News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Drug companies donate $10 million to oppose California initiative
Sacramento Bee

It hasn’t qualified for the ballot. And the measure’s implications are so complicated that even the experts at the Legislative Analyst’s Office had a hard time gauging its fiscal effects.

But the proposed “California Drug Price Relief Act” already has the attention of the drug industry, with major companies in recent days donating more than $10 million to their trade group’s California ballot initiative committee. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America reported the donations Friday.

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Flu Season Expected To Be Worse Than Last Year, Experts Say
ABC News

Experts say this flu season may be more critical than the last and are recommending that those eligible for the shot, roll up their sleeve.

A really bad flu season can cripple an emergency department.

“We pretty much come to a standstill.. there are so many people that are sick,” said registered nurse Elizabeth Zhorne. “They continue to pour in because they just don’t feel well.

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Obamacare mandated better mental health-care coverage. It hasn’t happened.
Washington Post

A trio of Washington Post stories this week detail the horrible toll of rising heroin addiction, along with the very much related issues of limited access to substance-abuse treatment and other forms of mental health care. Among the saddest takeaways: People with means can send their kids to rehab, try to get them clean and sometimes shelter their public reputations. Sometimes, all of that fails; young people die.

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Seniors Tend To Quit Medicare Advantage When Health Declines
National Public Radio

Senior citizens are switching from privately run insurance plans to traditional Medicare when they face serious, long-term health conditions, a study shows.

Researchers at Brown University found that 17 percent of Medicare Advantage patients who entered nursing homes for long-term care chose to switch to traditional Medicare the following year. Only 3 percent of similar patients in Medicare made the decision to go to a private Medicare Advantage plan.

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Opponents of assisted death law seek referendum
Sacramento Bee

One day after a deeply reflective Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients, opponents of the controversial measure have launched a campaign to overturn the law.

On Tuesday, a group called Seniors Against Suicide filed paperwork with the attorney general’s office seeking to bring the assisted death proposal before voters in November 2016. They will need to collect 365,880 valid voter signatures by Jan. 3 – 90 days from the enactment of the law – to qualify the referendum for the ballot.

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A look at efforts to legalize physician-assisted deaths
Modesto Bee

California’s governor has signed a bill that will give the terminally ill in the nation’s most populous state the right to end their lives with drugs prescribed by a doctor.

Right-to-die advocates have been pushing for decades to get such legislation passed in the state and say Monday’s signing is a major victory that could spur other states to follow suit.

Opponents disagree and are launching a drive for a referendum to overturn the law. They say similar bills in numerous states have stalled.

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Referendum papers filed on assisted suicide law
Los Angeles Times

A day after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing assisted suicides for the terminally ill in California, opponents filed papers to seek a referendum to overturn the measure on the November 2016 ballot.

A group called Seniors Against Suicide filed papers with the state attorney general’s office to get an official title and summary for the referendum, the first step toward collecting signatures.

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California foster care: New laws signed to restrict psychiatric drugs
The Mercury News

Creating sweeping new protections for tens of thousands of California’s most traumatized children, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed the nation’s most comprehensive set of laws to curb the overprescribing of psychiatric drugs in foster care.

For the first time, the state will train caregivers and court officials on the hazards of psychotropic drugs, scour medicated children’s health records for alarming prescriptions and step up scrutiny of residential facilities that rely too heavily on the medications to control kids’ behavior.

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Final Stage 3 EHR rule is out, but HHS signals more changes ahead
Modern Healthcare

The Obama administration, under pressure from Congress and the healthcare industry to ease its mandates for the use of electronic health records, issued regulations for the current and final stages of its incentive program for the technology.

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The Legend of the Avoidable Hospital Readmission
The Health Care Blog

A long, long time ago, hospitals existed to admit patients when they were sick, treat them with medicines or surgery and good nursing care, and discharge them after they became well.

Hospital care was at one time a charity, which evolved into a nonprofit service, before it became a Very Big Business.

In olden days, nonprofit hospitals charged patients straightforward fees for their services.

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More U.S. women may get IUDs right after giving birth
Yahoo! News

For new mothers in the U.S. who receive government-sponsored health insurance, it’s becoming easier to get intrauterine devices (IUDs) implanted immediately after giving birth, a study found.

“Immediate insertion is associated with more women who want an IUD implant actually getting it, higher use at three months postpartum, and lower rates of unplanned rapid repeat pregnancies within 12 to 24 months of delivery,” said lead study author Dr. Michelle Moniz of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in email to Reuters Health.

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Hospitals Still Don’t Give Moms Enough Support For Breast-Feeding

Most hospitals around the country aren’t doing a good job of helping new moms who want to breast-feed, researchers report Tuesday in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Several common practices at the institutions may actually prevent moms from sticking with breast-feeding for six months — the duration thought to be most healthful for babies.

Epidemologists at the CDC surveyed more than 80 percent of the birthing centers across the country about the support they give new moms trying to breast-feed. About half of those surveyed said they implement five of the 10 practices recommended by the World Health Organization. By comparison, only a third of hospitals were hitting that mark in 2007.

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Nursing college opens new campus in Concord, filling up space vacated by University of Phoenix
San Francisco Business Times

Unitek College, a fast-growing vocational nursing school owned by for-profit Health Ed Inc., has opened a new campus in Concord’s Metroplex Office Centre. The new 24,000-square-foot space includes classrooms and laboratories on two floors of the Class A office tower at 1401 Willow Pass Road. It’s expected to serve up to 400 students over time, but is phasing in new cohorts gradually, spokeswoman Kimberly Hathaway said Tuesday.

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Sutter partners with hospitalist group
Lake County Record-Bee

Sutter Lakeside Hospital partnered with Surgical Affiliates Management Group (SAMG) to bring the highest level of orthopedic care to Lake County residents. The hospitalist group formed in 1996 and has since produced years of outstanding results, such as improving patient outcomes, reducing unnecessary readmissions and cutting costs.

Dr. Leon Owens, M.D., president and CEO of SAMG, manages the group. Owens developed the model and has had significant experience with success at other facilities. He uses a structured approach for consistency and quality to provide optimal service.

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Medical center opens new women’s health facility
Colusa Sun Herald

Dr. Lorraine Chun was a little late to the grand opening of Colusa Regional Medical Center’s new Women’s Heath Center on Sept. 30. As dedicated obstetricians often do, Chun vacated her social schedule to bring a new 8-pound, 6-ounce baby girl into the world. Although she missed the brief opening ceremony, Chun made it to the celebration just in time to cut a ceremonial red ribbon, officially opening the Davison Drive clinic in Colusa — now known as the one-stop shop for women.

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Hospital offers free mammograms to uninsured women
Lake County Record-Bee

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sutter Lakeside Hospital will provide free mammograms for uninsured women during the month of October. Statistically, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and breast cancer accounts for one in three of all cancers in women.

“Mammograms for uninsured women cost $75 last year. This year, we’re proud to collaborate with the Sutter Health system to provide free mammograms to uninsured women.

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Scripps affiliates with Brawley hospital
San Diego Union-Tribune

A new affiliation agreement between Scripps Health and Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District in Brawley will be the health system’s first foray outside San Diego County.

The two parties are set to sign a two-year pact Tuesday in which Scripps will act as a consultant, providing training and advice on topics ranging from quality improvement to cost reduction.

Chris Van Gorder, Scripps’ chief executive, was careful to note that his organization will not be assigning any clinical providers to Pioneers.