News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

 

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Full speed ahead for health care changes in California
Ventura County Star

While California’s political leaders condemned or celebrated Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, health policy groups, doctor and hospital organizations, and state officials charged with implementing the law said they are prepared to move full speed ahead.

“People want to put politics aside and make health care work for all Californians,” said Peter Lee, executive director of the California Health Benefit Exchange.

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Providers, Payers Largely Favor PPACA Decision
Health Leaders Media

Most of the many-faceted segments of the healthcare industry appeared pleased with Thursday’s majority Supreme Court decision to uphold most provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, even as they vowed to work toward the repeal of pieces they still find objectionable. “Today’s ruling does give clarity to hospitals as they move forward to transform the way they provide care and work with patients and communities as well,” American Hospital Association president and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said in a media teleconference.

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Healthcare law still faces obstacles
Los Angeles Times

President Obama’s healthcare law emerged from its bruising two-year legal ordeal largely intact, with its primary goal of guaranteeing all Americans health security still standing.

The Supreme Court, however, is only the first of several daunting obstacles the law must clear.

Most immediately is the November election, which could shift control of the White House and the Senate to Republicans, which would almost certainly spell the end for the Affordable Care Act.

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State’s medical malpractice law faces more challenges
The Bay Citizen

The family of a San Francisco man who died after a 2008 surgery filed an appeal last week over their malpractice award – the latest in a round of legal challenges to a state law that has long pitted medical providers against consumer advocates and attorneys who represent patients.

The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, enacted in 1975, limits financial awards in malpractice cases.

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California’s doctor shortage to get worse under health care ruling
Los Angeles Daily News

The Supreme Court’s validation of President Obama’s landmark health law sets off a scramble across California to find enough primary care doctors and other professionals to serve an estimated 3 million newly insured patients by 2014.

California already rates below average in the number of doctors per capita.

But the state – rural counties in particular – will face additional headwinds as health reform slashes the ranks of its 7 million uninsured.

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Memorial Hospital ranked high in national survey on heart attack treatment
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has been named the third best among 50 U.S. hospitals for heart attack treatment, according to a health care industry publication.

The ranking is based on hospital readmissions within 30 days for patients who were treated for a heart attack. Becker’s Hospital Review, which provides business and legal news and analysis related to hospitals, used public data submitted to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from 2007 to 2010.

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Clinics across region gear up for healthcare reform’s treatment demands
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

From one end of the region to another, community clinics are gearing up for health care reform’s bottom line – thousands and thousands of new patients.

At sites in Pomona and Banning, new offices for medical help are in the final stages of preparation for opening, perhaps sometime next month.

Others are making plans to expand, buoyed by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 vote Thursday, preserving the Affordable Care Act.

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Coordination a Hurdle to Building ACOs
Health Leaders Media

Initiating collaborative relationships is the key to improved quality, most healthcare leaders say. Teamwork is an emerging focus, with nearly three-quarters (72%) of those surveyed entering collaborative care relationships. At the same time, healthcare leaders are reluctant to engage in shared savings programs as a risk-sharing cost-reduction tactic: 63% say they have no plans for such programs, which are a foundation of the evolving accountable care organization models.

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Stakeholders May Balk at Full Repeal
Health Leaders Media

The ink had barely dried on Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the individual mandate when Republican Congressional leaders announced that they had scheduled a July 11 vote to once again repeal the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Political junkies may recall that when the new Congress convened in 2011, one of the first votes by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives was to pass a full repeal of the act.

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Health care exchange will offer policies
San Francisco Chronicle

As California moves ahead to put the federal health care law in place, front and center is the creation of what is known as the exchange, a virtual marketplace where individuals and small businesses will be able to purchase insurance.

State health officials hope the exchange will be kind of like Travelocity or Amazon for consumers – a sort of one-stop shop for health coverage.

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Reluctance in Some States Over Medicaid Expansion
New York Times

Millions of poor people could still be left without medical insurance under the national health care law if states take an option granted by the Supreme Court and decide not to expand their Medicaid programs, state officials and health policy experts said Friday. Republican officials in more than a half-dozen states said they opposed expanding Medicaid or had serious doubts about it, even though the federal government would pick up all the costs in the first few years and at least 90 percent of the expenses after that.

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Sacramento part of study cited in court’s health care decision
Sacramento Bee

Few Sacramentans may be aware that the story of their city is embedded in the immortal words of the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Fewer still may realize that when it comes to building a good health care system, Sacramento’s example is cited as an outcome to avoid.

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Legislation threatens small business health care benefits
Capitol Weekly

If there’s one thing that President Obama and I agree on, it’s that “we shouldn’t be holding small businesses back – we should be making it easier for them to succeed.” Across our state, California’s small businesses are struggling to recover from the greatest financial downturn of our lifetime. Many have been forced to cut costs, reduce their workforce, or close their doors altogether.

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UC Davis takes over state cancer registry
Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Health System will partner with the California Department of Public Health to run the day-to-day operations of the California Cancer Registry, university officials announced Friday. Legislation signed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown required the state to seek competitive bids for cancer registry operations. UC Davis won the bid. Because California is so diverse, the registry is a leading resource for population-based data on cancer.

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DNA Tests Failing to Win Insurer Consensus With Lives at Stake
San Francisco Chronicle

When Matt Christman watches his kids play soccer every week, he harbors a nagging worry that one of them will suddenly collapse and die of a heart attack.

Christman, 37, has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition that kills at least 1,600 people in the U.S. annually. Among its victims are Boston Celtic Reggie Lewis, who succumbed on a basketball court at 27, and Loyola Marymount University basketball star Hank Gathers.

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ArrowCare bridges health care reform for 14,000 San Bernardino County residents
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center has taken a bridge into the future. For about 14,000 county residents, the future of medical care under the Affordable Care Act already is here. The state of California, the federal government and the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems formed an agreement to allow a portion of the healthcare reform law to roll forward early.

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AMA Warns Of Upcoming Shortage Of Doctors
KERO

When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 ruling Thursday, the American Medical Association was quick to release a statement in support of the “historic” decision that will give more people access to health coverage. But (and there’s always a “but”) medical professionals across the country are wondering: When an additional 32 million Americans get medical insurance, who exactly is going to treat them?

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Court ruling opens door to big changes in health care
HealthyCal.org

The Supreme Court decision last week upholding President Barack Obama’s health reform law clears the way for a transformation in the way millions of Californians will get their health insurance, and, ultimately, their care. For the shrinking number of people who still receive insurance coverage as a benefit from their employers – mostly at big companies – the changes will be gradual at first, though still significant.

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States May Opt Out of Medicaid Expansion, Court Rules
Health Leaders Media

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that states can opt out of the expansion of the Medicaid program without facing the loss of their existing funding. The ruling provides cash-strapped states with an easy way to avoid adding additional members to their Medicaid rolls and could have a chilling effect on the interest among health plans in the Medicaid market.

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More insurance-exchange funding announced
Modern Healthcare

A day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the healthcare reform law, HHS announced additional funding opportunities to assist states in developing insurance exchanges.

States have until Dec. 31, 2014 to apply for these additional 10 funding opportunities for either level one or level two grants. Level one grants provide up to a year of funding to states that have made some headway with their exchange planning grant, while level two grants are for those states that are farther along in the exchange process.

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GOP vows to put health care reform to voters
San Francisco Chronicle

Republican congressional leaders said Sunday that voters – not the Supreme Court – will have the final word on President Obama’s health care law come November. And they are betting that the law’s unpopularity will be enough to drive Democrats from power.

“We’ve got one last chance here to beat Obamacare, and we can do that in the November election,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., calling the law the “single worst piece of legislation” passed in modern times.

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Reform law’s effect on employer health insurance a looming concern
The Mercury News

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the health care reform law, one worrisome question is how many businesses will drop insurance for their employees, figuring the newly mandated financial penalty for not offering coverage is less costly than the insurance premiums. Officials with several business associations contend many small to medium-sized firms are mulling that choice and that some may even decide to shut their doors for good, rather than deal with the law.

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What’s the Affordable Care Act’s impact on small business?
Southern California Public Radio

The Supreme Court’s upholding of most of the Affordable Care Act means some small businesses will continue to enjoy a tax break while others will have some tough decisions to make.

The law offers a tax credit to some businesses with 25 or fewer employees when they cover at least half the cost of their workers’ health insurance premiums. It will also fine companies with more than 50 workers that don’t provide coverage.

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Antibiotic use, resistance tied: study
Modern Healthcare

Large-scale seasonal prescribing of antibiotics can lead to significant resistance for some pathogens, and individual hospital efforts to combat resistance are unlikely to be effective unless they are part of a coordinated, community-level campaign, according to a study conducted by Princeton University researchers and published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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Plea to end transplant ban between HIV patients
San Francisco Chronicle

A federal ban that forbids HIV-positive donors from giving organs to HIV-positive recipients is outdated and unnecessarily restrictive and should be repealed for the benefit of all transplant patients, says a growing clutch of health care and public health experts.

HIV and transplant experts, joined by patients and other supporters at a congressional briefing in Washington last week, made pleas for legislation that would remove the 1988 ban on organ donations from HIV-positive people.

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Why health care costs are sending American jobs overseas
ALLVOICES

American jobs are shipped overseas because labor is cheaper. But understanding why is not obvious. The truth of the matter is, Americans are victims of their own capitalism. Conservatives like to blame unions for the high cost of American labor. However, it is not unions in and of themselves that raise labor costs, it’s the benefit packages. A large part of the cost of those packages is health insurance.

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A Call For a New Primary Care Society
The Health Care Blog

How can primary care’s position be reasserted as a policy leader rather than follower? Even though it is a linchpin discipline within America’s health system and its larger economy – a mass of evidence compellingly demonstrates that empowered primary care is associated with better health outcomes and lower costs – primary care has been overwhelmed and outmaneuvered by a health care industry intent on freeing access to lucrative downstream services and revenues.

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The Beginning of the Next Healthcare
The Health Care Blog

What a cliffhanger! It is an historic decision, found on the narrowest possible grounds, with a majority agreeing on the result, but not broadly on the reasoning. Effects: The principal effects of the finding, from the point of view of the system: They have just avoided enormous chaos over the coming years. The system is chaotic enough already, at a tipping point into an unclear future, with the huge shift in underlying economic factors.

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