California Healthcare News Feb 13, 2016
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California Healthcare News

  • 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.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: CMS Issues Warning Letter To Theranos; Prime Obtains $700 Million Credit Facility

    Jan 28, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • CMS Pushes Readmission Reductions

    New Focus is on Minority Patients Treated at Hospitals

    Jan 28, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued 30 pages of guidance this week to hospitals to try and reduce readmissions of minority patients.

  • Paid news articleUCSF: Switch Kidney Transplant Drugs

    Belatacept Shows Better Outcomes Than Cyclosporine

    Jan 28, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Researchers at UC San Francisco have demonstrated that an immunosuppressive drug leads to better organ survival in patients who have undergone a kidney transplant than the traditional calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporine A.

  • Paid news articleCovered California Ramps Up Outreach

    Latino, Asian-American Politicians Push on Enrollment

    Jan 28, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    As the Jan. 31 deadline for enrollment in health insurance plans approaches, the Covered California health insurance exchange is continuing to push for enrollment among the state's Latinos and Asian-American communities.

    The exchange recruited two leading Latino and Asian politicians, Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Azusa and Assemblymen Rob Bonta, D-Oakland and Kansen Chu, D-San Jose.

  • Paid news articleBig Variations In Post-Discharge Care

    Study Suggests Post-Acute Care Subs For Acute Services

    Jan 28, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Where a hospital discharges a surgical patient can have a significant correlation to whether they wind up being readmitted, according to UCLA researchers.

    Their data, published in the most recent issue of the journal Medical Care, concluded that hospitals with shorter lengths of stays and higher readmission rates are more likely to refer patients to a skilled nursing facility as opposed to merely discharging them with home healthcare services.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Healthgrades Names Distinguished Hospitals; High-Deductible Plans Don't Encourage Shopping

    Jan 21, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleExchange Releases Treatment Data

    Thousands With New Coverage Have Received Care

    Jan 21, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Californians who obtained coverage from the state health insurance exchange are receiving needed healthcare services.

    That's according to Covered California, which released a report on Wednesday detailing services its enrollees have obtained at more than 100 of the state's hospitals during the first 18 months insurance purchased from the exchange was in effect.

  • CMA Issues End-Of-Life Guidelines

    Doctors Objecting To Assisted Suicide Are Protected

    Jan 20, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The California Medical Association issued guidelines this week to its physician members on how to administer drugs to terminally ill patients who wish to end their life.

    The guidelines stem from the recent passage of the End of Life Option Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1. It made California the fifth state in the U.S. to sanction physician-assisted suicide of terminally ill patients.

  • Paid news articleCT Scan Usage Zooms At Hospital ERs

    Doubles For Minor Injuries; Cancer Concerns Are Raised

    Jan 21, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Hospital emergency rooms in California are performing increasingly more CT scans on patients with minor injuries, part of a nationwide trend that has some medical experts worried about the potential long-term health impact.

    The analysis of more than 8.5 million patient records by UC San Francisco and Stanford University researchers was eye-opening: Hospital ERs were more than twice as likely to perform at least one CT scan on a patient with minor trauma in 2013 than in 2005, less than a decade ago.

  • New Law Eases Caregiver Burden

    Hospitals Have to Provide Specific Post-Discharge Info

    Jan 14, 2016 By Anna Gorman

     

    Diana Matsushima cares for both her husband and sister-in-law full time, giving them their medications and driving them to their doctor appointments.

    But when either ends up hospitalized, Matsushima said her role as their primary caregiver is often overlooked. She isn’t always included in the discussions at the hospital, and she sometimes leaves confused about how to best care for them when she gets home. When they are discharged, she said the nurses hand her a stack of papers without much — if any — explanation.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Former DMHC Attorney Agrees To Pay Fine; Blue Shield Claims It is Abiding By Care1st Terms

    Jan 14, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleDMHC Fines L.A. Care $150,000

    Medi-Cal Plan Failed To Process Claims In Timely Manner

    Jan 14, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The Department of Managed Health Care has fined L.A. Care Health Plan $150,000 for engaging in a pattern of unfair payment patterns.

    The fine, announced on Dec. 16., is by far the largest against L.A. Care levied by the DMHC over the past dozen years. Its highest previous fine was only $15,000.

  • CDPH Mostly Quiet On Hospital Enforcement Issue

    Agency Gives Few Direct Responses About Drop In Fines

    Jan 14, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) provided few answers this week regarding a steep decline in the number of administrative penalties and fines issued against hospitals for serious medical errors that threaten or claim the lives of patients.

    Payers & Providers reported last week a significant drop-off in the penalties and fines CDPH has issued against hospitals in recent years. The agency cited 22 hospitals and levied $1.475 million in fines, records show. It cited 19 hospitals and also issued $1.475 million in fines in 2014.

  • Steep Drop In Hospital Safety Citations

    CDPH Has Been Fining Far Fewer Facilities in Recent Years

    Jan 7, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Department of Public Health has pulled back on issuing citations and fines to the state's acute care hospitals for medical errors or other incidents that endanger the lives of patients, records show.

    The agency was granted the authority in 2007 to fine hospitals as much as $50,000 per incident where it determined that a patient's life was in danger. Subsequent legislation increased the maximum fine to $100,000.

  • Paid news articleExchange Woos Asian, Latino Enrollees

    Covered California Works With Medical Organizations

    Jan 7, 2016 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The Covered California health insurance exchange is making one final push to boost enrollment by trying to get more Latinos and Asian-Americans to obtain health insurance coverage.

  • Paid news articleCal-OSHA Fines Dignity, Kaiser $193K

    Facilities Cited For Lack of Safety Regarding Needles

    Jan 7, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Division of Occupational Safety (Cal-OSHA) and Health fined Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health more than $193,000 combined last month for exposing employees to undue hazards.

    Kaiser's Vallejo hospital was fined $149,000 after three custodial employees were injured by used needles while attempting to dispose of them.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: San Diego Lab Settles Kickback Charges; CMS Extends Medi-Cal Waiver

    Jan 7, 2016 By Ron Shinkman

     

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Covered California Sees Big Enrollment Surge; State's Latinas Struggle To Find Care

    Dec 17, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleCDPH Fines Nursing Home $100,000

    Patient With Few Teeth Did Not Receive Special Diet

    Dec 17, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    A Pico Rivera nursing home was fined $100,000 by the California Department of Public Health for a 2014 incident where a patient choked to death on a hot dog.

  • Paid news articleOSHPD Releases Hip Fracture Data

    Hospitals Have Varying Mortality Rates For Older Patients

    Dec 17, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    About 2,000 elderly patients who underwent surgery at California hospitals for hip fractures died in 2012 and 2013 within 30 days of their admission, according to new data released by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

  • Biggest Healthcare Stories Of 2015

    In California, They Included Regulatory And Infection Issues

    Dec 17, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Many things happened in California’s healthcare sector in 2015, and Payers & Providers has decided to revisit some of the most significant events.

    We decided to focus primarily on issues that impacted payers and providers and patients within California. So, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding King v. Burwell is not included here, as it would have had little impact here in the state.

  • In Brief: California Gets Relatively Low Health System Scores; Covered California Focuses On Enrollment In Los Angeles

    Dec 10, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleMolina Is Fined $500,000 By DMHC

    Survey Found Plan Mishandled Enrollee Appeals Process

    Dec 9, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Long Beach-based Molina Healthcare has been fined $500,000 by the Department of Managed Health Care for what the agency said was the mishandling of appeals and grievances by enrollees on a significant scale.

  • Paid news articleCal MediConnect Plagued By Opt Outs

    Rate Higher Than Forecast by DCHS; UCLA to Investigate

    Dec 10, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Cal MediConnect has so far failed to connect with enrollees. UCLA researchers will soon delve into the reasons why.

    The university's Center for Health Policy Research recently received a $400,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to research to investigate why so many enrollees in the program intended to streamline care for dual-eligible Medicare/Medi-Cal beneficiaries have decided to opt out.

  • Some CEOs Get High-Flying Job Perks

    First-Class Travel, Club Memberships Can Be Covered

    Dec 10, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Many hospital CEOs in California not only enjoy pay packages well into the six and seven figures, but perks such as first-class travel and club memberships paid for by their employer.

    Such benefits did not have to be disclosed by non-profit hospitals and healthcare systems in the past, but tighter regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department in recent years has required them to be more forthcoming regarding the non-cash compensation and other fringe benefits bestowed on executives.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: San Bernardino Health Department Hit By Mass Shooting; NLRB Says Prime Violated Law

    Dec 3, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleProstate Deaths Cut By Exercising

    UCSF Links Lower Mortality Rate to Healthier Lifestyle

    Dec 3, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    A new study by researchers at UC San Francisco has concluded that men who exercise vigorously and have healthy diets are far less likely to develop a lethal form of prostate cancer.

    Researchers pored over data from two long-term health studies of more than 62,000 men, including 20,000 physicians that began in the 1980s and did not end until 2010.

  • Paid news articleMore Charges, Pleas In Spinal Scheme

    Prosecutors Name Hospital CFO, Two Ortho Surgeons

    Dec 2, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The former financial head of a Long Beach hospital and two orthopedic surgeons have been charged in a long-running fraud scheme that led to thousands of patients undergoing unnecessary spinal surgeries.

    Federal complaints were either filed or unsealed last week in Los Angeles. Among those charged were 63-year-old James L. Canedo, the former chief financial officer of Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, as well as Philip Sobol, M.D. of Los Angeles and Mitch Cohen, M.D., of Irvine.

  • Eight-Figure Pay For Top Kaiser Exec

    Halvorson Earned $10.2 Million in 2013, a First in California

    Dec 3, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    When the last Payers & Providers compensation survey was released two-and-a-half years ago, Kaiser Chairman and CEO George C. Halvorson was the highest-paid executive on the list.

    Halvorson retains the title of highest-paid executive for Payers & Providers' latest survey, but with a new twist: He joins the rarified list of non-profit healthcare system CEOs who have earned eight figures – more than $10 million – in a calendar year.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: DMHC Awards Health Plans, Medical Groups; Kaiser Tops Equity Index

    Nov 19, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • UCSF Launches New Dementia Center

    Will be Operated in Conjunction With Irish Researchers

    Nov 19, 2015 By Anna Gorman

     

    UC San Francisco and the University of Dublin announced Monday the launch of an institute aimed at helping developing countries learn more about dementia and cope with the burden it places on patients, families and caregivers.

    The Global Brain Health Institute, which will be housed both in San Francisco and Dublin, will train 600 neuroscientists, policymakers, economists and others over 15 years in an effort to help developing countries better understand dementia, as well as how to delay and prevent it. The institute plans to focus initially on countries in Latin America and the Southern Mediterranean region.

  • Paid news articleKaiser Suggests Dialing Back On Chest Scans

    Says Lung Nodules Often Over-Diagnosed

    Nov 19, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Kaiser Permanente is tentatively suggesting patients who undergo computerized chest tomographies be warned by their physicians that identifying nodules in the lungs is often a common result, and that doctors themselves should reconsider their use of the procedure.

    The recommendation was made by a key Kaiser physician and researcher after data from its Southern California division concluded that the number of patients who have been identified to have had lung nodules skyrocketed in recent years.

  • Paid news articleState Sees Big Drop In HIV Diagnoses

    But Many Californians Still Unaware They Are Uninfected

    Nov 19, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Although much progress has been made in combatting the HIV and the AIDS virus over the past couple of decades, many infected Californians remain undiagnosed – putting them at risk for unknowingly infecting others, public health officials said this week.

    At a press briefing held Wednesday by the California Department of Public Health, officials said that the number of state residents newly diagnosed with HIV each year has dropped dramatically, from 13,000 at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s and early 1990s to 4,712 in 2013.

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