News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Expanding profits: Medicaid ‘expansion’ boom for hospitals
CNBC

Medicaid expansion is expanding profits for a bunch of hospitals.

A new analysis of major for-profit health systems found that hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare are seeing far fewer uninsured patients, a large rise in paying patients and more revenue as a consequence—which stands in stark contrast to hospitals in nonexpansion states.

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Pace of health care spending likely to speed up
San Francisco Chronicle

The nation’s respite from troublesome health care inflation is ending, the government said Wednesday in a report that renews a crucial budget challenge for lawmakers, taxpayers, businesses and patients. Economic recovery, an aging society, and more people insured under the new health care law are driving the long-term trend. Projections by nonpartisan experts with the Health and Human Services department indicate the pace of health care spending will pick up starting this year and beyond.

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Google’s health spinoff Calico announces massive investment in treatments for the elderly
The Mercury News

In its first major step since its formation last year, Google’s life-science spinoff on Wednesday announced a partnership with drug giant AbbVie to build a “world-class” research and development facility in the Bay Area and spend up to $1.5 billion to develop treatments for age-related diseases.

Google’s Calico and AbbVie offered few insights about where the new facility would be located, its size and other details about their 10-year collaboration. But in a news release, the two companies said they each will spend up to $250 million initially, “with the potential for both sides to contribute an additional $500 million.” They also noted that “Calico expects to begin filling critical positions immediately, and plans to establish a substantial team of scientists and research staff.”

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How far will the Obama administration bend for Medicaid expansion in Republican states?
MedCity News

When Pennsylvania got the Obama administration’s sign-off on its Medicaid expansion plans last week, it became the ninth state with a Republican governor to agree to broaden coverage for low-income residents – a key component of Obama’s healthcare reform law.

Getting to that point, though, wasn’t easy. The Obama administration has made itself open to negotiations with red state governors who say they would support Medicaid expansion with some tweaks to how it was originally proposed.

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Medicaid 2.0
The Health Care Blog

While fierce debate continues to envelop much of the Affordable Care Act, financial data for many of the nation’s health systems reveal one clear fact: the optional Medicaid expansion has resulted in hospital haves and have nots.

An analysis by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) of newly released earnings and patient volume data shows a clear financial split between healthcare providers operating in states that expanded Medicaid and those that have not.  The law as written would have provided Medicaid coverage to every American earning less than 138% of the federal poverty level ($16,105 for an individual). But a June 2012 Supreme Court ruling made the expansion optional for states, creating a patchwork of coverage.

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Medi-Cal Autism Coverage To Start Soon
California Healthline

In a draft plan for providing autism therapy to Medi-Cal beneficiaries, state officials tentatively set a date of Sept. 15 for the services to begin. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. That is big news for low-income families of roughly 4,000 to 6,000 children in California who have need of the medically necessary, standard-of-care treatment known as applied behavior analysis — or ABA therapy, said Kristin Jacobson, president of Autism Deserves Equal Coverage, a statewide advocacy group based in Burlingame.

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Checking in on ACA Care Models: Where ACOs and PCMHs Stand
California Healthline

In recent years, some health care experts and lawmakers pushed for transitioning away from the U.S. health care system’s traditional fee-for-service model to newer, more innovative payment models that focus on prevention and improving the quality of care while reducing costs. The Affordable Care Act sought to make that transition a reality in part by allocating $10 billion over 10 years to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which is tasked with developing and testing new health care delivery models.

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Healthcare spending growth expected to pick up this year to 5.6%
Modern Healthcare

The economy’s lackluster recovery eroded wages and left millions chronically unemployed. It also offered significant relief from the fiscal distress of U.S. health spending. Now, spending fueled by the improving economy and the healthcare reform law’s insurance and Medicaid expansions are likely to turn that around.

Health expenditures grew 3.6% last year, with the delayed and soft recovery a primary cause, according to projections by CMS actuaries published online by the journal Health Affairs.

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U.S. Healthcare Spending Growth to Resume
Health Leaders Media

The rate of U.S. healthcare spending will continue to increase, at a projected pace of about 5.7% per year until 2023, exceeding the average rate of gross domestic product growth by 1.1%, according to a report released by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The analysis was prepared by CMS’s Office of the Actuary and published online Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs.

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The Squeeze Is On For U.S. Hospitals
HIT Consultant

Lots of financial scrambling, but the numbers still don’t add up. Is healthcare a business?

In the United States, the question has been asked time and again but never satisfactorily answered. By virtue of publically financed healthcare systems, the rest of the developed world has decided, to a greater or lesser extent, that medicine and healthcare are not pure businesses—that citizens have a right to care, even when they can’t pay all associated costs.

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After Slow Growth, Experts Say, Health Spending Is Expected to Climb
New York Times

Government experts on Wednesday predicted a rebound in national health care spending as expansions in coverage and improvements in the economy take hold after four years of exceptionally slow growth in the nation’s medical bills.

The combined effects of the Affordable Care Act, faster economic growth and the aging of the population will fuel the growth of health spending this year and in the coming decade, according to a report by a team of nonpartisan economists and actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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Reading Your Doctor’s Notes
HealthyCal.org

Patients across California now have easier access to their medication lists, lab results, upcoming appointments and messaging through secure online systems. But one key aspect of the medical record is not typically available online: the candid notes a physician writes about you during and after an appointment.

Those notes are part of a patient’s medical record and include anything from descriptions of a patient’s demeanor to diagnosis and treatment plans. Doctors’ notes are legally available to patients, though the time and photocopying involved in retrieving them can be cumbersome.

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Female Alzheimer’s researchers unite to push for equality, sex-specific studies
Washington Post

Women arguably have been hit hardest by Alzheimer’s disease: Two-thirds of those with the dementia-causing disease are women, and women serve more often than men as their caregivers.

Yet despite inroads by female researchers, Alzheimer’s study has been dominated by men. That recognition prompted a group of female scientists to form the Alliance of Women Alzheimer’s Researchers (AWARE) to foster collaborative studies, professional networking and more gender-specific research.

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Excellence in Heart Attack Receiving Centers
Health Leaders Media

Not too long ago, if an ambulance was called to help someone experiencing an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, the EMS workers would routinely take that person to the nearest hospital. If that facility wasn’t equipped to treat such a severe heart attack, physicians had two choices: Administer the patient thrombolytic clot medicine and hope for the best, or find another hospital that could accept a STEMI patient and arrange for transport, wasting valuable time.

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FDA approves GE Healthcare’s 3D digital mammography product
timesunion.com

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved GE Healthcare’s SenoClaire digital mammography imaging technology, giving the company the green light to market and sell the machines in the United States.

The approval could be good news for GE Healthcare’s plant at the Rensselaer Technology Park in North Greenbush, which produces the detector for the mammography unit, which is assembled at a plant in Paris, France.

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Google’s health startup forges venture with AbbVie
Modern Healthcare

Google’s ambitious health startup is teaming up with biotechnology drugmaker AbbVie in a $500 million joint venture that will try to develop new ways to treat cancer and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The alliance announced Wednesday calls for Google and AbbVie to each invest $250 million in the project. They will split all expenses and any profits generated by the venture. Calico, a company created by Google last year, will manage a team of scientists who will work at a research-and-development lab in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Health plans invest in Hill Physicians management group
Sacramento Business Journal

The founding owners of Hill Physicians Medical Group’s management company, PriMed Management Consulting Services, are selling their stakes to a group of new and existing investors, including Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Dignity Health and the medical group itself. Current CEO Darryl Cardoza and retired former CEO Steve McDermott, sold their shares in the privately held entity for an undisclosed amount, according to officials.

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Shriners Hospital in Sacramento launches new program in pediatric surgery
Sacramento Business Journal

Shriners Hospital in Sacramento has launched a new program in pediatric surgery — its first major expansion since the hospital opened in 1997. The program builds on a partnership with the UC Davis Medical Center across the street, a relationship first established when Shriners began looking for a place to build a new hospital. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California is a flagship in the 21-hospital system and the only one that offers all four Shriners specialties in one location.

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Hospital expansion on track following council approval
The Press-Enterprise

The Corona City Council signed off on Corona Regional Medical Center’s planned campus expansion Tuesday, paving the way for some site preparation on a three-phase project to begin this year. The acute-care hospital plans to grow its medical campus to 9.3 acres by adding two wings, a four-story medical office building and a six-level parking garage in the city’s historic district.

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Temecula Valley Hospital Receives STEMI Receiving Center Designation
The Valley Business Journal

Temecula Valley Hospital has been awarded a STEMI Receiving Center Designation by the Riverside Emergency Medical Services Agency (REMSA). The designation recognizes the hospital for meeting or exceeding national standards in diagnosing and treating heart attacks. This designation identifies TVH as a hospital that is specially equipped and trained to care for patients experiencing a dangerous form of heart attack called ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) which is caused by a sudden, total blockage of a coronary artery.

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