News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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California will cancel Obamacare coverage for 10,000 over citizenship
Los Angeles Times

California’s health insurance exchange is canceling Obamacare coverage for 10,474 people who failed to prove their citizenship or legal residency in the U.S.

Covered California, the state-run insurance exchange, enrolled more than 1.2 million people during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act this year. For most consumers, the exchange said, it could verify citizenship or immigration status instantly with a federal data hub.

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The Drug Price Reform Debate
HealthLeaders Media

The marketing of an ever-growing number of new drugs that come with eye-popping price tags is spurring a drive to develop value-based pricing models.

“Pricing is the issue,” says Samuel Nussbaum, MD, executive VP for clinical health policy and chief medical officer for Indianapolis-based WellPoint, Inc. He says the healthcare industry faces an unsustainable cost trend for so-called specialty drugs such as medications that are targeted at specific forms of cancer capable of treating relatively small pools of patients annually.

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UCLA Plans Behavioral Health Center
California Healthline

A ceremony yesterday at UCLA officially unveiled plans for a research center devoted to behavioral health, a $7.5 million investment that mirrors a sister effort at UC Davis in Sacramento.

Together, they are called the Centers for Excellence in Behavioral Health, funded by $15 million over three years from the Mental Health Services Act, created in 2004 when California voters passed Proposition 63.

“The idea is to take what we do here at the UC [system] and … translate the science into policy and bring it to evidence-based practice in the community,” said Peter Whybrow, director of UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where the behavioral health center will be.

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CDC: 2nd Health Worker With Ebola ‘Should Not Have Traveled’
National Public Radio

The director of the Centers for Disease Control says a second health care worker who has tested preliminarily positive for the Ebola virus will be transferred from a Dallas hospital, where she became infected, to Emory University hospital in Atlanta for continued treatment.

Dr. Thomas Frieden says the patient’s condition is “clinically stable” and that she was “quickly isolated” after her first test for Ebola came back positive on Tuesday.

Frieden did not identify the patient, but said she, along with critical care nurse Nina Pham, had had “close contact” with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient to have been diagnosed in the United States. Duncan died a week ago.
Nurse Nina Pham, 26, who cared for Duncan, became the first person to contract the disease within the United States. She is reportedly in “good condition” after receiving blood from an Ebola survivor.

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Ebola: CDC Offers Rapid Response to Hospitals
HealthLeaders Media

As a second healthcare worker in Texas tested positive for Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it will put a team on the ground at any U.S. hospital with a confirmed Ebola infection case “within hours.”

“I’ve thought often about it,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden during a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the first patient (Thomas Eric Duncan) was diagnosed. “That might have prevented infection” of Texas Health Presbyterian nurse Nina Pham and a second, identified female healthcare worker, who provided some of Duncan’s intensive care.

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Dallas nurses cite sloppy conditions in Ebola care
San Francisco Chronicle

A Liberian Ebola patient was left in an open area of a Dallas emergency room for hours, and nurses treating him worked without proper protective gear and faced constantly changing protocols, according to a statement released by the nation’s largest nurses’ union.

Among those nurses was Nina Pham, 26, who has been hospitalized since Friday after catching Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the virus in the U.S. He died last week.

Public-health authorities announced Wednesday that a second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital health care worker had tested positive for Ebola, raising more questions about whether American hospitals and their staffs are adequately prepared to contain the virus.

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Solutions to Healthcare’s ‘Obvious Corruption’ Visible
HealthLeaders Media

A “background of obvious corruption” permeates the healthcare industry in five ways, impeding the delivery of higher integrity healthcare, with reduced waste, and lower costs, say Dartmouth Institute researchers Elliott Fisher, MD, and Glen Elwyn, MD. “Solutions to these problems are visible, but will be difficult to introduce unless there is a much wider recognition that healthcare has become less about well-founded, trusted relationships between healthcare professionals and patients.

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Health care cartels limit Americans’ options: Column
USA Today

Every year, 50,000 Americans die from preventable colon cancer. Because of the invasive and uncomfortable nature of the dreaded colonoscopy, it’s no surprise only 50% of at-risk individuals actually get screened. Fortunately, advances in medical imaging technology now make screening more comfortable and less expensive.

President Obama himself chose a “virtual colonoscopy” during his first comprehensive exam as commander in chief, but it isn’t as widely available as it should be. Misguided certificate-of-need (CON) laws in 36 states restrict access to the procedure recommended by the American College of Radiology.

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Covered California clears most of the consumers asked to prove legal status
Sacramento Business Journal

Covered California has cleared most of the individuals asked to prove they are lawful residents in order to participate in the state health benefit exchange.

About 98,000 families who signed up for health insurance in the new program this year were asked to show by Sept. 30 that they are citizens or legal residents of the state. The families represent more than 148,000 individuals. The Affordable Care Act does not extend benefits to undocumented immigrants.

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Health Premiums And Costs Set To Rise For Workers Covered At Work
National Public Radio

Fall is enrollment season for many people who get insurance through their workplace. Premium increases for 2015 plans are expected to be modest on average, but the shift toward higher out-of-pocket costs overall for consumers will continue as employers try to keep a lid on their costs and incorporate health law changes.

Recent surveys of employers suggest that premiums will rise a modest 4 percent in 2015, on average, slightly higher than last year but lower than typical recent increases.

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Viewics: Changing the World of Health Care Data
The Health Care Blog

Viewics is a health care data analytics company that uses a cloud-based SaaS model to provide health care organization with solutions to improve their operational, financial and clinical outcomes. Viewics raised $8M in additional funding today, in a round led by Canvas Venture Fund. This is the second funding round for the company this year. Earlier this February, it raised an undisclosed amount from a group of savvy Silicon Valley investors, including Morado Ventures’ Farzad Nazem, who also is the former Yahoo CTO, and AME Cloud Ventures, a venture capital group led by Yahoo’s founder and former CEO, Jerry Yang.

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Getting Your Own Health Records Online: The Good and the Not So Good
The Health Care Blog

At the recent Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, co-chair Matt Holt expressed frustration about the difficulty of getting copies of his young daughter’s medical records. His experience catalyzed a heated discussion about individuals’ electronic access to their own health information. Many people are confused about or unaware of their legal rights, the policies that support those rights, and the potential implications of digital access to health data by individuals.

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Study Finds Human Stem Cells May Help To Treat Patients
National Public Radio

For the first time ever, scientists are reporting that human embryonic stem cells may be helping treat patients. In the medical journal The Lancet, researchers describe how the cells seem to help restore eyesight to some blind people.

NPR’s Rob Stein has the details of the first study to demonstrate that embryonic stem cells could alleviate human suffering.

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Hospital gets new chief operations officer
The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County Regional Medical Center is once again turning to Loma Linda to add to its management team. Jennifer Cruikshank of Redlands will take over as the hospital’s chief operations officer later this month, the Moreno Valley hospital announced in a news release. She is leaving Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, where she is chief patient care director.

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