News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Anthem Data Breach a Potential Game Changer for Healthcare
HealthLeaders Media

Anthem Health’s massive data breach announced Thursday sent shockwaves through the healthcare information technology sector. As many as 80 million people may have had personal data compromised, placing them at risk of identity fraud, Anthem reported.

Investigators, including the FBI, are still sifting through what happened, attempting to determine how security was breached, who may have done it, and what will happen to the stolen information.

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UCLA Study Finds Paramedics May Be Best First Line of Defense in Treating Stroke Patients
Sierra Sun Times

A consortium led by UCLA physicians has found that paramedics can safely start providing people with medication in the first minutes after the onset of a stroke instead of waiting for them to receive treatment at a hospital. Although the drug tested, magnesium sulfate, did not improve patient outcomes, the research points to a new method for treating stroke patients quickly. For people who have suffered a stroke, immediate treatment is key — the more time that passes before the restoration of blood flow, the higher the likelihood that stroke victims will suffer irreversible brain damage.

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Why are hospitals using Apple’s HealthKit? It’s simple
Modern Healthcare

History just might repeat itself when it comes to Apple’s HealthKit. If the tech giant triumphs in the healthcare marketplace, it would be yet another example of it perfecting a nascent technology that its competitors had brought to market first.

There were mp3 players before the iPod, smartphones before the iPhone, and tablet computers before the iPad.

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When it comes to vaccination, people trust online commenters as much as doctors
Washington Post

As measles spreads across parts of the U.S. like some 21st-century plague, many concerned persons have begun to wonder how anti-vaccination beliefs still persist, exactly.

Maybe it’s the manifestation of a deeper culture war, some suggest. Maybe it’s rooted in psychology. Or class inequality. Or good old-fashioned stubbornness.

Now there’s evidence that this particular strain of nonsense incubates in the same petri dish as most other Internet inanities. According to a forthcoming paper from researchers at Washington State, consumers making decisions about vaccines are heavily influenced by … online comments. They’ll even trust the medical opinions of the anonymous Internet hordes over, say, the government agency charged with monitoring such things.

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Health care costs forecast to rise 7 percent
Boston Globe

Health care costs are projected to increase by about 7 percent this year, making it likely that employers will try to control expenses by changing benefits, increasing deductibles, and otherwise shifting more costs to their workers, the state’s health insurance companies said Thursday.

The increase, about double the target for growth in medical spending under the state’s universal health care law, is driven in part by expensive hospital visits, complex procedures, and the astronomical cost of specialty drugs, including one for hepatitis C, the insurers told a group of employee benef

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Where Does the ACA Go From Here?
The Health Care Blog

Barring a Republican landslide in 2016, it looks like the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is here to stay. By and large, we think that is a good thing. While there are many things in the ACA that we would like to see changed, the law has provided needed coverage for millions of Americans that found themselves (for a variety of reasons) shut out of the health insurance market. That being said, since its passage the ACA has evolved and the rule makers in CMS continue to tinker around the edges.

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Dems: Millions would lose coverage under GOP healthcare plan
The Hill

Two Democratic senators are mocking the latest Republican plan to replace ObamaCare, arguing it could result in “millions and millions” of people losing insurance.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who spearheads the Senate’s “ACA Works” campaign, dismissed the new GOP replacement plan as a “nonstarter” and knocked Republicans for releasing a nine-page outline instead of a full legislative proposal.

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Payment Reform Concerns Extend Beyond the Financial
HealthLeaders Media

As Medicare officials gear up to accelerate value-based payment reforms, healthcare providers are bracing for a rough ride.

“We need to create a sustainable health system, not a sustainable healthcare system,” says James Weinstein, DO, president and CEO of Lebanon, NH-based Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. “The model needs to focus on health, not healthcare.” Weinstein acknowledges the economic necessity to “cut the spend” in Medicare, noting that the program was launched 50 years ago with a blank-check financing model.

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Chicago measles cases add to growing national outbreak
Healthcare Finance News

As measles cases spread across the country, including the latest outbreak involving five children at a daycare center in the Chicago area, the disease is racking up big concerns for doctors, as well as big bills for state and local governments.

The infection from one outbreak in Disneyland has spread to at least 102 cases in 14 states, with 92 reported cases in California, the hardest hit state. Arizona is second hardest hit with seven cases.

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China might be behind Anthem data breach stoking identity theft, fraud fears
The Mercury News

Anthem health insurance customers across the nation reeled in outrage Thursday upon learning that up to 80 million of their names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and other data had been stolen, leaving them at high risk of identity theft.

Credit card and medical information apparently wasn’t taken, but that was cold comfort. Security and privacy experts called it the largest data breach in the health care industry, affecting one out of four Americans.

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Anthem attack a wake-up call to step up cybersecurity
Modern Healthcare

The historic cyberattack against Anthem is a reminder that even the largest healthcare organizations are not immune from hacking, cybersecurity experts agree.

The attack is a stark reminder to have strong cybersecurity measures and a skilled information technology staff in place to protect customer data. Such efforts are just part of a multifaceted strategy needed to protect against such hacks, experts agree.

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Anthem hack: Could the insurer have prevented it?
The Mercury News

The data of up to 80 million people that hackers stole from health care insurer Anthem’s database was not encrypted, sparking questions about whether the company had properly protected the information.

“Because an administrator’s account was compromised, no amount of encryption would have prevented this attack,” said Darrel Ng, a spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross in California, after the company began warning the public Wednesday about the breach.

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Anthem hack will shake up market for cyber risk insurance
Modern Healthcare

The cyberattack on Anthem, which affected 80 million people, likely won’t do immediate financial damage to Anthem’s bottom line because it had cybersecurity insurance coverage, J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Justin Lake said Thursday.

What the attack will do is impact the market for such cyber security insurance for healthcare providers, payers and others.

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Massive data breach at Anthem could affect 80 million customers
San Francisco Business Times

Anthem, Inc., the second-largest health insurance company in the U.S., says as many as 80 million customers have had their account information stolen. Anthem plans and brands affected include: Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Amerigroup, Caremore, Unicare, Healthlink and DeCare. Hackers gained access to Anthem’s computer system and took information including names, birthdays, medical IDs/Social Security numbers, street addresses, e-mail addresses and employment information, including income data, Anthem president and CEO Joseph

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Patient ratings not linked to cancer surgery outcomes
Yahoo! News

For hospitals, patient satisfaction ratings don’t necessarily line up with cancer surgery stats, according to a new study.

“I don’t think the results are necessarily surprising, they just highlight that there is very little publicly reported hospital data to help guide cancer patients in decision making,” said lead author Dr. Jason D. Wright of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.

It’s difficult to say if the results would be similar with a different group of patients who were not undergoing surgery for cancer, he said.

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Hill Physicians CEO to retire; replacement chosen
Sacramento Business Journal

Hill Physicians Medical Group chief executive officer Darryl Cardoza will retire at the end of March, group officials announced Thursday. Chief operating officer David Joyner will succeed him. Like Cardoza, Joyner also will be CEO of PriMed Management Consulting Services, the management services organization for Hill. Cardoza and Steve McDermott co-founded PriMed 1984. Together, they developed Hill Physicians into the largest independent physician association in California.

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