients, regardless of income. But there’s a catch: The lowest price is usually available only if the patients don’t use their health insurance.

The savings are impressive in some states. A Long Beach hospital recently charged a patient $6,707 for a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis after colon surgery, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

News Headlines Article

Supreme Court backs drug industry on overtime
The Mercury News

Representatives of pharmaceutical companies who visit doctors’ offices to promote their companies’ products are not entitled to overtime, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 5-4 decision that broke along ideological lines. A contrary decision would have exposed the pharmaceutical industry to billions of dollars in potential liability. The question in the case was whether the marketing work performed by representatives of drug companies was sales calls or something else.

News Headlines Article

Many employers see benefits changing: survey
Modern Healthcare

Almost half of employers are anticipating a change to the type of health benefits they offer to their employees—with 47% saying they will “definitely” or “probably” switch to a defined-contribution model.

A survey from market research firm J.D. Power and Associates found that employers are increasingly interested in alternatives to traditional health benefits, such as offering vouchers or directing employees to health insurance exchanges.

News Headlines Article

South Bay surgery facilities sued for $39 million by second insurer
The Mercury News

A second insurance giant has sued Saratoga-based Bay Area Surgical Management and its five facilities, claiming that the company submitted inflated and fraudulent bills. The suit, filed Monday by United Healthcare Services, echoes assertions in a $20 million Aetna Insurance suit filed early this year that the company is making millions of dollars and enriching local doctors by sidestepping state and federal laws meant to protect patients and control costs.

News Headlines Article

CMS Corrects Improper Payment Figures, Statistics
Health Leaders Media

In the last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services posted two separate sets of data that provide nationwide statistics on its Recovery Auditor program. The first update contains improper payment figures and top Recovery Auditor issues per region. In the second update, CMS provides appeals statistics for fiscal year 2011. Improper payment figures and top issues Recovery Auditor activity saw a huge spike in the latest quarter, as statistics for overpayments and underpayments both saw significant increases.

News Headlines Article

UCSF: Old prisoners need better medical care
San Francisco Business Times

As the U.S. prison population has soared, the number of old prisoners has ballooned, and they need much better medical treatment than they’re getting now, according to a University of California, San Francisco study. Between 2000 and 2009, the U.S. prison population grew 16 percent, but the number of prisoners over 55 grew 80 percent. Prison medical facilities aren’t ready for the dramatic increase in disease and disability among these older prisoners.

News Headlines Article

Uncertainty over law casts shadow over healthcare innovations
Capitol Weekly

The health care law placed the force and money of the federal government behind a decade’s worth of ideas on how to improve patient care and change the ways doctors and hospitals function. While this part of the health care law is at the periphery of the Supreme Court challenge, these changes could be halted if the court throws out the entire law, and some experts say they might be hobbled even if the justices excise just parts of the Affordable Care Act.

News Headlines Article

Reform ruling looms as court winds down
Modern Healthcare

The U.S. Supreme Court entered the final two weeks of its ongoing term without issuing a ruling Monday on the constitutional challenges to the healthcare reform law.

The court has another chance Thursday to issue a ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, though many observers have said a decision during the week of June 25th would be most likely, based on the timing of past controversial decisions from the high court.

News Headlines Article

Best guess on health care reform decision?
Sacramento Business Journal

Best guess — and there are guesses all over the map — is that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the Affordable Care Act June 25 or 27. The nine justices have until the end of June to deliver what could be a body blow to comprehensive federal health care reform in its current form. The high court releases opinions on Mondays and Wednesdays, according to Michelle Orrock, a spokeswoman for the California chapter of one of National Federation of Independent Business.

News Headlines Article

Autism and Insurance: Is the law on your side?
San Francisco Chronicle

Many families are coping with autism these days. Consider the statistics; one in every 88 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Even more startling, one in every 54 boys has autism. There is a child born every eight seconds in the United States, and according to the US Census Bureau, more of those births will be boys than girls.

Commands