News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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BETA Healthcare Group Partners with the California Hospital Patient Safety Organization to Eliminate Preventable Patient Harm
Fort Mill Times

BETA Healthcare Group (BETA) recently entered into an agreement with the California Hospital Patient Safety Organization (CHPSO) to promote participation in Patient Safety Organization (PSO) services provided to hospitals and health systems in California. CHPSO was formed by the California Hospital Association and is part of California’s Hospital Quality Institute. It is the largest and oldest hospital-based PSO in the nation with over 300 member hospitals and health care organizations.

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Docs Fret as HHS Addresses Malpractice Reporting ‘Loopholes’
Health Leaders Media

The recent ruling by the federal government that reaffirms mandatory disclosures of all medical malpractice payments has left physicians in Oregon and Massachusetts concerned that it will quash laws crafted in those states for mediated settlements.

“Nobody is trying to carve out a loophole that would compromise the need to report substandard care to the National Practitioner Data Bank,” says Alan Woodward, MD, past president of the Massachusetts Medical Society and current chair of MMS’s Committee on Professional Liability.

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California Trees Nailed As The Source Of Mystery Infections
National Public Radio

A fungus called Cryptococcus gattii can cause life-threatening infections, especially in people with compromised immune systems. One-third of AIDS-related deaths are thought to be caused by the fungus. But though people in Southern California have been getting sick from C. gatti for years, nobody knew how.

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mHealth Tackles Readmissions
Health Leaders Media

Health technology advances are beginning to reduce hospital readmissions. The smartphone itself is becoming a way of keeping tabs on recently discharged patients. Smartphone apps are engaging patients. Sensors are providing the kind of mobile monitoring that only recently graduated from the ICU to the general hospital bed, and now is able to be used wherever patients resume their normal lives.

Other mobile technology helps patients arrange for rides or reminds them to take their medications, weigh themselves, or perform other necessary daily activities to stay out of the hospital.

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Providers still skittish of CMS’ renal ACO initiative
Modern Healthcare

With just a few months before its launch, some providers are expressing frustration with a CMS initiative aimed at testing innovative payment and care-delivery models specifically geared toward patients with end-stage renal disease. Too many questions remain about key details and the framework offers too little potential for success.

The treatment of end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, cost Medicare $34 billion in 2011, about 6% of all Medicare spending. Hemodialysis for ESRD costs the program about $88,000 a year per patient.

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Bill to speed care for Medi-Cal patients sent for signing
Sacramento Business Journal

California lawmakers have approved a bill to speed up the process for primary-care clinics to get approval to serve Medi-Cal patients.

Assembly Bill 2051 by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego is pending on the governor’s desk.

The bill reduces wait times for primary-care clinics seeking approval to bill Medi-Cal to 30 days from 180 or more, if they are affiliated with clinics already approved.  By doing so, it helps bring new clinics on line quickly at a time when the state has enrolled more than 1.9 million new Medi-Cal patients under the Affordable Care Act.

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For Some, Medi-Cal Might Mean Ultimately Losing Their Homes
KQED Radio

Anne-Louise Vernon had been looking forward to signing up for health insurance under Covered California. She was hoping to save hundreds of dollars a month. But when she called to enroll, she was told her income wasn’t high enough to purchase a subsidized plan.

“It never even occurred to me I might be on Medi-Cal,” she said, in reference to the state’s version of Medicaid, “and I didn’t know anything about it.”

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Hospital workplace safety bills on governor’s desk
Sacramento Business Journal

Two bills to extend workers’ compensation coverage for health-care workers at California hospitals have been approved by lawmakers and sent to the governor’s desk.

One bill involves workers exposed to antibiotic-resistant staph infections, while the other addresses workplace violence. The hospital industry opposes both bills.

Assembly Bill 2616 responds to caregiver concerns about contracting difficult-to-treat staph infections from the 200,000 patients treated annually for the problem in California hospitals. About 12,000 of those cases result in death. The bill assumes hospital employees who get this type of infection got it at work — and qualifies them for workers’ compensation coverage.

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Medical board to post doctor discipline online indefinitely
Sacramento Business Journal

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that requires the Medical Board of California to post public information on serious disciplinary action against doctors online indefinitely.

Assembly Bill 1886 by Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman from Stockton keeps information posted that’s currently taken down after 10 years.

The information includes revocation, suspension, probation or surrender of a license or equivalent action by the state medical board or a board in another state.

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Lawmakers call for end to reckless prescribing of psych meds to California foster kids
The Mercury News

Some of the state’s most influential lawmakers on Monday called on California’s foster care system to stop the reckless prescribing of psychiatric medications to troubled children, demanding the state quit spending tens of millions of tax dollars on such risky therapies.

The demand for action comes a day after this newspaper published “Drugging our Kids,” an investigation that found nearly one in four adolescents in the nation’s largest child welfare system is prescribed at least one psych med — 3 1/2 times the rate of all teens.

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Cancer drug maker Calithera Biosciences seeks $80 million in IPO
Silicon Valley Business Journal

Cancer drug developer Calithera Biosciences Inc. is seeking $80 million through an initial public offering, the company said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday.

The South San Francisco company, which would trade on the Nasdaq exchange as “CALA,” has long been rumored as an IPO candidate, especially since so-called crossover funds backed Calithera’s $35 million Series D round last fall.

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Can a hospital run on bottled water? Palomar Medical Center did
San Diego Union-Tribune

The emergency department’s phones lit up at Palomar Medical Center about a week ago — just after a boil-water order was announced for more than 6,000 inland North County households and businesses.

Many people who called the Escondido hospital were seeking advice on whether to use tap water — but not necessarily for themselves, said Dr. Jerry Kolins, the hospital’s chief medical quality officer.

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Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital could cut 120 jobs
The Californian - Salinas

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital could eliminate 120 positions, including dozens of nurses, if not enough workers leave voluntarily or do not opt for a separation package.

At the same time, labor unions are voicing outrage over a recent raise handed out to the hospital’s top executive.

The hospital is positioning the potential layoffs as part of a restructuring effort to cut costs, streamline efficiencies and comply with the Affordable Care Act.

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Meet Tim Moran, Tri-City’s new chief
San Diego Union-Tribune

In 35 years, Tim Moran has run more than half a dozen hospitals. His latest leadership assignment is in Oceanside.

Recently hired as Tri-City Medical Center’s chief executive, Moran brings his experience to a public district hospital with one of the busiest emergency rooms in the county. He succeeds Larry Anderson, who was dismissed by the hospital’s elected board last October.

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