- California Healthline Original Stories 2
- Boeing Contracts Directly With California Health System For Employee Benefits
- Medi-Cal To Spend Nearly $1 Billion On Hepatitis C Drugs Next Year
- Marketplace 1
- Bypassing Traditional Insurance Model, Boeing To Partner With Health System For Employee Benefits
- Health IT 1
- Women Getting Birth Control Via Apps May Be Missing Out On Critical Information From Doctor
- Public Health and Education 1
- Controllable Factors Creating Infinite Loop Of Poor Health For Latinos
Latest From California Healthline:
Aerospace giant’s Southern California employees will have access to MemorialCare’s network of hospitals and clinics, in addition to UC Irvine Health and other providers. (Chad Terhune, 6/21)
Costly meds will be discussed at lawmaker hearing on controversial drug price transparency bill. (Pauline Bartolone, 6/21)
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Summaries Of The News:
MemorialCare Health System said Chicago-based Boeing selected it from a group of bidders for the five-year contract in Southern California, where the company has about 37,000 employees and dependents.
Orange County Register:
O.C. Care Provider, Boeing To Partner
Boeing Co. and MemorialCare Health System have struck a direct contract to provide medical care to Southern California employees, the first such cost-saving alliance in California between a large employer and a health provider, the companies announced Tuesday. Unlike traditional health plans offered by insurance companies, through which MemorialCare might be one of many covered providers, the five-year contract calls for Memorial to reduce costs for Boeing, while gaining direct access to clinical data to better customize and coordinate employees’ health needs. The plan will be offered to roughly 15,000 employees during open enrollment in the fall, with coverage to start in 2017. (Perkes, 6/21)
Long Beach Post:
Boeing Chooses Long Beach-based MemorialCare Health System for Partnership on Customized Health Plan
MemorialCare was selected after a rigorous search process for a partner on the first-of-its-kind Boeing customized health plan option in California, chosen to serve Boeing’s approximately 15,000 employees and 22,000 dependents in California. MemorialCare will serve almost all of Boeing’s employees and dependents in the Long Beach, South Bay and Orange County communities, according to a release issued by MemorialCare. (Smith, 6/21)
Boeing Contracts Directly With California Health System For Employee Benefits
“More employers are interested in moving in this direction,” said Barry Arbuckle, chief executive of the MemorialCare Health System, based in Fountain Valley, California. “It reflects the desire of these employers to participate in bending the cost curve for health care, and it allows the provider to have a more unfettered relationship with the employer and employees.” The new health plan will be offered to Boeing workers in Southern California during open enrollment this fall alongside some existing options, including a Kaiser Permanente HMO. Coverage starts Jan. 1. (Terhune, 6/21)
The decision upholds a move by the California Department of Managed Care, which notified seven insurance providers in 2014 that state law does not allow them to offer coverage that limits or excludes abortions for some employers.
Los Angeles Times:
Obama's Health Advisors Reject 'Right Of Conscience' Challenge To California's Required Abortion Coverage
The Obama administration on Tuesday rejected a “right of conscience” complaint from anti-abortion groups in California who objected to the state’s requirement that health insurance plans include coverage for elective abortions. The civil rights office at the Department of Health and Human Services said it had completed an investigation and dismissed several complaints after concluding California’s policy did not violate a decade-old rule adopted by Congress, known as the Weldon Amendment. (Savage, 6/21)
The Associated Press:
Federal Agency Upholds California Abortion Coverage Mandate
In a letter announcing her findings, Jocelyn Samuels, head of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, said the state acted within its rights because the Weldon Amendment applied to insurance companies, not the employers that have a moral objection to abortion. "At the time (California) sent the letter, all of the insurers offered plans that covered abortion, demonstrating that they have no religious or moral objection to that procedure," Samuels wrote. (6/22)
Meanwhile, Donald Trump promises to appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court —
The Washington Post:
Trump Vows To Lift Ban On Politicking, Appoint Antiabortion Judges
Donald Trump won a standing ovation from hundreds of Christian conservatives who came to New York City on Tuesday with a somewhat skeptical but willing attitude toward a man who has divided their group with comments on women, immigrants and Islam. In his comments, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee said he would end the decades-old ban on tax-exempt groups’ — including churches — politicking, called religious liberty “the No. 1 question,” and promised to appoint antiabortion Supreme Court justices. (Boorstein and Zauzmer, 6/21)
The End of Life Option Act, which recently went into effect, is voluntary for hospitals.
Ventura County Star:
Area Hospitals Draw Line In Sand For Aid-In-Dying Law
California's new aid-in-dying law has pushed six of Ventura County's eight hospitals to adopt policies, all delivering a similar message: Can't do it here. The End of Life Option Act gives terminally ill people with six months or less to live the legal right to obtain medication that will end their lives. Passed last year, the law went into effect June 9. (Kisken, 6/21)
Although the services save time and money, some say there's a health education component to in-person doctor visits that could be lacking in the digital experience.
Los Angeles Times:
You Can Get Birth Control From An App — But Should You?
The latest thing technology is trying to make obsolete: visiting the doctor's office. An increasing number of apps and online services are offering women a way to get birth control, including emergency contraception, without having to visit a doctor in person. California is one of a handful of states that allows people to access healthcare with a video conference or online, thanks to the Telemedicine Development Act of 1996 and the Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011. (Roy, 6/21)
In other health IT news —
Orange County Register:
CSUF Biomechanical Engineering Research May Lead To Increased Mobility In Stroke Victims
Through the use of robotic glasses, Cal State Fullerton engineering faculty and students are looking to create a cost-effective and reliable solution for the treatment of post-stroke patients with affected movement in their arms – one that consists of a virtual reality. Along with three students, Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of mechanical engineering Nina Robson is working on the Augmented Reality Wearable Device (ARWED) project, which she started nearly two years ago. Graduate mechanical engineering students Vishal Ahir and Rachel Caballero, along with undergraduate electrical engineering student Gina Hwang and undergraduate computer science student Kien Nguyen, make up Robson’s team of student researchers. (Marcos, 6/21)
The measure would levy a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages and create a 16-person advisory panel to help decide what programs should be started or funded to reduce the consumption of said beverages in the city.
San Francisco Voters Will Decide On Soda Tax In November
It was a circuitous route, but a ballot measure was submitted to the San Francisco Department of Elections Tuesday afternoon, and voters in November will decide whether to levy a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The soda tax was supposed to be placed on the ballot last month, following a signature gathering campaign. Proponents were thrilled that they had collected twice the number of signatures needed. Just one problem: they turned those signatures in a day late. (Aliferis, 6/21)
The population tends to suffer more diabetes and hypertension, which can exacerbate dementia.
California Health Report:
Fighting The Swell Of Latino Dementia
Latinos suffer from dementia at rates 1.5 times higher than whites, but not because of genetic makeup. Instead, the factors that contribute to Latino dementia are largely controllable. Latinos tend to suffer more diabetes and hypertension — conditions that left untreated can exacerbate dementia. In addition, socioeconomic factors like poverty, discrimination and limited access to quality healthcare also play a role in cognitive decline. Together, these factors can cause an infinite loop of poor health. (Perry, 6/21)
Meanwhile, even as Americans' nutrition improves, a gap separating white Americans from African Americans and Mexican Americans remains —
Los Angeles Times:
Americans' Diets Improve, But Ethnic And Income Gaps Widen
More American adults are eating better, but a new analysis of American diets between 2000 and 2012 shows that the trend of improved nutrition is largely limited to middle- and upper-income white Americans. The result: a widening nutrition gap separating white Americans from African Americans and Mexican Americans. (Healy, 6/21)
Many of the ideas presented by Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans are familiar -- such as health savings accounts, high-risk pools and selling insurance across state lines. They would also raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67. However, the plan left a lot of questions about costs unanswered.
Through tax records, HHS will find people ages 18 to 34 who had to pay the individual mandate fee, and reach out to them directly to try to woo a generally healthier population that could balance out the exchanges.
The Associated Press:
Feds Will Use Tax Penalty Data To Find Uninsured Millennials
With time running out for the Obama administration to prove the success of the Affordable Care Act, officials are aggressively targeting a group that could help turn things around: young people. Federal health officials announced Tuesday they will comb tax records to find 18-34 year-olds who paid the penalty stipulated under President Barack Obama's health act for not buying health insurance and reach out to them directly with emails to urge them to avoid even higher penalties scheduled for this year. They also plan to heavily advertise the enrollment campaign, including a promotion with trendy ride-sharing service Lyft to offer discounted rides to enrollment events. (6/21)
In other national health care news —
Democrats File Discharge Petition On Zika Funding Bill
Top House Democrats are trying to force a vote on a nearly $2 billion spending package to fight the Zika virus this week, signaling a dim outlook for bipartisan talks already underway. Democrats said Tuesday they have filed a discharge petition to bring up a Zika funding bill from the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, New York Rep. Nita Lowey. (Ferris, 6/21)
The Washington Post:
Google Aims To Stop Terrifying You With Its Responses When You Search Medical Symptoms
Even if you're not a hypochondriac by nature, jumping on Google to do some research when you have a mysterious headache or cough has been enough to make you one. For years both patients and doctors have complained about how hard it is to distinguish between real advice and the random ramblings of a complete quack. Google has finally come up with a solution. On Monday, the company unveiled symptom search, a new feature that offers you legitimate information curated by Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic experts. This includes basic information about common health problems related to your symptoms and whether you can treat the issue at home by yourself or whether you should be calling for help. (Cha, 6/21)
The Washington Post:
Federal Panel Approves First Test Of CRISPR Editing In Humans
A National Institutes of Health advisory panel on Tuesday approved the first human use of the gene-editing technology CRISPR, for a study designed to target three types of cancer and funded by tech billionaire Sean Parker's new cancer institute. The experiment, proposed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, would use CRISPR-Cas9 technology to modify patients' own T cells to make them more effective in attacking melanoma, multiple myeloma and sarcoma. (McGinley, 6/21)