News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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ANA Calls for Federal Funding to Bolster RN Training
HealthLeaders Media

The American Nurses Association is calling on Congress to increase federal funding by 12% to bolster programs to educate, recruit, and retain registered nurses. A graying demographic is expected to need more healthcare services. Americans, including nurses, are getting older. ANA estimates that more than 40% of nurses are over age 50, the average age for a clinically practicing nurse is about 45, and 72% of nurse faculty are age 50 or older.

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Drugstore Chain CVS Kicks Tobacco Habit A Month Early
National Public Radio

CVS Caremark has pulled cigarettes from its shelves a month ahead of schedule.

In February, CVS, one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains, said it would stop selling tobacco products by October, despite the profits they brought the company. Now cigarettes in the company’s stores are history.

Why are they gone? They were at odds with the company’s image and its broader business goals focused on health improvement. “By eliminating cigarettes and tobacco products from sale in our stores, we can make a difference in the health of all Americans,” CVS CEO Larry Merlo said in a statement Wednesday.

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UC Berkeley graduate students develop hospital-ranking app
The Daily Californian

A group of graduate students from the UC Berkeley School of Information have developed an app to help patients find medical services catered to their specific needs.

With the app, “My Best Hospital,” users have the ability to evaluate hospitals nationwide, based on four different measures, by using a sliding-scale interface aggregated from publicly available data. Graduate students Christopher Walker, Rahul Bansal, Lisa Kirch and Joe Morales created the app as a project for a summer course in the Master of Information and Data Science program.

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California officials gearing up for Obamacare open enrollment
Los Angeles Times

Looking to avoid the pitfalls and confusion that surrounded the launch of Obamacare, California is gearing up to get 1.2 million people to renew their health policies for next year.

The Covered California insurance exchange easily outpaced its expected enrollment during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Now it faces the challenge of getting those people to stay on board for a second year once open enrollment begins Nov. 15.

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Problems abound with health law immigration papers
San Francisco Chronicle

More than 200,000 immigrants who bought insurance through President Barack Obama’s health care initiative could lose their coverage this month if they don’t submit proof this week they are legally in the country, but language barriers and computer glitches are hindering efforts to alert them. The government mailed letters in English and Spanish last month notifying about 300,000 people that if immigration and citizenship documents aren’t submitted by Friday, their coverage under the Affordable Care Act will end Sept. 30.

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States that decline to expand Medicaid give up billions in aid
Sacramento Bee

If the 23 states that have rejected expanding Medicaid under the 2010 health care law continue to do so for the next eight years, they’ll pay $152 billion to extend the program in other states _ while receiving nothing in return.

This massive exodus of federal tax dollars from 2013 through 2022 would pay 37 percent of the cost to expand Medicaid in the 27 remaining states and Washington, D.C., over that time.

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Plunge in kindergartners’ vaccination rate worries health officials
Los Angeles Times

California parents are deciding against vaccinating their kindergarten-age children at twice the rate they did seven years ago, a fact public health experts said is contributing to the reemergence of measles across the state and may lead to outbreaks of other serious diseases.

The percentage of kindergartens in which at least 8% of students are not fully vaccinated because of personal beliefs has more than doubled as well, according to data on file with the state.

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Double mastectomy doesn’t boost survival for most
Sacramento Bee

Removing both breasts to treat cancer affecting only one side doesn’t boost survival chances for most women, compared with surgery that removes just the tumor, a large study suggests. The results raise concerns about riskier, potentially unnecessary operations that increasing numbers of women are choosing.

The study involved nearly 200,000 California women treated for cancer in one breast and followed for several years afterward.

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CVS changes name, stops tobacco sales early
San Francisco Chronicle

As CVS sharpens its focus on customer health, the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain will tweak its corporate name and stop the sale of tobacco nearly a month sooner than planned. CVS Caremark said it will now be known as CVS Health, effective immediately. The signs on its roughly 7,700 drugstores won’t change, so the tweak may not register with shoppers. However, those customers will see a big change when they check out.

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New Anthem-Blue Shield health data exchange names CEO
San Francisco Business Times

Cal Index, the new health care data exchange being launched by Anthem Blue Cross of California and Blue Shield of California, has named its first CEO, former Oracle executive David Watson. The appointment is effective immediately, officials at the exchange — formally known as the California Integrated Data Exchange — said Tuesday. Anthem and Blue Shield, rival health plans that are among the biggest in the Golden State, say the new San Francisco-based exchange will collect and store electronic patient records from 9 million health plan enrollees, or about one

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Nursing school residents get to work at hospital
Hi-Desert Star

Hi-Desert Medical Clinic celebrated its first group of Versant program nursing students with a luncheon Tuesday. Though the program began at the hospital three months ago, this will be the first group of residents. “It’s amazing,” Marisa Hill, the program’s administrative assistant, said about the Versant program’s initiation. “We’ve put so much work into this program.

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Stanford Hospital Taking Lead On New National Genome Project
ABC News

Stanford Hospital is taking a major step to bring the power of unlocking the human genome to patient care. It has launched a service that will scour patients’ DNA to help mysterious and complex conditions.

He may not smoke a pipe or wear a wool hat, but Euan Ashley, MBChB is about to become the Sherlock Holmes of medicine. He and his colleagues at Stanford Hospital are being tapped to investigate diseases so mysterious, doctors haven’t been able to diagnose them. Some are cases that have baffled the experts for years.

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Shriners adds complex pediatric surgery to hospital services
Sacramento Bee

Shriners Hospitals Northern California announced Tuesday that it will add a new specialty in complex pediatric surgeries, making it the only facility in its 22-hospital network to offer the services.

The children’s hospital, located in Sacramento near the UC Davis Medical Center, opened in 1997 with four specialties – burns, orthopaedics, spinal chord injury and cleft lip surgery. The new pediatric surgery program will serve children with complex gastro-intestinal disorders, complex ano-rectal disorders and complex chest wall disorders.

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Odds grow longer for effort to preserve services at Doctors Medical Center
Contra Costa Times

Physicians, nurses and community members fighting to keep Doctors Medical Center open as a full-service hospital said Tuesday they weren’t giving up despite a double dose of bad news last week.

The odds are growing longer, however, after a judge denied their injunction request to reinstate services that have recently been reduced and a bill that would have designated DMC a public hospital, allowing it to collect higher reimbursement rates, failed to make it out of the state Legislature.

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