News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Justice Department initiative to stress ADA standards in healthcare
Modern Healthcare

The U.S. Justice Department has launched an initiative to ensure medical information is made accessible to patients with disabilities, particularly related to hearing-loss. As part of a partnership between local U.S. attorney’s offices and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the department is implementing the Barrier-Free Health Care Initiative, which reiterates that healthcare providers cannot discriminate against patients with disabilities.

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Feds announce new anti-fraud initiative
Modern Healthcare

HHS and the U.S. Justice Department have partnered with about a half-dozen health insurers to help prevent fraud and abuse in healthcare billing. The initiative is designed to share information on specific schemes, billing codes and even geographical hotspots that have been used in fraudulent activity. The government hopes, for example, to be able to immediately detect when payments are billed for the same patient in two different cities on the same day.

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For Big Drug Companies, a Headache Looms
New York Times

It would seem a business executive’s dream: legally pay a competitor to keep its product off the market for years. Congress has failed to stop it, and for more than a decade generic drug makers and big-name pharmaceutical companies have been winning court rulings that allowed it. Until this month. On July 16, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia issued a decision that the arrangement is anticompetitive on its face.

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Workers wary about shopping for insurance, survey finds
Modern Healthcare

Employer-sponsored health insurance coverage remains, by far, the most important benefit for workers at large companies and many worry they would not find comparable coverage through an exchange, a survey found. The findings for the National Business Group on Health could have important implications for employers considering dropping their policies for workers once health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, are operational in each state in 2014. The findings also could warn about how many people may participate or how effectively they may use the coming exchanges.

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1 in 3 Physicians Plans to Quit Within 10 Years
Health Leaders Media

Blaming low compensation and the hassles of healthcare reform, 34% of physicians say they plan to leave the practice of medicine over the next decade, according to a new national survey. The online survey of 2,218 physicians by Atlanta-based healthcare staffing recruiters Jackson Healthcare also found that 16% of the respondents said they will, or are strongly considering, retiring, leaving medicine, or going part-time in 2012.

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American Hospital Association holds lots of campaign money in reserve
Modern Healthcare

With the November congressional and presidential elections a little more than three months away, provider advocates have ramped up their campaign giving—with one notable exception.

Provider political action committees already have taken in and distributed millions of dollars to both incumbents and challengers, but the largest such provider group—run by the American Hospital Association—has spent less than half of the money it has collected from members in the current election cycle.

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Advancing Accountable Care: 5 Hospital ACO Leaders Share Insight
Becker's Hospital Review

CMS‘ July announcement of 89 new accountable care organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program emphasizes a trend happening on the commercial side of things too: ACOs or similar models are sprouting up across the nation, with many health systems and hospitals considering ways to get in the ACO game.

But ACOs don’t appear overnight. They demand months, sometimes even years, of strategic planning and cooperation between providers and payors.

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UC Davis gets $53M in grants for stem cell research
Sacramento Business Journal

The UC Davis Health System was awarded three separate grants totalling more than $53 million from the state’s stem cell agency Thursday. The Sacramento-based system was the biggest winner in the latest round of grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The agency oversees a program approved by voters in 2004 to jump start the industry with $3 billion in state bond financing.

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Salinas Valley Memorial rejects merger with Natividad
Monterey Herald

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital will not pursue affiliation, at least for now, its board of directors decided Thursday.

The board rejected a proposed merger with county-owned Natividad Medical Center — its last partnership option — and chose to remain a stand-alone public district hospital.

In its unanimous decision, the board cited the challenges posed by Natividad’s demands for rapid cost-cutting and its failure to meet the affiliation requirements. Board member Deborah Nelson was absent.

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Prescription drug monitoring system running low on funds
The Bay Citizen

The state’s prescription drug monitoring program, which was dealt a major blow amid state budget cuts, is still operating but may run out of money by the end of this year, according to the attorney general’s office.

The program, called CURES, is used by law enforcement to track the prescribing of doctors suspected of dispensing too many addictive narcotic pain medications. Doctors also query the database to determine whether patients are “doctor shopping,” or seeking potent drugs from multiple sources to feed an addiction.

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HIMSS urges Dems, GOP to adopt health IT plank
Modern Healthcare

The promotion of health information technology has—so far—enjoyed bipartisan political support, and the Chicago-based Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society would like to keep it that way. HIMSS, in a news release, proposes that Democrats and Republicans adopt a health IT plank in their respective national party convention platforms.

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Insurers Join HHS in Fighting Healthcare Fraud
Health Leaders Media

Acknowledging a fragmented system that has enabled “fraudsters to take advantage,” the Department of Health and Human Services is again ratcheting up its efforts to uncover healthcare fraud.

HHS announced Thursday that more than 20 groups, including state and local officials, public and private payers, and federal law enforcement agencies, will be part of public-private partnership whose primary goal will be to share experiences in uncovering and thwarting healthcare fraud.

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Physicians Aren’t (Feeling Very) Social
The Health Care Blog

There were two interesting developments in the field of social networks for healthcare practitioners last week. The first was the publication of a paper in JAMA “Variation in Patient-Sharing Networks of Physicians Across the United States”. The second was the sale of Sermo Physician Network to WorldOne for an undisclosed price.

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Is Mayor Ed Lee hoping Lou Giraudo can bake a better CPMC deal on Cathedral Hill?
San Francisco Business Times

For reasons I’ll never understand, my Mom was always a fan of the Richard Harris song “Macarthur Park,” which has some of the weirder lyrics of all time. To whit: “Someone left the cake out in the rain.

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To Gauge ObamaCare Impact, Ignore CBO and Focus on AQC
The Health Care Blog

The big health care story in Washington, D.C this week comes down to three letters: CBO. The Congressional Budget Office released its latest projections about the Affordable Care Act’s cost and coverage, concluding that the Supreme Court’s changes to the ACA will lead to some states to opt out of its Medicaid reform.

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