News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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How lawmakers want to solve state’s tough health-care financing problem
Sacramento Business Journal

A battle over taxes is shaping up in the special session on financing for Medi-Cal and other programs. The state has two problems: replacing a funding mechanism that federal officials say is improper and finding a way to increase reimbursement rates for health providers. Those rates are among the lowest in the nation. The funding mechanism is a tax on Medi-Cal plans that allows California to get more matching federal funds.

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FDA approves new skin cancer drug
San Diego Union-Tribune

Late last month, a new drug to treat the most prevalent form of skin cancer was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

WebMD said the drug Odomzo received approval for treating locally advanced basal cell carcinoma in patients who are not candidates for surgery or radiation, or for patients whose skin cancer returns following surgery or radiation.

According to WebMD, basal cell carcinoma makes up roughly 80 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers.

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Rural Hospitals Team Up To Survive
Kaiser Health News

Ask Sam Lindsey about the importance of Northern Cochise Community Hospital and he’ll give you a wry grin. You might as well be asking the 77-year-old city councilman to choose between playing pickup basketball—as he still does most Fridays—and being planted six feet under the Arizona dust.

Lindsey believes he’s above ground, and still playing point guard down at the Mormon church, because of Northern Cochise. Last Christmas, he suffered a severe stroke in his home.

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The importance of a Medi-Cal fix
Ventura County Star

For the last couple years the state has levied a $1 billion tax that certain health insurance companies have willingly, almost happily, paid. The reason for the absence of grumbling is simple: For every dollar in taxes they pay, they get back that dollar and more in higher rates from the government.

It’s been a very good deal that has enabled California to provide its matching share so that it can access $1 billion in extra funding for Medi-Cal. In essence, it has been a clever and cost-free way for California to tap into free money from Washington, D.C.

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California lawmakers renew push to pass right-to-die bill
Modern Healthcare

California lawmakers are making a new push to allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives after previous efforts stalled amid religious opposition.

Democratic legislators introduced the bill, which allows doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs, in a special session on health care convened by Gov. Jerry Brown and were expected to announce their plan for passing it Tuesday.

Religious groups and advocates for people with disabilities opposed a nearly identical bill this year, saying it goes against the will of God and put terminally ill patients at risk for coerced death.

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Get DC out of our health care
USA Today

ObamaCare was forced on the American people by Democrats who think the government knows best, chief among them, Hillary Clinton.

The seeds of this destructive law were first planted by Clinton in the early 90s as part of her failed health care plan, HillaryCare, and in her 2008 campaign’s health care proposal.

Although Clinton’s health care proposals failed, many of their central provisions — including the individual mandate and harsh penalties for those who don’t purchase insurance — succeeded in making their way into ObamaCare.

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FDA Approves First Drug To Boost Women’s Sexual Desire
National Public Radio

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug designed to increase a woman’s libido.

The controversial decision was hailed by some doctors and advocates as a long-sought victory for women’s health, but was condemned by others as irresponsible and dangerous.

The little pink pill, known generically as flibanserin, will be sold under the brand name Addyi beginning Oct. 17, according to its maker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals. The medicine is to be taken daily to treat premenopausal women suffering from hypoactive sexual desire disorder, which is essentially a sudden, unexplained loss of any desire to have sex.

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As FDA approves ‘pink Viagra’ for women, controversy persists
Los Angeles Times

After clearing the way for Viagra and more than two dozen other treatments to enhance the sex lives of men, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday gave its blessing to the first medication designed to increase sexual desire in women.

The FDA’s approval of flibanserin, often known by the nickname “pink Viagra,” reverses two earlier rejections of the pill as a treatment for hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD.

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Investors profit from surgeries on patients of mesh implants gone wrong
Modern Healthcare

The tidal wave of lawsuits over pelvic mesh implants seems to have spurred a new business—one that some say profits by preying on patients who’ve sued over the devices, according to a Reuters investigation.

Here’s how it works: Medical funders buy debt—for a fraction of its actual cost—from providers doing corrective surgery on patients with mesh implants. When those patients’ lawsuits over the implants settle, the medical funder places a lien for the full amount of the surgical bill, claiming large amounts of the settlement money, according to Reuters.

Medical lenders have asked for as much as $62,000 for the surgeries and other services. That’s compared with the standard insurance reimbursement rate for mesh removal surgery, about $2,000 to $7,000.

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To fight obesity, we need healthier communities

At first glance the conclusions from a recent study on obesity by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research seem obvious: people who are overweight or obese tend to have a less healthy diet and exercise less often than people whose weight is normal.

But behind those findings is another, more compelling story:

Minorities are more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic whites.

Low-income people are more likely to be overweight than more affluent Californians.

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UCLA study finds more Californians are obese, diabetic
Sacramento Bee

California adults are heftier, eating more fast food and getting diagnosed with diabetes at higher rates. And California kids? They’re spending an “astounding” amount of time sitting glued to a TV, computer or phone screen.

Those health trends emerged from a two-year survey released Tuesday by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, which surveyed more than 48,000 California adults, teens and children on dozens of health care topics.

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During physicals, Kaiser asks kids questions aimed at depression
Orange County Register

During back-to-school checkups at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County, children as young as 11 are being screened for suicidal thoughts and depression.

“Depression is incredibly high among adolescents,” said Kaiser’s chief of pediatrics in Orange County, Dr. Alan Cortez. “Typically, we give teens a long questionnaire to fill out about substance abuse, domestic violence, but no one gives 11- and 12-year-olds the same opportunity.”

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Scripps posts doctor ratings
San Diego Union-Tribune

Scripps Health is among the first in the nation to post patient-satisfaction scores for some of its doctors.

Scripps recently added five-star ratings to its online profiles of 434 physicians, a little more than half of the members of Scripps Clinic and Scripps Coastal Medical Center, the organization’s two main medical groups.

The ratings represent a weighted average of scores recorded on patient-satisfaction surveys performed by Press Ganey, a company that works with about half of the hospitals in the United States to gauge health care quality.

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Tahoe Forest Hospital District is making great strides
Sierra Sun

Certain misconceptions about the hospital are still present in our community. I would like to offer some facts about the hospital’s contribution to the community and its financial stability.

Unlike Nevada or Placer counties, the town of Truckee, the Fire Protection District, the Public Utility District or any of the other special districts in our region, the hospital is not wholly supported by taxpayer or rate payer dollars.

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New emergency medical technician program launches in Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Sentinel

County residents have a new option to train to become an emergency medical technician in Santa Cruz.

A 10-week series of classes is being launched with county approval by retired flight nurses Aki and Alex Williams, who five years ago started Defib This, a school providing emergency response training.

Five openings remain in the initial class of 20, which begins Saturday and meets Saturdays plus two evenings a week.

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Marlee Lauffer moving over to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital
The Signal

After 26 years with Newhall Land Development Inc., Marlee Lauffer is leaving to accept a new position with Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

The hospital is set to announce Lauffer’s appointment on Wednesday.

Lauffer will step into her new role as President of the Henry Mayo Foundation, a position that recently opened when Diana Vose retired.

However, Lauffer will also serve as Vice President of marketing and Communications for the hospital itself.

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Redlands Community Hospital Foundation gets $125K grant
Redlands Daily Facts

Redlands Community Hospital Foundation has received a $125,000 grant from Stater Bros. Charities and the Inland Women Fighting Cancer organization to improve access to care for local cancer patients.

A check presentation will be held at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 27 at Redlands Community Hospital’s Women’s Health Imaging Center, at 255 Terracina Blvd., 104A, Redlands, CA 92373.

Stater Bros. Charities has supported the Redlands Community Hospital Foundation since 2011. It has selected the Women’s Health Imaging Center because of the increasing need for cancer screening in the Inland Empire.