California Healthcare News

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DHCS Fines Kaiser $2.5 Million Premium Content
Feb 1, 2017

California officials have fined health care giant Kaiser Permanente $2.5 million for failing to turn over required data on patient care to the Medi-Cal program.
            The California Department of Health Care Services said this was the first fine imposed against one of its Medicaid managed care plans since at least 2000. The state relies on the data to help set rates, ensure adequate care is available and monitor how taxpayer dollars are being spent in the Medi-Cal program.

CDPH Cites Two Nursing Homes For Patient Deaths Premium Content
Feb 1, 2017

The California Department of Public Health has cited and fined nursing facilities in Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties for negligence that endangered patient safety.

Studies Raise More Worries About ACA Repeal Premium Content
Feb 1, 2017

Two new studies released by leading California healthcare institutions this week provided further evidence of the hardships the state's residents would endure if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

Despite Treatment Advances, Women Still Face Obstacles In Breast Cancer Care Insurance Status, Ethnic Background Pose Big Barriers Premium Content
Jan 26, 2017

Although treatments for breast cancer continue to make improvements, obtaining that care can be an obstacle for women in California.

That's the conclusion of researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. In a recent report, it raised significant concerns that women with breast cancer enrolled in Medi-Cal or other public insurance programs were less likely to obtain treatment for their breast cancer in a timely manner and live longer than those enrolled in private insurance.

Blue Shield, Hill Physicians Launch Hospice Program Premium Content
Jan 26, 2017

Blue Shield of California and Hill Physicians Medical Group have started a primary care-based palliative care program in conjunction with Snowline Hospice, which provides services in Sacramento and El Dorado Counties.

"This new program enables primary care providers to offer palliative care services to patients with advanced illness in collaboration with hospice providers who are expert in palliative care," said Marcus Thygeson, M.D., Blue Shield's Chief Health Officer. "This will improve care for seriously ill people and support for their caregivers."

In Brief: Molina CEO Hedges On Future ACA Participation Premium Content
Jan 26, 2017

Molina Healthcare Chief Executive Officer J. Mario Molina, M.D., hedged on whether his Long Beach-based Medicaid managed care plan would continue to offer insurance in various state exchanges beginning next year.

“There are just too many unknowns at this point to give a definitive answer,” Molina told the publication Axios earlier this week.

Brown Pledges To Fiercely Protect ACA Premium Content
Jan 26, 2017

In an unusually impassioned speech, Gov. Jerry Brown vowed this week to protect California’s health care gains under Obamacare against Republican attempts in Washington, D.C., to roll them back.

“More than any other state, California has embraced the Affordable Care Act,” Brown told state legislators and appointees in his annual State of the State address at California’s Capitol. “I intend to join with other Governors and Senators, and with you, to do everything we can to protect the healthcare of our people.”

Consumers Union Blasts CDPH On Corraling Hospital Infections Premium Content
Jan 26, 2017

The California Department of Public Health has come under fire from a leading consumer advocacy organization that is claiming the agency has taken little action in investigating hospitals with high rates of patients who contract infections during their stay.

                The San Francisco-based Consumers Union reported on the matter earlier this week, asserting that the CDPH's internal structure made aggressive policing of infec-tions in hospital settings nearly impossible.

CDPH Criticized By Advocacy Groups Premium Content
Jan 19, 2017

The California Department of Public Health has systematically downgraded citations to nursing homes for incidents that jeopardized the lives of patients or even killed them, according to a new report by a Sacramento-based advocacy group.

            The report by Disability Rights California cited seven specific cases in which the most severe penalty was not issued under state law, but likely should have been. The cases were reviewed by faculty from the University of Southern California and UCLA, among others.

CHLA Reports Data Breach Premium Content
Jan 19, 2017

Children's Hospital Los Angeles reported last Friday a breach involving more than 3,500 patient records.

            According to the hospital, a laptop was stolen from the car of a physician affiliated with the hospital that contained the private health information. Although the laptop was password protected, it was unclear if it was encrypted, compelling the hospital under federal regulations to disclose the potential breach and notify the patient and their families. Any breaches involving the records of 500 or more patients also requires a public disclosure.

Hawaiian Gardens Hospital to Close Premium Content
Jan 19, 2017

Gardens Regional Hospital & Medical Center in Hawaiian Gardens is slated for closure now that a deal to purchase the bankrupt facility has collapsed.

Berkeley, UCLA Forecast Harsh Economic Hits If ACA Is Repealed Premium Content
Jan 19, 2017

California is expected to undergo social and economic calamities should Congress and the incoming Trump administration repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Covered California Enrollees Hit with Higher Bills Premium Content
Jan 19, 2017

Thousands of Covered California enrollees face higher-than-expected bills from their insurers because the exchange sent incorrect tax credit information to the health plans.

The exchange confirmed it gave insurers wrong subsidy information for about 25,000 policyholders, resulting in inaccurate bills. Insurers are now sending out new bills correcting the errors, and in most cases that means higher premiums than consumers had initially anticipated.

Two Information Exchanges Merge Premium Content
Jan 11, 2017

The California Integrated Data Exchange, better known as Cal INDEX, and the Inland Empire Health Information Exchange have announced this week plans to merge.

            The two exchanges, both non-profit entities, plan to merge 11.7 million claims records held by Cal INDEX from health plans such as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California with the Inland Empire's 5 million patient records.

Brown's Budget Includes More State Funds for Medi-Cal Expansion Premium Content
Jan 11, 2017

California Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his fiscal 2017-18 budget this week, and it included some funding for the continued expansion of the Medi-Cal program.

            Among the items in the budget include $1.6 billion as part of the state's cost-sharing efforts for the Medi-Cal program as part of the Affordable Care Act. During the first three years of Medicaid expansion, the federal government picket up the tab, but states have to begin contributing up to 10% of the cost in the coming years.

CDPH Penalizes 14 Hospitals for Safety Lapses Premium Content
Jan 11, 2017

The California Department of Public Health has issued 15 administrative penalties and fines against 14 hospitals in Southern California for lapses in safety that led to patient lives being jeopardized. It's the first fines and penalties the agency has issued against acute care facilities for such lapses in nearly a year.

DMHC Fines Kaiser $35,000 Premium Content
Jan 4, 2017

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan has been fined $35,000 by the Department of Managed Health Care for clerical errors that led to the exposure of medical data of one of its plan enrollees.

CHA's Dauner Announces Retirement Premium Content
Jan 4, 2017

C. Duane Dauner, chief executive officer of the California Hospital Association, announced his retirement last month.

            The 76-year-old Dauner, who has served in his post since the mid-1980s when the CHA was known as the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, said he planned to leave the state's most prominent hospital lobbying group at the end of 2018, when his current contract expired.

Congress May Act To Curb Medical Malpractice Judgments Premium Content
Jan 4, 2017

As top Republicans see it, a medical malpractice crisis is threatening U.S. healthcare: Frivolous lawsuits are driving up malpractice insurance premiums and forcing physicians out of business. Doctors and hospitals live in fear of litigation, ordering excessive tests and treatments that make health care unaffordable for Americans.

Molina Healthcare Sued by Physicians in Class-Action Suit Premium Content
Jan 4, 2017

Molina Healthcare has been sued by a Los Angeles Latino activist group, claiming that the Long Beach-based insurer has withheld millions of dollars in enhanced Medi-Cal payments to physicians.