News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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6 in 10 Health Data Breaches Due to ‘Criminal Activity’
HealthLeaders Media

Theft, illegal hacking, and other breaches of protected health information have compromised 29 million medical records in 949 incidents between 2010 and 2013, spelling out a crying need for better data security, according to a report published in JAMA Tuesday.

“Most data breaches resulted from overt criminal activity,” says the report, written by Vincent Liu, MD, of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Mark Musen, MD, of Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research, and Timothy Chou of Stanford’s Department of Computer Science.

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Major strides made in outfitting hospital emergency rooms with child-size equipment
Daily Breeze - Los Angeles

Hospital emergency rooms nationwide have made major strides in the quality of pediatric care in recent years, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

More than 90 percent of emergency departments are now staffed and equipped to treat children, which is a vast improvement from 2001, when national guidelines were first introduced, according to the study led by a researcher at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Carson.

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HIMSS: 60% of Execs Say Informatics Nurses Have High Impact on Quality
HealthLeaders Media

Informatics nurses are increasingly recognized as valuable assets to healthcare organizations according to data from HIMSS2015 Impact of the Informatics Nurse Survey. The results were released in conjunction with the nursing symposium at the 2015 HIMSS Annual Conference in Chicago this week.

Of the 576 respondents, which included C-level executives (one in five respondents said their organizations employ a chief nursing informatics officer), clinical analysts, and informatics nurses, 60% reported that informatics nurses have a “high degree” of impact on quality of care.

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Should We Allow Apps to Collect Private Health Data for Research?
KQED Radio

On March 9, 2015, Apple announced the release of a new tool that enables researchers to build iPhone apps for collecting health data directly from iPhone users. The tool is called ResearchKit, and was released with five apps for studying medical conditions including Parkinson’s disease and asthma, among others. The release of ResearchKit has some physicians, journalists, and iPhone users questioning whether it is ethical to recruit iPhone users for health research.

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Report: Medical data breaches are rising, with no end in sight
San Francisco Chronicle

High-profile health care data breaches, like the recent attack on medical insurance giant Anthem that compromised the personal information of as many as 80 million Americans, are on the rise and expected to increase with the use of new technologies employed by criminals, a study by Kaiser Permanente researchers has found.

From 2010 to 2013, the number of reported breaches — from the theft of a laptop with confidential patient information to employees walking off with patient files — involving more than 500 patients increased 23 percent, while those involving hacking or a technological glitch that exposed or could have exposed sensitive information doubled in that period, according to the study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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An EHR Attestation Report Card and Data Set
The Health Care Blog

DocGraph will release an initial dataset will become available on the last full day at HIMSS, and the crowdfund will continue until Datapalooza. This post discusses our underlying motivation for creating a new dataset, as well as some of our goals with its release.

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Senate Passes Permanent SGR Repeal
HealthLeaders Media

A bipartisan U.S. Senate late Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a sweeping $145 billion healthcare reforms package that centers on a permanent repeal of Medicare’s reviled Sustainable Growth Rate physician payment formula.

The 92-8 vote was recorded at 9:47 PM Tuesday, less than three hours before a 21% “negative update” in Medicare payments to doctors would have gone on the books.

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Is That Corporate Wellness Program Doing Your Heart Any Good?
National Public Radio

Odds are your employer has a wellness program that prods you to exercise and eat healthy. But that program may not be doing all that much for your health, according to the American Heart Association, and attempts to measure the benefits of wellness programs often fail.

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When Keeping A Secret Trumps The Need For Care
National Public Radio

Dana Lam was insured under her parent’s health plan until the end of 2014, thanks to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on family health insurance until they turn 26.

The arrangement worked out well until she needed treatment for depression. Lam knew that if she used her parents’ health plan to see a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, her visit would show up on their insurance statements.

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Hospital leader’s no-compromise ethos
San Diego Union-Tribune

Sharp Grossmont Hospital has one of the busiest emergency departments in the region. That’s quite a change for Scott Evans, the facility’s new chief executive.

Evans arrived in February from Keck Hospital of USC, a university-connected teaching center with no emergency room. Keck and the neighboring USC Norris Cancer Hospital, which Evans also oversaw, relied on nearby LA+USC Medical Center to handle the area’s urgent ambulance runs.

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Once high-flying nurse staffing agency files for bankruptcy reorganization
Sacramento Business Journal

Once one of Sacramento’s fastest-growing companies, Response 1 Medical Staffing Inc. has filed for bankruptcy reorganization. Legal documents list liabilities of $1.3 million and assets under $100,000.

Unlike another local nurse registry that filed for bankruptcy liquidation when hospitals and nursing homes cut staff during the recession, Response 1 hopes to stay in business. President Cheree Love said demand is strong. But struggling with an embezzlement and legal costs to deal with the matter, the company has a lien against receivables and could not grow without Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, she said.

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Gilroy’s Saint Louise Regional Hospital to close labor and delivery services
The Mercury News

In the first casualty since a controversial hospital sale fell through, Gilroy’s only maternity ward is shutting down, forcing expectant parents to drive to San Jose or Hollister for deliveries.

Saint Louise Regional Hospital announced Tuesday it is closing its maternity and pediatric services within three months as its financially troubled owner Daughters of Charity Health System struggles to find a buyer after the collapse of a deal last month to sell its six hospitals. Saint Louise delivers about 50 babies a month.

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Antelope Valley Hospital wants more trauma center funds from L.A. County
Los Angeles Times

Antelope Valley Hospital has filed a legal claim accusing Los Angeles County officials of shortchanging the medical facility on special tax revenue intended to support costly trauma centers.

Measure B — a parcel tax passed by voters in 2002 — raises roughly $250 million a year to help fund the county’s 14 trauma centers, which are special emergency room units staffed and equipped to treat patients who are critically injured in shootings, car crashes and other incidents.

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LAUSD board backs $1 billion employee health care agreement
Southern California Public Radio

The Los Angeles Unified school board approved a $1 billion annual health care agreement for school employees Tuesday, but declined to call for details on the long-term budget impact.

As more employees retire and live longer, LAUSD’s health care costs, which includes lifetime coverage for qualifying retirees, is expected to consume increasingly more of its $7.3 billion budget.

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LAUSD school board supports legislation requiring vaccinations
Los Angeles Daily News

The Los Angeles Unified school board Tuesday unanimously voted to support state legislation that eliminates parent choice when it comes to vaccinations.

Tamar Galatzan, one of two board members who represents the San Fernando Valley, co-sponsored the resolution in support of Senate Bill 277.

The bill would require that public school children receive vaccinations unless they have a note from a doctor. Current law allows parents to decide.

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Local hospital a link in kidney transplant chain

A San Diego hospital was involved in what is being called the country’s longest ever multi-hospital kidney transplant chain.

Sharp Memorial Hospital was among 26 hospitals around the nation that took part in the transplant chain over three months, ABC’s “Nightline” reported. In the chain, 34 kidneys were swapped between the hospitals.