News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

News Headlines Article

Minorities hit hardest by hospital overcrowding, study finds
California Watch

California hospital overcrowding disproportionately affects minority patients, according to a study published today.

The study by UC San Francisco, Stanford University and UCLA researchers measured hospital overcrowding in 202 California facilities by analyzing ambulance diversion rates, or how often ambulances are turned away from an emergency department. They found that hospitals that serve large minority populations were more likely to divert ambulances to other hospitals.

News Headlines Article

Safety-Net Hospitals Face Funding Cuts on Two Federal Fronts
California Healthline

Representatives of California’s safety-net hospitals say the devil is in the details concerning the federal government’s plans to reduce funding for hospitals caring for a disproportionate share of low-income patients. The Affordable Care Act will reduce by at least half the amount of Medicaid money set aside to help safety-net hospitals provide uncompensated care for patients with no insurance and no cash. Hospitals serving a high percentage of uninsured, low-income patients — or disproportionate share hospitals — are reimbursed at a higher rate by Medicaid.

News Headlines Article

Health app market could reach nearly $12 billion: report
Modern Healthcare

The market for mobile health applications is continuing to grow and is expected to reach $11.8 billion by 2018, according to GlobalData, a market research firm. The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets has boosted the demand for healthcare-related mobile technology, and patients and physicians have adopted apps that cover everything from nutrition to diagnostic imaging. About 70% of available apps are consumed-focused while the rest are geared toward medical professionals, according to a GlobalData news release.

News Headlines Article

Patients should insist that their doctor makes time for wellness measures
Washington Post

Immunizations, cancer screenings, lifestyle counseling and other wellness measures can save lives. But your doctor may not be making sure you’re up-to-date on the services you need. In a study published in January in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers analyzed nearly 500 visits to 64 family-practice and internal-medicine physicians in Michigan. On average, the patients, who were 50 to 80 years old, were due for five to six preventive services but typically received only three.

News Headlines Article

Overcrowded ER points to larger problems
San Francisco Chronicle

California hospitals in areas with large minority populations are disproportionately affected by emergency room overcrowding, making them more likely to ease the congestion by diverting ambulances to other hospitals, according to a UCSF-led study. The study, which looked at 2007 data from 202 hospitals around the state, found hospitals that served the greatest percentage of minority patients turned away ambulances because of overcrowding as much as four times as often as those that served the smallest number of minorities.

News Headlines Article

Stanford Hospital reports new records breach
Modern Healthcare

Stanford (Calif.) Hospital & Clinics and the School of Medicine will send letters to 2,500 patients informing them of a security breach involving their medical records. The records were stored on a computer reported stolen between July 15 and July 16 from a physician’s office, according to a Stanford news release. The computer was password protected and contained software that would detect and identify its location if it’s connected to the Internet, according to the statement.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser Permanente awards $610,000 in grants to San Mateo nonprofits
San Francisco Business Times

Kaiser Permanente’s regional community benefit grants program has awarded $610,000 in grants to 47 San Mateo County nonprofit organizations, as part of a broader grant-making effort. The Kaiser grants program evaluated more than 100 grant requests before picking the winning organizations, officials said Monday. Funding, ranging from $5,000 to $35,000, went to organizations located within Kaiser’s South San Francisco and Redwood City service areas.

News Headlines Article

Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento interns see medical world up close
Sacramento Bee

Breon Hall rushed into a conference room Monday on the first floor of the Outpatient Surgery Center at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center.

“Sorry I’m late,” she said, still wearing her hair cap and medical scrubs as she took a seat. She had just come from observing a C-section in the prenatal department.

News Headlines Article

Crohn’s Disease Means Lifelong Battle
KERO

Carrie Johnson is representing the United States at the 2012 Olympics in pursuit of the gold medal in women’s kayaking. But while she battles for the gold, Johnson is fighting another battle: with Crohn’s disease, one of the two most common inflammatory bowel diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

News Headlines Article

CMS expects Medicare prescription premiums to rise
Modern Healthcare

Medicare prescription drug premiums are expected to increase next year, according to CMS projections issued Monday. The average monthly premium for basic prescription drug coverage is expected to rise to $30 from the $29.67 average this year, according to bids submitted by drug and health plans. The small increase reverses the small drop from last year when the average drug plan premium was $30.76.

News Headlines Article

Parents’ insurance covers children up to age 26 — but not for pregnancy
Washington Post

The health-care overhaul provides a safety net for young adult children, who can now stay on their parents’ health plans until they reach age 26. But it doesn’t guarantee that their parents’ plan will cover a common medical condition that many young women face: pregnancy. Group health plans with 15 or more workers are required to provide maternity benefits for employees and their spouses under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

News Headlines Article

12 docs combine into NorCal Orthopedic Specialists practice
San Jose Business Journal

Twelve physicians have officially come together under the Northern California Orthopedic Specialists name to combine their expertise in joint, bone and muscle care. While the practice is based in Los Gatos, it has locations in Campbell, San Jose, Los Altos, Mountain View, Morgan Hill and Capitola, for a total of eight offices. The practice’s new orthopedists include: Nicholas Abidi, Nathaniel Cohen, Christian Heywood, Ronald Joseph, Jeffrey Kanel, Jeffrey Kliman, Edward Littlejohn, John Parker, Peter Reynolds, Varqa Rouhipour, Randall Seago, and Rodney Wong.

News Headlines Article

Margins higher at safety net hospitals led by elected officials: study
Modern Healthcare

Safety net hospitals governed by elected officials reported higher profits than those governed by political appointees, not-for-profit boards or for-profit directors, according to a study. The report, published in the journal Health Affairs, compared the average operating margin across four categories of governance for 150 safety net hospitals.

News Headlines Article

Kaweah Delta Guild members help families, patients through stressful times
Visialia Times-Delta

For nearly a week every month since 1995, 76-year-old Mary Alice Johnson of Visalia has volunteered for the Kaweah Delta Health Care District Guild.

It was about a decade after retiring that a friend suggested Johnson volunteer for the guild, so she did.

“I was retired and needed something to do. This helps the volunteer as much as it does anyone else,” Johnson said. “It helps me in the respect that I’m helping others.

News Headlines Article

CPMC dispute leads to layoffs
San Francisco Examiner

As tense negotiations with The City delay approval of a planned $2.5 billion hospital complex, California Pacific Medical Center officials announced Monday that they dismissed 120 consultants on a project once expected to break ground in October.

Spokesman Sam Singer said hospital officials let go of 120 architects, engineers and planners until there is more certainty about the project’s future. Singer said the consultants were costing $3 million a month. Consultants working on planning issues will remain on the payroll.

News Headlines Article

Got docs?
HealthyCal.org

Anita Montalbano sits in a cramped back office at Neighborhood Healthcare in the Riverside County city of Temecula. Her job at the safety-net clinic is to get insurance approval for patients who need appointments with specialists. Weeks before St. Patrick’s Day, Montalbano has painted her fingernails green for the upcoming holiday and decked out her workspace with shiny shamrocks. But the lucky clovers appeared to bring no favor to patients waiting to see a specialist.

News Headlines Article

Trials for Alzheimer’s Drug Halted After Poor Results
New York Times

Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer announced on Monday that they were halting development of a closely watched Alzheimer’s drug after two clinical trials failed to show that it was effective in patients with mild to moderate forms of the disease.

News Headlines Article

Revenge of the insurance deregulators
Capitol Weekly

Sacramento loves to hate Consumer Watchdog, because we expose the dirty deeds politicians do for corporations, confront regulators who are asleep at the switch, and don’t believe you have to go along with big corporations to get along. We also take on the rich and powerful in the initiative process on behalf of consumers, which the legislature and lobbyists consider a slap in the face. Whenever we have a big fight with the insurance industry, most of which we have won, some PR flack materializes as the voice of Sacramento’s hatred.

News Headlines Article

Pain drug developer Adynxx enrolls first trial
San Francisco Business Times

Adynxx Inc., led by a team that has built and sold three other Bay Area drug developers over the past decade, said Tuesday that it has completed enrollment in an early-stage drug trial that could take the pain out of surgery. The 30-person, Phase I study is the first in-human test of AYX-1, the San Francisco company’s experimental preventative treatment for post-surgical pain. The study of healthy volunteers is designed to test the drug’s safety.

News Headlines Article

Alzheimer’s drug bapineuzumab fails late-stage trial, research dropped
San Francisco Business Times

Bapineuzumab, one of the drug-development industry’s promising Alzheimer’s disease treatments, failed in a late-stage trial, Pfizer Inc. and its partner said Monday, dealing another blow to the Alzheimer’s community of patients, doctors and caregivers. The news came on the same day as researchers from the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco said they discovered an already-approved anti-epilepsy drug that may eventually be used by Alzheimer’s patients.

Commands