News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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California vaccine bill clears first committee
Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill barring most parents from opting out of vaccinations for children enrolled in school, voting after a nearly four-hour emotional hearing that saw multiple people ejected for shouting over legislators. The final vote was 6-2, with Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, and Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, opposing. The Senate Health Committee chair, Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa, abstained.

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Doctors have done a complete 180 on one of the most common procedures in America
Yahoo! News

Specifically, 12% of hospital patients who underwent some procedure had a blood transfusion.

That’s more than needed breathing machines and echocardiograms, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

But evidence is mounting that a substantial portion of blood transfusions are not necessary. That means some patients are taking on risks and costs for a procedure that isn’t really helping them.

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Value of 30-day Readmissions Measure Questioned
HealthLeaders Media

Not all quality measures are created equal: Some are good, some are head-scratchers, and a handful may even be dangerous to patients.

That’s the argument of “Quantity Over Quality: How the Rise in Quality Measures is Not Producing Quality Results,” a perspective piece in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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Doctors Make House Calls On Tablets Carried By Houston Firefighters
capital public radio

It seems like every firefighter you ask can rattle off examples of 911 calls that didn’t come even close to being life-threatening.

“A spider bite that’s two or three weeks old,” says Jeff Jacobs. “A headache, or a laceration,” says Ashley Histand.

Alberto Vela remembers another call from a woman who said, “This medicine’s not working; now you need to take me to the hospital so I can get a different medication.”

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Obamacare group slashes staff

The main national organization promoting Obamacare enrollment is cutting 100 jobs amid a major retrenchment as key funders turn to other health care priorities.

It’s the beginning of the end for Enroll America, which was set up by liberal advocates of the Affordable Care Act to run a sophisticated, political-style campaign to persuade Americans to get covered. The group, led by veterans of President Barack Obama’s campaigns and administration, was never intended to last forever, but a precipitous drop in funding forced it to scale back to half of its peak size after only two seasons of Obamacare sign-up. That’s a more rapid throttling back than some of the people associated with Enroll had envisioned at the start.

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Vaccine exemptions: California SB277 to end opt-outs advances in 6-2 Senate Health Committee vote
The Mercury News

Unswayed by a relentless parade of opposition, a key Senate panel on Wednesday passed a bill that would strengthen California’s vaccination requirements, capping an emotional hearing that marked the beginning of a battle over what has become Sacramento’s most contentious issue this year.

For more than 11/2 hours, an extraordinary wave of parents and children from across the state crept one by one to a microphone to implore the Senate Health Committee to kill the legislation they insist violates parents’ rights and puts their children at risk.

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State Senate panel OKs bill limiting vaccination waivers at raucous hearing
Los Angeles Times

A bill that would make childhood vaccinations harder to avoid survived its first legislative test Wednesday, after a three-hour hearing marked by raw emotion on both sides of the issue and a packed rally at which Robert F. Kennedy Jr. denounced the measure.

The measure, which would end parents’ ability to obtain vaccination waivers for their children based on personal beliefs, passed the state Senate Health Committee on a 6-2 vote.

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Hundreds Protest Vaccine Exemptions Ban In San Diego

Protesters in San Diego took to the streets Wednesday to voice their opposition to Senate Bill 277, a proposal to remove personal belief exemptions for childhood vaccinations.

About 250 protesters, including children, carried signs that read “my child my choice” on a half-mile trek from Civic Center Plaza to the California State Building in downtown San Diego. The protest was organized by the citizens group Your Family Your Choice.

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Weighing Privacy Vs. Rewards Of Letting Insurers Track Your Fitness
National Public Radio

Would you be willing to hand over your health information to a life insurance company, in exchange for financial rewards?

Activity trackers have become increasingly popular over the past few years, tracking everything from how many steps you walk, to your location throughout the day.

Now, John Hancock, a U.S.-based insurer, hopes that fit and active people will exchange activity data for lower life insurance premiums and other perks.  Those who sign up for this optional program, the first of its kind in the United States, will receive a free Fitbit device to track their activity levels.

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Blue Shield Lost Its Tax Exemption Last Year. Who’s Next?
California Healthline

One of California’s biggest not-for-profits looks pretty profitable. Blue Shield’s healthy balance sheet — $13.6 billion in annual revenue, with $4.2 billion in reserves — is more typical of a Fortune 500 company than an organization helping the unfortunate. And partly because of its financial strength, Blue Shield has lost its tax exemption, in a decision rendered by a California tax board last summer. Blue Shield announced it will appeal; a spokesperson said the company “firmly believes it is fulfilling its not-for

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As Oncology Care Options Broaden, Providers Get Selective
HealthLeaders Media

Data began to emerge in the late 1990s that computed tomography scans could detect early-stage lung cancer, and patients started lobbying hospitals to offer the service. Lung cancer is difficult to catch early and is usually lethal.

But many hospitals are just now offering the service. Low-dose CT lung cancer screening looked promising 20 years ago, yet there were enough outstanding questions to keep most payers from covering it.

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Link Between Heart Disease And Height Hidden In Our Genes
National Public Radio

Shorter people are more likely than taller folks to have clogged heart arteries, and a new study says part of the reason lies in the genes.

Doctors have known since the 1950s about the link between short stature and coronary artery disease, “but the reason behind this really hasn’t been completely clear,” says Nilesh Samani, a cardiologist at the University of Leicester in the U.K.

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Stanford Health Care-ValleyCare merger approved
Pleasanton Weekly

California Attorney General Kamala Harris Tuesday issued the final approval needed for Stanford Health Care to proceed with its acquisition of ValleyCare Health System and its medical center in Pleasanton.

Harris’ approval ends a near-year-long effort by the governing board of directors of ValleyCare to find a partner as the health system plunged deeper into debt.

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Alta Bates Hospital to Close by 2030
Berkeley Daily Planet

Recently, rumors have been flying about the possible closure of Alta Bates Hospital. Unfortunately, they are not just rumors. According to Stacey Wells, ABSMC’s Director of Public Affairs, Sutter Health has decided to close Alta Bates Hospital by January 1, 2030. The 2030 date is driven by State law, which sets out strict seismic standards for medical facilities that all hospitals in California must meet by 1/1/2030.[1] Alta Bates currently does not meet the 2030 standards, and Sutter has decided not to incur the enormous expense of retrofitting to those standards.

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Take advantage of free immunization clinics at San Joaquin Community Hospital

Health officials say that now is a crucial time to get your kid immunized, as clinics tend to be booked closer to the start of the school year.

To help you out, San Joaquin Community Hospital is hosting free immunization clinics during the month of April for free.

To qualify, kids must be under the age of 18-years-old with no health insurance, or enrolled in MediCal.

For a complete list of this month’s schedule, click here .