California Healthcare News

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Senate Reaches Deal On Cost-Sharing Payments Premium Content
Oct 17, 2017

Key members of the U.S. Senate said this week they had reached a bipartisan agreement to fund cost-sharing subsidies (CSRs) on the state and federal health insurance exchanges.

            The deal, brokered by Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican and Sen. Patty Murray  of Washington State, would extend the payments for two years.

Brown Declares Emergency Regarding Hepatitis A Premium Content
Oct 17, 2017

Gov. Jerry Brown declared late last week a state of emergency regarding the outbreak of hepatitis A.

            As a result of the declaration, the supply of drugs to combat the disease has been increased. To date, the California Department of Public Health has distributed nearly 80,000 vaccinations, but the supply must be upped further, officials said.

IHA Will Try And Close Provider Directory Gaps Premium Content
Oct 12, 2017

California’s often vexing issue of inaccurate provider directories for consumers will be tackled by an out-of-the-box candidate: The Integrated Healthcare Association.

            The Oakland IHA has entered into an agreement to develop what is known as the Statewide Directory Utility. It would ostensibly be used by health plans to populate and update its provider data on an ongoing basis. It will do so with up to $50 million in funding from Blue Shield of California.

Covered California Will Institute Plan Surcharge In 2018 Premium Content
Oct 12, 2017

California’s health exchange said Wednesday it has ordered insurers to add a surcharge to certain policies next year because the Trump administration has yet to commit to paying a key set of consumer subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Wildfires Have Shut Down Two Santa Rosa Hospitals Premium Content
Oct 12, 2017

The wide-ranging wildfires burning north of San Francisco this week have shut down two of Santa Rosa’s three hospitals, officials said.

Trump Signs Executive Order To Loosen Health Plan Regs Premium Content
Oct 12, 2017

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order intended to expand the offerings of health plans that would escape regulation under the Affordable Care Act.

            The order, which Trump called “Obamacare relief” would allow for greater offerings of so-called association health plans. It would also extend the coverage of temporary health plans – intended to cover gaps in coverage – from 90 days to nearly a year.

Cal MediConnect Enrollments Fall Short Premium Content
Oct 5, 2017

Three years ago, the state of California began a demonstration project that would provide managed care and additional services for a significant number of its roughly 1.1 million residents dually enrolled in Medicare and Medi-Cal.

            The demonstration, known as Cal MediConnect, was launched in seven of the state’s most densely populated counties, including Southern California’s urban cores.

California Struggling With Hepatitis A Outbreak Premium Content
Oct 5, 2017

Health officials in California are struggling to contain fierce outbreaks of hepatitis A among homeless people and drug abusers in three counties, including San Diego, where at least 17 people have died.

            Hundreds more have become ill and been hospitalized, mostly in the San Diego area, often not far from tourist destinations. The disease also has cropped up farther north in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties. Poor access to restrooms and sinks in homeless encampments is largely to blame.

Health Net Doles Out $1.5 Million In Grants Premium Content
Oct 5, 2017

Health Net, the Woodland Hill-based insurer, has granted $1.5 million to improve insurance coverage and the quality of healthcare being delivered.

            The grants are being given to 10 different community organizations in California. They are part of an agreement with state regulators to obtain approval of Health Net’s acquisition last year by St. Louis-based insurance giant Centene.

UCSF: Many Hospitals Still Not Integrating Electronic Health Records Premium Content
Oct 5, 2017

A new study by researchers at UC San Francisco has concluded that many hospitals are still falling short in integrating electronic health records.

Covered California Details Fallout If Graham-Cassidy Were To Ever Pass Premium Content
Sep 27, 2017

In the latest of its studies regarding the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Covered California health insurance exchange has issued dire warnings about the fallout from the Graham-Cassidy bill should it ever be signed into law. It’s new study also paints a stark picture of what a wide-ranging repeal law would do.

California NICUs Provide Uneven Care To Black, Latino Babies Premium Content
Sep 27, 2017

African-American and Latino children born at California hospitals who receive treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit are less likely to receive the same levels of care as white and Asian newborns, according to a recently released Stanford University study.

                Researchers scrutinized 18,616 non-deformed low birthweight (3.3 pounds or less) infants delivered and treated at 134 California hospitals between 2010 to 2014, and nine specific treatments they received. Infants who died shortly after delivery  were excluded.

STDs Continue Big Increases In California Premium Content
Sep 27, 2017

The trend of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in California continues to trend upward and is now some cause for concern, according to new data from the state Department of Public Health.

                According to the data, the number of STDs reported last year topped 250,000, up 40% from five years ago. Among them was nearly 200,000 cases of chlamydia.

HealthPocket: Few Americans Can Afford More Than $100 A Month For Health Insurance Premiums Premium Content
Sep 27, 2017

Many Americans say they can pay only a moderate amount each month toward their health insurance premiums, according to a new survey by Mountain View-based HealthPocket.

                According to the nationwide survey of 1,225 adults, slightly more than half said they could only afford a premium of $100 a month or less. Only 19% said they could afford $200 a month or less. Eleven percent said they could afford premiums of more than $500 per month.

Graham-Cassidy Bill Would Hit California Hardest Premium Content
Sep 21, 2017

As the United States Senate pushes forward with an 11th-hour attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act through a bill that would convert existing federal funding for the program to a shrinking series of block grants, a new study by Avalare Health has concluded that California would be hit hardest of all states should it be signed into law, with potential losses in the hundreds of billions of dollars over the next couple of decades.

Anthem Blue Cross Cites Drug Costs For Hefty Premium Hike Premium Content
Sep 21, 2017

To make the case for a hefty premium hike in the state’s individual insurance market, Anthem Blue Cross has forecast a 30% jump in prescription drug costs for 2018. Such a sharp increase is nearly double the estimates of two other big insurers, and it runs counter to industry trends nationally.

            Prescription drug spending in the U.S. grew 6.1% over the 12 months ending in July, according to Altarum, a nonprofit think tank. That’s down from 12.9% in 2014, when expensive new hepatitis C drugs sharply lifted overall pharmaceutical spending.

CDPH Launches Cannabis Website Premium Content
Sep 21, 2017

The California Department of Public Health has launched a website intended to educate Californians about the uses and potential dangers of cannabis.

            Recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in California on Jan. 1 for most residents who are over the age of 21, and it is legal to possess an ounce of marijuana or six marijuana plants. The agency received funding under SB 94 to educate the public about the drug, which was a felony to possess well into the 1970s.

UC Cancer Centers Form A Consortium Premium Content
Sep 21, 2017

The cancer centers located within the University of California healthcare system have formed a consortium to better fight the disease.

            Cancer costs 60,000 lives in California every year and costs $14 billion. Each year, 176,000 residents are diagnosed with cancer.

Hospitals Buy Up Medical Practices, Pushing Up Healthcare Prices Premium Content
Sep 14, 2017

When Sarah Azad, M.D., followed her mother into the field of obstetrics eight years ago, she thought she’d be in private practice for the rest of her career. At the time, independent practices abounded in Silicon Valley.

            “From the time we were young, my mom’s patients loved her. She was a part of their lives. That’s just always how I’ve seen medical care,” she said.

Business Practices of Tenet-Owned Health Plan Leads to $80,000 Fine From DMHC Premium Content
Sep 14, 2017

The Department of Managed Health Care has fined a Cypress-based insurance carrier $80,000 for failure to meet tangible net equity requirements for nearly two years.