California Healthcare News Feb 27, 2015
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California Healthcare News

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: UCLA's Feinberg Stepping Down; Anthem Breach Impacted 13.5 Million Californians

    Feb 26, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleHarris Okays Daughters Hospital Deal

    Prime Reviews Options on Strict Conditions

    Feb 26, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    California Attorney General Kamala Harris has approved a bid by Ontario-based Prime Healthcare Services' to acquire the six-hospital Daughters of Charity healthcare system for $843 million, but it remains unclear if the for-profit operator will go through with the deal.

    Harris proposed stricter conditions than originally proposed by the parties to ensure that levels of care would be preserved and pension obligations to Daughters' 7,800 employees are maintained.

  • Paid news articleAnother Slam On Kaiser Psych Services

    DMHC Says Insurer Has Yet to Fix All Its Access Issues

    Feb 26, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The Department of Managed Health Care issued a mixed interim report on Kaiser Foundation Health Plan's move toward improving access to mental health services, concluding that the Oakland-based insurer has fixed two deficiencies but that two others have yet to be fully addressed.

    According to the survey that was released on Feb. 24, the DMHC concluded that Kaiser had fixed deficiencies in regards to capturing and tracking data to determine if mental health services were being delivered in a timely fashion under California law. It also concluded that Kaiser had fixed the methodology issues regarding how it tracks and reports timely access to services.

  • Paid news articleState’s Uninsured Reduced Up To 40%

    UCLA, State Data Say 2.7 Million Got Coverage Last Year

    Feb 25, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    With the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled to hear oral arguments next month in a case that could directly impact how easily individual Americans are able to obtain health insurance, a new study by researchers at UCLA demonstrate how unstable the insurance situation had been in California until last year.

    According to the data by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, in 2013 more than one in eight Californians under the age of 65 had gone without health insurance for more than a year.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Superbug Contamination Reported at UCLA Health; Bill Aimed At Reducing Prescription Drug Costs

    Feb 19, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleHarris Ruling On Prime Deal This Week

    Major Newspapers Support Daughters of Charity Sale

    Feb 19, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    California Attorney General Kamala Harris is expected to make a decision by Friday as to whether Ontario-based Prime Healthcare Services should be allowed to acquire the six hospitals operated by the Daughters of Charity Health system.

    The deal has attracted the endorsements of two of the state's major newspapers. The Los Angeles Times concluded earlier this month that Daughters of Charity's mounting financial losses and the nearing expiration of emergency financing has put the hospital into an untenable financial position.

  • Paid news articleInsurers Posted Huge Financial Gains

    Kaiser, Molina, Health Net All Reported Big 2014 Numbers Incident

    Feb 19, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    California's three major health insurers are reaping significant financial benefits from the Affordable Care Act.

    Two of those insurers, the publicly-traded Molina Healthcare and Health Net, reported big gains in enrollment and revenue for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31. The not-for-profit Kaiser Permanente also reported significant gains.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Prime, Kaiser Agree To Drop Litigation; Brain Injury Insurance Legislation Introduced

    Feb 12, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Poor Pretty Satisfied With Healthcare

    More Than Half Said Care Is At Least ‘Very Good’ ‘

    Feb 12, 2015 By Anna Gorman

     

    Low-income Californians are increasingly satisfied with the healthcare they receive, underscoring the impact of changes made by clinics and providers since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, according to a report released Wednesday.

    More than half of low-income patients – 53% — rated their quality of care as excellent or very good in 2014, up five percentage points from 2011, according to the survey by the Blue Shield of California Foundation. That means that about 400,000 patients were happier with their care, the report said. (Kaiser Health News receives funding from the foundation.)

  • Paid news articleCDPH Fines 10 Hospitals $700,000

    Penalized For Incidents That Led to Seven Patient Deaths

    Feb 11, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday it had fined 10 hospitals a total of $700,000 for errors that placed patients in immediate jeopardy of losing their lives. Patients died in seven of the incidents, including one where a retained surgical sponge was found to be at fault.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: California Spends Least In The Nation On Diabetes Prevention; Kent Named New DHCS Director

    Feb 5, 2015

     

  • Paid news articleBill Would Ban Vaccine Exemptions

    Lawmakers Say Current Policy Too Harmful to Children

    Feb 5, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Two lawmakers said on Wednesday they would introduce legislation intended to ban personal exemptions exercised by some parents to decline vaccinations for their children.

    Sens. Richard Pan, M.D., D-Sacramento and Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, have moved to introduce the legislation as California copes with its largest outbreak of measles in decades, the result of fewer children being vaccinated for the disease.

  • Paid news articleBlend Medical, Mental Health Services?

    Study Says a Consolidated Approach Beneficial to Care

    Feb 5, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    General medical and mental health services have been traditionally provided to individual patients at different sites. But a new study by UCLA researchers suggests that merging the two into a “one-stop shop” format might be more clinically beneficial.

    The study, which was conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, noted that about 70% of all mental health issues are diagnosed in a primary care setting.

  • Paid news articleKaiser, Dignity Grant Nearly $10 Million

    Most Money Going to Community Organizations, Clinics

    Feb 5, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Two of California's biggest providers announced community grants this week with a combined worth of nearly $10 million.

    Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente announced a grant worth $5.25 million that is earmarked toward improving cardiac and stroke prevention care in Northern California, while Dignity Health announced grants totaling more than $4 million.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: Most Covered California Enrollees Kept Plans; CDPH Lifts WIC Mortatorium

    Jan 29, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleState’s Opening Salvo On E-Cigarettes

    CDPH Issues Health Advisory; Legislation on Use Pending

    Jan 29, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Department of Public Health issued a scathing report on electronic cigarettes Wednesday, calling them unsafe, overtly tempting to children and woefully underregulated.

    The agency, which also issued a formal health advisory on electronic cigarettes -- commonly known as e-cigarettes -- warned that their increasing popularity threatened to undo decades of successful smoking cessation efforts in California.

  • Paid news articleDMHC Fines Kaiser Plan $90,000

    Cited For Failure to Redact, Disclose Arbitration Cases

    Jan 29, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The California Department of Managed Care fined Kaiser Foundation Health Plan $90,000 earlier this month for failing to properly redact arbitration cases submitted to the agency.

    The DMHC makes such cases publicly available, but requires that the litigants, provider names and other portions of the case be redacted so as to respect patient privacy rights.

  • Paid news articleBarriers Posed In Cancer Screenings

    Study Says Some Chinese-American Californians Lag

    Jan 29, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Chinese-American immigrants in California with limited English language proficiency and low health literacy are much less likely to undergo crucial cancer screenings, according to a new study.

    The study focused on more than 1,400 Asian-American women and men. Although many large swaths of Asian-Americans are well assimilated into the U.S., up to 58% of immigrants from China have issues with English language proficiency, according to the study.

  • CDPH Fines Nursing Home $75K; Sutter, Blue Shield Still At Impasse

    Jan 22, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleCigna Enters Into 3 ACO-Like Pacts

    Care Coordinated For UCLA, Scripps And Facey Patients

    Jan 22, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Health insurer Cigna has entered into three accountable care-like arrangements with major providers in Southern California.

    The arrangements between Cigna and Scripps Health in San Diego, the UCLA Medical Group and Facey Medical Group in the San Fernando Valley were announced this week. They began on Jan. 1.

  • Paid news articleLong-Term Care Workers Have It Tough

    Despite Rising Demand, Sector Has Low Pay, Turnover

    Jan 22, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    A new study by the University of California at San Francisco paints a fairly bleak picture of one of the healthcare sector's fastest-growing workforces: Long-term care employees.

  • Paid news articleNorcal’s Under-Immunization Problem

    Kaiser Study Underlines Trend During Measles Outbreak

    Jan 22, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    A new study by Kaiser Permanente has identified clusters of underimmunized children in Northern California that took even researchers by surprise.

    The study, part of a larger look at vaccination preference undertaken by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, was released this week as a measles outbreak in California continues to grow, prompting one Southern California county to order some households to self-quarantine their school-age children.

  • Paid news articleIn Brief: The Camden Group Acquires Illinois Consulting Firm

    Jan 15, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleDMHC Fines Health Net, Aetna $400K

    Penalties Tied to 2011 Data Breach and Other Violations

    Jan 14, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The Department of Managed Health Care has fined Health Net and Aetna a combined $400,000 due to violations of state law.

    Woodland Hills-based Health Net was fined $200,000 by the agency in connection with a loss of data connected to a migration project that occurred in 2011.

  • Paid news articleMeasles Outbreak Grows Some More

    CDPH Confirms 28 Cases Tied to Disneyland Visits

    Jan 15, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The California Department of Public Health has upped the number of cases of measles tied to visits to the Disneyland Resort to 28, and suggested that more cases could be reported in the short-term.

    The CDPH originally said last week there had been seven cases tied to those who patronized the Anaheim landmark late last year. It is believed that victims of the outbreak coud continue to spread the disease until Jan. 10, according to the agency.

  • Paid news articleUnion Cites Maternity Cuts in Prime Bid

    SEIU Says Far Fewer Births Occurring at Some Hospitals

    Jan 15, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    As the Feb. 15 deadline for Attorney General Kamala Harris to make a decision allowing Prime Healthcare Services to purchase six hospitals from the Daughters of Charity Health System draws near, charges about the chain's business practices have intensified.

    The most recent missive from a major labor union opposed to the pending deal includes accusations that Prime has slashed women's healthcare services at properties it has acquired in the past.

  • In Brief: Health Net, John Muir Health Form ACO, Tom Williams Departs IHA

    Jan 8, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleJob-Based Coverage Continues Slide

    More Californians Lost The Benefit Between 2009-2012

    Jan 8, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    In California, the reforms of the Affordable Care Act may have arrived just in time to save workers who have been losing their employer-based healthcare coverage in record numbers.

    That's the conclusion of the UCLA researchers, who in the latest “State of Health Insurance in California” report detected a continued erosion in work-based healthcare benefits.

  • CDPH Identifies Measles Outbreak

    Cases Tied to Recent Visits to Disneyland Resort

    Jan 8, 2015 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    The California Department of Public Health reported on Wednesday that there had been an outbreak of measles within the state connected to recent visits to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

    The CDPH confirmed seven measles cases from five different areas of the state, two others in Utah, and three other suspected cases that remain under investigation.

  • Paid news articleUCSF Admits To Balance-Billing Patients

    Medical Group Sought Money From Blue Shield Enrollees

    Jan 8, 2015 By Ron Shinkman

     

    A medical group affiliated with University of California San Francisco and the Bay Area's largest safety net provider has admitted it illegally balance-billed emergency room patients for more than five years.

    According to a settlement reached between the leadership of the San Francisco General Hospital Medical Group and the Department of Managed Health Care, the group had been balance billing members of a Blue Shield of California PPO between January 2009 and March of 2014, apparently assuming the plan was not regulated by the DMHC and the Knox-Keene Health Act that governs managed care plans in California.

  • In Brief: Sean Parker Funds Allergy Research Center At Stanford; Kaiser Opens New Redwood City Hospital

    Dec 18, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Suit Alleges Defective Spinal Hardware

    Connected to Pacific Hospital’s Workers’ Comp Operation

    Dec 18, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Two patients who underwent spinal surgeries at a Long Beach hospital that recently closed under growing accusations of workers' compensation fraud has sued the physicians involved, claming defective hardware was implanted in their bodies.

    The suits were filed by Abraham Pena, 35, and Frank Gomez, 62. Both received spinal implants at the former Pacific Hospital of Long Beach

  • Paid news articleChiang Opposes Prime Hospital Deal

    Says Care at Daughters of Charity Hospitals Could Suffer

    Dec 18, 2014 By Ron Shinkman

     

    California Controller and Treasurer-Elect John Chiang has expressed concerns to California Attorney General Kamala Harris regarding the acquisition of the Daughters of Charity hospital chain by Ontario-based Prime Healthcare Services.

    “I am concerned that Prime's very low credit rating and its exposure to potential liabilities associated with existing litigation introduces a level of worrisome risk that may distort Prime's healthcare and workforce decisions, leading to potential detriment to the communities served by Daughters,” Chiang wrote to Harris last week.

  • Paid news articleConsumer Group Raises Flags On HIE

    Claims Cal INDEX is Short on Information For Participants

    Dec 18, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    A major advocacy group has warned consumers against participating in a new statewide health information exchange (HIE) initially seeded by two of the state's largest health plans.

    Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog, which regularly butts heads with healthcare entities, has recommended avoiding the Cal INDEX HIE until its management answers a variety of questions about its operations.

  • Paid news articleMore Big Health Plan Fines From DMHC

    $132,000 Issued During First Few Days of December

    Dec 18, 2014 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Department of Managed Health Care is ending 2014 with a regulatory flourish, handing down five five-figure fines totaling $132,000 during the first few days of December.

    The biggest penalty was levied against Oakland-based Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. It was fined $75,000 for its 2010 refusal to provide a response to a patient grievance within 72 hours and a series of violations related to that incident.

  • In Brief: Covered California Enrollment Robust; Child Vaccination Rate Increases

    Dec 11, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • L.A. Care’s Cal Medi Connect Plan: Improving Care for California’s Most Vulnerable Patients

    Health Plan Provides Support to Physicians and Patients to Ease Transition, Including Continuity of Care Options

    Dec 10, 2014

     

    With so many changes going on in healthcare these days, physicians and their eligible patients understandably have many questions about the various programs available to them thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Recently, Cal MediConnect has become a popular topic of discussion for doctors and individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medi-Cal.

  • Paid news articleCan Computers Outwork Doctors?

    Cedars-Sinai Study Says They Obtain Better Patient Info

    Dec 10, 2014 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The notion that a computer can replace some of the functions of a human being has been explored in popular culture multiple times, but Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is now suggesting that an Internet-based questionnaire whose data is automatically aggregated is better at obtaining data from patients than actual doctors.

    That's the conclusion of a new study conducted by the Los Angeles-based hospital, which noted that such questionnaires can do a better job of obtaining, aggregating and presenting information to gastroenterologists.

  • Paid news articleBlue Shield Will Buy Care1st Health

    Move is Intended to Propel Carrier Into Medi-Cal Market

    Dec 11, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    San Francisco-based Blue Shield of California has broken into the Medi-Cal market with the purchase of Care1st Health Plan.

    Care1st, is based in Monterey Park, just east of downtown Los Angeles, and was founded by a group of physicians and hospitals in 1994.

  • Paid news articleDMHC Fines Blue Cross $50,000

    Says It Deviated From Its Own Patient Grievance Policies

    Dec 11, 2014 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The California Department of Managed Health Care has fined Anthem Blue Cross of California $50,000 for what the agency concluded was a deliberate thwarting of the enrollee grievance process.

    According to DMHC records, Anthem denied an enrollee's request in 2012 to undergo the duodenal switch form of bariatric surgery, and was contacted by the agency to conducted an independent medical review.

  • Kaiser CEO Speaks Out On Race Issues

    Bernard Tyson Wants More Empathy And Collaboration

    Dec 11, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    Chief executive officers of major healthcare organizations rarely take potentially charged political stances, but Kaiser Permanente Chief Executive Officer Bernard J. Tyson has called for more empathy regarding the experiences of African-American males and more dialogue and understanding between police and the communities they serve.

    Tyson, who became CEO of the Oakland-based Kaiser last year and was also appointed chairman of the organization in January, noted in an opinion piece that despite his heading a company with annual revenue of $55 billion a year, he is still eyed as a suspected shoplifter in stores, has been lectured in restaurants regarding the staff’s desire he leave tips, and has had people lock their car doors and cross to the other side of the street when he is out exercising.

  • In Brief: Job Forecast Fairly Bullish On Growth; CMS Says Spending Increases Lowest Ever Recorded

    Dec 4, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Few Elderly Californians Get Fall Advice

    UCLA Study Says Tumbles Kill More Than 1,800 Annually

    Dec 4, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

  • Paid news articleGood Samaritan Will Link To Guam

    Gets $417,560 Telemedicine Grant From The USDA

    Dec 4, 2014 By Ron Shinkman

     

    Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles has secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide telemedicine services to the nation's most remote territory.

    The hospital received a $417,560 grant from the USDA that would allow members of its medical staff to provide care via teleconferencing at six public health sites on the island of Guam.

  • Paid news articleDigoxin Linked To High Death Rates

    Kaiser Researchers Find Connection to Atrial Fibrillation

    Dec 3, 2014 By Payers & Providers Staff

     

    A new study by Kaiser Permanente researchers concludes that a common heart medicine could be deadly when prescribed to certain patients with atrial fibrillation.

  • Paid news articleHospital Mortality Rates Remain Stable

    Few Dramatic Changes Between 2011 and 2012 Data

    Dec 4, 2014 By Ron Shinkman

     

    The mortality rates in California's hospitals were fairly stable in 2012, with patients dying from specific medical conditions and surgeries at about the same rates as they had in the prior two years.

    The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development released the data on 193 hospitals statewide earlier this week, and there were few variations reported, although some large hospitals did struggle in some categories.

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