Daily roundup: July 16, 2014

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

  • California: The number of doctors participating in Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, has fallen by nearly 25% since last year—despite a significant increase in Medi-Cal beneficiaries since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) launched. About 10.6 million Californians are enrolled in Medi-Cal, and about two million more have signed up through the ACA; about 600,000 Medi-Cal applications are still pending. However, just 82,605 doctors were enrolled in Medi-Cal this spring, compared with about 109,000 in spring 2013. State spokesperson Anthony Cava said the drop resulted from the agency's effort to limit participating providers to doctors who have complied with the program's updated application requirements and billed Medi-Cal within the past 12 months (Guzik, HealthyCal, 7/14).

  • Kentucky: Nurse practitioners (NPs) in the state can prescribe routine medications without a doctor's approval starting this week under a new law. NPs must first complete a four-year collaboration with a physician. Advocates say the law is a step toward allowing NPs to run independent practices—thereby helping to alleviate the physician shortage—but opponents say NPs should not have such independence (Gillespie, Kaiser Health News, 7/14).

  • North Carolina: Wake Forest Baptist's Brenner Children's Hospital has installed a new webcam system in its NICU to allow patients the ability to live-stream video of their baby. The system, which officials say is the first of its kind installed in a North Carolina hospital, is password-protected and encrypted (Covington, Triad Business Journal, 7/14).

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