News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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OIG Raps CMS Oversight of Compounded Drugs
HealthLeaders Media

More than two years after drugs contaminated with a virulent fungus killed 64 patients and caused related illnesses in another 687, Medicare-approved hospital accreditors still don’t properly oversee contracts hospitals have with compounding pharmacies to assure these drugs are safe.

That’s the conclusion of an Office of Inspector General report, which recommends the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services consider requiring 55 practices that accreditors should use to oversee compounded sterile preparations (CSPs).

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Nurses with post-graduate training can improve healthcare quality, researchers say
Modern Healthcare

Researchers from the University of Missouri’s flagship campus in Columbia say nurses with post-graduate training can help improve the quality of healthcare.

In a recently published study, MU Sinclair School of Nursing researchers found that care is better in states where so-called advanced practice registered nurses, also known as APRNs, are allowed to practice independently. Examples of APRNs include nurse practitioners.

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The Potential Impact Of Big Data On Medicine
National Public Radio

Some researchers say big data could change the way medical research is done and the way individual doctors make medical decisions. Others say it raises too many questions when it comes to medicine.  (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 5.)

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Added protections for consumer information on health website
San Francisco Chronicle

The Obama administration appears to be making broader changes to protect consumer information on the government’s health insurance website, after objections from lawmakers and privacy advocates. The Associated Press reported last week that details such as consumers’ income and tobacco use were going to private companies with a commercial interest in such data. AP also reported that a number of companies had embedded connections on HealthCare.gov, raising privacy and security issues for some tech experts.

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What’s Next For Physician Compare?
The Health Care Blog

Of the many hidden gems in the Affordable Care Act, one of my favorites is Physician Compare. This website could end up being a game changer—holding doctors accountable for their care and giving consumers a new way to compare and choose doctors. Or it could end up a dud. The outcome depends on how brave and resolute the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is over the next few years.

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Measles outbreak changes game for Bay Area hospitals
San Francisco Chronicle

With the Disneyland measles outbreak expected to grow in the coming weeks, Bay Area hospitals and doctors’ offices are preparing for new cases and a flood of questions from patients worried about getting sick. Health care providers who have never seen a case of measles also are being trained on how to recognize the illness and what to do with patients who show up in clinics or emergency rooms with suspicious symptoms.

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Marin vaccination exemptions dropping thanks to new law
San Francisco Chronicle

A new law may be reversing a rise in the percent of kindergarteners exempt from vaccinations in Marin County, county officials said. Between 2002 and 2012 the percentage of kindergarteners exempt from vaccinations jumped from 3.7 percent to 7.8 percent. A law that went into effect last year requires parents who don’t want their children to be vaccinated to have a conversation about immunization with a healthcare provider.

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DNA Blood Test Gives Women A New Option For Prenatal Screening
National Public Radio

When Amy Seitz got pregnant with her second child last year, she knew that being 35 years old meant there was an increased chance of chromosomal disorders like Down syndrome. She wanted to be screened, and she knew just what kind of screening she wanted — a test that’s so new, some women and doctors don’t quite realize what they’ve signed up for.

This kind of test , called cell free fetal DNA testing, uses a simple blood sample from an expectant mother to analyze bits of fetal DNA that have leaked into her bloodstream.

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Safe Doctors, Unsafe Patients: A Tale of Two Infections
The Health Care Blog

Call it a tale of two infections. It’s the story of how hospitals have blocked transmission of a dangerous infection that patients can give doctors, while a hospital-caused infection that can kill patients continues to be widely tolerated. It involves saved lives and endangered ones ­– and also of billions of dollars spent needlessly due to unsafe care. The infection that’s been conquered is occupational transmission to doctors and other health care workers of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

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Dying Californians could get experimental drugs under “right to try” bill
Sacramento Bee

Terminally ill Californians could get access to treatments not yet approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration under a bill by Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier.

Rather than having to wait out the lengthy vetting process for new medications or devices, Californians would be able to take a gamble by obtaining treatments the FDA has not yet allowed physicians to prescribe. Assembly Bill 159 would shield doctors who offer the drugs from liability and would allow insurance companies to cover the treatment.

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SF’s first stand-alone children’s hospital set to open
San Francisco Examiner

Step inside the new children’s hospital in San Francisco and it might feel more like you are at the Exploratorium. That is exactly what officials at the UC San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco want patients to experience with its light-shadow installation and rotating art exhibits in the lobby. The facility is The City’s first stand-alone children’s hospital, and it is one of three new UCSF hospitals that will open Sunday as part of a $1.5 billion medical center at Mission Bay.

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