Latest California Healthline Stories
A student sought counseling help after feeling panicked when she had trouble paying a big tuition bill. A weeklong stay in a psychiatric hospital followed — along with a $3,413 bill. The hospital soft-pedaled its charity care policy.
Renowned medical centers are among the quarter of general hospitals that will lose 1% of Medicare payments for one year because their patients have high rates of bedsores, sepsis and other preventable complications.
State officials recently unveiled a “master plan” to address the needs of California’s rapidly aging population, from housing to long-term care. Kim McCoy Wade, director of the state Department of Aging, vows it will not end up on a shelf gathering dust.
A video on the social media platform TikTok explains how consumers can “crush” their hospital bills using charity care policies. This won’t work for all medical bills, but it might be a good place to start.
The measures would impose taxes on increases in the price of drugs that don’t reflect improved clinical value and set the rates paid by state-run and commercial health plans to a benchmark based on prices in Canada.
Jeff Bloom, a lawyer who used to represent medical-bill collectors in court, is sharing what he knows. “I was a bad guy, for sure,” he said. Then, a few years ago, he switched sides.
Lawmakers answered pleas from strained health facilities in rural areas, agreed to cover the cost of training more new doctors, sought to strengthen efforts to equalize mental health coverage with that of physical medicine and instructed the federal government to collect data that could be used to rein in high medical bills.
Host Dan Weissmann talked about a new federal rule — a requirement for hospitals to make public the prices they negotiate with insurers — with Niala Boodhoo for the daily-news podcast “Axios Today.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 budget blueprint would direct billions in state covid assistance to schools, businesses and the state’s vaccination effort. But he didn’t propose more funding for the state’s 61 local health agencies, which have taken on increased responsibility for testing, contact tracing and enforcement of health orders.
Former health care executive Wendell Potter said, “What I used to do for a living was mislead people into thinking that we had the best health care system in the world.” Now, Potter is a health care whistleblower and spent part of 2020 publishing high-profile apologies for the work he used to do.