California Healthcare News

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Californians Anxious Over Possible ACA Repeal Premium Content
Jun 22, 2017

More than half of Californians fear they or their loved ones will lose health coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and replaced, a new statewide poll shows.

            A poll by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the UC Berkeley, released Tuesday, unmasks a deep sense of insecurity across the Golden State, especially among low-income residents and people enrolled in Medi-Cal, the state’s version of the federal Medicaid program.

Kaiser Names Chief Nursing Exec Premium Content
Jun 22, 2017

Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente has named Linda Knodel its chief nursing executive and senior vice president of national patient care services.

            Knodel previously served as senior vice president and chief nursing officer for Mercy Health System, which includes 45 hospitals and 16,000 nurses in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Torrance Memorial Medical Center Discloses Phishing Incident Premium Content
Jun 22, 2017

Torrance Memorial Medical Center has disclosed a phishing incident that occurred in April that allowed access to two employee e-mail accounts.

            Although the hospital has provided few specifics, a statement it issued this week suggested that patient data was likely compromised.

Kaiser Fined For Improper Policy Cancellations Premium Content
Jun 15, 2017

The California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has levied a six-figure fine against Oakland-based Kaiser Foundation Health Plan for canceling health coverage for nearly 1,200 policyholders while failing to provide an appropriate grace period. In some instances Kaiser inappropriately canceling coverage even when payment, the regulator concluded.

Under Expanded Medi-Cal, ER Visits Soar Premium Content
Jun 15, 2017

Medi-Cal patients are swamping California emergency rooms in greater numbers than they did before the Affordable Care Act took effect, despite predictions that the health law would ease the burden on ERs.

            Emergency room visits by people on Medi-Cal rose 75% over five years, from 800,000 in the first quarter of 2012 to 1.4 million in the last quarter of 2016, according to data recently released by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

CDPH Fines Nursing Home Facility $100,000 Premium Content
Jun 15, 2017

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has fined a Bellflower nursing home $100,000 after a patient died following five separate falls on his head at the facility last year.

UCSF Launches Diversity Campaign Premium Content
Jun 15, 2017

The University of California at San Francisco healthcare system has launched an institution-wide diversity campaign. The initiative appears to be in response to rising hostilities against immigrants in the United States.

            The campaign includes posters that are being posted inside UCSF facilities saying that it welcomes all races, religions, genders, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and countries of origin, among others. The posters are also available to download and be printed.

AVH District Sues Alecto, Accuses It Of Fraud Premium Content
Jun 8, 2017

Accusing it of malfeasance and fraud, the Antelope Valley Healthcare District has sued Long Beach-based hospital management company Alecto Healthcare, claiming its brief tenure running the 422-bed hospital left it in disarray and led to millions of dollars in extra costs.

Covered California Tells Insurers To Prepare For The Worst Premium Content
Jun 8, 2017

Amid growing uncertainty over federal health care funding, Covered California is calling on health insurers to prepare for the worst.

            The state health insurance exchange last week instructed participating insurers to submit alternative premium hike proposals for 2018 in the event they lose federal payments for subsidies that reduce some consumers’ out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Molina Health Investigates Potential Data Breach Premium Content
Jun 8, 2017

Long Beach-based Molina Healthcare has temporarily shut down its patient portal as it investigates a potential breach of patient data.

            The Medicaid insurer disclosed late last month that it had shut down its portal for medical claims and customer information while it investigated a potential breach.

Senate Approves Single-Payer Bill Premium Content
Jun 8, 2017

The California Senate last week approved a bill that would create a single-payer healthcare system for the state’s 40 million residents. However, no apparatus has been set up to pay for the new system.

            The bill, SB 562, passed 23-14. It now heads to the Assembly for revisions and a potential vote. However, it is likely the Assembly version would include new taxes, meaning a two-thirds majority would be required for passage of such an amended bill in both houses.

Cardiac Surgeons Push Back On CABG Mortality Data Premium Content
Jun 1, 2017

The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) has released new data on the outcomes of patients who underwent coronary artery bypass graft procedures in 2013 and 2014, and some of the surgeons are not happy with how they fared.

UCLA Hospitals Create No-Handshake Zones Premium Content
Jun 1, 2017

Mark Sklansky, M.D., a self-described germaphobe, can’t stop thinking about how quickly those little microbes can spread.
            “If I am at a computer terminal or using a phone or opening a door, I know my hands are now contaminated, and I need to be careful and I need to wash my hands,” said Sklansky, professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

CAHP Comes Out Against Single Payer In California Premium Content
Jun 1, 2017

The California Association of Health Plans (CAHP) has come out strongly against a proposal that is gaining momentum among lawmakers to explore creating a single-payer health plan.

            CAHP issued a two-page graphic fact sheet entitled, “Single-Payer In California Is Not The Answer.” It contended that single-payer would be a “step backwards” for the state’s healthcare system.

Prime Acquires Another Hospital in Texas Premium Content
Jun 1, 2017

Prime Healthcare has announced the acquisition of a medium-sized Southern Texas hospital through its non-profit arm.

            The Ontario-based Prime Healthcare Foundation has acquired 297-bed Mission Regional Medical Center in Mission, Texas for an undisclosed amount, it was announced last week. The deal is expected to close in July.

Covered California Attracting Healthier Enrollees Premium Content
May 25, 2017

As debate in Congress continues to swirl about whether to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the Covered California health insurance exchange has released a report that its enrollee mix has gotten healthier in the past year.

            The data, which was compiled by Covered California Chief Actuary John Bertko, who works as an independent contractor, and two of the health exchange’s analysts, was published last week on the website of the public policy journal Health Affairs.

CBO Score Changes Little For ACA Repeal Bill Premium Content
May 25, 2017

An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of the American Health Care Act, passed by the House of Representatives last month, estimates it would lead to modest cuts in the deficit but still cut tens of millions of Americans off the insurance rolls over the next decade.

Single-Payer In California Could Carry Huge Cost Premium Content
May 25, 2017

A proposed single-payer health system in California would cost about $400 billion annually, with up to half of that money coming from a new payroll tax on workers and employers, according to a state analysis.

DMHC Fines Humana $25,000 Premium Content
May 25, 2017

The Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has fined Humana $25,000 for failing to notify the agency of material changes to its products and provider networks in a timely manner, often taking years to do so.

Kaiser Gets High Marks In J.D. Power Survey Premium Content
May 25, 2017

Oakland-based Kaiser Foundation Health Plan reaped among the highest scores in J.D. Power’s annual survey of health plans.

            According to Power, Kaiser received the highest ratings for its health plans in California, Virginia, Maryland, the Pacific Northwest, Colorado and the South Atlantic. It was the only payer in California to get a top ranking. Power surveyed 33,624 commercial health plan members between January and March of this year.