News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Dental care for Medicaid patients is expanding, but a study says that won’t reduce ER visits
Washington Post

A lack of dental care for low-income Americans has long put stress on hospital emergency rooms, a new study has found, bringing hundreds of thousands of patients in to ERs for minor dental problems.

The study, published this week in Health Affairs, found that in 2010, somewhere around 2 percent of all ER visits was dedicated to avoidable these patients, posing questions about how best to deliver dental care to poor people.

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Telephone Therapy Helps Older People In Underserved Rural Areas, Study Finds
Kaiser Health News

Therapy provided over the phone lowered symptoms of anxiety and depression among older adults in rural areas with a lack of mental health services, a new study shows. The option is important, one expert said, because seniors often have increased need for treatment as they cope with the effects of disease and the emotional tolls of aging and loss. “Almost all older adults have one chronic medical condition, and most of these have been found to be significantly associated with anxiety disorder,” Eric Lenze, a psychiatrist and professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in an interview.

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Providers booted from state Medicaid programs still drawing funds from other states
Modern Healthcare

About 12% of providers kicked out of their state Medicaid programs for fraud, integrity or quality issues are still participating in other states’ Medicaid programs, according to a report released Tuesday by HHS‘ Office of Inspector General.According to the report, 295 providers across the country who were terminated from their states’ Medicaid programs for cause in 2011 were still billing other states’ Medicaid programs in 2014. Under the Affordable Care Act, states are supposed to pull providers’ from their Medicaid rolls if they’ve already been removed from another state’s program for fraud, integrity or quality problems.

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HCA expects Obamacare benefit to taper off for rest of 2015
Yahoo! News

Hospital operator HCA Holdings Inc, the largest U.S. for-profit hospital operator, suggested benefits from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would taper off over the rest of the year, a warning that weighed on the stocks of hospital operators.

The signature healthcare law, popularly called Obamacare, covers medical insurance for Americans and has helped in boosting business for various hospitals and insurers as more people avail of insurance.

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The Coming Healthcare Inflation

In the real economy, medical costs are on a sharp upswing.

It’s becoming clear that a brief slowing in the pace of healthcare spending was transitory – more a result of one-time factors that tamped down on healthcare demand rather than any secular change in how medical care is being delivered.

It’s important to distinguish between three common but different ways that most commentators try and gauge whether healthcare costs are on the rise.

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Yelp, ProPublica pair to give consumers more data on health care facilities
USA Today

Just as Yelp can give you advice on which restaurant to go to for the best burgers, now it can give you advice on which hospital to go to for the shortest emergency room waiting time.

Yelp announced Wednesday that it has joined forces with ProPublica, a non-profit investigative news organization, to incorporate additional statistics onto the Yelp pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities pages.

This new feature comes as part of Yelp’s Consumer Protection Initiative, which is a series of steps the company is taking to clean the site from misleading, false, or biased reviews.

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Yelp’s Hospital Reviews Are Getting Real Health Care Data
Wired News

Yelp is probably best known for its restaurant reviews, but founders Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons were more concerned with how to find a good doctor online than where to grab a decent meal when they started the company in 2004. Today Yelp announced a new feature that gets back to those roots. All listings for hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis clinics now include data such as average emergency room times, fines a facility may have paid, and serious deficiencies that have been reported.

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Sharing information key to fighting deadly infection outbreaks
Orange County Register

Hospitals and nursing homes tend to work independently to prevent outbreaks of deadly superbugs, rarely communicating with each other when transferring patients who might be carrying the antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But if they worked together, they could significantly limit the number of people who get sick. They could, for example, keep nearly 20,000 people in Orange County from falling ill over a 15-year period from a bacteria known commonly as CRE, a team of UC Irvine researchers working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found.

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FDA issues stepped up scope cleaning guidance to hospitals
Los Angeles Business Journal

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued updated instructions to hospitals on how to clean reusable medical scopes to prevent the spread of superbugs. Earlier this year, an outbreak of the drug-resistant bacteria, Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, CRE, at several U.S. hospitals, including UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai, were linked to reusable duodenoscopes used in endoscopic procedures. Nationwide, at least 13 patients who were infected with CRE from the procedures later died.

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Superbug outbreak: A killer on the loose
Redding Record Searchlight

Doctors at UCLA’s flagship hospital were baffled: A healthy 40-year-old woman had fallen deathly ill after a routine procedure.

A long black scope had been threaded down her throat to treat troublesome gallstones. Now antibiotics were powerless to stop a raging infection.

Her physicians called in Dr. Zachary Rubin, the hospital’s director of clinical epidemiology and infection prevention, and its top disease detective.

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Sharing Art Helps Medical Students Connect With Dementia Patients
National Public Radio

Hannah Roberts was a first-year-medical student at Columbia University College of Physicians in 2013 when she noticed her classmates were having an especially tough time relating to dementia patients.

“There’s a misconception that dementia patients are like toddlers in a way,” Roberts says. Many medical students, she says, “are intimidated at the challenge of having to get accurate histories and establish a connection with someone who has a limited ability to communicate.”

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Blue Shield of California owes $83 million to Obamacare enrollees, small businesses
San Francisco Business Times

Blue Shield of California owes nearly $83 million in 2014 rebates to Obamacare enrollees and small businesses in California, after running afoul of a key Affordable Care Act metric. The federal health reform law requires insurers to spend 80 percent or more of premiums from individual and small business customers on medical care. But San Francisco-based Blue Shield missed that mark, spending about 76.8 percent of premium dollars on medical care last year in those business segments.

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Why Sutter Health is booking 60 rooms for a month at the Hyatt
Sacramento Business Journal

Sutter Health isn’t taking any chances when its big hospital move starts on Saturday. It’s reserved 60 rooms for a month at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento to keep technology experts on hand — just in case. Early Saturday, ambulances will begin moving the last patients at Sutter Memorial Hospital to the new Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center in midtown. The electronic health record system will simultaneously go live at the new hospital and across the street at Sutter General, now called the Ose Adams Medical Pavilion.

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San Francisco health care CEO joins board of McDonald’s
San Francisco Business Times

It snuck under the wires yesterday, but Dignity Health’s longtime CEO Lloyd Dean is now a board member of troubled fast-food giant McDonald’s. Dean runs San Francisco-based Dignity Health, which operates 39 hospitals in California, Arizona and Nevada, has 9,000 affiliated doctors and likes to emphasize “human kindness” in its ads.

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Henry Mayo Named A 2015 Most Wired Hospital

The results are according to the 17th annual Health Care’s Most Wired survey, released recently by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The 2015 Most Wired survey is designed to provide a barometer measuring information technology use and adoption among hospitals nationwide.

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New documents detail five-year agreement in proposal to buy Daughters of Charity hospital system

New documents pertaining to the potential sale of the Daughters of Charity Health System show an agreement to run its hospitals for at least five years. The newly released documents detail several factors of the agreement between Blue Mountain Capital Management and the Daughters of Charity system including San Jose’s O’Connor Hospital and Gilroy’s St Louise Regional Medical Center. The five year agreement was the same length of operation that Prime Healthcare had proposed before state Attorney General Kamala Harris required Prime to agree to keep the hospital open for at least ten y