California Healthcare News

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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Berkeley, UCLA Forecast Harsh Economic Hits If ACA Is Repealed Premium Content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.

Alecto Booted Out of Hospital Contract Premium Content
Jan 4, 2017

The Antelope Valley Health Care District decided little more than a year ago to spend millions of dollars to hire hospital company Alecto Healthcare to run its 422-bed hospital. Now, the district will spend millions more to terminate the relationship.

UCSF Says Most Light Smoking Teens Abuse Other Drugs Premium Content
Dec 14, 2016

A new study by researchers at UC San Francisco has discovered that adolescents who have a mild cigarette habit are much more likely to use other drugs.

            That was the result of a limited study of 176 adolescent smokers. Ninety-six percent said they had used at least two other substances aside from tobacco.

            Although most of the teens said they used marijuana or alcohol, 16% said they had taken cocaine, hallucinogens or abused prescription drugs.

Auditor Warns Of Nursing Investigation Backlog Premium Content
Dec 14, 2016

California Auditor Elaine Howle has issued a scathing report of the state Board of Registered Nursing, claiming that it has endangered patient safety by falling far behind on investigations of potentially rogue nurses.

            According to an audit of 40 complaints filed against nurses and resolved between 2013 and mid-2016, 31 were not resolved within 18 months. Nearly half of the complaints took 36 months or more to resolve, and seven complaints took longer than four years.

Lawmakers Move To Raise Denti-Cal Rates Premium Content
Dec 14, 2016

Lawmakers have introduced a bill aiming to improve Denti-Cal, the state’s dental program for the poor — a program that was subject to a scathing independent audit earlier this year.


The proposed legislation, mostly sponsored by Republicans, is among the first public bids for revenue from the statewide tobacco tax that voters approved in November.


Many Disabled Californians Barred From Specialized Services Premium Content
Dec 14, 2016

Nearly 425,000 disabled Californians do not meet the state's criteria for receiving specialized care, raising some questions about the viability of the safety net for those residents, according to a new study by UCLA researchers.

Kaiser Links Breast Cancer Outcomes To Patient Social Ties Premium Content
Dec 14, 2016

Kaiser Permanente has determined that breast cancer patients are more likely to survive a bout with the disease if they have strong social ties.

            The research, which was conducted on 9,267 women diagnosed with stage one to four breast cancer, included a significant pool of Kaiser health plan enrollees. The study was part of the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

2017 Ushers In Many New Healthcare Laws Premium Content
Dec 14, 2016

The new year will greet hospitals with a new law requiring disclosure to patients about less expensive options for outpatient surgeries.

            SB 1365 is among several healthcare-related bills recently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown that will impact the healthcare industry in California in 2017. It is among the most visible of the new laws in terms of how it impacts the sector.

In Brief: DMHC Bars Health Insurance Agent For False Applications Premium Content
Dec 7, 2016

The Department of Managed Health Care has taken the rare step of publicly barring a licensed insurance agent after he allegedly engaged in submitting false applications for coverage.

The DMHC barred Marc Howard Shields of Carlsbad from soliciting health insurance plans on Nov. 29, records show.