- California Healthline Original Stories 3
- Medi-Cal’s Doctor Sign-Up System Finally Going Online
- Hospital Discharge: It’s One Of The Most Dangerous Periods For Patients
- Medicare Pays Bonuses To 231 Hospitals With Lower Quality Because Of Cheaper Costs
- Covered California & The Health Law 1
- Covered California's Unique Negotiating Power Has Helped Slow Premium Increases
- Health Care Personnel 1
- Doctor Allowed To Keep UC Regent Seat After Probe Concludes He Violated Ethics Rules
- Pharmaceuticals 1
- Gilead Allowed To Submit New Evidence In Patent Case After Claiming Merck's Lawyer Lied
- Health IT 1
- Fitness Trackers, Apps Among The Innovations Explored At Sacramento Health Startup Weekend
Latest From California Healthline:
The government health insurance program for people with lower incomes will ditch the cumbersome paper system it uses to register medical professionals who want to provide their services. (Ana B. Ibarra, 5/3)
Bad coordination and communication can put patients at risk as they're discharged from a hospital. (Jordan Rau, 5/3)
New research highlights the paradox in the federal program to improve hospital quality. (Jordan Rau, 5/2)
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More News From Across The State
Other states and the federal marketplace accept any plan that seeks to participate, but California's exchange negotiates prices with insurers to help consumers get the best prices.
Covered California Helps Keep Premiums In Check, UC Berkeley Study Finds
Covered California’s Obamacare exchange has helped consumers get a better deal on health insurance in part because of its negotiating power — power that other Affordable Care Act marketplaces don’t have — according to a new analysis published Monday. (Aliferis, 5/2)
Market muscle -- whether gained from size, prestige or a lack of competition -- plays a key part in being able to negotiate with insurers, the study finds. California's Sutter Medical Center and Stanford Hospital, came in second and third, respectfully.
The Washington Post:
These Hospitals Make The Most Money Off Patients — And They’re Mostly Nonprofits
Seven of the top 10 most profitable hospitals in the United States are nonprofit facilities that each netted more than $150 million from caring for patients in 2013, according to a study published Monday. Topping the list is Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Wisc., which earned $302.5 million in profit from patient care services that year, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Washington and Lee University. Other nonprofits in the top 10 include the Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., which took in nearly $225 million, and the University of Pennsylvania's hospital in Philadelphia, which earned $184.5 million. (Sun, 5/2)
In other hospital news —
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Patients Sue Scripps After Drug-Theft Scandal
Several patients are suing Scripps Green Hospital for pain and suffering in the aftermath of the multi-state Rocky Allen scandal. Allen, who was a surgical technician trainee at Green for just 20 days in 2013, was allegedly caught trying to switch a syringe of fentanyl, a powerful pain medication, with a syringe of saline solution before a surgical procedure at the hospital on June 7, 2013. (Sisson, 5/2)
The Fresno Bee:
Tulare Hospital Puts Bond Measure Up For Vote
Tulare Local Health Care District leaders decided Monday to ask voters to approve a $55 million bond measure to finish a stalled hospital project that is roiling the community. The five-member district board voted unanimously to call for a mail-in election. Ballots will be sent to voters Aug. 1 and must be postmarked by Aug. 30. (Griswold, 5/2)
The Desert Sun:
Loma Linda Children's Hospital Planning For Indio Site
A well-known name in children’s health care is planning to expand into the Coachella Valley with a satellite site in central Indio. Though the exact services Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital will provide at the Indio location haven't been determined. (Newkirk, 5/2)
Dr. William De La Peña resigned from the health committee and gave up its chairmanship following an investigation into his efforts to strike a financially beneficial deal between his eye clinics and UCLA. But he remains on University of California's overall governing board.
University Of California Regent Violated Ethics Rules, Review Finds
A doctor on the University of California’s Board of Regents has been allowed to keep his seat despite a secret investigation that concluded he violated ethics rules by trying to strike a financially beneficial deal between his eye clinics and UCLA, part of the university system the regents oversee. Dr. William De La Peña also engaged in discussions about a prominent eye center affiliation involving UCLA even after recusing himself, an investigation found. At the time, he was chairman of the regents’ health services committee. (Ornstein, 5/2)
The California-based company alleges the lawyer misused what he learned on a conference call to change pending applications.
The Wall Street Journal:
Judge Allows More Evidence In Patent Dispute After Gilead Says Merck Attorney Lied
A federal judge has allowed Gilead Sciences Inc. to submit additional evidence in a drug-patent dispute with Merck & Co., after Gilead claimed a former Merck patent attorney lied under oath in the case. In March, a federal jury in San Jose, Calif., ordered Gilead to pay Merck $200 million after finding that two U.S. patents held by Merck and its partner, Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc., were valid and infringed by Gilead’s multibillion-dollar hepatitis C drugs, Sovaldi and Harvoni. The trial arose from Gilead’s 2013 lawsuit seeking a judgment that the Merck patents were invalid. (Loftus, 5/2)
Local entrepreneurs gathered for 54 hours to develop ideas for medical technology in "hackathon" style. The winner was a physical therapy tool, PT Tracker.
The Sacramento Bee:
Startup Weekend Sacramento Turns Innovative Focus On Health Tech
The tabletops were barely visible beneath notebooks, laptops and Post-it notes. The white dry-erase boards were covered with slapdash flow charts and lengthy idea lists. Energy drinks and Starbucks cups left rings of condensation between piles of paperwork. The scene resembled countless other “hackathons” bringing together tech hopefuls to hammer out their business ideas. This, however, was a special health edition of the 54-hour brainstorming session known as Startup Weekend Sacramento, held at the downtown Urban Hive coworking space. (Caiola, 5/2)
Doctors treating overdose patients often look for more common painkillers as the culprit, making it hard to get a clear view of how many have been affected by the synthetic drug. It can also be missed in standard tests and not all hospitals have the set up to conduct the special lab tests it often takes to detect it.
Why It's So Hard To Track The Powerful Opioid Fentanyl
In the wake of the deaths of 14 people in the Sacramento area who ingested a counterfeit brand name medication laced with the powerful opiate fentanyl, Los Angeles County health officials have advised area doctors to be on the alert for the drug. L.A. officials think fentanyl misuse is a problem, but they don't know for sure because it's difficult to monitor. (Plevin, 5/2)
The new report suggests that the money would be better spent on HIV prevention programs that have been shown to cut infection rates.
The San Francisco Chronicle:
Stanford HIV Study Casts Doubt On Abstinence Efforts In Africa
The United States has poured more than $1.4 billion into abstinence education meant to prevent the spread of HIV in parts of Africa, but those programs haven’t led to changes in sexual behavior that would lower people’s risk of infection, according to a Stanford University report released Monday. Authors of the report say they’re talking with officials from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR — the main global AIDS relief agency in the United States — about whether the U.S. should continue funding efforts in Africa that promote abstinence and monogamy. (Allday, 5/2)