News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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High-deductible plans change how hospitals interact with patients
Modern Healthcare

High-deductible plans are changing the way health systems interact with their patients, from where they get care to how they’re presented with their bills.

The changing healthcare environment was a significant focus of the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s annual National Institute this week in Orlando, Fla.

Healthcare providers are collecting $0.18 to $0.34 on the dollar from patients with high-deductible plans, said Christopher Kerns, managing director at the Advisory Board Co. Once a bill exceeds 5% of household income, a patient’s propensity to pay drops to nearly zero, he added.

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Stroke centers more common where laws encourage them
Yahoo! News

State laws have played a big part in boosting the number of hospitals where specialized stroke care is available, a new study shows.

During the study, the increase in the number of hospitals certified as primary stroke centers was more than twice as high in states with stroke legislation as in states without similar laws.

At these hospitals, a dedicated stroke-focused program staffed by professionals with special training delivers emergency therapy rapidly and reliably.

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Meet the Health-Law Holdouts: Americans Who Prefer to Go Uninsured
The Wall Street Journal

The Affordable Care Act has a perplexing problem: Many uninsured Americans prefer their old ways of getting health care.

For millions, arranging treatment through cash, barter and charity is still better than paying for insurance. They include Lisa Khechoom of Glendale, Calif., who refuses to buy coverage. She says she pays a flat $35 for a doctor visit and often substitutes prescriptions with cheaper natural remedies for herself, her husband and their children.

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Health Plan in Three Counties Still Below State Minimum Performance Level
HealthyCal.org

A health plan operating in three California counties remains below the state’s minimum performance level, data released this month shows.

The Anthem Blue Cross Medi-Cal plan in Alameda, Contra Costa and Kings counties has consistently failed the state’s performance review since at least February 2014.

Medi-Cal is California’s low-income health plan.

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Bill To End Intoxicated Patient Diversion
California Healthline

On Monday, the Assembly Committee on Health passed legislation designed to clarify the law prohibiting hospital emergency departments from transferring severely intoxicated patients to police custody.

SB 145, by Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), would make EDs treat severe intoxication as a medical condition, Pan said. “[This bill] clarifies that a hospital is prohibited from transporting a patient who is deemed medically unstable due to severe intoxication,” Pan said.

“[This bill] clarifies that a hospital is prohibited from transporting a patient who is deemed medically unstable due to severe intoxication,” Pan said.

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Campaigning intensifies ahead of Assembly vote on vaccination bill
Southern California Public Radio

The state Assembly is expected to vote Thursday on SB 277, the controversial bill that would require all children to be vaccinated in order to attend daycare or school. The bill would eliminate the personal belief and religious exemptions to vaccination, while maintaining the medical exemption.

Ahead of that vote, there’s been a flurry of last-minute politicking by the bill’s opponents and supporters.

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Young leukemia survivor who supports vaccines delivers petition to Gov. Jerry Brown
The Mercury News

Carl Krawitt delivered a message Wednesday for opponents of a deeply divisive bill that would mandate vaccinations for all school children, regardless of their parents’ personal or religious beliefs.

“Get a real problem,” said Krawitt, the father of a 7-year-old leukemia survivor from Corte Madera who couldn’t be fully vaccinated until he completed chemotherapy and beat cancer.

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Will suicide bill die a natural death?
San Francisco Chronicle

When Senate Bill 128, which would legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, passed the state Senate, supporters hailed the measure’s success as a sign of it inevitability. And what Democrat in this heavily left-leaning Legislature wants to be on — say it slowly — The Wrong Side of History?

It turns out reports of the measure’s slam-dunkedness were greatly exaggerated. Opponents of SB128 expected the bill to sail through the Senate, but then get mired in the Assembly. Sure enough, this week co-sponsors state Sens. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Bill Monning, D-Monterey, had to pull a scheduled vote in the Assembly Health Committee and delay it until July 7 because, as The Chronicle’s Melody Gutierrez reported, six committee Democrats are not on board. Five are members of the Latino caucus. Ergo the new spin on the bill, advanced by Wolk, is that the Catholic Church in all its might is leaning on its flock to kill the bill.

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Fresno Surgical Hospital recognized for low Medicare spending
The Business Journal

Fresno Surgical Hospital (FSH) was recently recognized by the federal government for its ability to spend less than both state and national averages per Medicare beneficiary during the 2014 calendar year.

The spending report was published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its QualityNew website.

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Palomar to close downtown hospital
San Diego Union-Tribune

Hospital directors voted 5-2 Wednesday night to close Escondido’s downtown hospital and move its existing patient services to sister facilities in 90 days.

The move came after the board met in closed session for three hours, emerging about 10 a.m. and taking a vote that means layoffs for hundreds of employees who work at the Palomar Health Downtown Campus.

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Palomar Health Board Votes to Close North County Hospital
NBC News

The Palomar Health Board of Directors voted 5-2 Wednesday night to close the downtown Escondido hospital, which officials say is losing more than $20 million a year.

The campus, located on E. Valley Parkway, was built in 1950 to add more hospital beds to the North County.

But with the addition of the new Palomar Medical Center on Citracado Parkway, none of their hospitals are operating at capacity, Palomar Health’s spokesperson said, and it would take more than $270 million over the next five years to upgrade the downtown structure.

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New residents welcomed at Desert Regional Medical Center
The Desert Sun

The first class of medical residents at Desert Regional Medical Center got a warm welcome Wednesday as they start the final stage of their training.

This is the first year of the Palm Springs hospital’s own residency programs. The hospital has hosted residents for short periods of time while on rotations in the past, but having their own residents full-time for their three- to seven-year programs is a much bigger opportunity.

The big goal: get these new doctors to stay in the Coachella Valley once their training is over.

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