California Healthcare News

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Sharp Hospital Gets $2.9 Million NIH Grant Premium Content
Apr 6, 2017

The neonatal research institute at Sharp Healthcare's Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns has received a $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Relief At Demise – For Now – of AHCA Premium Content
Mar 30, 2017

Had it gotten through Congress and signed into law, the American Health Care Act would have been utterly disastrous for Californians, two leading healthcare policy researchers have concluded.

            According to the numbers from UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, the implementation of the AHCA would have led to higher premiums, lower subsidies for many lower and middle-income Californians who rely on them to purchase health insurance, and a thicket of confusing regulations that could have only served to exacerbate the situation.

DMHC Said It Revoked Avante's License To Protect Public Premium Content
Mar 30, 2017

The Department of Managed Health Care revoked the license of Avante Behavioral Health Plan earlier this month due to the Fresno-based insurer's ongoing financial difficulties, according to the agency.

            DMHC spokesperson Rodger Butler acknowledged that while Avante planned to surrender its Knox-Keene license on July 1, it still needed to take regulatory action before that date. In an email, Butler described the action as “taken to protect the public from a financially troubled plan.”

Vasectomies Meld With March Madness Premium Content
Mar 30, 2017

Doctors say it all started eight years ago, when a urology clinic in Oregon ran an ad promoting the benefits of scheduling a vasectomy in March.

“You go in for a little snip, snip and come out with doctor’s orders to sit back and watch nonstop basketball,” the voice-over promised. “If you miss out on this, you’ll end up recovering during a weekend marathon of ‘Desperate Housewives’!”

DMHC Fines L.A. Care $75,000 Premium Content
Mar 30, 2017

The Department of Managed Health Care has fined L.A. Care Health Plan $75,000 for failing to correct issues with its enrollee grievance, preauthorization and communications processes, records show.

Monning's Bill Would Curb Some Hospital Business Practices Premium Content
Mar 30, 2017

State Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, has introduced a bill that would some business practices of hospital networks.

DHCS Says ACA Repeal Would Cost California Tens of Billions Premium Content
Mar 23, 2017

On the eve of what could be a historic vote in Congress to repeal key portions of the Affordable Care Act, the California Department of Health Care Services has issued an analysis of how that might impact future funding of the Medi-Cal program.

DMHC Revokes License of Avante Health Premium Content
Mar 23, 2017

The Department of Managed Health Care has issued a rare license revocation for an insurer, although that company's top executive said it had already planned to surrender its license this summer.

            The agency revoked the license of Fresno-based mental health insurer Avante Behavioral Health Plan on March 16, records show. Although the agency has revoked or suspended the licenses of several individual insurance agents, this appears to be the first case in recent memory where it revoked the license of an insurer to conduct business.

Divided House Appears Set To Vote On ACA Rollback Bill Premium Content
Mar 23, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled a vote on the afternoon of March 23 to repeal and replace some of the most crucial provisions of the Affordable Care Act. However, on the morning of the vote, it remains unsure whether there are enough votes in place to pass the bill and send it to the U.S. Senate. The New York Times reported on Thursday morning that the Republicans still appear short of a majority to get the bill, known as the American Health Care Act, passed. No Democratic lawmakers are expected to vote for the AHCA.

UCSF: Geofencing Apps Could Assist In Chronic Care Management Premium Content
Mar 23, 2017

A new study by researchers at UC San Francisco suggests that the use of geofencing applications could improve the monitoring of chronically ill patients and improve their overall health.

Blue Shield Foundation Grants $670,000 Premium Content
Mar 23, 2017

The San Francisco-based Blue Shield of California Foundation has announced $670,000 in grants to nine organizations which are focused on preserving the healthcare gains made by the expansion of the Medi-Cal program, as well as curbing domestic violence.

            The grants are going to organizations such as California Indian Legal Services, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, among others. The specific amounts of each grant were not announced.

AHCA Would Lead To Premium Sticker Shock Premium Content
Mar 16, 2017

The state's health insurance exchange has crunched the numbers on what the American Health Care Act – the bill intend-ed to replace current healthcare reform would create. And the picture is not pretty.

Bill Would Require Extensive Pricing Disclosures From Drug Companies Premium Content
Mar 16, 2017

State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, has introduced legislation that would compel a significant level of price transparency and cost disclosures on the part of drug manufacturers. The bill has gained the support of California's health insurers despite extensive reporting burdens placed on them as well.

Hernandez has been a highly vocal critic of the recent business practices of drug manufacturers, which include huge increases for the prices of medications that have often been on the market for decades.

CBO Releases Estimates Of Repeal And Replace's Impact Premium Content
Mar 16, 2017

The Congressional Budget Office is out with its estimate of the effect that the Republican health bill, “The American Health Care Act,” would have on the nation’s healthcare system and how much it would cost the federal government. The GOP plan is designed to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act passed during the Obama administration.

Here are some of the CBO highlights:

CDPH Says Anthem Owes $525K Premium Content
Mar 16, 2017

The California Department of Public Health says that Anthem Blue Cross of California owes it approximately $525,000 for prenatal screening tests it conducted for its enrollees.

UC San Diego Collaborative Reduces Diabetic Complications, Avoidable Costs Premium Content
Mar 16, 2017

A diabetes “tune up” clinic operated by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego for the local Veterans Affairs healthcare system has been able to cut avoidable costs for patients by a significant amount.

The model is based on collaboration between a pharmacist and endocrinologist, with the assistance of some pharmacy school students. They focus on medication therapy management and education for the patients.

GOP Replacement Plan Revealed – And Condemned Premium Content
Mar 8, 2017

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives revealed this week its plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, the crux of their proposals in two committee bills that would vastly revise the financing of Medicaid enrollments for the poor and premium support for middle-income Americans to purchase health insurance.

            The changes were roundly criticized by healthcare and public officials in California as sharply curtailing some of the most critical provisions of the ACA, and fearing that it would lead to millions losing their healthcare insurance in the future.

Telehealth May Not Be As Cost Effective As Once Thought Premium Content
Mar 8, 2017

The convenience of “telehealth” appeals to patients, and the notion that it costs less than an in-office visit would make it attractive to employers and health plans.
            But a new study suggests that while telehealth services may boost access to a physician, they don’t necessarily reduce healthcare spending, contrary to assertions by telehealth companies.

Kaiser Creates Protocol To Reduce Antibiotics For Newborns Premium Content
Mar 8, 2017

Kaiser Permanente has created a protocol that has dramatically reduced the use of antibiotics in newborns.

Legislation Would Make It Tougher For Hospitals To Shut Down Premium Content
Mar 8, 2017

A bill in the California Senate would require hospitals to jump through additional hoops if it is decided to close down emergency services.