News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

 

News Headlines Article

Health care costs remain a concern, California poll reveals
The Sacramento Bee

The promise of coming guaranteed access to health benefits seems of little comfort to the majority of Californians who, in a new study, reported trouble affording health care and anxiety over potential financial hardship due to the steep cost of care. A new Field Poll of 997 registered California voters showed 53 percent had difficulty paying their health care bills. Almost half, 46 percent, said they’ve simply delayed seeking treatment in the past year due to the cost.

News Headlines Article

30-Day Readmission, Mortality Rates Updated
Health Leaders Media

A major update to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare website refreshes data for 30-day readmission and mortality rates. Eight hospitals from California to Puerto Rico and New York showed up as “worse than” the national average in 30-day readmission rates for all three disease categories—pneumonia, heart attack, and heart failure—in the latest update of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website, Hospital Compare.

News Headlines Article

Clinical Data Requires Nimble Navigation
Health Leaders Media

“I sense a data theme throughout the results,” says Craig E. Samitt, MD, president and CEO of Dean Health System in Madison, Wis., a physician-owned integrated delivery system with 60 healthcare facilities in southern and central Wisconsin. The 2012 HealthLeaders Media Clinical Quality and Safety Survey shows widespread use of electronic health records, which, for those who work to get it going, can provide a data foundation to be tapped to prevent errors and support clinical decisions.

News Headlines Article

State health insurance exchange will provide gateway to affordability, official says
Ventura County Star

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, California’s first-in-the-nation Health Benefit Exchange is redoubling its efforts to enroll as many as possible of the estimated 3 million people who will be eligible to buy insurance through the state-run purchasing pool that will open for business in 2014.

News Headlines Article

Health-Care Ruling to Increase Ranks of Uninsured, CBO Says
San Francisco Chronicle

About 3 million fewer low-income Americans will have health insurance as a result of the Supreme Court decision that threw out part of President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, the Congressional Budget Office said.

The cost of expanding coverage will shrink by $84 billion to $1.168 trillion under the court decision, which voided a requirement that states expand Medicaid coverage for the poor in 2014, the nonpartisan agency said in a report yesterday.

News Headlines Article

Supreme Court decision cuts reform law’s 11-year cost by $84 billion, CBO says
Modern Healthcare

The 11-year cost of the federal healthcare overhaul will drop by $84 billion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 28 decision, according to new projections by the Congressional Budget Office. The court’s decision to remove financial penalties on states that opt to not expand their Medicaid programs will reduce the law’s expected 11-year cost to $1.168 trillion from the $1.252 trillion the agency had projected in March.

News Headlines Article

Dems cite CBO figures on repeal costs; GOP lawmaker zeroes in on subsidies
Modern Healthcare

Provider groups and lawmakers focused on different elements of the Congressional Budget Office’s new projections about the 2010 healthcare law to underscore or advance their respective policy positions.

News Headlines Article

Health care costs still a struggle, poll says
San Francisco Chronicle

Despite rising health care costs, the percentage of California voters who struggle to pay for health care hasn’t changed in five years, according to a Field Poll released Wednesday.

The survey of about 1,000 registered voters over 12 days in June and July found that 53 percent of respondents say it is hard to pay for health care, and 44 percent say it is not. A similar poll conducted five years ago found nearly identical results.

News Headlines Article

Most employers expect to keep health care coverage
LA Observed

For what it’s worth, eight out of 10 say they’ll continue providing benefits over the next three years, according to a survey by Deloitte. Just 10 percent expect to drop their coverage and another 10 percent aren’t sure. But don’t be surprised if employers start looking for cheaper alternatives, especially if the Affordable Care Act results in higher premiums. Of course, much of the ACA doesn’t take effect until 2014 and until then all these forecasts remain mostly guesswork.

News Headlines Article

Supreme Court decision scales back cost, coverage of healthcare law
Los Angeles Times

Fewer Americans will likely get health insurance over the next decade under President Obama’s healthcare law as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision to limit it, according to a new analysis of the landmark ruling.

At the same time, the court’s decision to allow states to opt out of a major expansion of the government Medicaid insurance program for the poor could also save taxpayers $84 billion by 2022, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates.

News Headlines Article

New health law will lower costs for small business, panel says
North County Times

Small businesses will probably pay less for health insurance once the nation’s health care overhaul goes into effect, panelists said Tuesday in a panel discussion about the law’s likely effects. That applies to those who already provide health insurance or want to, they said. The panelists spoke at an event explaining the law held in downtown San Diego by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. The law is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

News Headlines Article

UCLA doctors to oversee 11 CVS in-store clinics
Los Angeles Times

Pharmacy giant CVS Caremark Corp. and UCLA Health System are teaming up to treat patients in 11 in-store clinics in Los Angeles County as one remedy to a growing shortage of primary care physicians.

Under this arrangement, UCLA physicians will serve as medical directors overseeing 11 CVS MinuteClinics and the two entities will share electronic medical records.

News Headlines Article

Hospitals should focus on sustainability for public, financial health, speakers say
Modern Healthcare

Fostering environmental sustainability isn’t about “tree-huggers from the ’60s”; it’s about promoting community health while bolstering a hospital’s financial health, according to speakers from the Healthier Hospital Initiative who spoke at a White House Council on Environmental Quality event celebrating the healthcare industry’s environmental successes.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser Permanente gives $660,000 to 11 NorCal community clinics
San Francisco Business Times

Kaiser Permanente is giving $660,000 in grants to 11 Northern California community clinics, including San Francisco’s Curry Senior Center and San Mateo County’s Ravenswood Family Health Center, among others. Each clinic received a $60,000, one-year grant from Oakland-based Kaiser’s Northern California region, officials said July 24.

News Headlines Article

6 Million Will Lose Out On Medicaid Expansion
KERO

The Supreme Court’s health reform ruling could leave 6 million Americans out of the expansion of Medicaid set to begin in 2014, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The CBO now estimates that 7 million uninsured will be covered through the expansion, down from its prior estimate of 13 million. Health reform has a number of provisions aimed at reducing the ranks of the uninsured - Medicaid’s expansion is one of the most controversial.

News Headlines Article

Registries cited as important quality tool at hearing
Modern Healthcare

Members of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee questioned expert witnesses Tuesday about quality-improvement activities during the panel’s third hearing about Medicare physician payment reform.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) highlighted the value of patient registries, citing as an example a clinical database that the Society of Thoracic Surgeons uses as a quality-improvement and patient-safety measure.

News Headlines Article

Costs Driving Changes, Opportunities in New World of Benefits Brokerage
Insurance Journal

Group health insurance brokerage is changing but the changes are not primarily due to Congress or the courts. Rather the changes are being driven by costs — the cost of healthcare coverage and the cost of serving employers who are looking for ways to manage healthcare costs.

Employers are asking that their brokers do a lot more than just quote and place a policy. They want help addressing the costs.

News Headlines Article

CMS contractor begins meaningful-use audits
Modern Healthcare

A contractor working for the CMS has begun the promised audits of Medicare providers and dual-eligible Medicare and Medicaid hospitals that have received federal electronic health-record system incentive payments, the agency confirmed.

News Headlines Article

Health insurance rebates due next week across California
Sacramento Bee

Consumers across California will be getting rebate checks from their health insurers next week – one of the first tangible results of the federal health care overhaul.

About 1.8 million Californians will be getting money back, either directly or through a reduction in their monthly premium. The average California rebate: about $65 a family.

Nationally, about $1.1 billion in health care premium rebates – averaging $151 per family – will go out to 12.7 million consumers by Aug. 1.

News Headlines Article

Heathcare CEO to be honored by Boy Scouts
The Press-Enterprise

Ken Rivers, chief executive officer of Southwest Healthcare System, will receive the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award from the Tahquitz District of the California Inland Empire Council, Boy Scouts of America. Southwest Healthcare System’s hospitals are Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta and Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar. The award will be presented on Sept. 27 at Pechanga Resort and Casino.

News Headlines Article

UC Davis chancellor orders review of university doctors’ actions
Sacramento Bee

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has ordered a top campus official to conduct a “comprehensive review” of accusations that two university neurosurgeons conducted unauthorized research on dying brain cancer patients, as reported in Sunday’s Bee.

Ralph J. Hexter, the provost and executive vice chancellor, will lead another investigation into the actions of Dr. J. Paul Muizelaar, the longtime chairman of the department of neurological surgery, and his colleague, Dr. Rudolph J. Schrot, according to a university spokesman.

News Headlines Article

Supervisors say community health clinics should wait to expand into Monterey County
Monterey Herald

Expressing concern about diluting federal funding, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Tuesday “discouraging” expansion of new community health centers for the poor and uninsured until a needs assessment is finished.

The resolution, approved 4-1 under the consent agenda after considerable public comment, follows Watsonville-based Salud Para La Gente’s opening of a new health clinic in Seaside near a county health clinic, which supervisors said flouted an agreement brokered by Rep. Sam Farr to wait until the assessment was done this fall.

News Headlines Article

John Muir Health donates $1M to Contra Costa County health center
San Francisco Business Times

John Muir Health has donated $1 million to help Contra Costa Health Services, the county’s health system, to offer expanded evening and weekend care at its new West County Health Center in San Pablo. The new center is scheduled to open in about six weeks, officials at Walnut Creek-based John Muir said Tuesday. The additional clinic hours will help avoid unneeded trips to the emergency room at cash-strapped Doctors Medical Center, also in San Pablo, according to Dr. William Walker, director of the county’s health services.

News Headlines Article

Tenet-Cigna deal lays groundwork for ACOs
Modern Healthcare

Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, has renewed a coverage agreement with Cigna Corp., Bloomfield, Conn., that will also pave the way for the system to set up accountable care organizations. The multiyear agreement goes into effect on May 1.

News Headlines Article

Worries grow as healthcare firms send jobs overseas
Los Angeles Times

After years of shipping data-processing, accounting and other back-office work abroad, some healthcare companies are starting to shift clinical services and decision-making on medical care overseas, primarily to India and the Philippines.

Some of the jobs being sent abroad include so-called pre-service nursing, where nurses at insurance firms, for example, help assess patient needs and determine treatment methods.

News Headlines Article

FDA disputes report alleging role in drug shortages
Modern Healthcare

The Food and Drug Administration is taking issue with a House committee report released in June that attributed the cause of drug shortages to the agency’s regulatory and enforcement actions. In a July 23 letter, the FDA said it is not the “root cause” of drug shortages.

News Headlines Article

What Do ‘Engaged’ Patients Do?
KQED Radio

Desiree Basila was 52 when her stage zero breast cancer — also called ductal carcinoma in situ — was diagnosed. While her cancer was found very early, she was ultimately diagnosed with the disease in both breasts. In addition, it was found in several locations. For Basila, doctors said her only realistic treatment option was double mastectomy — which Basila opposed. “If I die at 75 instead of 95 I think I can live with that,” she told me recently. “I did not really want to have a double mastectomy.”

Commands