News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Study finds average medical malpractice payments could rise 20 percent under California’s Prop. 46
Imperial Valley News

California’s hotly debated Proposition 46 includes a provision that raises the state’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases from $250,000 to $1.1 million. A new study, released this week by Health Affairs, found that a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice reduced average payments by 20 percent.

The study looked at the impact of medical malpractice reforms on the average size of malpractice payments nationally in several physician specialties over 25 years, and compared how the effects differed according to the size of the cap.

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CFOs as Healthcare Change Agents
HealthLeaders Media

More than 40 financial leaders from provider organizations across the country gathered in August at the Grand Del Mar in San Diego for the HealthLeaders Media CFO Exchange. Now in its fourth year, the CFO Exchange exemplifies HealthLeaders Media’s peer-driven approach for solving problems and sharing solutions.

As in previous years, attendees helped shape the event agenda. Three big-picture discussion topics emerged from advance discussions and surveys.

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Ebola: Lawmakers, Healthcare Leaders Clash Over Quarantines
HealthLeaders Media

Imposing a 21-day quarantine on healthcare workers who have treated patients with Ebola—such as the states of New York and New Jersey did on Friday—will do the opposite of ensuring public safety, several healthcare officials on the front lines insist.

The policy will keep providers from volunteering in West Africa to stop the virus there, and discourage hospital workers from agreeing to provide that care here in the United States, critics of the policy say.

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Ebola Waste Permits Granted to Five Companies
Environmental Leader

Veolia and Advanced Environmental Options are among five companies that have received “non-site-specific” special permits for handling Ebola waste, according to Reuters.

The other special permits have been issued to Stericycle, Triumvirate Environmental and Smith Systems Transportation, according to a spokeswoman for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Under the permits, the five companies are not limited as to where they can pick up Ebola-related waste or dispose of it.

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UC medical centers ‘positioned’ to treat Ebola victims
The Mercury News

A day after another American was diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus, the University of California on Friday told state public health officials that all five UC medical centers “are positioned to provide” care for Californians who become infected with the virus.

There are no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in California, but a doctor who recently returned from Guinea tested positive Thursday for Ebola — the first case in New York City and the fourth in the United States.

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UCLA, 4 other UC hospitals ready to treat California Ebola patients
Los Angeles Times

Officials announced Friday that all five University of California medical centers are positioned to provide care for Californians with confirmed Ebola — should any such cases arise. As of the announcement, there were no confirmed or suspected patients with Ebola in the state, the University of California Office of the President and the California Department of Public Health emphasized, in a press release announcing the hospitals’ readiness.

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UCSF among 5 UC medical centers prepared to treat Ebola patients
San Francisco Chronicle

The California Department of Public Health announced Friday that UCSF and four other UC medical centers are prepared to receive and treat Ebola patients, should any cases of the virus be confirmed in the state. The other four UC medical centers listed are at Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles and San Diego. “They are prepared to provide inpatient care for patients who have Ebola in California if necessary,” said Carlos Villatoro, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health.

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Hospitals revamp infection control amid Ebola scare
Modern Healthcare

Fears over the spread of the Ebola virus have intensified long-standing concerns that U.S. hospitals may not be prepared to deal with infectious diseases. Although focus on Ebola may be diverting attention from other issues, like hospital-associated infections and antibiotic-resistant superbugs, infectious disease experts say the education and training efforts surging in response to the disease may lead to more hospitals revamping their protocols and being more prepared in the future.

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Open enrollment dominated by frustration over health care reform compliance
Business Insurance

Fall open enrollment for the 2015 group health plan year is being dominated by employer frustration and uncertainty about implementing coverage and IRS reporting requirements under the health care reform law’s employer coverage mandate.

“Open enrollment is going to present employers with some huge challenges this year,” said Steven Friedman, shareholder and employee benefits practice group co-chair at Littler Mendelson P.C. in New York.

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Part 1: Psych patients pack emergency rooms
Orange County Register

Two years ago, Marty Naftel felt one of his bipolar crises coming on and went straight to the hospital. The 53-year old Midway City resident had learned he had bipolar disorder 29 years earlier and had been hospitalized for it many times since. So on that day in June 2012, he knew the warning signs all too well.

“I felt very unstable. Going toward manic,” Naftel recalls. “When I got manic, I would ruin everything. I lost my family. I would spend a lot of money I didn’t have. I would think I had been sent to Earth by Jesus.”

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Roundtable: Changing Culture, Leading Strategy at Healthcare Organizations
HealthLeaders Media

Culture and strategy often are regarded as “soft” elements of organizational leadership, yet nothing is more vital. An incorrect strategy or resistant culture often become discernible only when an organization is on the rocks. How can leaders inculcate the right strategy and culture in their organizations? An axiom holds that “culture eats strategy,” which is a barrier to enacting change in a changing healthcare industry.

Strategy is about setting priorities and allocating resources. As resources tighten, priorities for most healthcare organizations today are changing. Organizational culture is defined as a set of shared mental assumptions that guide interpretation and behavior. Healthcare leaders speak of a culture of safety, a culture of wellness, or a patient-centered culture. Often, however, culture proves resistant to change. Top executives must point the way, but ultimately culture and strategy are about leading people to a desired new state. Leaders must build trust that they are heading in the right direction.

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Insurers’ Consumer Data Isn’t Ready for Enrollees
New York Times

With health insurance marketplaces about to open for 2015 enrollment, the Obama administration has told insurance companies that it will delay requirements for them to disclose data on the number of people enrolled, the number of claims denied and the costs to consumers for specific services.

For months, insurers have been asking the administration if they had to comply with two sections of the Affordable Care Act that require “transparency in coverage.”

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Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome link found
San Diego Union-Tribune

A team at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla has reported an explanation for why people with Down syndrome often develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The study builds on research last year that suggested a cause for the mental disability that accompanies Down syndrome. If the continuing analysis results in new therapies, the syndrome could be alleviated and scientists might be able to harness that knowledge in treating — and perhaps even preventing — Alzheimer’s in the general population.

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Salesforce making big push into healthcare industry
San Francisco Business Times

Salesforce is embarking on a major push into the healthcare industry, according to a story from Reuters news service.

Officials at the San Francisco-based software company wouldn’t comment, but Reuters quoted sources as saying Salesforce hopes to bring in $1 billion a year with new healthcare industry services. Reuters reported that a LinkedIn search revealed Salesforce has recruited at least a dozen people from the health and medical device industries.

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No beds for youngest psych patients in Orange County
Orange County Register

When Delicia was 4 years old, she lunged at another girl in day care without provocation and scratched the side of her face all the way up to the eye. The police came, and Delicia was expelled.

In the six years since then, Delicia has been kicked out of schools and residential facilities for attacking staff members and destroying property. She has tried to jump off a second floor balcony, attempted to cut her wrists and almost jumped out of a car on the freeway. More recently, she’s made death threats against her mother, Natalie Jonsson.