News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Obama’s 2016 budget cuts Medicare but eliminates sequestration
Modern Healthcare

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal would slash more than $415 billion in Medicare funding over the next 10 years—largely echoing previous editions—and he inserted several provisions that would advance the administration’s effort to move Medicare to value-based payments.

With the lame-duck president facing Republican majorities in the House and Senate, his spending blueprint is generally considered dead-on-arrival. Some observers, however, say that details of the president’s budget are likely to influence whatever budget deal is reached with congressional leaders.

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California Ranks Dead Last in Spending on Diabetes Prevention
KQED Radio

California spends less per person than any state on diabetes prevention programs, even as one in 12 California adults is estimated to suffer from the chronic disease, according to a new report from the California state auditor.

Using only federal grants, California spent just 3 cents per person on diabetes prevention in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, compared with New York’s 42 cents per person in state and federal money that year, the report noted.

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Obamacare: Reformed, Not Repeal, Is the Answer

Any member of Congress who ran in 2014 pledging to vote for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) should of course do so. That was a campaign pledge.

But having done that, and seen it lead to nothing, opponents of the ACA need to move on to a more productive and realistic strategy to achieve the core elements of a more conservative vision of health care reform. That approach could well meet with a measure of bipartisan support, given the enormous practical challenges facing the ACA.

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Court must defend Obamacare subsidies
USA Today

Last week, I joined with federal and state legislators involved in passing the Affordable Care Act to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the case of King v. Burwell.

The plaintiffs in that case are suing to prevent millions of Americans from receiving tax credits to purchase quality, affordable coverage through the federal health insurance marketplace. Since the state and federal marketplaces first began offering coverage last year, tax credits and subsidies have saved thousands of dollars for individual, family and small business consumers.

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Financial Collapse of Insurance Co-op Could Cost $145.3 Million
HealthLeaders Media

The death knell has sounded for CoOportunity Health.

With a liquidation petition filed last week, the Des Moines, IA-based health insurance carrier is destined to become the first financial failure among the nearly two dozen cooperatives launched simultaneously last year with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchanges.

In a statement announcing the liquidation petition, Iowa Insurance Division (IID) officials said CoOportunity is insolvent and beyond rehabilitation. Iowa Commissioner Nick Gerhart, who obtained a court order placing the company into rehabilitation in late December, concluded that “further efforts to rehabilitate the company would be futile.”

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CMS extends freeze on new home healthcare agencies in select markets
Modern Healthcare

The CMS has extended a moratorium for another six months on new Medicare home healthcare agencies, subunits and ambulance suppliers in a number of major cities as part of an ongoing effort to curb fraud.New home healthcare agencies and home healthcare agency subunits will not be allowed for another six months in the Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Houston and Miami areas, according to a notice published in the Federal Register Monday. New Medicare Part B ambulance suppliers will be prohibited in the Houston and Philadelphia areas for another six months as well.

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Acupuncture May Help With Nasal Allergies, Doctors Say
National Public Radio

If you’ve got a stuffy, drippy or itchy nose from allergies, figuring out which remedies help best can be tough.

New guidelines from the Academy of Otolaryngology should make it easier for people and their doctors to choose the treatments that will help the most, from over-the-counter remedies like antihistamines to more serious interventions like allergy shots and even surgery.

And because allergic rhinitis affects 1 in 6 Americans, that’s a lot of stuffy drippy misery potentially avoided.

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UC Davis researchers get almost $4M in stem cell technology grants
Sacramento Business Journal

Two University of California Davis researchers were awarded more than $1.8 million each in new grant funding to continue their work on tools that enable doctors to assess the effectiveness of stem cell therapies. The two local awards are part of almost $30 million in three-year “tools and technologies” grants awarded Thursday by the state stem cell agency, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

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New technology initiative to be used in Humboldt hospital

Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District and its Jerold Phelps Community Hospital decided to partner with Healthland Centriq for its complete electronic health record solution. This will be for the health system’s inpatients, financial, ambulatory and emergency department suite solutions. The Jerold Phelps Community Hospital’s CEO, Harry Jasper said the district chose Healthland because it wanted to advance its information technology program, and its overall Electronic Health Records management.

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Hospital foundation names honorees
Sonoma Valley Sun

The Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation has selected Gerry Brinton and Lorrie Hohorst to receive its Pulse Award, than annual honor recognizing outstanding Sonoma Valley women who have made significant contributions to the community through their volunteerism, community involvement and philanthropy.

Brinton and Hohorst will be honored at the Foundation’s 10th annual Celebration of Women luncheon on Thursday, May 21, 11:30 a.m. at The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa.