Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center receives top marks for patient safety

Friday, November 18th, 2022

The Leapfrog Group’s biannual safety report gives an “A” grade for limiting patient injuries, reducing medical errors and preventing infections

By Antonia Ehlers, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

The Leapfrog Group recognized Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center with a top score of “A” in its biannual Hospital Safety Grades report, which examined and assigned letter grades to nearly 3,000 hospitals throughout the United States. The medical center received the same A grade in spring of this year. (See related article)

Hospitals received grades based on approximately two dozen measures that analyze patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals continue to be consistently recognized as among the country’s best for outstanding patient safety, positive outcomes, and patient experience.

This fall, 17 Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California received “A” scores including: Antioch, Fremont, Fresno, Manteca, Modesto, Oakland, Redwood City, Richmond, Roseville, San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, South San Francisco, Vacaville, and Vallejo. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Sacramento, San Leandro and Walnut Creek received “B” scores.

“We are honored to be recognized as a leader in patient safety,” said Chris Boyd, senior vice president and area manager of Kaiser Permanente’s Diablo Service Area. “Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do. We are incredibly proud of our physicians, nurses and staff members who make a difference every single day.”

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits, released its Hospital Safety Grades after examining publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors and infections at U.S. hospitals. The report includes data collected by national health care organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Scores are calculated based on more than two dozen publicly available measures, and hospitals are then assigned A, B, C, D or F grades for their safety records. The grades are released as a free resource to help patients and their families make informed health care decisions.

“We are honored to be recognized as a leader in patient safety by the Leapfrog Group,” said Sharon Mowat, MD, Physician in Chief for the Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center. “We remain committed to keeping our patients safe from harm, as well as providing outstanding quality and excellent personalized care.”

Kaiser Permanente is one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and serves more than 12.6 million members. Nationally, 24 of 39 Kaiser Permanente hospitals, more than 60 percent, received a Leapfrog Safety “A” grade. Nationwide, approximately 30% of hospitals received an A rating and 28% of California hospitals received an A rating.

For more information and a complete list of the hospital safety grades, visit Leapfrog.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa County Health Officer rescinds all remaining COVID-19 health orders

Friday, October 28th, 2022

It is over!

By Allen D. Payton

In the words of Howard Cosell after Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier during the Rumble in the Jungle boxing match, “It is over! It is over! It is over! It is over!” Last month, President Biden said the COVID-19 “pandemic wis over” and on Oct. 17, Governor Newsom announced the COVID-19 State of Emergency in California would end on February 28, 2023. Then, as of Thursday, Oct. 21 the government-imposed restrictions from COVID-19 have completely ended in Contra Costa County.

Without fanfare or even a press release to the media, Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Ori Tzvieli issued an order, that day, “rescinding any and all active orders pertaining to COVID-19”.

The new order states, “Orders that (1) prohibited or otherwise restricted the activities of any person in Contra Costa County, either directly or indirectly, or (2) imposed any affirmative obligations on any person in the County, and (3) are or may be interpreted to be operative (collectively, the “Active Orders”), be rescinded.”

Following is Ortiz’ official order:

ORDER OF THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA

RESCINDING ANY AND ALL ACTIVE ORDERS PERTAINING TO COVID-19

ORDER NO. HO-COVID19-69

DATE OF ORDER: OCTOBER 21, 2022

Summary of the Order

Commencing on March 14, 2020, with the issuance of Order No. HO-COVID19-01, the Health Officer of Contra Costa County has issued 69 orders regarding the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These orders (including one unnumbered order) will be referred to as the “COVID-19 Orders.” Among the COVID-19 Orders were orders that restricted the activities of individuals, compelled business owners and others to shut down or limit their operations, required the wearing of face coverings, and mandated the testing or vaccination of workers in specified settings. Based on current trends and the availability of vaccinations and treatments, it is no longer necessary to have any active Health Officer orders pertaining to COVID-19, and it is the intent of the Health Officer that any and all COVID-19 Orders that (1) prohibited or otherwise restricted the activities of any person in Contra Costa County, either directly or indirectly, or (2) imposed any affirmative obligations on any person in the County, and (3) are or may be interpreted to be operative (collectively, the “Active Orders”), be rescinded. This Order rescinds any and all Active Orders, effective immediately. This Order does not affect any of the COVID-19 Orders that were issued for the sole purpose of rescinding previous orders.

UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF CALIFORNIA HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE SECTIONS

101040 AND 120175, THE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA

(“HEALTH OFFICER”) ORDERS:

  1. Rescission of Active Orders. Any and all Active Orders are hereby rescinded.
  2. Effective Date and Time. This Order takes effect immediately upon issuance.
  3. Copies; Contact Information. Copies of this Order shall promptly be: (1) made available at

the Office of the Director of Contra Costa Health Services, 1220 Morello Avenue, Suite 200, Martinez, CA 94553; (2) posted on the Contra Costa Health Services website (https://www.cchealth.org); and (3) provided to any member of the public requesting a copy of this Order. Questions or comments regarding this Order may be directed to Contra Costa

Health Services at (844) 729-8410.

IT IS SO ORDERED:

Ori Tzvieli, M.D.

Health Officer of the County of Contra Costa

Dated: October 21, 2022

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Kaiser Permanente recognized by Covered California with five-star Summary Quality Rating

Friday, October 28th, 2022

Source: Covered CA

Only health plan in state to receive honor

By Antonia Ehlers, PR and Media Relations, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Kaiser Permanente received the highest rating in the state for the “Summary Quality Rating” for 2023 by Covered California – the state’s marketplace for the Affordable Care Act.

“This recognition reminds us how important it is for people to have access to high-quality, affordable health care, especially after many have struggled through the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carrie Owen Plietz, FACHE, president of Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region. “Our physicians, nurses and staff are committed to delivering exceptional, compassionate care to our members and patients who are trusting us with their health care.”

In addition to achieving a five-star “Summary Quality Rating” for overall quality, Kaiser Permanente received five stars for “Getting the Right Care,” a measure of care that is given compared with the national standards for care and treatments proven to help patients. Kaiser Permanente also received four stars for “Plan Services for Members,” which analyzes a health plan’s efficiency, affordability, and management.

“These ratings are yet another example of the collective excellence of our physicians and staff, and further demonstrate their unwavering commitment to consistently deliver the highest levels of care and service,” said Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, chief executive officer and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group. “Thanks to our clinical expertise and our integrated and coordinated approach to care delivery, we are having a positive and often life-changing impact on the health and well-being of our members and patients.”

This is the latest of several accolades and awards Kaiser Permanente Northern California has received. Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals have been rated among the best in the nation for maternity care and treatment of stroke and heart failure patients. Most recently, Kaiser Permanente is the only Medicare health plan in California to receive a five-star rating, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ 2023 Medicare Star Ratings.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve.

We currently serve 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers.

Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community healthhttp://about.kaiserpermanente.org

Plan quality ratings and enrollee survey results are calculated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) using data provided by health plans in 2022. The ratings are being displayed for health plans for the 2023 plan year. Learn more about these ratings: https://www.cms.gov/medicare/quality-initiatives-patient-assessment-instruments/qualityinitiativesgeninfo/aca-mqi/aca-mqi-landing-page.

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Seniors and Depression presentation in Antioch Oct. 26

Tuesday, October 18th, 2022

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Sutter Health agrees to pay $13 Million to settle False Claims Act allegations of improper billing for lab tests

Monday, October 17th, 2022

By U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California, U.S. Department of Justice

SAN FRANCISCO – Sutter Health, a Sacramento-based health care services provider, and its affiliate Sutter Bay Hospitals, the successor to Sutter East Bay Hospitals dba Alta Bates Summit Medical Center (collectively Sutter Health), agreed to pay more than $13 million to settle allegations that it violated the federal False Claims Act by billing the United States for toxicology screening tests performed by outside labs, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds; Federal Bureau of Investigation San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp; Office of Personnel Management Office of Inspector General (OPM OIG) Special Agent in Charge Amy K. Parker; Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Ryan; Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Western Field Office Special Agent in Charge Bryan D. Denny; and the Defense Health Agency (DHA).  Sutter Health DOJ Settlement Agrmt 10.17.2022

“Sutter Health agreed to pay $13 million to settle allegations that it billed government health programs for lab tests performed by others,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds. “Government health care programs must be protected, and this office will investigate and pursue health care providers that fail to provide the services paid for by public health care programs.”

“Investigating health care fraud and abuse is a priority for the FBI,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. “These cases are often worked in conjunction with our federal law enforcement partners, and this settlement is a great example of the multi-agency investigative team’s hard work to protect the integrity of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.”

“The OPM OIG is committed to protecting the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program from fraudulent claims,” said OPM OIG Special Agent in Charge Amy K. Parker. “I applaud the dedicated team for their effort in securing today’s settlement.”

“When medical providers charge federal health care programs for services that other providers actually performed, the integrity of these programs is undermined,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Ryan. “Working with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to uproot and investigate such schemes.”

“Today’s announced outcome concludes a collaborative effort to hold Sutter Health accountable for its improper billing practices that harmed our health care system, including the Department of Defense’s TRICARE program,” said DCIS Western Field Office Special Agent in Charge Bryan D. Denny. “DCIS will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of the health care system.”

“We commend the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s office, and the other state and federal agencies for their commitment to justice,” stated the Defense Health Agency. “Their efforts protect taxpayer dollars to ensure our service members, veterans and their families continue to receive the highest level of medical care.”

The United States contends in the civil settlement agreement signed by Sutter Health that under the terms of a contract which the Sutter Health hospital Alta Bates Summit Medical Center entered into with Navigant Network Alliance, LLC, Navigant referred urine toxicology specimens obtained from physicians and laboratories across the country to Sutter. Sutter submitted bills, or caused bills to be submitted, for reimbursement of the qualitative and quantitative testing it performed on the specimens. The United States asserts that Sutter did not perform the quantitative testing on thousands of specimens referred under the agreement and that these quantitative tests were instead performed by third-party labs. The United States alleges that Sutter nevertheless sought reimbursement for the tests. In the settlement agreement, the United States contends that between August 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, Sutter billed for urine toxicology tests it did not perform and was paid for the testing by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare.

Sutter agrees in the settlement agreement to pay $13,091,452 to settle the false claims allegations. Of that amount, Sutter has already paid more than $6.5 million to the United States. Sutter agrees to pay the remaining amount of approximately $6.5 million to the United States within 30 days. The settlement agreement resolves the civil law claims that the United States might have brought based upon these allegations.

This matter is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney David DeVito, with assistance from Garland He, Jonathan Birch, Lillian Do, and Alan Lopez. The matter is the result of a coordinated investigation between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California and the FBI, OPM OIG, HHS-OIG, DCIS, and the DHA.

The investigation and resolution of this matter illustrate the government’s emphasis on combating health care fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips and complaints from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services at 800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).

The civil settlement agreement is neither an admission of liability by Sutter Health nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.

 

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DeSaulnier announces House passage of Mental Health Matters Act

Saturday, October 1st, 2022

A comprehensive package to address concerns of students, families, educators

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11), Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions, and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) announced House passage of the Mental Health Matters Act (H.R. 7780), legislation they authored to help confront the mental health crisis by increasing access to support, services, and resources for children, students, workers, and families. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 220-to-205 with all Democrats and one Republican voting in favor.

From children and young adults experiencing an uptick in mental health challenges to educator burnout, our country is experiencing a mental health and substance abuse crisis. As someone who lost their father by suicide, I am proud to have led this comprehensive approach to strengthen mental health resources for students, educators, and workers with Chairman Scott,” said DeSaulnier. “I urge the Senate to pass this legislation so we can combat the mental health crisis in this county and ensure everyone has the resources they need to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the mental health crisis among students, workers, and families. As a result, educators have been forced to play an outsized role in supporting and responding to students’ mental health needs, leading to increased depression and trauma among educators. Moreover, nearly half of the U.S. workforce now suffers from mental health issues since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In response to the national mental health crisis, I am proud to stand in strong support of the Mental Health Matters Act led by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. The Mental Health Matters Act delivers the resources that students, workers, and families need to improve their well-being,” said Chairman Scott.

The Mental Health Matters Act takes comprehensive steps to address our nation’s mental health and substance abuse crises by strengthening school-based behavioral health care, bolstering mental health parity protections, and ensuring access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits for workers and families.

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Increase the number of mental health professionals serving in high-need schools and help to build a pipeline of school-based mental health services providers;
  • Help state educational agencies recruit and retain school-based mental health services providers at high-need public schools;
  • Require institutions of higher education to increase transparency around the accommodations process and allow incoming students with existing documentation of a disability to access disability accommodations;
  • Increase students’ access to evidence-based trauma support and mental health services through innovation by linking schools and districts with local trauma-informed support and mental health systems;
  • Require the Department of Health and Human Services to identify evidence-based interventions to improve the health of children and staff in Head Start programs, and help Head Start agencies implement these interventions;
  • Strengthen the capacity of the Department of Labor to ensure that private, employer-sponsored group health plans provide mental health and substance use disorder benefits under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA); and
  • Strengthen the ability of people with private, employer-sponsored health and retirement plans to hold plan sponsors accountable when they are improperly denied mental health and substance use disorder benefits.

DeSaulnier represents most of Contra Costa County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Contra Costa Health Plan rated among California’s top health systems

Monday, September 19th, 2022

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the national evaluator of health insurance plans, has recognized Contra Costa Health Plan (CCHP) as among the best in California for patient experience and the quality of care it provides.

Among health maintenance organizations (HMO) offering Medi-Cal, none rated higher than CCHP on NCQA’s annual report card, which gave the Plan 4 out of 5 stars and exceptionally high marks for patient experience and preventative care.

“We are especially proud of our rating for patient experience, because it comes directly from the people we care for,” Contra Costa County Health Director Anna Roth said. “It shows how strong our county’s healthcare delivery system is​, from the medical professionals taking care of county residents to the hospitals and medical clinics serving our community.

Contra Costa Health provides high-quality, affordable coverage through CCHP, which will mark 50 years of service in 2023, making it the nation’s first federally qualified, state-licensed, county-sponsored HMO.

CCHP’s high marks and recognition by NCQA are a direct result of the exemplary care and patient support provided by Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and affiliated health centers, and our Public Health and Behavioral Health divisions, which touch about 243,000 members, including 235,000 Medi-Cal enrollees.

CCHP earned high marks among patients for the quality of care from primary care doctors, overall quality of care, and preventative care. No other Medi-Cal HMO rated higher.

NCQA is a national nonprofit organization that accredits and evaluates a wide range of healthcare organizations and medical practices. A searchable database of its report cards is available at reportcards.ncqa.org.

Visit contracostahealthplan.org to learn more about CCHP, including how to enroll if you need healthcare, or call 1-800-211-8040 weekdays.

 

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Antioch Police Association to host Poker Tournament fundraiser Sept. 9 to help officer’s son

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

It’s not too late to sign up for the Antioch Police Officer’s Associations Poker Tournament Fundraiser for Jax Duggar! Jax is the son of Officer Scott Duggar and has stage 4 kidney disease.

Sign up today at https://antiochpoa.org/news/the-dugger-family-poker-night

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