News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Federal EHR efforts draw criticism at Senate hearing
Modern Healthcare

The federal electronic health-record incentive program has produced too few benefits for the cost involved and imposed overly harsh mandates on providers, senators of both parties said Tuesday during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. The program started in 2009 by giving providers and hospitals cash in exchange for using EHR systems.

News Headlines Article

ICD-10 Transition Poses Problems for ICD-9 Translation
HealthLeaders Media

The transition to the ICD-10 diagnostic code set on Oct. 1 will complicate financial and clinical forecasting and analyses that also rely upon data compiled under the outmoded ICD-9 code, researchers say. “Everything from staffing levels to payment and even protecting margins, all of this is based on the ICD-9 codes. All of these reports have to be changed,” says Andrew Boyd, assistant professor of biomedical and health information sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

News Headlines Article

With billions in the bank, Blue Shield of California loses its state tax-exempt status
Los Angeles Times

Authorities have revoked the tax-exempt status of nonprofit Blue Shield of California, potentially putting it on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in state taxes each year. The move by the California Franchise Tax Board comes as the state’s third-largest health insurer faces fresh criticism over its rate hikes, executive pay and $4.2 billion in financial reserves.

News Headlines Article

Medical-device tracking system seen as EHR roadblock
Modern Healthcare

Federal regulatory efforts to create a unique identifier system for medical devices has raised concerns that incorporating such data on insurance claims will add yet another stumbling block to healthcare’s implementation of electronic health-record systems.

As a result, “I think the whole process is going to go better if we’re very thoughtful about starting with UDI cases where the clinical benefits and the administrative burden reduction benefits are the greatest,” said Dr.

News Headlines Article

Breast cancer drug, key to Nektar growth plans, fails clinical trial
San Francisco Business Times

An experimental breast cancer drug from Nektar Therapeutics Inc. — a linchpin of the company’s future growth — failed a late-stage clinical trial, the company said Tuesday. The San Francisco-based drug developer’s stock (NASDAQ: NKTR) was down 16.5 percent, or $2.33 per share to $11.80 , in after-hours trading. The 852-patient trial of the drug, called NKTR-102, focused on the sickest of breast cancer patients: those whose cancer had spread to other parts of their body and who had since been through three other drug therapies.

News Headlines Article

ACHE: Healthcare Leaders Foresee a Constrained Future
HealthLeaders Media

Whether health plans force the issue or not — and in many areas, they’re not — hospital and health system leaders believe en masse that they are facing a future of capitation in some form or another. And the time grows short to get ready. That’s the message from top executives attending and presenting educational sessions at the 2015 American College of Healthcare Executives Congress in Chicago this week.

News Headlines Article

Report: California hospitals show progress preventing infections
Merced Sun-Star

Infections in health care settings continue to be a public health risk in California, the state revealed in a report last week.

According to data released by the California Department of Public Health, 424 acute care hospitals reported 18,780 infections in 2013.

But overall, according to the state, the report showed that California hospitals have demonstrated progress in preventing infections.

News Headlines Article

Online petition asks Washington to control cancer drug prices
Modern Healthcare

A grass-roots petition to improve the affordability of cancer drugs is gathering signatures—and stories—after being posted online in early March.

Two weeks in, nearly 4,000 people have signed the petition asking President Barack Obama, HHS and members of Congress to protest against high cancer drug prices. That’s because, according to research cited in the petition, the average price of cancer drugs has risen from $5,000 to $10,000 annually in 2000 to more than $120,000 a year today.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals seek extension of moratorium on ‘two midnights’ enforcement
Modern Healthcare

Medicare’s temporary “doc fix” isn’t the only controversial healthcare policy that expires at the end of March. The moratorium on enforcement of the so-called two-midnight policy for short hospital stays also runs out.

Hospitals want the enforcement moratorium extended and are also pressing the CMS to adopt additional guidance on paying for short hospital stays. Relief could come either through legislation or regulatory changes.

News Headlines Article

Early support shown for hospital affiliation
Tehachapi News

Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District’s bid for a possible partnership with Adventist Health seems to have support from local leaders.

Eugene Suksi, the district’s chief executive officer, updated local business and community members at the March 4 Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council meeting about the possible affiliation process.

The healthcare district’s board decided at its Feb. 25 meeting to pursue a partnership with Adventist in a bid to secure funding for its new hospital in Capital Hills.

News Headlines Article

Radiology technologists picket at Marin General Hospital
Marin Independent Journal

About three dozen Marin General Hospital imaging technologists picketed the hospital Tuesday in a dispute over wages and employee contributions toward monthly health insurance premiums.

Radiology Associates, the union that represents radiology, CT scan, MRI and ultrasound technologists, said the picket was informational in nature and did not involve workers walking off the job.

News Headlines Article

Healthcare district suspends hospital phasing plans
Tehachapi News

Healthcare district board members revisited a decision made back in October to phase the new Tehachapi Hospital project in Capital Hills during a March 10 special meeting.

In a 3-0 vote, the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District Board suspended phased construction. Director Henry Schaeffer abstained, and Director Kim Horowitz resigned prior to the meeting.

Board president Mike Nixon said that if Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District decided to continue building the hospital in phases, it may cause more headaches, especially if the district decided to partner with Adventist Health.

News Headlines Article

Tulare hospital to reopen Lindsay center with extended hours
The Business Journal

Tulare Regional Medical Center has announced that its Lindsay Healthcare Center will reopen this Thursday with full-time hours and additional medical services.

The clinic, located at 845 N. Sequoia Ave. in Lindsay, is operated by Healthcare Conglomerate Associates which took over management for the hospital and its clinics last year. Under the new management, health center hours have been extended from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

News Headlines Article

House GOP budget plan: Overhaul Medicaid, Medicare; scrap ACA
Modern Healthcare

House Republicans are proposing far-reaching changes to Medicare and Medicaid as a part of a blueprint to balance the budget within 10 years. The proposal also reiterates plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, including financial assistance for low- and middle-income individuals, and the taxes implemented to help pay for coverage expansion programs.

“This will save over $2 trillion, end the Obamacare raid on Medicare and rescind all of the tax increases on job creators and healthcare innovation,” the budget document states.

News Headlines Article

El Camino Cancer Center expands services and programs
Los Altos Town Crier

The thousands of cancer patients treated annually at El Camino Hospital will soon have expanded options with the upgraded Cancer Center, scheduled to open this month in a new location.

The $5.5 million expansion in Oak Pavilion on South Drive in Mountain View nearly doubles the size of the center’s current 6,000-square-foot suite in Melchor Pavilion, down the street.

Hospital officials hope that the larger space will make patient visits more convenient and comfortable, said Dr. Shyamali Singhal, medical director of the Cancer Center.

Commands