News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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States may tap hospitals to help pay for Medicaid expansion in 2017
Modern Healthcare

Policymakers in Medicaid expansion states likely will try to wring some cash from hospitals starting in 2017 when the federal government no longer pays the full tab for the coverage expansion, experts say. Higher-than-expected enrollment means expansion states will be on the hook for hundreds of millions more than they anticipated when they took advantage of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion to adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

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Series of reports will analyze cost, benefit of pricey drugs
Modern Healthcare

A project announced Tuesday will compare the cost and benefit of costly drugs. The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review will begin releasing reports that will compare the clinical effectiveness of drugs, compare prices and their potential impact on the U.S. healthcare system and economy. The agency will then set a value-based benchmark for pricing. The ICER project is funded by a $5.2 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a private foundation that encourages evidence-based and multidisciplinary approaches to address challenges in various sectors, including education, policy and healthcare.

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IRS: 7.5 Million Americans Paid Penalty For Lack Of Health Coverage
National Public Radio

About 7.5 million Americans paid an average penalty of $200 for not having health insurance in 2014 — the first year most Americans were required to have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday.

By contrast, taxpayers filing three-quarters of the 102 million returns received by the IRS so far this year checked a box indicating they had qualifying insurance coverage all year. Counting another 7 million dependents who weren’t required to report their coverage but also filed returns, the proportion with qualifying insurance rises to 81 percent, the IRS said.

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Health Care Tax Faces United Opposition From Labor and Employers
New York Times

At the paper mill in Longview, Wash., Kurt Gallow and his wife, Brenda, are worrying about his company’s proposed new health care plan, which would require workers to pay as much as $6,000 toward their families’ medical bills.

Mrs. Gallow’s diabetic condition almost certainly will mean thousands of dollars more a year for her care alone, if the new plan is put in place, which may happen as early as next year.

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Health Care Delivery Reform: Will the ACA’s Changes Stick?
California Healthline

While the Affordable Care Act has been a “major innovation driver for health care system transformation,” there are still barriers to obtaining and paying for health care — especially long-term care.

“Over the last several decades, the nation’s health care delivery and long-term care systems have become even more fragmented — leading to confusion, poor health outcomes and higher costs of care,” Bruce Chernof, president and CEO of the SCAN Foundation, asserted in a March opinion piece. At the same time, the need for long-term care services has increased “dramatically” over the past 20 years, Chernof pointed out, but just one-third of Americans ages 40 and older have saved money to pay for such care.

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Despite Obamacare Promise, Transgender People Have Trouble Getting Some Care
Kaiser Health News

Transgender people are still fighting for access to crucial health services despite the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance companies not deny coverage based on gender or health history.

The issue stems from the fact that enrollees must check a single gender box when they sign up for a plan sold on the individual or small group markets, according to advocates and health care providers.

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Obamacare — and a dose of private-equity cash — help a Rancho Cordova company expand
Sacramento Business Journal

With help from a big private-equity investment in its parent company, a longtime local benefits administrator is adding staff. Capitol Administrators Inc. is up to 106 employees nationwide; about 70 work at company headquarters in Rancho Cordova. The company serves self-insured employers — a business that is booming under federal health reform.

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Costs from regulations pile up, hurt small business profits
Washington Post

It’s getting more expensive to be an employer and small business owners say that’s making it harder for them to make money. The health care law, minimum wage increases and paid sick leave laws in some states and cities are increasing costs.

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Hospitals return to building mode as new construction projects proliferate
Modern Healthcare

In 2009, OhioHealth decided to take a hard look at its neuroscience capabilities. Its program at the time was the fifth-busiest in the state, and demographic changes, such as aging baby boomers, suggested that volume could continue to increase.“All of that said, this is a really robust area for future growth,” said Connie Gallaher, OhioHealth’s vice president of neuroscience.The Columbus-based system this month opened a $300 million neuroscience center at Riverside Methodist Hospital, its largest hospital.

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Alzheimer’s research encouraging, expert says
San Bernardino Sun

Ronald Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, called it “The Long Goodbye.”

This is because Alzheimer’s disease steals a person away in stages, starting with the precious memories,

It is amazing to me how little is known about this neurodegenerative disease impacting 30 million people worldwide, and more than 5 million Americans.

In California, about 500,000 have been diagnosed with this debilitating disease.

My sweet mother is one of them.

So on Monday, when Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, invited Dr.

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Women’s Brains Appear More Vulnerable To Alzheimer’s Than Men’s
National Public Radio

There’s new evidence suggesting that women’s brains are especially vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease and other problems with memory and thinking.

Women with mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to Alzheimer’s, tend to decline faster than men, researchers reported this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C.

Another study showed that women’s brains tend to contain more amyloid, the substance that forms sticky plaques in Alzheimer’s.  And a third study found that women who have surgery with general anesthesia are more likely than men to develop long-term problems with thinking and memory.

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Putting tobacco in a pinch
Ventura County Star

California’s legislative leaders last week sent a message to the tobacco industry that was about as subtle as an exploding cigar:

Lend your support to an increase in California’s tobacco tax, or be prepared to deal with additional tobacco regulations that would be good for public health but bad for your business.

And by the way: If you block a tax increase in the Legislature this year, there’s a very good chance voters will enact a potentially bigger one next year.

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UCLA Health ranked third in U.S. News’ best hospitals honor roll
Los Angeles Business Journal

UCLA Medical Center has moved up to third place in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll this year. UCLA Health’s hospitals in Westwood and Santa Monica tied with Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for the No. 3 spot in the 2015-2016 list, jumping from fifth place last year. The Honor Roll highlights 15 hospitals out of nearly 5,000 nationwide for their expertise in treating the most challenging patients in at least six medical specialties.

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UCSD Medical Center Named Top Hospital In San Diego

UCSD Medical Center was the top hospital in San Diego for the fifth consecutive year, according to rankings released Monday night by U.S. News & World Report, with Scripps-affiliated facilities finishing second and third.

UC San Diego Health also ranked in the top 50 nationally in a dozen specialties. UC San Diego Health CEO Paul Viviano called the recognition a “remarkable achievement.”

“UC San Diego’s yearly rise in rankings is evidence of the extraordinary efforts of our team to offer demonstrably superior clinical care to all patients across a range of diseases and chronic conditions,” Viviano said.

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Sharp Grossmont named best hospital for cancer care
San Diego Union-Tribune

Sharp Grossmont recently was honored with the 2015 Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s best hospitals for cancer care.

The hospital ranks among 331 hospitals to earn the award by meeting the highest cancer care accreditation standards of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, among other criteria.

“It is rewarding to be recognized for providing exceptional service to women battling cancer,” said Anthony D’Amico, Sharp’s vice president of clinical services, in a statement.

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UCSF Medical Center Ranked 8th Best Hospital in the Nation
UCSF Today

UCSF Medical Center is one of the nation’s premier hospitals for the 14th consecutive year, ranked as the eighth best hospital in the country in the 2015-2016 America’s Best Hospitals survey from U.S. News & World Report.

It is the only hospital in Northern California ranked in the Top 10 on the Honor Roll, which highlights hospitals that are exceptional in numerous medical specialties. UCSF shone in such areas as cancer, neurology and neurosurgery, and urology.

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New plans for Kingsburg Hospital in motion
Hanford Sentinel

Despite their best efforts, the Kingsburg District Hospital Board of Directors could not find a buyer for the Kingsburg Hospital, located at 18th and Smith Street in Kingsburg. The board had successfully climbed out of a late 1990’s bankruptcy that had placed the district in significant financial distress for over two decades. When the facility’s license was revoked, the task of finding a buyer became even more daunting.