News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Hospitals squeezed as revenue growth slows to all-time low
Modern Healthcare

Revenue at not-for-profit hospitals grew at an all-time low of 3.9% last year with sluggish gains in both inpatient and outpatient activity, according to a report on 2013 medians from Moody’s Investors Service.

In comparison, hospital revenue increased 5.1% in 2012 and historically has grown about 7% per year.

Moody’s pegged the increased popularity of high-deductible health plans for leading people to postpone care or seek out lower cost retail clinics. “Patients have more skin in the game,” said Jennifer Ewing, an analyst at Moody’s.

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Targeting Self-Insured Populations
HealthLeaders Media

Delivering value is paramount to any healthcare executive who is fighting for his or her organization’s place in the industry going forward. But the devil is in the details, and how you get there is dependent on a wide variety of factors. Two organizations — one that has already made the transition and one in the early stages of it — show that any executive who is hanging on to what currently works in healthcare (still largely volume-based fee-for-service reimbursement) is in a very dangerous situation.

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Federal Officials Order Medicaid To Cover Autism Services
National Public Radio

When Yuri Maldonado’s 6-year-old son was diagnosed with autism four years ago, she learned that getting him the therapy he needed from California’s Medicaid plan for low-income children was going to be tough.

Medi-Cal, as California’s plan is called, does provide coverage of autism services for some children who are severely disabled by the disorder, in contrast to many states that offer no autism coverage.

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HealthCare.gov Recruits Leader Of Successful Connecticut Effort
National Public Radio

The federal government has recruited the leader of one of the most successful state health insurance marketplaces to lead the federal health exchange, in the hope that the second year of Obamacare will go more smoothly than the first.

Kevin Counihan, the head of Connecticut’s health insurance marketplace, will be the new CEO of HealthCare.gov, the website that 36 states use to sell insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.

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Obamacare and Immigration
East Bay Express

When Victoria Perez wanted health insurance for her son, she went to a local community health clinic to sign him up for Obamacare. Perez and her husband are undocumented residents, but their son is a US citizen, and thus is eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Jane Garcia, CEO of La Clínica de la Raza, a federally qualified health center whose organization includes health clinics in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties, the next day, “her husband came to the health center and said, ‘What have you done? If something happens to us as a result of this, I’m going to hold you guys responsible,’” said. (The Express agreed to not use a pseudonym for Perez because she fears deportation.)

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Medicare Advantage an Insurance Proving Ground for Providers
Health Leaders Media

As healthcare providers across the country consider opening subsidiary health insurance plans, some of the early adopters view the Medicare Advantage program as an advantageous place to get started.

In combination with a population health management effort, UNC Health Care has launched a Medicare Advantage plan targeted at the residents of Wake County, NC. This week, Allen Daugird, MD, MBA, president of UNC Physicians Network and UNC Health Care’s chief value officer, told HealthLeaders that developing an MA health plan is a high-gain, low-risk opportunity for providers.

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High-Priced Drug Sovaldi Coming to California Prisoners with Hepatitis C
KQED Radio

It’s the drug that can cure most people with hepatitis C in 12 weeks — but comes at a high cost: $1,000 a pill. Now, California Correctional Health Care Services, which oversees clinical care and drug prescriptions for 125,000 inmates at 34 prisons across the state, began using Sovaldi last month.

Made by Gilead Sciences of Foster City, Sovaldi has become part of the “community standard” for medical professionals treating patients with hepatitis C, according to prison officials.

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New General Hospital trauma center to have key feature for seismic safety
San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco General Hospital is poised to become the first hospital in The City to have a base-isolated foundation — the most earthquake-resistant design known today — when construction of its new trauma center is set to open in December 2015, hospital officials said Tuesday.

Just days after a magnitude-6.0 temblor struck early Sunday near Napa — the largest earthquake to rattle the Bay Area in nearly 25 years — hospital officials are touting such sophisticated seismic-safety efforts included in the yearslong rebuilding of the only full-service trauma center for San Francisco and northern San Mateo County.

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Sutter psych hospital ranks in top 100 places to work in health care
Sacramento Business Journal

Only one mental-health facility in the nation made it to Modern Healthcare’s 2014 Best Places to Work: Sutter Center for Psychiatry. So what makes a psych hospital a good place to work? The magazine looks at everything from leadership and planning to pay and benefits, but employee surveys are a key piece in the decision-making. The opportunity to see — and play a role in — positive changes in patients’ lives is what makes the difference, said John Boyd, chief administrative officer over mental health services for Sutter’s Sacramento Sierra region.

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Lodi Memorial Hospital part of a regional trauma network
Lodi News-Sentinel

Lodi Memorial Hospital would be ready to accept walk-in patients if faced with a natural disaster such as Sunday’s earthquake in Napa. But if overwhelmed with victims, the local hospital would need to transfer the most severely injured to other county hospitals. Damaged roads may make it harder to transport those patients by ambulance to the closest trauma center — a good 25 minutes in either direction — so air ambulances landing atop the hospital’s roof would be called in to move the most critically hurt.

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Sutter Health’s Pat Fry among top 100 most influential people in health care
Sacramento Business Journal

Pat Fry, president and CEO at Sutter Health, is one of the top 100 most influential people in healthcare, according to a new list by Modern Healthcare.

The only local health care leader recognized, Fry is No. 73. It’s his second time on the list. He was No. 42 last year. President Barack Obama is No. 1 and Kaiser Permanente president and CEO Bernard Tyson debuts on the list this year at No. 2.

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Feather River Hospital takes over rural clinic
The Appeal-Democrat

Corning Medical Associates no longer exists. The medical business has been purchased by Feather River Health Foundation, which has renamed the clinic Corning Health Center. The foundation, owners of Feather River Hospital, received its license to run the rural health clinic from the California Department of Public Health on Aug. 19. The owners of Corning Medical Associates, Don and Connie Massie, have been looking for about a year to find a hospital-based rural clinic medical provider that could take over the business.

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Kaiser’s new Redwood City hospital is almost ready for December debut
The Mercury News

Although construction of Kaiser Permanente’s new hospital in Redwood City is all but completed, there’s still plenty of work to do before the seven-story building opens to the public in December.

The private, nonprofit health organization broke ground on the 280,000-square-foot building at Veterans Boulevard and Walnut Street in August 2011.

On Tuesday, hospital officials proudly toured the 149-bed facility without having to wear hard hats as workers were tending to landscaping, installing equipment and furniture, and putting on other finishing touches.

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