News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Ebola response: California Hospital Association supports new CDC regulations
San Francisco Business Times

The California Hospital Association and several other statewide health care groups said Tuesday they support new guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at improving the safety of nurses, doctors and other health professionals when they deal with actual or potential Ebola cases.

But they have some concerns about the availability of some of the required safety equipment.

News Headlines Article

How Hospitals Can Become ‘Upstreamists’
HealthLeaders Media

The health care system needs to do a better job identifying and addressing the social, environmental and economic conditions that play into the health of patient communities.

That was the message Rishi Manchanda, MD, MPH, delivered to a group of medical students at Tufts Medical Center in Boston this month. Manchanda is a nationally known advocate of health care that looks beyond the clinic and into the lives of the people it serves.

He is the medical director of a clinic for homeless veterans in Los Angeles and founder of Health Begins, a non-profit organization that offers training designed to “equip healthcare professionals to design successful upstream solutions to improve care at lower costs.”

News Headlines Article

California Coughs Up $18 Billion In Smoking-Related Costs

Despite California’s tobacco control program, smoking extracts a heavy toll in the state.

A new study from UC San Francisco offers some stark details on the impact of tobacco use in California.

The study reveals more than 34,000 Californians died from smoking-related causes in 2009, the latest figures available for the research. That includes deaths from cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses. That amounts to more than one in seven deaths in the state caused by smoking.

News Headlines Article

Most Uninsured Unaware of Next ACA Open Enrollment Period
California Healthline

About nine of 10 uninsured individuals who responded to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey said they did not know that the Affordable Care Act’s next open enrollment period begins in November, the New York Times‘ “The Upshot” reports (Sanger-Katz, “The Upshot,” New York Times, 10/21).

The finding comes from the most recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, for which researchers surveyed 1,503 U.S. adults between Oct. 8 and Oct. 14 (KFF poll, 10/21).

News Headlines Article

Covered California clears thousands of untimely applicants, some still slated for termination
San Francisco Chronicle

Thousands of Bay Area residents who were told they were about to lose their state health care coverage will now be able to keep their insurance plans.

Covered California, the state’s public health exchange, said it cleared the legal residency status of most individuals who received notices last month requiring documentation of their status in order to continue their health insurance coverage.

News Headlines Article

Briefing Set on Drug Medi-Cal Reforms
California Healthline

On Tuesday, the state Senate will discuss a new federal waiver proposal by the Department of Health Care Services for the Drug Medi-Cal Treatment Program.

The idea to run the program as an organized delivery system will be fleshed out at today’s informational presentation, a joint hearing by the Senate Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review.

News Headlines Article

Medical costs up to 20% higher at hospital-owned physician groups, study finds
Los Angeles Times

Raising fresh questions about healthcare consolidation, a new study shows hospital ownership of physician groups in California led to 10% to 20% higher costs overall for patient care.

The UC Berkeley research, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., illustrates the financial risks for employers, consumers and taxpayers as hospital systems nationwide acquire more physician practices.

News Headlines Article

Another Ebola challenge: disposing of medical waste
The Record

A single Ebola patient treated in a U.S. hospital will generate eight 208-litre barrels of medical waste each day.

Protective gloves, gowns, masks and booties are donned and doffed by all who approach the patient’s bedside and then discarded. Disposable medical instruments, packaging, bed linens, cups, plates, tissues, towels, pillowcases and anything that is used to clean up after the patient must be thrown away.

Even curtains, privacy screens and mattresses eventually must be treated as contaminated medical waste and disposed of.

News Headlines Article

Gov. Brown talks Ebola readiness with officials, hospitals, nurses
Los Angeles Times

Even with no confirmed cases of Ebola in California, the state’s readiness for the disease was on Gov. Jerry Brown’s agenda Tuesday, with the governor holding a series of meetings with public health officials and medical providers. Among the agencies represented at Tuesday morning’s meeting were the state’s Health and Human Services Agency, the Department of Public Health and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which deals with workplace safety.

News Headlines Article

CA Hospitals, Nurse Leaders Issue Statement in Response to Ebola Outbreak
PR Newswire

The following statement was issued today by C.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals Struggle To Beat Back Serious Infections
National Public Radio

While Ebola stokes public anxiety, more than 1 in 6 hospitals — including some top medical centers — are having trouble stamping out less exotic but sometimes deadly infections, federal records show.

Nationally, about 1 in 25 hospitalized patients gets an infection. Some 75,000 people die each year from them — more than from car crashes and gunshots combined. A Kaiser Health News analysis found 695 hospitals with higher than expected rates for at least one of the six types of infections tracked by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 13 states and the District of Columbia, a quarter or more of hospitals that the government evaluated were rated worse than national benchmarks the CDC set for at least one infection category, the Kaiser analysis found.

News Headlines Article

‘Overtreatment’ Debate Circles Back to Lung Cancer Screening
HealthLeaders Media

The debate over lung cancer screening jumped out of the medical journals and on to the stage at an event called “The Diagnostic Debate” at The Liberty Hotel in Boston Oct. 15.

The half-day meeting, sponsored by The Atlantic magazine and Siemens, a major manufacturer of imaging equipment used to screen for disease. Gregory Sorensen, the CEO of Siemens Healthcare North America opened the session by challenging the notion that screening drives overdiagnosis.

News Headlines Article

Defensive Medicine Still Prevalent Despite Tort Reform
HealthLeaders Media

Laws in three states that raised the legal threshold for malpractice in emergency settings have done little to change the costly practice of “defensive medicine,” a RAND Corp. study shows.

A decade ago Texas, Georgia and South Carolina raised the civil malpractice standard used in emergency care to gross negligence. Lawmakers in those states believed that the higher standard would check the growth of malpractice lawsuits, and thus reduce the perceived need for expensive but medically unnecessary defensive procedures and services, such as the overuse of high-cost advanced imaging equipment.

The study, published this month in The New England Journal of Medicine, found no evidence that the laws are working as intended.

News Headlines Article

Children’s Hospital, Adventist Health invest $10 million in Fowler clinic
Fresno Bee

Children’s Hospital Central California and Adventist Health/Central Valley Network are teaming up to build a new medical plaza in Fowler specializing in pediatric care, among other services.

The partnership combines the hospital’s pediatric care expertise with Adventist Health’s knowledge of rural and adult health care. Their goal is to ensure Fowler area residents don’t have to travel as far for high-quality medical services.

News Headlines Article

Children’s Hospital, Adventist join forces on rural care
The Business Journal

Children’s Hospital Central California and Adventist Health/Central Valley Network have formed a partnership that aims to improve rural health care services for Valley children.

As part of the partnership, the pair plan to build a $10 million medical plaza in Fowler that will feature pediatric and pediatric specialty care as well as adult health care, lab and medical imaging.

The property is on the east side of Highway 99 near Merced Avenue.