News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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UCSF workforce guru has influenced thousands
San Francisco Business Times

Ed O’Neil retired from his job as director of UCSF’s Center for Health Professions on June 28, 20 years to the day after starting there, although he has no immediate plans to retire for good. O’Neil, 59, was lured to San Francisco and UCSF from Duke University, where he was assistant dean of medicine, to found the center, now a nationally known and respected institute that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding over the last two decades.

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Doctor Shortage Likely to Worsen With Health Law
New York Times

In the Inland Empire, an economically depressed region in Southern California, President Obama’s health care law is expected to extend insurance coverage to more than 300,000 people by 2014. But coverage will not necessarily translate into care: Local health experts doubt there will be enough doctors to meet the area’s needs. There are not enough now. Other places around the country, including the Mississippi Delta, Detroit and suburban Phoenix, face similar problems.

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In-store clinics look to be a remedy for healthcare law influx
Los Angeles Times

If you thought it was hard getting a doctor’s appointment now, just wait until 30 million more Americans join the line. Nearly 3 in 4 California counties already lack a sufficient number of family physicians, and by 2020 the U.S. faces an estimated shortage of 40,000 primary-care doctors with no way to remedy that in just a few years.

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MRSA infections rise at academic medical centers: study
Modern Healthcare

Infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus doubled at academic medical centers between 2003 and 2008, according to a study published in the August issue of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, putting the rate of hospitalization at almost one out of every 20 patients. “The rapid increase means that the number of people hospitalized with recorded MRSA infections exceeded the number hospitalized with AIDS and influenza combined in each of the last three years of the survey: 2006, 2007 and 2008,” Michael David, one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, said in a news release.

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CMS to hike skilled-nursing payments by 1.8%
Modern Healthcare

The CMS will increase its skilled-nursing facility payment rates by 1.8% on Oct. 1, according to a notice from the agency posted on the Office of the Federal Register’s website. The rate increase is expected to boost payments by $670 million for than 15,000 Medicare-certified skilled-nursing facilities paid under the SNF prospective payment system.

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Sacramento medical jobs to boom as health care law takes effect
Sacramento Bee

From hospitals to home health services, Sacramento’s medical industry has become an economic powerhouse. It surged when practically every other sector of the economy stalled, and now employs more people here than state government.

And it’s poised for an even greater expansion.

President Barack Obama’s overhaul of national health care, having survived a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court, is expected to usher in a fresh demand for health care workers.

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Annual retainer fee buys patients more time with their doctors
Los Angeles Times

Frustrated with a changing healthcare system that has resulted in longer work days and less time with patients, a growing number of doctors in California and across the nation are turning to a new type of practice — concierge medicine.

The model is simple: Doctors charge their patients an annual fee and in turn, give them more time and attention.

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Obese Valley children suffer adult ailments
Fresno Bee

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heartburn — these are not diseases of old age anymore.

Doctors in the central San Joaquin Valley are diagnosing children and adolescents in growing numbers with ailments usually seen in adults, and they say childhood obesity is behind the trend.

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California mental-health spending often bypasses the mentally ill
Long Beach Press-Telegram

As state mental health services have crumbled under budget cuts, tens of millions of dollars raised through a tax designed to help the mentally ill have gone to “wellness” programs like horseback riding for teens and yoga classes for city workers. And that’s by design. Voters approved Proposition 63, the so-called “millionaire’s tax,” in 2004 to make up for decades of mental health cuts.

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Some amputations preventable, center shows diabetic patients
Sacramento Bee

Ehud Giladi thinks the Amputation Prevention Center saved his life.

Giladi, known as “Udi” to friends and family, knew he was in trouble in November 2010 when he summoned his son to help remove a sock from his foot.

Giladi is a diabetic and had been badly overweight for years. His left foot had developed neuropathy – the loss of feeling in extremities common to diabetics.

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Not-for-Profit Healthcare Outlook Remains Negative
Health Leaders Media

The sputtering national economy, a rising federal deficit, and lean state budgets are getting blamed for debt downgrades in the not-for-profit healthcare sector which are expected to continue through the rest of the year and beyond, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

“It is a negative outlook,” says Lisa Goldstein, associate managing director at the bond rating agency.

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More uninsured in San Mateo County to receive health care
The Bay Citizen

In an apparent about-face, the Peninsula Health Care District has approved $4.6 million in funding for a San Mateo County program that provides health care for uninsured, low-income adults.

The move follows a Bay Citizen investigation in March, which found that the taxpayer-supported district had rejected a request from the San Mateo County Health System last year for a $4 million grant to help the uninsured. At the time, the district had a $43 million reserve of current public assets.

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New pharmacy school dean focuses on accreditation
San Francisco Business Times

The new dean at California Northstate University College of Pharmacy, one month into the job, has kicked off an aggressive program to ensure the school achieves full professional accreditation next summer. The new school graduated its first class in May but failed to achieve full accreditation as expected from the national Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education. The college has won approval from two other key accrediting agencies but has one year to meet requirements as a professional school.

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