News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Medical Scribes May Ease EHR, ICD-10 Aches
HealthLeaders Media

With the advent of electronic health records in patient care, healthcare organizations have been looking for a way to help physicians combat the deluge of mandates, while still maintaining a high level of efficiency.

One fast-growing position designed to remedy this situation is the medical scribe. A medical scribe’s primary duty is to document a physician’s encounter with a patient in the electronic health record system. Scribes enter information about a patient’s history, the physical exam, the physician’s assessment, notes on decision making and discharge and after care instructions.

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Calif. Reports Increased Vaccination Rates Among Kindergarteners
California Healthline

Vaccination rates among California kindergarten students are up from last year, following the introduction of new personal-belief exemption forms that parents must file if they do not want their children to receive immunizations, according to new data from the state Department of Public Health, the Sacramento Bee reports (Reese, Sacramento Bee, 12/9).

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Inside the Interventional Radiology Specialty
HealthLeaders Media

Interventional radiologists pioneered the use of minimally invasive surgery, now a widespread technique for numerous procedures ranging from cosmetic to cardiology. But because interventional radiology has historically been a medical subspecialty, patients and fellow physicians often thought of an interventional radiologist as the person who read the x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. As IRs have developed more clinically significant procedures, particularly in oncology, they have become a more visible and significant clinical addition to care teams. In 2012, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) elevated the subspecialty to a primary medical specialty.

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Covered California Transfer to Medicare Is Fraught with Peril
All Gov

While people struggle to enroll for Covered California’s subsidized health insurance, a smaller, but growing, group of people are struggling mightily to get out.

Emily Bazar, who writes the Ask Emily column at the Center for Health Reporting, warned an inquiring reader a couple weeks ago to get out of the healthcare exchange before signing up for Medicare at 65. Otherwise, they might end up owing hundreds or thousands of dollars for the monthly Covered California subsidy that lowered the premium. Both are primary insurance and a person can have just one of those.

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Doctors’ Testimony Crucial As Border Children Seek Asylum
Kaiser Health News

New York lawyer Brett Stark, who has worked with dozens of unaccompanied Central American children who crossed into the United States in the past year, says getting the courts to grant these kids asylum is extremely difficult. So he often turns to a special advocate — a doctor.

Such medical-legal partnerships have cropped up in New York and California, where thousands of unaccompanied minors have settled with their families or friends who were already in the U.S.

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Feds find many errors in Medicaid provider lists
Southern California Public Radio

In a new report, federal health officials say low-income Americans on Medicaid may be having trouble accessing health care because more than half of the doctors who are listed as available to treat them are not.

Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services called 1,800 doctors listed by health plans that contract with Medicaid programs in 32 states. They found that 51 percent of the doctors were not practicing at the location listed in the provider directories, not participating in Medicaid, or not accepting new Medicaid patients.

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Blue Shield of California makes sizable Medicaid-focused acquisition; others could follow
Modern Healthcare

A major California health insurer wants to ensure it gets a piece of the growing Medicaid market as the state expands Medicaid eligibility to more low-income residents.Blue Shield of California, one of the four largest insurance carriers in the state by revenue (PDF), signed a definitive agreement Monday to buy Care1st Health Plan for an undisclosed amount of cash. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2015, pending regulatory approval. It could prove a harbinger of more such deals in other Medicaid expansion states, one consultant forecasted.

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Bill and Sue Gross donate $10 million to Laguna hospital
Orange County Register

One of Orange County’s wealthiest couples is donating $10 million to upgrade the hospital in their hometown.

Mission Hospital Laguna Beach plans to use the money from Sue and Bill Gross, which was announced Tuesday, to make comprehensive improvements in its emergency room. Those will include new imaging technologies, enhanced facilities and emergency support services to ensure the facility’s sustainability, the Mission Hospital Foundation said in a news release.

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SV Hospital recognized for maternity care
Sonoma Valley Sun

Sonoma Valley Hospital has been named one of 33 “High-Performing Hospitals” in California for the quality of its maternity care services, according to a recent report issued by The California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce (CHART).

CHART analyzed four measures of hospital maternity care: low-risk C-section rates; episiotomy rates; rates of exclusive breastfeeding before discharge; and VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section).