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Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -

SAN FRAN­CISCO—

The Cal­i­for­nia Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion and the Cal­i­for­nia So­ci­ety of Anes­the­si­ol­o­gists are ap­peal­ing a court de­ci­sion is­sued last year that al­lows nurse anes­thetists to ad­min­is­ter anes­the­sia with­out physi­cian su­per­vi­sion. In June 2009, then-Gov. Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger got an ex­emp­tion from the CMS rule that re­quires physi­cians to su­per­vise nurse anes­thetists dur­ing care of Medi­care mem­bers. At least 15 other states also have this ex­emp­tion. A San Fran­cisco Su­pe­rior Court judge in Oc­to­ber de­nied the physi­cian groups’ request to block the gover­nor’s de­ci­sion. The groups rep­re­sent­ing doc­tors ar­gue that the ex­emp­tion com­pro­mises qual­ity of care. But the gover­nor’s of­fice and nurses groups say that more flex­i­bil­ity is needed, es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas where anes­the­si­ol­o­gists are in short sup­ply. “Nurses are not trained to re­act to the myr­iad po­ten­tial com­pli­ca­tions that can arise in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of anes­the­sia,” said Dr. James Hins­dale, pres­i­dent of the Cal­i­for­nia Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, in a state­ment. “Re­quir­ing physi­cian su­per­vi­sion is one im­por­tant el­e­ment of en­sur­ing the best qual­ity of care.”

SAN FRAN­CISCO—

The founder of Dolby Lab­o­ra­to­ries and his wife have made an­other mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar do­na­tion to the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at San Fran­cisco to pro­vide ad­di­tional fund­ing for a stem cell re­search build­ing on cam­pus. Ray and Dag­mar Dolby, who re­side in San Fran­cisco, do­nated $20 mil­lion to the cause, on top of a 2006 do­na­tion of $16 mil­lion. In honor of the gift, the new build­ing open­ing Feb. 9 will be named the Ray and Dag­mar Dolby Re­gen­er­a­tive Medicine Build­ing. The build­ing on the uni­ver­sity’s Par­nas­sus cam­pus will house 25 lab­o­ra­to­ries, and is de­signed to fos­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion among sci­en­tists of var­i­ous dis­ci­plines. The goal is to de­velop new ways to treat birth de­fects, di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, Parkin­son’s dis­ease, stroke, spinal cord in­juries and can­cer. It is the head­quar­ters of the Eli and Edythe Broad Cen­ter of Re­gen­er­a­tion Medicine and Stem Cell Re­search at UCSF, one of the largest stem-cell re­search pro­grams in the coun­try. “The pos­si­bil­ity that stem cells could some­day be used to re­gen­er­ate dam­aged tis­sues, and that they al­ready are pro­vid­ing in­sights into the way can­cer de­vel­ops, of­fers great hope for those suf­fer­ing with dis­eases and trau­matic in­juries,” the Dol­bys said in a state­ment. “We’re glad we were able to help.”

SACRA­MENTO, Calif.—

Cal­i­for­nia In­surance Com­mis­sioner Dave Jones an­nounced that three ma­jor in­sur­ers have agreed to post­pone any pre­mium rate in­creases for 60 days. An­them Blue Cross of Cal­i­for­nia, a Wel­lPoint sub­sidiary, Aetna and Unit­edHealth Group’s Paci­fiCare agreed to the de­lay be­yond their ef­fec­tive date, ac­cord­ing to Jones, who made the request this month af­ter tak­ing of­fice. Jones said he wanted time to re­view 2011 rate in­creases for in­di­vid­ual con­sumers. Jones asked Blue Shield of Cal­i­for­nia do the same, but that in­surer has not agreed. In­stead, the health plan has hired an out­side ac­tu­ary to re­view rate in­creases while they pro­ceed.

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