News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation


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Pay, But Not Equity, Improves For Female Anesthesiologists
National Public Radio

In anesthesiology, it pays – literally – to be a man.

At least, that’s what’s suggested by a study examining this specialty’s demographics and salaries in 2007 and again in 2013. The study, by the RAND Corp., a nonpartisan research institute, was published Thursday in the journal Anesthesiology.

This paper is among other recent studies examining how the glass ceiling affects female health care workers. Women who are medical school professors are less likely to be promoted than are their male peers, and they may have more trouble getting scientific research funded, according to two studies published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. Even in nursing — a field women dominate — men on average earn significantly more, even after controlling for age, marital status and children, another recent paper concluded.

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SDSU to specialize in mobile health sensors
San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego State University is expanding into the booming market for wearable sensors, creating an institute that will develop wireless devices that diagnose and monitor a person’s health.

The Smart Health Institute will initially be composed of existing faculty from the school’s large engineering and health programs and four professors who will be hired from such fields as biosensors and nano-materials.

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Another ACA contraception case may be headed to Supreme Court
Modern Healthcare

A federal appeals court on Thursday sided for the first time against an Obama administration policy intended make sure the employees of not-for-profit religious organizations can get birth control at no cost.The case is one of many working their way through the federal courts challenging parts of the Obama administration’s policy that contraception for women should be among preventive services covered at no out-of-pocket cost under the Affordable Care Act.

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Why Trump, Paul Are Wrong — ‘No Alternative Vaccine Schedule’
KQED Radio

Donald Trump likely wrecked the day of vaccine experts across the country in last night’s Republican debate. Trump reiterated his opinion that vaccines cause autism, a belief that has been thoroughly debunked by repeated studies.

Candidate Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, did refute Trump, saying, “We have extremely well-documented proof that there’s no autism associated with vaccinations.” The Autism Self Advocacy Network also pointed to the “wealth of scientific evidence debunking any link between autism and vaccinations,” in its own statement.

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There’s more to health reform than expanding coverage
San Luis Obispo Tribune

The numbers are in: Obamacare reduced the share of Americans without health insurance last year to 10.4 percent, down from 13.3 percent the year before. That represents 8.8 million fewer people who risked financial ruin if they needed significant medical care. Most of the improvement came from people getting coverage through Medicaid or the state insurance exchanges.

The figures put to rest the notion that Obamacare would cause more people to lose coverage than gain it. But U.S. health care is by no means fixed. Three substantial improvements are still needed.

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More people are being illegally billed for charges not paid by Medi-Cal
Los Angeles Times

Two weeks after her son was hospitalized with pneumonia, Stacy Dorton received a surprise bill saying she owed $700 that her insurance didn’t cover.

“I knew it was a mistake,” said the 31-year-old Los Angeles mother of four.

And she was right.

That’s because Dorton and her son are among the 12.5 million Californians — nearly one-third of the state’s population — covered by Medi-Cal, California’s insurance program for people with low income.

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Senators raise pressure on health law’s “Cadillac Tax”
Chicago Tribune

A new bipartisan effort to cancel the Affordable Care Act’s Cadillac tax — the 40 percent levy on high-cost health insurance plans — adds a wrinkle to an impending fight in Congress.

The repeal bill unveiled Thursday in the Senate by Nevada Republican Dean Heller and New Mexico Democrat Martin Heinrich stands little chance of becoming law soon, especially with Barack Obama in the White House. Yet it demonstrates lawmakers’ frustration with the tax, which takes effect in 2018.

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CDC Says Flu Vaccine Should Be More Effective This Season
National Public Radio

Last year’s flu vaccine didn’t work very well. This year’s version should do a much better job protecting people against the flu, federal health officials said Thursday.

An analysis of the most common strains of flu virus that are circulating in the United States and elsewhere found they match the strains included in this year’s vaccine, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The results will hopefully encourage more people to get their flu shots, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said during a news conference.

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Roll up your sleeve, this year’s new flu vaccine seems a match
Orange County Register

This year’s flu shot should work well to fight off this year’s strain of the flu, federal health officials said Thursday.

If true, that prediction will be a welcome shift from a year ago, when a strong, mutated flu strain was largely resistant to last year’s vaccine, catching doctors and the public by surprise. “So far, the strains in this year’s vaccine seem likely to match,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Study: Risk of death drops with Type 2 diabetes pill Jardiance
Modern Healthcare

Jardiance sharply reduced chances of dying in diabetic patients at high risk of heart complications, a study shows, making the medication the first to lengthen diabetics’ lives.

The daily pill for Type 2 diabetes reduced deaths from heart complications by 38%, deaths from any cause by 32% and hospitalizations due to chronic heart failure by 35%, according to the study by Jardiance makers Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim.

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Health department scores Blue Shield grant to aid care delivery
Merced Sun-Star

The Merced County Department of Public Health has received a new grant that will help it continue efforts to better integrate primary care and mental health services.

The department received $150,000 from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, the maximum amount for this grant.

The award will help address gaps between mental health, substance abuse and primary care services, said Kathleen Grassi, the department’s director.

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Lawmakers to Tour San Clemente Hospital
San Clemente Times

Assemblyman Bill Brough, who represents San Clemente’s District 73, will host a collection of legislators on Monday, Sept. 21 to tour the Saddleback Memorial Hospital in San Clemente. Brough has been trying to champion a bill that would allow emergency services to take place at facilities that do not have long-term inpatient services.

Currently, California law does not permit such facilities.

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New Stanford Hospital halfway complete
Daily Democrat

Construction of the new Stanford Hospital has reached the halfway point, marking another milestone for the $2 billion project.

In the coming weeks, crews will begin adding exterior walls to the steel frame. The goal is to enclose the 824,000-square-foot building before the start of the rainy season, said Grace Hsu, director of design management for the hospital, during a recent tour of the site.

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East Bay medical device maker Penumbra tops targets with upsized $120M IPO
San Francisco Business Times

Penumbra is the latest Bay Area health sector company to hit its IPO marks, raising $120 million in an offering that sold more shares and priced higher than expected. The Alameda-based medical device maker sold 4 million shares at $30 each. It was expected to sell 3.8 million shares for between $25 and $28. Penumbra is the first company from the region to go public in a month. It is led by CEO Adam Elsesser and markets devices for the treatment of strokes and other vascular conditions.

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A Camarillo Hospital Is Breaking Ground On A Major Expansion
KEYT3 - Santa Barbara

A Camarillo hospital is undergoing a major expansion. Next week Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo will have the groundbreaking for their new $80 million expansion project. While the project has been in the works for years, the groundbreaking will officially commemorate the start of construction.

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New Natividad CEO has seen good, bad times at county hospital
Monterey Herald

New Natividad Medical Center CEO Dr. Gary Gray admits he could never have envisioned where both he and the county-owned hospital would end up when he arrived in 2001. Gray came to Natividad from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., with impressive academic credentials after serving as assistant professor and director of pre-doctoral education of the school’s family medicine department, but little administrative experience.

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Keeping the city’s hospital healthy

People responsible for operating health care facilities live in very complicated times. Witness last year’s shuttering and bankruptcy of Sebastopol’s 73-year-old Palm Drive Hospital. The reality of soaring costs and dwindling revenue streams, coupled with economic uncertainties tied to ongoing national health care reform policies, make operating a hospital today an increasingly difficult proposition.