California Healthcare News

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In Brief: Berkeley Forum Calls For Better Integration Of Care To Cut Costs; El Camino Rating Upgraded Free
Feb 27, 2013

Berkeley Forum Calls For Better Integration Of Care To Cut Costs

A new report by a collaborative of healthcare executives, researchers and policymakers claims that California could save more than $100 billion over a decade if it were to aggressively switch to an effort to properly coordinate care.

DMHC Actions, Fines Drop Significantly Free
Feb 26, 2013
Between 2009 and 2011, the Department of Managed Health Care issued nearly 1,000 enforcement actions against health plans, fining them nearly $9 million for a variety of misdeeds and demanding they take corrective actions to protect the interests of their enrollees. But after Aug. 11, 2011, when Gov. Jerry Brown appointed former health plan lawyer and lobbyist Brent A. Barnhart to head the agency, enforcement actions dropped almost immediately. The DMHC issued only 74 such actions during the remainder of the year, compared to 433 in the portion of 2011 prior to his appointment – although an agency official said that number should be condensed.
Kansas Hospitals Pushing Medicaid Expansion Hard Premium Content
Feb 25, 2013
Expanding the Medicaid program in Kansas as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could prove a boon to the Sunflower State, creating thousands of jobs and saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year, according to a new report. The report, released last week by the Kansas Hospital Association, comes at a critical juncture for states still on the fence as to whether to expand their Medicaid programs under the relaxed income cutoffs that are part of the ACA.
Hospitals Clamp Down On Dangerous Early Elective Deliveries Free
Feb 25, 2013
For decades, doctors have been warned about the dangers of delivering babies early without a medical reason. But the practice remained stubbornly persistent. Now, with pressure on doctors and hospitals from the federal government, private and public insurers and patient advocacy groups, the rate of elective deliveries before 39 weeks is dropping significantly, according to latest hospital survey from The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of some of the nation\'s largest corporations that buy health benefits for their employees.
Truven Names Top U.S. Hospitals Free
Feb 25, 2013
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Truven Analytics has released its list of the top 100 hospitals in the United States, with the majority of the large teaching facilities based in the Midwest. The list, formerly known as the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Hospitals in America, included 32 hospitals in the Midwest.
In Brief: Iowa Won\'t Expand Medicaid; Michigan Blues Bill Progresses Free
Feb 24, 2013

Iowa Won't Expand Medicaid Under ACA

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has notified the federal government that his state will not expand the Medicaid program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Key Issues And Trends For 2013 Premium Content
Feb 23, 2013
During the January Healthcare Web Summit, MCOL and Payers & Providers jointly sponsored a survey of healthcare professionals on the key healthcare business issues that will impact them and their organizations for 2013.
HealthPocket’s “Rate-Up” Roundup Premium Content
Feb 20, 2013
A new study by a Sunnyvale firm concludes that 80% of the individual health plans offered to applicants in the United States can be paired with a “rate-up” – an often sharp rise in price from the originally quoted premium prior to the finalization of enrollment. The study, undertaken by HealthPocket, which offers Web-based health plan shopping tools for consumers, found that 18% of all consumers encounter a rate-up. The price increase is often the product of the underwriting process and the vetting for pre-existing health conditions. They may prompt the insurer to consider an applicant more of a financial risk, therefore justifying the hike in premium.
Hip Failure More Likely In Women Free
Feb 20, 2013
Hip replacements in women are far more likely to fail than when a similar procedure is performed on a man, according to data analyzed by Kaiser Permanente\'s Southern California division. Kaiser studied 35,000 non-emergency hip replacements performed at its facilities in Southern California between April 2001 and the end of 2010, using its own electronic medical records for analysis.
In Brief: CAHP Says Margins Are Low, CalHIPSO Launches Consulting Service Free
Feb 20, 2013

CAHP Says Health Plan Margins Are Low; Disputes Consumer Perceptions

A new study by California's leading lobby for health insurers suggests the sector in the Golden State relies on less than golden margins.

Minnesota Inches Closer To Medicaid Expansion Free
Feb 18, 2013
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign into law a bill that will expand the state\'s Medicaid program under the auspices of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The bill, which passed the state Senate last week by a comfortable 45-22 margin, will move about 35,000 Minnesotans out of the state-operated MinnesotaCare program and into Medicaid. It will also relax income restrictions against childless adults, permitting anyone earning that than $15,414 per year to enroll.
Trinity Health CEO Moves To Top Post At WellPoint Premium Content
Feb 18, 2013
Indianapolis-based insurance giant WellPoint, Inc. has named the head of the non-profit hospital operator Trinity Health as its new chief executive officer, filling a vacancy at the company that has lingered for the better part of six months. The 61-year-old Joseph R. Swedish will assume the reins at WellPoint on March 25. He replaces Angela Braly, who stepped down last August after investor pressure following a lag in the company\'s earnings and stock price and criticism leveled at some deals engineered during her tenure.
In Brief: Cardinal Acquires Assuramed, Pre-Term Births Slashed At Minneapolis Hospital System Free
Feb 18, 2013

Cardinal Health Acquires Assuramed For $2 Billion

Ohio-based hospital supplier and consultant Cardinal Health has agreed to acquire Assuramed, a home healthcare supplier, for just over $2 billion.

Feds To Run Health Exchanges In Many States Free
Feb 18, 2013
It\'s official. The Obama administration will be running new health insurance marketplaces in half the states— including the major population centers of Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania and many of the Midwestern states. The federal government had hoped more states this week would agree to form a partnership exchange—the deadline to apply was Friday—but the offer was largely rebuffed. New Jersey, Ohio and Florida, several of the biggest states that had not declared their intentions, officially said no late in the week.
Prime Again Criticizes California Watch; UCSF, Safeway Team On Smoking Cessation Free
Feb 13, 2013

Prime Again Criticizes California Watch

Ontario-based hospital operator Prime Healthcare Services has again lashed out at the investigative journalism website California Watch, which reported last week that the chain had disclosed it was the target of a federal investigation.

MemorialCare Launches ASC Venture Premium Content
Feb 13, 2013
The physician arm of Long Beach-based MemorialCare Health System has entered into a joint venture with a Kentucky surgical company to acquire and manage ambulatory surgery centers in Southern California. The venture between the MemorialCare Medical Foundation and the Louisville-based Surgical Care Affiliates is called Beach Surgical Holdings LLC.
Kaiser Finishes 2012 On Strong Note Free
Feb 13, 2013
Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente continues on an earnings roll, reporting a 30% gain in net income for calendar 2012. Kaiser\'s net income for last calendar year was $2.6 billion, up from $2 billion in 2011.
Health Exchange Discloses Plans, Rates Free
Feb 13, 2013
Calling it a historic day for healthcare, the head of the state\'s health benefits exchange introduced on Wednesday a benefits structure for the more than 30 health plans that will be offered to consumers in 2014. Peter V. Lee, the executive director of Covered California, touted the plans that will be offered on its exchange as consumer friendly and transparent.
Cardinal Health Reports Higher Earnings, Lower Revenues; WellPoint Pledges Millions Free
Feb 11, 2013

Cardinal Health Reports Higher Earnings, Lower Revenues

Ohio-based healthcare supply and service giant Cardinal Health reported significantly higher earnings on depressed revenue for its second fiscal quarter ending Dec. 31.

Readmissions Nowhere Near Remission Free
Feb 11, 2013
Despite an ongoing push to reduce hospital readmissions among Medicare patients, a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation concludes that one in eight require more acute care within 30 days, with rates significantly higher in several major Midwest cities. According to the report, which is entitled “The Revolving Door” by researchers, 12.4% of Medicare patients nationwide wind up back in the hospital within 30 days of their original discharge. The study was based on 2010 data, and was virtually unchanged when compared to the numbers compiled in 2008, researchers said. Hospital readmissions cost up to $26 billion a year, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and at least $17 billion in these expenses are avoidable if patients receive proper care.

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