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News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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CMS launches $840 million initiative to accelerate care transformation
Modern Healthcare

The CMS Innovation Center will spend $840 million in coming years to help doctors and hospitals do more to teach each other how to improve quality and cut wasteful practices.

The four-year effort is expected to include 150,000 clinicians working in networks where they will swap ideas, trade information and learn from others’ mistakes and successes. The investment is a gamble that sharing care-improvement experiences among medical groups, health systems and others will push the industry more rapidly toward more efficient models of care.

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Billionaire Paul Allen pledges at least $100 million to fight Ebola
Los Angeles Times

Paul Allen, billionaire owner of sports teams and mega yachts, on Thursday pledged at least $100 million to fight Ebola in what is believed to be the largest private foundation gift to combat the deadly disease and support healthcare workers in West Africa.

The co-founder of Microsoft — who regularly inhabits lists of the richest and most generous Americans — has already donated an estimated $26.5 million toward his pledge, including $12.9 million to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, $3.6 million to UNICEF, $2.8 million to the International Red Cross and $1.3 million to Doctors Without Borders.

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Doctor Networks to Stay Limited in 2015 Under Obamacare
Pasadena Now

If you are having difficulty finding doctors willing to accept your new Obamacare plans in 2014, finding a doctor who takes Obamacare coverage could be just as difficult in 2015.

Even as California’s enrollment grows, many patients continue to complain about being offered fewer choices of doctors, and having no easy way to find the ones that are available.

Based upon information provided by Covered California, and the carrier’s recent information provided to insurance brokers the general consensus is:

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Local facilities say they’re prepared for Ebola
Fort Bragg Advocate News

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa and subsequently confirmed cases in the United States has caused an underlying streak of uneasiness throughout the nation. Among rumors and hype, many find it hard to seek out the realities of the deadly virus. How is it transmitted? How serious is it? Are local hospitals prepared to deal with infected patients? Robert Ryder, M.D., of Mendocino Coast Clinics, has studied emerging viruses including HIV and Ebola virus in west and central Africa for the past 25 years.

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California Hospitals Prepare for Ebola
KQED Radio

Hospitals in California are adapting to evolving guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control on how to best prepare for a possible Ebola patient. There are no known — or suspected — cases of the virus in California, but the infection of two nurses in Texas has hospitals here revamping their protocols.

Responsibility ultimately falls on each individual hospital to incorporate CDC guidelines into its own Ebola response plan. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is providing guidance, but the state’s chief of communicable disease control, James Watt, says state help can only go so far.

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Sacramento County Monitoring Two People For Signs Of Ebola
capital public radio

Sacramento county health officials say just two people have arrived from Ebola-affected countries in the past month.

Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye says the recent travelers show no signs of illness, but are being asked to monitor and report their temperature twice a day.

“Those two are very low risk, they did visit those countries, but they didn’t come into any contact with anyone who was sick while they were there.”

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Pfizer shares rise on $11B buyback program
USA Today

Shares of Pfizer (PFE) rose 50 cents, 1.8% to $29.10 in after-hours trading Thursday on news that the pharmaceutical giant has authorized a new $11 billion share buyback program to its existing share repurchase program

There was $1.3 billion remaining in an earlier announced $5 billion repurchase program, the company, which has a market share of $181 billion, said in a news release. Pfizer said the new program would be completed “over time.”

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New class of abortion providers helps expand access in California
Los Angeles Times

Ever since the Planned Parenthood health center here opened, the six cushioned recliners in the recovery room had been in steady demand every Friday.

That’s when a physician would rotate through to perform abortions for four hours. When everyone in the crowded waiting room knew why the woman next to her was there, when they all had to walk past a cluster of antiabortion protesters.

But a state law that went into effect in January has authorized nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform a method of first-trimester abortion known as vacuum aspiration. Previously, only doctors were allowed to do so.

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UCSF Medical Center Again Named Best Hospital in San Francisco
UCSF Today

UCSF Medical Center has been named the 2014-15 Consumer Choice Awardwinner for San Francisco by National Research Corporation, which identifies hospitals across the United States that health care consumers choose as having the highest quality provided by the best clinicians.

Consumers rated UCSF Medical Center as the top choice for quality health care among all San Francisco hospitals. It has either won or shared the award for San Francisco every year since 2005-2006.

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USC to invest in surgery centers with for-profit partner
Modern Healthcare

Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California, an academic medical center based in Los Angeles, has agreed to develop a network of ambulatory surgery centers throughout the area with Surgical Care Affiliates, a publicly traded operator of surgical centers.

Industry observers, including Moody’s Investors Service, view ambulatory surgery centers as a growing business line. More procedures are being taken out of hospital outpatient departments and into facilities considered to be more cost-effective, like surgery centers.

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New nurses union in contract talks with hospital
The Press-Enterprise

Almost two years after voting to unionize, registered nurses at a Corona hospital are wearing their United Nurses Associations of California shirts and bargaining with management. In January 2013, Corona Regional Medical Center nurses voted to form a union. Afterward, the hospital’s parent company, Universal Health Services Inc., filed successive appeals contesting the legitimacy of the election.

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City leaders create panel to examine hospital options
Orange County Register

San Clemente’s elected leaders are giving a 12-member committee a fact-finding mission to see what it might take to preserve the city’s community hospital and emergency room. City Council members agreed Tuesday night on the makeup for a panel being created in response to a proposal by MemorialCare Health System to shut down its Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in San Clemente in 2015.

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Merced County officials discuss report on expanding health care coverage
Modesto Bee

Most San Joaquin Valley residents oppose expanding affordable health coverage to include undocumented immigrants, according to a report presented at Thursday’s Merced County Health Care Consortium meeting.

The voting poll, conducted by the California Endowment’s Healthy California Program, shows that in the state, 54 percent of Californians support expanding coverage for all, but only 44 percent in the San Joaquin Valley support the idea.

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Mission Hospital resumes surgeries
Coastline Pilot

Elective surgeries resumed Monday at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach 10 days after hospital officials voluntarily halted procedures in the wake of four patients incurring bacterial infections at affiliated facilities.

Three patients at Mission Hospital Mission Viejo and a fourth at an off-site location developed infections in May and June, prompting hospital officials to temporarily stop elective procedures at both facilities, said Susan Cole, communications director for Mission Hospital.