News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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CEO Exchange: Pressure is On to Partner, Drive Quality
HealthLeaders Media

Despite the regional differences that exist in hospital markets across the country, CEOs of hospitals and health systems are responding to the pressure to improve clinical quality, patient experience, and healthcare costs in similar ways. More than 40 healthcare executives gathered this week at the annual HealthLeaders Media CEO Exchange in Colorado to share ideas and challenge conventional strategies that hospitals have leaned on in the past.

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University lights the way for hospital energy savings
U.C. Davis

As ambulances at a Vacaville hospital speed off to their next patient, an ultrasmart, energy-efficient system is lighting the way. Installed in partnership with the University of California, Davis, the lighting system now illuminates the emergency vehicle routes, parking lots and outdoor walkways of the NorthBay VacaValley Hospital. The system is reducing outdoor lighting energy use at the 24-hour site by 66 percent, saving about 29,000 kilowatt-hours annually — enough to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of 7.2 tons of waste.

The project is the first comprehensive study of “networked adaptive” outdoor lighting for the health care sector and could lead the way to more efficient lighting at other hospitals. Adaptive lighting uses tools such as occupancy sensors to adjust lighting to suit activity levels.

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Health spending moderate even though millions gain insurance
Modern Healthcare

U.S. spending on hospitals, doctors and other health services did not surge last quarter even as millions of uninsured gained coverage from health plans sold earlier in the year, according to survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Health spending grew at an annualized rate of 3.7% last quarter, according to an analysis of the data by the Altarum Institute. Spending growth for physicians slowed sharply, to an annualized 0.6% in the second quarter while overall ambulatory spending slowed to 2.4%. Hospital spending growth remained largely steady at an annualized rate of 4.9%.

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Restaurants find new way to help fund healthcare
Los Angeles Business Journal

Would you pay an extra 3 percent on your next dinner out to help cover the healthcare costs of the people who made that dinner possible? That’s essentially the question that some of Santa Monica’s most successful restaurateurs are asking their diners by tacking on a surcharge on every bill. Before you complain that this is just one more example of business passing costs onto the customer, understand that there are what can probably only be described as loopholes within the Affordable Care Act.

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Covered California delays announcement of SHOP plans for 2015
Sacramento Business Journal

Don’t look for an announcement Monday about which health plans will participate next year in Covered California’s Small Employer Health Options Program — better known as SHOP. Although executive director Peter Lee said at a board meeting in August that the SHOP line-up would be announced Sept. 15, the date has shifted, says Covered California spokesman Dana Howard.

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Rare Virus Has Sickened Hundreds More Children, Hospitals Say
National Public Radio

Just 82 children have confirmed cases of enterovirus-D68, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but hospitals around the country say they are treating hundreds more children who have been sickened by the rare virus.

“We have some of these cases now in our ICU,” says Dr. Giovanni Piedemonte, a pediatric pulmonologist and chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s pediatric institute. Children with the virus can have serious trouble breathing, he says, enough so that they have to be put on a ventilator or lung bypass machine.

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FDA Approves New Diet Pill That’s Made Of Old Medicines
National Public Radio

There’s another pill to help people lose weight.

After years of study and lots of questions from the Food and Drug Administration questions, a pill called Contrave finally got the agency’s OK Thursday.

It’s the third diet medicine to get the regulatory go-ahead in recent years. But the other drugs — Qsymia and Belviq — haven’t proved that popular. Many insurers have been reluctant to cover the medicines.

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Podcast: Could Genetics Hold The Answer To Curing Autism?
National Public Radio

TED Talk: Wendy Chung is the director of clinical research at the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, which does both basic and applied science to serve people affected by autism spectrum disorders. She’s the principal investigator of the foundation’s Simons Variation in Individuals Project, which characterizes behavior and brain structure and function in participants with genetic copy number variants such as those at 16p11.2, which are believed to play a role in spectrum disorders. Chung also directs the clinical genetics program at Columbia University. In assessing and treating kids with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities, she uses advanced genomic diagnostics to explore the genetic basis of neurological conditions.

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Slideshow: Physician Alignment—New Leadership Models for Integration
Health Leaders Media

The shift from volume to value within the U.S. healthcare system necessitates a corresponding shift in how hospitals and health systems relate to physicians from that of referral source and service provider to one of deeply entrenched partner. Physicians are equally challenged as they determine their best path forward in the face of declining reimbursement, rising expenses, and diminishing autonomy as they come to the realization that they just can’t do it alone.

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L.A. County Aims To Transform Health Care With New EHR System
California Healthline

Los Angeles County’s Department of Health Services is installing a new countywide electronic health record system that officials say could end up being a model for other health care organizations across the country.

An L.A. County Civil Grand Jury report examined the initiative this summer, assessing how EHR implementation and integration of EHR systems and data among county departments could set the pace for development of a countywide health information exchange for both private and public providers.

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Intel-GE Care Innovations to host medical hackathon at Stanford
Sacramento Business Journal

Intel-GE Care Innovations is working with MIT Hacking Medicine and StartX to host a medical technology hackathon at Stanford University Sept. 19-21. The hackathon will seek to find solutions for patient engagement in health-care technology. It is open to entrepreneurs, physicians, designers, developers and scientists. Roseville-based Intel-GE Care Innovations develops technology to deliver medical assistance and monitoring to patients at their homes.

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Staff, patients hold on to hope for beloved healthcare facility
KTVU.com

Time is running out for a critical healthcare facility in the East Bay. And on Thursday, hoping to find a way – any way – to save Doctors Medical Center, some nurses, , and even some patients went to the office of the head of the area’s healthcare district. The protesters are alleging serious conflict of interest as the San Pablo hospital teeters on the edge. They drove from the hospital to the Point Richmond office of Eric Zell, who they feel has a key role in the impending closure.

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Sutter Health’s chief medical officer will retire in April
Sacramento Business Journal

Sutter Health’s chief medical officer — Dr. Gordon Hunt — will retire in April 2015, Sutter officials announced Thursday. Hunt, 67, has worked for Sutter for 20 years. Board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine, Hunt began caring for patients in Sacramento in 1978. He joined Sutter Health in 1994 as vice president for medical affairs and became chief medical officer for Sutter’s Sacramento area in 1995. Two years later, he became chief medical officer for the health system.

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Alameda County hospital system shuffles its board
Contra Costa Times

A leadership shuffle is shaking up the board that oversees Alameda County’s public hospital consortium.

Five new members are joining the 13-member Board of Trustees of the Alameda Health System, which runs Highland Hospital in Oakland and an expanding network of smaller hospitals and clinics throughout the county. The new members are Oakland real estate developer James Falaschi, of Orinda; consultant María Hernández, of Union City; corporate attorney James Potter, of Berkeley; retired Wells Fargo executive Patricia Scates, of Oakland; and Alameda resident Tracy Jensen, who has a lon

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