California Healthcare News May 2, 2016
THE LATEST

California Healthcare News

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: CMA Joins Reproductive Rights Lawsuit Against Dignity Health; Colusa Regional Medical Center Closes

    Apr 28, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleOverweight Moms, Overweight Kids

    Study Reveals Warning Signs For Childhood Obesity

    Apr 28, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    If a an expectant mother was obese and put on a lot of weight during her pregnancy, the chances are her child is much more likely to be overweight.

  • Undocumented May Get Coverage

    Bill Would Allow Immigrants to Use Health Exchange

    Apr 28, 2016 By Ann M. Ibarra

     

    California legislators are attempting to clear the way for undocumented immigrants to buy health insurance through the state’s insurance exchange — potentially setting a national precedent.

    Immigrants living in the country illegally are excluded from the insurance-expanding provisions of Obamacare. They are not eligible for Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California), and they are not allowed to purchase a health plan from the federal marketplace or any of the state exchanges.

  • Paid news articleState’s Vets Have Mental Health Issues

    Many do Not Have Regular Access to Professional Services

    Apr 28, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    California's veterans need mental health services at a lower rate than the rest of the state's population, but the vast majority are not receiving them or are getting inadequate care.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Aetna Wins $37.4 Million Judgment, CMS Backs Off New Hospital Quality Rating

    Apr 21, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleCDPH Warns Hospitals On Fentanyl

    String of Overdoses, Deaths Linked to Counterfeit Pills

    Apr 21, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    In response to a large number of drug overdoses and deaths recently reported in Sacramento County, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a health alert regarding use of the anesthetic drug fentanyl.

  • Covered California’s Enrollee Dump

    Some Are Moved to Medical After Reporting Pregnancy

    Apr 21, 2016 By Emily Bazar

     

    Lynn Kersey has some advice for pregnant women who bought health insurance policies from Covered California and want to keep them: Don’t report your pregnancy to the agency.

    “It’s not a requirement … and it’s actually worse to do so,” said Kersey, executive director of Maternal and Child Health Access, a Los Angeles County advocacy group.

  • Paid news articleMental Health Diagnoses Differ By Race

    Kaiser-Led Study Also Suggests Differing Treatments as Well

    Apr 21, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Most minorities are less likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness than white patients and less likely to receive specific treatments if they actually have an affliction, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente.

  • In Brief: Sutter Leans On Employer Groups To Accept Arbitration Clause; Hospitals Give $8.5 Million For Ballot Initiativeill

    Apr 7, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleDMHC Fines Health Net, Kaiser $82,500

    Penalties Related to Disenrollments Without Grace Periods

    Apr 7, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has fined Woodland Hills-based Health Net $55,000 and Oakland-based Kaiser Foundation Health Plan $27,500 for canceling enrollees coverage without allowing for proper grace periods.

  • Paid news articleDeath Rates Drop For AIDS, Cancer

    But State’s Mortality Numbers Differ Greatly by Counties

    Apr 7, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    New data released from the California Department of Public Health shows that the state is making advances in reducing the death rate from cancer, AIDS and heart disease.

    However, the granular data shows that there is a distinct difference in the death rates between regions of the state. In many rural counties in the far north of the state and in economically distressed areas such as San Bernardino County, Californians die at a significant higher rate.

  • Paid news articleMany Uninsured Eligible For Coverage

    Californians Often Believe They Can’t Afford Premiums

    Apr 7, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Two out of three Californians who went without health insurance in 2014 were actually eligible for coverage, but they did without primarily because they could not afford its cost, according to a new study by researchers at UCLA and UC Berkeley.

    The study placed the uninsured into four groups: Those who were undocumented (32%), those eligible for Medi-Cal (28%); those eligible to buy subsidized coverage through the state health insurance exchange (31%), and those eligible for coverage but not qualifying for subsidies (9%). Slightly more than a quarter of all of those without coverage had one or more chronic health conditions.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: DMHC Fines Anthem $15,000; ACEP Issues Warning About Emergency Care

    Mar 31, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleStanford Performs Rare Transplant

    Only Eighth Heart-Lung-Heart Procedure Since 1994

    Mar 31, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Stanford Health Care has performed a rare heart-lung-heart “domino” transplant last month, hospital officials said this week.

  • Paid news articleOnset Of Dementia Tied To Depression

    UCSF Researchers Find Link in Long-Term Aging Study

    Mar 31, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Researchers at UC San Francisco have discovered that depression in older patients is far more likely to lead to cases of dementia as the age.

    The study tracked nearly 2,500 adults over the age of 70 who did not have any dementia. The cohort was categorized as either having consistent minimal symptoms of depression, moderate and increasing symptoms of depression, and those with high and increasing symptoms of depression.

  • Paid news articleKaiser Grants $6.2M To Fight Obesity

    Money is to Continue HEAL Initiative, Lifestyle Promotion

    Mar 31, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Kaiser Permanente's Southern California region has granted $6.2 million to five government entities and community organizations to continue a battle against obesity and other signs of unhealthy living.

  • In Brief: CDPH Fines Nursing Home $100K; Prime Hospitals Targeted By Ransomware

    Mar 24, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleBlacks Often Receive Less Cardiac Care

    UCSF: They’re More Likely to be in Diverted Ambulances

    Mar 24, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    A new study by researchers at UC San Francisco has concluded that African-American patients in many parts of California are more likely than whites to have their ambulance diverted to another hospital due to nearby emergency room crowding.

  • Paid news articleDMHC Okays Health Net’s Acquisition

    Agency Gives Nod to Centene’s Purchase; DOI Undecided

    Mar 24, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The Department of Managed Care has approved Midwest health insurance giant Centene’s acquisition of Woodland Hills-based Health Net, attaching a set of conditions to the deal that would ensure both plans would continues to have a significant presence in California.

  • Paid news articleLamwakers Address Surprise Charges, Exec Pay

    Hospitals Currently Oppose Both Pieces of Legislation

    Mar 24, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Two bills pending in the state Legislature would provide consumers a considerably more transparency regarding the price of their care and the pay received by top hospital executives if they are eventually signed into law.

    The cost transparency bill, SB 1252, is authored by Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Indio. It would require providers to notify patients of their estimated costs for any scheduled medical procedure. It would also require disclosure of the participation of any physicians that are not in the provider network of the patient's health plan.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Insurance Department Issues New Provider Network Regulations; Kaiser: Quick Followup Care Can Cut Heart Failure Readmissions

    Mar 17, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Kaiser L.A. Nurses Hit Picket Lines

    More Than 1,000 RNs go on Weeklong Work Stoppage

    Mar 17, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    About 1,200 nurses employed by Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center went on strike earlier this week for a period of seven days.

  • Costs Often Obstacle To Primary Care

    Deductibles, Co-Pays Can Keep Patients From Doctors

    Mar 17, 2016 By Ana B. Ibarra

     

    For years, leading health experts have said the way to improve healthcare quality and lower its cost is to emphasize prevention over treatment and encourage closer coordination among medical providers caring for a patient.

    Those goals are at the core of the Affordable Care Act, which aims to push medical delivery in that direction.

  • Paid news articleSeeking A Root Cause For Readmissions

    UCSF-Led Study Finds More Than a Quarter Are Avoidable

    Mar 17, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Hospital executives often minutely study the clinical causes behind readmissions of inpatients within 30 days of discharge, but it may often be as simple as poor communications.

    That's the conclusion of researchers at UC San Francisco, which with a group of East Coast hospitals studied more than 1,000 readmissions. Among those cases, some 27% likely could be avoided, while 15% could definitively be avoided.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Kaiser Will Build Med School In Pasadena; UCLA Releases Alarming Diabetes Data

    Mar 10, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleCDPH Fines L.A. Nursing Home $100K

    Penalty Against Holiday Manor Care For Fatal Patient Fall

    Mar 10, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The California Department of Public Health has fined the Holiday Manor Care nursing home in Winnetka in connection with the death of a patient in 2014 records show.

  • Paid news articleSutter Health Reports 2015 Earnings

    System Notes Erosion of Operating, Investment Income

    Mar 10, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Sacramento-based hospital system Sutter Health reported significantly stronger revenues in 2015 compared to the prior year, but its bottom line eroded due in part to poor performance of its investments.

  • Paid news articleOPA Grading Medical Groups On Cost

    Average Bill For a Year’s Worth of Care is More Than $3,500

    Mar 10, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    California's Office of the Patient Advocate has released its annual report card for the state's physician groups, and has added an entirely new layer to the reporting by ranking the groups based on the cost of care.

    For this year, the report cards' four-star rating system includes what a year of care from each group would cost for both the insurer and the patient, the latter in terms of co-payments and deductibles. The costs range from below $3,158 to more than $4,774. Medical groups in 39 of the state's 58 counties are included.

  • Correction: Tri-City Medical Center

    Mar 8, 2016

     

    Due to inaccurate information provided by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Payers & Providers incorrectly reported in its Feb. 25 issue that Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside did not report a potential breach of patient health information to that agency. After additional inquires were made by Payers & Providers, the CDPH confirmed that Tri-City reported the breach within the period of time required under California statute.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: McKesson Acquires Rexall Chain; Olympus Will Pay $646 Million To Settle Scope Allegations

    Mar 3, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Robots Roam UCSF’s New Hospital

    The 27 Units Move Supplies Around, Delight Patients

    Mar 3, 2016 By Jenny Gold

     

    Meet the Tugs — a team of 27 robots now zooming around the hallways of the new University of California San Francisco hospital at Mission Bay.

    Instead of drones, think of them more as little flatbed trucks, ferrying carts of stuff around the vast hospital complex — food, linens, medications, medical waste and garbage. And they do it more efficiently than humans.

  • Paid news articleLawmakers Pass Managed Care Tax

    Expected to Draw Down $1.4 Billion a Year For Medi-Cal

    Mar 3, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Legislators passed a bill this week that will expand the state's tax on managed care health plans but is also expected to provide more federal matching funds for the Medi-Cal program.

    The bill was required to maintain a flow of matching Medi-Cal funds from the federal government.

  • Paid news articleElderly Near Poor Have Health Issues

    Many Report Care Access Struggles And Depression

    Mar 3, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    A new study by UCLA researchers has concluded that Californians over the age of 65 with relatively low incomes are more likely to to have health problems and suffer from depression.

    Moreover, there are a lot of near-poor Californians over the age of 65: some 655,000 in total in 2013, according to data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: UCSF Launches Population Health Platform; DMHC Sued Over Alleged Lack Of Expedited Responses

    Feb 25, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleHealth Net’s 2015 Earnings Rise Sharply

    Says Centene Deal Should Close By End of Next Month

    Feb 25, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Health Net, the Woodland Hills-based health insurer, reported sharply higher earnings for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31 and for all of calendar 2015.

  • Paid news articleHospital CABG Death Rate Up Slightly

    Facilities Performing Within Mean; Readmissions an Issue

    Feb 25, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The number of Californians dying as a result of undergoing coronary artery bypass grafts or CABG in 2013 is stable, although slightly elevated from the prior year, according to data released last week by the Office for Statewide Health Planning and Development.

    The mortality rate for isolated CABG procedures in California was 2.29% in 2013 – 273 patients died out of 11,940 procedures that were performed at the 125 hospitals surveyed. That is up from the 2012 morality rate of 2.11%, but remains significantly lower than the 2.91% mortality rate that was reported in 2003, the first year OSHPD began gathering and reporting on such data.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Healthcare Consumerization Lags. Covered California Releases Enrollment Numbers

    Feb 18, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleCovered California Audit Raises Worries

    State Cites Financial Budgeting, No-Bid Contract Awards

    Feb 18, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    A new report by the California Auditor has concluded that the state's health insurance exchange has to take more aggressive steps to ensure its financial solvency over the long-term and eschew the awarding of no-bid contracts.

    The report, issued earlier this week, concluded that Covered California's relative youth may be a strike against it. It noted that its revenue projections are based on enrollment forecasts, which vary based on several scenarios.

  • Paid news articleA Delve Into Dementia Demographics

    Kaiser Study Says Blacks, Native Americans Are at Risk

    Feb 18, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    A new study by researchers at UC San Francisco and Kaiser Permanente has concluded that age-related dementia is more prevalent among African-Americans and Native Americans than whites and other ethnicities.

    Both organizations claim that the study is the most comprehensive on how dementia impacts Americans after the age of 65 based on racial background.

  • Paid news articleL.A. Hospital’s Data Was Held Hostage

    Hollywood Presbyterian Paid Up After Likely Phishing Attack

    Feb 18, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Breaches of patient records have been an ongoing theme in recent years for both hospitals and insurers in California, as may have disclosed breaches often involving the data of hundreds of thousands patients and enrollees.

    Even as patient privacy is being violated, the providers still have access to actionable patient data.

    But what happens when an entire hospital's electronic medical records have been taken hostage?

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Online Engagement Patients Leads To Better Preventative Care; Dignity Health Enters Into Urgent Care Deal

    Feb 11, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news article61 New Hospital Inspectors For SoCal

    CDPH Confirms Hiring And Training in L.A. County

    Feb 11, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The California Department of Public Health has confirmed that the number of hospital inspectors in the state’s most populous county will increase dramatically in the coming months.

  • Paid news articleDisenrollments Cost Anthem $700,000

    DMHC Said it Violated State Law On Grace Periods

    Feb 11, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has fined Anthem Blue Cross of California $700,000 for a series of inadvertent disenrollments and warnings to enrollees regarding late premium payments that were issued in 2013 and 2014.

  • Blue Shield Leads Exchange Numbers

    Company Said Competitive Pricing a Role in Success

    Feb 11, 2016 By Chad Terhune

     

    For the first time in three years, Blue Shield of California leads enrollment in the state’s insurance exchange while Oscar, a closely watched newcomer, experienced a slow start.

    The Covered California exchange said it won’t release enrollment figures by company until later this month, and insurers declined to share specifics until then.

  • Paid news articleHospitals Confront Rise In C. Diff Cases

    Incidents of Infection on Rise While Other HAIs Are Dropping

    Feb 11, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    California's acute care facilities are continuing to make inroads against hospital-acquired infections but are still being challenged by at least one type of superbug, according to new data from the tate Department of Public Health (CDPH).

    That would be Clostridium difficile, or C. diff., a bacterial infection that usually originates in the digestive tract, typically due to the use of antibiotics.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Lung Association Says More Progress Should Be Made On Tobacco Control; Holmes Names CHA Chair

    Feb 4, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Lee Blasts UnitedHealth’s ACA Woes

    Says Insurer Should Blame Itself, Not Reform Law

    Feb 4, 2016 By Chad Terhune

     

    Amid growing questions over the future of insurance exchanges, the head of California’s marketplace said the nation’s largest health insurer should take responsibility for nearly $1 billion in losses and stop blaming the federal health law.

  • Paid news articleShould Cancer Drugs Be Rationed?

    Pediatric Oncology Organization Releases Guidelines

    Feb 4, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    A Los Angeles-based advocacy group for pediatric cancer patients has proposed a framework to cope with ongoing and future shortages of oncology drugs.

    The proposal, put forth by the Children's Oncology Group and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests a combination of identifying which drugs are in shortage, evaluating the severity of the shortage, and then formulating an allocation plan for such drugs.

  • Paid news articleEight Hospitals Fined For Safety Issues

    Incidents Were Linked to Four Deaths; First Fines in 2016

    Feb 4, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued administrative penalties and fines totaling $483,650 to eight hospitals for incidents that jeopardized the lives of patients. Details about the incidents released by the CDPH last week indicated that they led to four patient deaths.

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