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OPINION
February 21, 2014
After a weeklong stay, the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix sent me on my way on Jan. 5 with five stitches, a titanium alloy plate in my neck and a hard plastic Ă–ssur Miami J cervical collar that will remain on my neck until late March. A few weeks later, I learned what I'd been charged for the Miami J: $447. Had I been given the chance, I could have purchased the brace online for less than $100. Allowing that sort of comparison shopping is one small thing policymakers could do to slow the growth of healthcare spending.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - A protracted political battle over California's medical malpractice law may be coming to a new front: the voting booth. For decades, trial lawyers and consumer groups have railed against limits on certain damages in malpractice cases, arguing that such restrictions deny victims fair compensation for grisly medical mistakes. Insurance companies, doctors and other healthcare providers have been equally vigorous in defending the law, saying it is crucial to controlling costs and maintaining the availability of care.
BUSINESS
February 9, 2014 | Lisa Zamosky, Zamosky is the author of a new book, "Healthcare, Insurance, and You: The Savvy Consumer's Guide."
Americans love their doctors. But Michele Monserratt-Ramos says love isn't always enough. When it comes to choosing a medical professional, she says, information is power. As a patient advocate and Torrance-based activist for open records, she stresses the need for consumers to look beyond a doctor's resume and consult the many sources that are available, often online. Consider, for instance, valuable information that can sometimes be found in civil and criminal court records -- typically open to the public.
SPORTS
February 8, 2014 | By Philip Hersh
SOCHI, Russia - About three hours before the Olympic caldron was lighted Friday night, media at the Fisht Olympic Stadium received a list of names of the past Russian Olympians who would be the final torchbearers. The list had five names. There were six final torchbearers. The missing name was that of Irina Rodnina, the three-time Olympic figure skating pairs champion who joined three-time Olympic champion hockey goalie Vladislav Tretiak in igniting the caldron that will burn in the Olympic Park until Feb. 23. Given the controversy that has erupted over Rodnina's selection for that role, was the omission an attempt to delay criticism?
OPINION
February 7, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
In an effort to cut costs, many insurers in the new state health insurance exchanges are offering plans with "narrow networks" that include fewer doctors and hospitals - particularly the costlier ones with famous names, such as Cedars-Sinai. The trade-off has sparked complaints from some policyholders who've had trouble seeing their favorite doctor or, in some cases, any doctor in the right specialty. Although regulators have to address those issues, narrow networks can actually be a good thing for patients if done the right way. Insurers started limiting their customers' choice of providers long before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, steering patients to preferred doctors and hospitals through restrictive HMOs or more inclusive - and popular - PPOs.
BUSINESS
February 6, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - In a rare bipartisan agreement, congressional leaders have settled on a plan to fix Medicare's system for paying physicians, potentially ending years of uncertainty that often held up fees for doctors who care for the nation's senior citizens. The proposed fix still must be paid for, requiring lawmakers to come up with as much as $150 billion in savings from elsewhere in the budget. But there is optimism on Capitol Hill that the federal government will finally replace a dysfunctional 17-year-old system designed to control Medicare spending by limiting annual increases in physicians' reimbursements.
WORLD
February 6, 2014 | By Kate Linthicum
SAFED, Israel - The 9-year-old Syrian boy with no legs wheeled himself down a bright hospital corridor, stopping to accept a pain pill from one nurse and a high-five from another. He has been here for a month, ever since a Syrian government warplane flew low over his village and dropped a bomb that killed two of his cousins and blew apart his lower limbs. Both legs had been amputated by an overworked doctor in an improvised clinic in a cellar. The next day, the boy's grandmother took him and several other injured family members to the Golan Heights border half an hour away and asked the Israeli soldiers on the other side for help.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2014 | By Lee Romney
SAN FRANCISCO - More than four years after a 52-year-old psychiatric patient was left with a broken neck for five hours on the floor of her room at Metropolitan State Hospital, the physician responsible for her care has agreed to give up his license, according to the state medical board. Dr. Ngoc Le Tuyen, of Fountain Valley, who goes by Tuyen Le, agreed to surrender his license rather than fight an accusation filed last summer by the board. It alleges that Le was incompetent, unprofessional and "grossly negligent" in his treatment of Diane Rodrigues at the Norwalk psychiatric facility.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 4, 2014 | By a Times Staff Writer
An 87-year-old driver pulling into a handicapped parking spot inadvertently hit his accelerator and crashed into a medical office in Santa Ana early Tuesday, injuring a patient and her physician. Santa Ana police said the driver intended to hit the brake pedal but pressed the accelerator instead, veering down a small grassy slope before slamming into the Diamond Medical Office at 999 N. Tustin Ave. The patient and her doctor suffered minor injuries from flying glass and other debris when the Lexus crashed through a large glass wall before coming to a stop halfway into the medical office.
BUSINESS
February 4, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
After overcoming website glitches and long waits to get Obamacare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor's office. A month into the most sweeping changes to healthcare in half a century, people are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business. Experts have warned for months that the logjam was inevitable. But the extent of the problems is taking by surprise many patients - and even doctors - as frustrations mount.
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