News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

 

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86 Percent of Health Law Enrollees Receive Subsidies, White House Says
New York Times

The Obama administration said Tuesday that 11.7 million Americans now have private health insurance through federal and state marketplaces, with 86 percent of them receiving financial assistance from the federal government to help pay premiums.

About three-fourths of people with marketplace coverage — 8.8 million consumers — live in the 37 states served by HealthCare.gov, the website for the federal insurance exchange. The other 2.9 million people are in states that created and operate their own exchanges.

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Giving Patients Access to EHRs Does Not Increase Provider Workloads
iHealthBeat

Allowing patients to view their electronic health records during hospital stays does not drastically increase nurses’ and physicians’ workloads, according to a University of Colorado study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, Reuters reports.

To assess what patients might learn while viewing their EHRs during hospitals stays, University of Colorado assistant professor Jonathan Pell and his team provided tablet computers to 50 individuals who knew how to use the Internet. Most of the individuals had home computers, and more than half had laptops or smartphones with them.

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CMS preps ‘next generation’ ACO model
Modern Healthcare

The CMS Innovation Center unveiled plans for a new test of accountable care with greater financial risk for hospitals and doctors but also more freedom to influence how patients seek medical care. The new program would launch in January 2016 and expand the following year to reach a total of 15 to 20 accountable care organizations, the CMS’ Dr. Patrick Conway said during an Association of Health Care Journalists event Tuesday. Conway is the CMS deputy administrator for innovation and quality and its chief medical officer.

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Value of U.S. Cancer Care Questioned
HealthLeaders Media

U.S. spending on cancer care has been increasing more steeply and expensively compared to spending in Western Europe in recent decades, but without a corresponding decrease in cancer deaths, research published in Health Affairs finds. The finding raises questions about whether the U.S. is getting its money’s worth for patients being treated for cancer.

Samir Soneji, PhD, assistant professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice based his report on an analysis of data from the World Health Organization’s Cancer Mortality database between 1982 and 2010 for 12 common types of cancer.

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Federal health insurance aid in doubt for nearly 8 million
San Francisco Chronicle

Nearly 8 million people could lose up to $24 billion a year in health insurance subsidies in a Supreme Court case threatening President Barack Obama’s law, according to a government report released Tuesday. The estimates by The Associated Press show what’s at stake in the case. Health overhaul opponents argue that subsidies are illegal in states where the federal government took charge of running the health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges. The justices heard arguments last week, and the court’s decision is expected in late June.

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Exchange enrollment sees limited progress with youth, minorities
Modern Healthcare

Nearly 11.7 million consumers have now elected or were automatically re-enrolled into plans on federally operated or state-based insurance exchanges, while the percentage of under-35 enrollees was essentially unchanged from the prior year, said HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and other agency officials Tuesday.That figure includes 8.84 million using the HealthCare.gov platform and 2.85 million in 14 state-based exchanges.

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FDA Decision Signals New Competition For Some Of The Costliest Drugs
National Public Radio

Mark McCamish spent more than five years preparing for a presentation he gave this winter.

McCamish is in charge of biopharmaceutical drug development at the Sandoz division of Switzerland’s Novartis. He and his colleagues made the case to a panel of 14 cancer specialists and a group of Food and Drug Administration regulators that a company drug codenamed EP2006 should be approved for sale in the U.S.

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Playing The Odds With Statins: Heart Disease Or Diabetes?
National Public Radio

Last year my cholesterol shot up despite living nowhere near a decent barbeque joint. I was totally stressed. I wasn’t overweight. But I was pretty sedentary. My doctor prescribed a high dose of Lipitor, a powerful statin.

For women of a certain age, statins are supposedly the best thing since Lycra for keeping wayward bodies in check. Statins interfere with the synthesis of low-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol. LDL is a prime suspect in heart disease, the top killer of women.

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Genetic Disorder May Reveal How Statins Boost Diabetes Risk
National Public Radio

Millions of people take statins to lower their cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But taking statins does slightly up the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Figuring out whether that means “No statins for you” isn’t always easy, despite a proliferation of guidelines intended to help.

Here’s in interesting wrinkle: If you’ve got a hereditary form of high cholesterol you’re much less likely to get Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

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Brain Tumor Outcomes Worse for Self-pay Patients
HealthLeaders Media

Health care disparities among the insured and uninsured may be improving, but health disparities persist, a brain tumor study suggests.

Study after study has found that those covered by Medicaid are more likely to suffer from bad outcomes than privately insured patients. One of the latest finds self-pay and Medicaid patients treated for brain tumors are more likely to suffer from in-hospital complications than those with private insurance.

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Amgen to lay off 300 at Onyx, close South San Francisco facility
Los Angeles Business Journal

Amgen Inc. will shed roughly 300 of 750 Onyx Pharmaceuticals employees and shutter the South San Francisco facility the giant biotech picked up in its $10 billion acquisition of Onyx less than 18 months ago. The move, following positive news last week on the signature drug of the Amgen-Onyx deal, is the proverbial shoe-drop that Bay Area biotech followers long expected as Thousand Oaks-based Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) undertakes another restructuring, this time of its cancer drug business.

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Health Net launches palliative care programs in OC, San Diego
Los Angeles Business Journal

Health Net Inc. has launched new palliative care programs in Orange and San Diego counties, following a successful launch in Arizona. Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness, focusing on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness. Palliative care providers work closely with a patient’s other providers, delivering treatment concurrently with disease-directed therapies.

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Prime Healthcare nixes Daughters of Charity deal
Modern Healthcare

Prime Healthcare Services is abandoning its bid for Daughters of Charity Health System in Los Altos Hills, Calif., citing “onerous and unprecedented conditions” from the California attorney general.California Attorney General Kamala Harris approved the controversial $843 million deal in late February but set more than 300 conditions that went beyond the original transaction terms. Critics of the deal—including a number of elected officials and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West—had put pressure on Harris to reject the takeover.

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Palm Drive Health Care District board votes to approve hospital opening
Sonoma County Gazette

After several hours of a standing room only meeting, the board of directors of the Palm Drive Health Care District (PDHD) voted unanimously to approve the management services agreement (see below) with Sonoma West Medical Center (SWMC), contingent upon further approval of revised bylaws for the district and bylaws for the proposed governing body. The room erupted into applause with a standing ovation that carried into the halls where people were seated, listening to the meeting over a speaker.

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