News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Keeping medical records ready allows patients to be advocates
San Diego Union-Tribune

When it comes to personal medical records, the main thing most people don’t know is that all patients are entitled to have them, attorney Annamarie Bondi-Stoddard said.

However, because many people are unaware, most patients don’t know to ask, said Bondi-Stoddard, managing partner of New York-based Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, who has experience representing plaintiffs in medical negligence cases.

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Clinical lab chain pays $1.8 million to settle charges of double-billing
Sacramento Business Journal

Quest Diagnostics has paid the federal government $1.79 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to the Medicare program, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner announced Tuesday.

Based in Madison, N.J., Quest Diagnostics has 10 clinical laboratory draw and testing stations in the Sacramento area. The company bought more than 50 testing centers in California and Nevada from Dignity Health in 2013.

The settlement resolves allegations that labs now owned by Quest submitted duplicate claims for certain venipuncture services — vein puncture to draw blood, do intravenous feeing or administer medicine — as well as some panel tests and components of those panels.

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Hoag opens on-site rehab facility in Newport Beach
Orange County Register

Hoag Hospital has opened a 21-bed residential substance abuse treatment center in Newport Beach, the first in California to be located on an acute-care hospital campus.

The facility, called SolMar Recovery, comes at a time when heroin addiction and prescription painkiller addiction are soaring locally and nationwide, and as the Affordable Care Act requires insurance coverage of treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.

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Stanford doctor on a mission to empower patients to talk about end-of-life issues

Each year, about 2.6 million people die in America. Although past research has shown that 7 out of 10 of us prefer to die at home, an estimated 70 percent of people die in the hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility. The disconnect between where people die and how they would prefer to spend their final days often happens because loved ones and doctors don’t know their end-of-life wishes. Only 20 to 30 percent of Americans have completed advanced directives.

It’s not easy to talk about death, and the terminology used in advanced directives can be confusing. I remember having to complete the form with my husband shortly before the birth of my first child. Despite having been in a relationship for 12 year, we had never discussed end-of-life issues. Imagining the scenarios that might lead to either of us being in a life-threatening situation was an extremely emotional exercise — especially as we awaited our son’s arrival. Did we want doctors to use every intervention possible to save our life? What if it meant sacrificing our quality of life? Did we want to be on life support? If so, how long?

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Cottage Health President and CEO Ron Werft Awarded Fellowship to Study Health Care in Europe
Santa Barbara Independent

Ron Werft, President and CEO of Cottage Health, has been awarded the 2015 Walker-Sullivan Fellowship.

Presented by California Health Foundation & Trust, based in Sacramento, the award is given to recognize outstanding health care leaders who are willing to study health care in one or more foreign countries.

Fellows are required to prepare summary reports for the Foundation as well as the California Hospital Association.  The objective of the study is to compare and contrast health care delivery and responsibility in other nations, and how these methods might have application in the United States.