News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

White House Spotlights Antibiotic Stewardship
HealthLeaders Media

Antibiotic stewardship took center stage this week when the White House hosted a first-of-its-kind forum involving more than 150 stakeholders including healthcare organizations, clinical societies, and pharmaceutical companies.

Participants gathered to highlight the commitments they’re making over the next five years to slow the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and infections.

News Headlines Article

International Group Says Mammograms Of ‘Limited’ Value For Women In 40s
National Public Radio

A federal health task force that has been criticized for its mammography recommendations now has scientific support from the World Health Organization.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has just finished its review of mammography to screen for breast cancer, and it, too, concludes that the value of these screening X-rays is “limited” for women in their 40s.

That’s basically what the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force decided in April, triggering howls of protest. Both reviews said there’s no question that mammography benefits women in their 50s and 60s. They also agree it’s not universally valuable for women in their 40s. The U.S. task force suggested that women in their 40s talk to their doctors about their individual circumstances, such as family history of breast cancer, to decide whether mammograms are appropriate for them.

News Headlines Article

How hospitals hope to boost ratings on Yelp, HealthGrades, ZocDoc and Vitals
Washington Post

Laura Markowski used to worry every time a text alerted her that a patient had posted a negative review online of a doctor at her health-care system. She’s in charge of “reputation management” at a group of hospitals and clinics in Virginia, and it’s her job to monitor complaints about rudeness, long waits, lack of face time with a doctor or something more serious.

But after several months of reviewing comments in real time on nearly a dozen Web sites, including Healthgrades.com, ZocDoc.com and Google Plus, as well as Facebook and Twitter, she’s calmer. Most reviews have been “one-offs for different physicians,” she said, not focused on just one doctor or group practice that would raise a red flag.

Markowski is part of a new and urgent effort by hospitals and health systems to track and control their online reputations. As out-of-pocket costs for health care have risen, people are increasingly shopping for their medical care and comparing reviews. And younger consumers who have grown up on Yelp and Rate My Professors expect the same seamless, digital experience with health care that they have used in other aspects of their lives.

News Headlines Article

More Patients, Not Fewer, Turn To Health Clinics After Obamacare
National Public Radio

Diabetes is something nurse practitioner Martha Brinsko helps a lot of patients manage at the Charlotte Community Health Clinic in North Carolina.

“Most mornings when you check your sugar, what would you say kind of the average is?” Brinsko asks Diana Coble.

Coble hesitates before explaining she ran out of what she needs to check it, and she didn’t have the gas money to get back here sooner. Brinsko says Coble can get what she needs at the clinic.

News Headlines Article

State Obamacare Exchanges Experience Growing Pains
National Public Radio

The states that set up their own insurance marketplaces have nothing to lose in King v. Burwell, the big Supreme Court case that will be decided by the end of June. But that doesn’t mean those states are breathing easy.

With varying degrees of difficulty, all of the state-based exchanges are struggling to figure out how to become financially self-sufficient as the spigot of federal start-up money shuts off.

Here are dispatches from Minnesota, Colorado and Connecticut on this tricky transition.

News Headlines Article

How do justices weigh loss of health insurance for millions?
Modern Healthcare

The U.S. Supreme Court could wipe away health insurance for millions of Americans when it resolves the latest fight over President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul. But would the court take away a benefit from so many people? Should the justices even consider such consequences?

By month’s end, the court is expected to decide a challenge to the way subsidies, in the form of tax credits, are given to people who get their insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The legal issue is whether Congress authorized payments regardless of where people live, or only to residents of states that established their own insurance exchanges.

News Headlines Article

A sign of trouble? Covered California slips to No. 2 health exchange
Sacramento Business Journal

Covered California has lost bragging rights for highest health-insurance exchange enrollment to Florida, new federal figures show. A total 1.36 million Californians were signed up for coverage, had picked a plan and paid premiums due by the end of March, federal health officials announced Tuesday. Almost 1.42 million Floridians had done so by the same date. Texas came in third, with enrollment over 966,400.

News Headlines Article

California moves to expand health care for undocumented immigrants
MSNBC

California lawmakers moved a step closer on Tuesday to expanding health care coverage for many undocumented immigrants living in the state.

The state Senate passed a bill by a 28-11 vote that would provide health care coverage for children who are in the United State illegally. The new bill would offer coverage through Medi-Cal, the state’s healthcare program for low-income individuals.

News Headlines Article

Increase Medi-Cal rates to salvage health care reform
The Reporter

Gov. Jerry Brown dropped the ball on Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, including only a minimal increase in his proposed budget for next year. If the Legislature doesn’t step in, then the promise of health insurance to millions of Californians on Medi-Cal will be a cruel joke: Insurance does no good if you can’t find a doctor who’ll see you.

The Legislature needs to pass AB 366, which at least would restore cuts to reimbursements made in recent years.

News Headlines Article

CMS to Give $$ for Success in Curbing Cardio Risks
HealthLeaders Media

Medicare providers could get a bump in their paychecks for keeping patients’ heart attack and stroke risks in check, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced.

Providers are already paid bonuses for assessing certain cardiovascular metrics, said Darshak Sanghavi, MD, director of the Preventive and Population Health Models Group at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

News Headlines Article

‘Assisted suicide’ or ‘aid in dying?’ The semantic battle over SB 128
Southern California Public Radio

As the California legislature considers whether to make it legal for doctors to provide lethal prescriptions to certain terminally ill patients, a related rhetorical battle is raging behind the scenes.

It’s a high-stakes fight over how to frame the debate over SB 128, also known as the “End-of-Life Option Act.”

The crux of the issue is the use of the word “suicide” when describing the act. KPCC is among the media outlets that refer to the practice as doctor- or physician-assisted suicide, which generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook. Opponents of SB 128, such as Californians Against Assisted Suicide also use those terms, while Compassion & Choices and the bill’s other supporters strongly oppose that language.

News Headlines Article

Bringing Doctors To Patients Who Need Them Most
Kaiser Health News

Jennifer Vargas’ path toward becoming a doctor took her from UCLA to Guadalajara before it ultimately led back home, to California’s vast Inland Empire east of Los Angeles.

When the Chino Hills, Calif. native graduated from medical school in Mexico, her first choice for residency training was Riverside County’s public medical center, which serves among the fastest growing and most medically deprived parts of California.

News Headlines Article

California midwives could work without doctor supervision
Sacramento Bee

More California midwives could help care for pregnant women without doctor’s supervision under a bill moving through the Legislature.

The Assembly on Wednesday unanimously approved AB1306 to allow midwives to independently treat and provide medication for patients. The California Nurse Midwives Association is sponsoring the bill.

It would give certified midwives the same freedom to work without doctor supervision that licensed midwives currently have.

News Headlines Article

California Women Can Soon Skip the Doctor to Get Their Birth Control
KQED Radio

Think of how often you stop by Walgreens or CVS. You run in and grab some Band Aids or restock your ibuprofen supply. Maybe get a flu shot on your way to work.

Soon, it will be that easy for women to get birth control, too. Under a new law, women will be able to walk in to a pharmacy, get a prescription for contraceptive pills, the ring, or the patch, and get it filled, all at the same time.

News Headlines Article

Paramedics See Roles Expand – Minus The Lights And Sirens
Kaiser Health News

Parademics pride themselves on getting patients to an emergency room quickly. But in some states, they are doing everything possible to keep people out of the ER. It’s a new approach for paramedics – one that health officials hope will lead to lower costs and better care. Paramedic Ryan Ramsdell is part of an ambitious plan to overhaul Reno’s 911 system. The idea is to use specially trained paramedics to fill health care gaps and reduce unnecessary trips to the ER.

News Headlines Article

Surgery Doesn’t Help Women With Early-Stage Breast Carcinoma
National Public Radio

What to do about the non-invasive breast lesions called ductal carcinoma in situ, or “stage zero” cancer, is one of the hottest debates in breast cancer care.

Because of more widespread screening, more and more women are being diagnosed with DCIS. The condition now makes up 20 percent of new breast cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society.

DCIS doesn’t always progress to invasive breast cancer, which is the life-threatening kind.  In fact, some physicians and researchers, including a working group convened by the National Cancer Institute, say it’s not accurate to call DCIS a form of cancer at all, and that the terminology is contributing to overly aggressive treatment.

News Headlines Article

A Few Thoughts on “Culture” in Healthcare
The Health Care Blog

The big news in Boston healthcare last month was the announcement that Tufts and Boston University Medical Centers were calling off their proposed merger. The Boston Globe wrote:

“Although they did not specify why the deal fell apart, the hospitals were apparently unable to overcome differences in culture, mission, and strategies for the future, analysts said.  “Culture always trumps strategy,”said Ellen Lutch Bender, president of the consulting firm Bender Strategies LLC.

News Headlines Article

Adventist closes deal with Lodi Health, agrees to invest $100M
Sacramento Business Journal

After two years of negotiations and recent approval by the California Attorney General, Lodi Health became part of Adventist Health on Tuesday. The Roseville-based health system donated $2 million to the Lodi Memorial Hospital Foundation, will implement a state-of-the-art electronic medical records system and agreed to invest at least $98 million in other capital improvements to Lodi Memorial Hospital and affiliated services.

News Headlines Article

UCSF nabs $50 million anonymous gift for new Mission Bay mental health center
San Francisco Business Times

A $50 million anonymous gift is making it possible for UC San Francisco to move ahead on a new mental health center on its burgeoning Mission Bay campus, slated to include research, training and clinical services focusing on the prevention and treatment of mental illness. The gift includes a parcel of land on Third Street and funds to construct the new 140,000-square-foot center and a parking facility for it.

News Headlines Article

Children’s Hospital Oakland gets green light for $500 million project
San Francisco Business Times

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, long an independent pediatric hospital but now part of UCSF’s growing medical empire, won the Oakland City Council’s final approval for major rebuild plans totaling $500 million last night. The unanimous City Council vote approved certification of the hospital’s 10-year master plan, according to hospital officials.

News Headlines Article

City gives Oakland hospital go-ahead for expansion
San Francisco Chronicle

Plans for a major expansion of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland got a green light from the City Council Tuesday, and the hospital can now add 20 beds, private intensive care rooms, and a slew of seismic upgrades to better serve families in Oakland. Such changes will dramatically improve the facility, said Marsha Luster, the hospital’s manager of social services. Speaking at a May 19 meeting when council members considered the plan for preliminary approval, Luster pointed out that the hospital doesn’t have enough beds for parents to stay overnight with their kids.

News Headlines Article

Stanford, Valley Children’s Hospital creating doctor residency
Fresno Bee

Valley Children’s Hospital announced Wednesday morning it is joining with Stanford University School of Medicine to create a residency program for the Madera County hospital.

The graduate education program at Valley Children’s will train doctors to be pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists, officials from the hospital said.

The new program raises questions about any ongoing relationship between Valley Children’s and the University of California at San Francisco, which has had a 40-year partnership with the hospital.

News Headlines Article

Oroville Hospital recognized for stroke patient care
Oroville Mercury-Register

Oroville Hospital has received an award for its care of stroke patients.

The hospital received the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll, according to a hospital press release.

Enloe Medical Center in Chico has received identical recognitions, according to the associations’ website. It is also certified as a primary stroke center by the associations and The Joint Commission.

News Headlines Article

San Gorgonio Memorial considers affiliation with Loma Linda, Adventist Health
Modern Healthcare

San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital, Banning, Calif., has entered exclusive affiliation discussions with Loma Linda University Health and Adventist Health.The 71-bed public hospital said in a recent blog post that its board had voted unanimously at the end of May to enter into discussions with the two systems, which both have ties to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Loma Linda operates three hospitals, while Adventist Health has 18.

Commands