News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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Report urges more action on injection safety
Modern Healthcare

Information on the costs of blood-borne pathogen outbreaks in ambulatory settings is limited and probably underestimates the full extent of problems linked to unsafe injection practices, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report cited findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that there were at least 18 such viral hepatitis outbreaks between 2001 and 2011 linked to unsafe injections at doctors offices and ambulatory surgery centers, and it noted that the CDC officials “believe that the known outbreaks do not represent the full extent of such outbreaks.”

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Hospitals Opting for Palliative Care
Health Leaders Media

The 80-year-old cancer patient wanted to return to his Florida home to die, but the oncologist at the 400-staffed-bed Sarasota Memorial Hospital strongly suggested hormone treatment that required a longer hospital stay. Eventually, the distraught patient’s family intervened for the move home, much earlier than the cancer specialist would have advised.

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IT policy committee gets Stage 3 recommendations
Modern Healthcare

A federal health information technology advisory panel has received a draft of criteria that hospitals and physicians would need to meet to qualify for the third round of federal meaningful-use incentive payments. Recommendations on the Stage 3 meaningful-use criteria were presented to the Health IT Policy Committee this week by the committee’s meaningful-use work group. The recommendations included many new proposed criteria.

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Aging baby boomers face home health care challenge
San Francisco Chronicle

For the past three years, Taura Tate’s mornings have revolved around caring for a woman who suffers from the effects of a stroke and diabetes. She cooks her oatmeal for breakfast, helps with showers and makes sure she takes the right medicine. Without the help of a home health aide, the woman, who’s in her 70s, would be in a nursing home instead of living on her own. But Tate has her own struggles. Until a recent promotion, her pay amounted to what she could make at McDonald’s.

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U.S. Officials Brace for Huge Task of Operating Health Exchanges
New York Times

 Obama administration officials are getting ready to set up and operate new health insurance markets in about half the states, where local officials appear unwilling or unable to do so.

The markets, known as exchanges, are a centerpiece of President Obama’s health care law, and running them will be a herculean task that federal officials never expected to perform.

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Obama embraces health care law after court ruling
San Francisco Chronicle

President Barack Obama, emboldened by the Supreme Court’s affirmation of his health care overhaul, is now embracing the law while campaigning for re-election, just as Republican rival Mitt Romney steps back from it. Obama sees a second chance to sell voters on the issue despite deep skepticism about it from many people. Romney is avoiding answering hard questions about how he would tackle health care, and thus missing the chance to energize voters who oppose the law.

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Administrators ordered to stop making patient care rulings
California Watch

California managed care regulators are ordering a doctors’ group to stop letting business administrators make decisions about granting requested medical care.

The order targets Accountable Health Care IPA, where regulators say the chief executive’s son and another manager made calls on patient care that, by law, should be made by a doctor.

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Two Sutter Health facilities make “100 Best Places to Work” list
Sacramento Bee

Sacramento-based Sutter Health is used to having its hospitals make the Modern Healthcare journal’s “100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare” list, but officials were pleasantly surprised when the Sutter Center for Psychiatry made this year’s rankings.

“We were the only psychiatric facility on the list … Being recognized for the complex work done every day is especially rewarding,” said John Boyd, chief administrative officer of mental health services for Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region.

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Dignity Health has nine paid health care interns
Sacramento Bee

In today’s economy, paid internships at large firms are difficult for college students to come by, much less high school students.

This summer, however, nine students from two Sacramento high schools – Hiram W. Johnson High School and Health Professions High School – are interning at Dignity Health, a local organization providing accessible health care in a variety of locations in California.

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Dignity, UCSF discuss new Bay-area system
Modern Healthcare

Officials from Dignity Health in San Francisco have started the process to create a new integrated health system with the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, according to an e-mailed news release.

The parties signed a memorandum of understanding July 24, with plans to establish the system by the end of the year. Officials note the discussions don’t involve talk of a merger or acquisition.

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New CEO has intimate history with Children’s Hospital
Fresno Bee

When he was named president and chief executive officer at Children’s Hospital Central California last month, Todd Suntrapak came closer to paying off a personal debt to the institution.

The 45-year-old CEO figures he owes his life to the hospital.

As a child growing up in Fresno, doctors at what was then Valley Children’s Hospital kept him breathing when asthma sucked the air out of his lungs; and doctors operated when his appendix ruptured.

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Health insurance members surprised to learn they may be eligible for rebates
San Francisco Chronicle

When Caryn Kaufman received the letter from her health insurance company telling her that she was entitled to a rebate of part of her insurance premiums under the new Affordable Care Act, she was confused and skeptical. Kaufman lives in Bridgeport, owns her own business, Caryn Kaufman Communications, and buys her insurance through ConnectiCare.

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Feds to set up some health care markets
San Francisco Chronicle

Obama administration officials are getting ready to set up and operate new health insurance markets in about half the states, where local officials appear unwilling or unable to do so. The markets, known as exchanges, are a centerpiece of President Obama’s health care law, and running them will be a herculean task that federal officials never expected to perform.

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Health care topic of talk
North County Times

Dr. G. Richard Olds, the founding dean of the School of Medicine at UC Riverside, will be a member of a panel that will discuss health care in the United States, the United Kingdom and China at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

There is no charge to attend the talk, which will be held at the Riverside Medical Clinic, 7117 Brockton Ave.

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Imaging Rates Scrutinized; Conclusions Mixed
Health Leaders Media

Older Medicare beneficiaries with a diagnosis of stage IV cancer receive expensive advanced imaging tests at steadily increasing rates, despite limited proof of benefit. That’s according to a study in the Journal of the American Cancer Society July 30 by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the University of Wisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program.

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A new era for San Francisco General
San Francisco Chronicle

The first time I set foot in San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, I was a patient in the emergency room. A mugger had stabbed me in the hand, and they sewed me up. Years later, I returned as a nursing student. Today, I am CEO. If you live in San Francisco, we are your hospital. We are the only trauma center in the city, serving San Francisco and northern San Mateo counties.

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Asian and Pacific voices heard at SADVC
Daily Democrat

A project led by My sister’s House and funded by Blue Shield of California may be paying off for the Woodland-based Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Center. The project was launched in January 2009 in partnership with Casa de Esperanza and the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County, two Central Valley domestic violence service providers.

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