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Updated: 23 hours 34 min ago

Cardiologists sever ties with Mercy, head back to private practice

Wed, 07/23/2014 - 05:23

Cardiologist Dr. Patricia Cole and her seven partners are leaving Mercy Clinic to set up a private practice once again. Cole was one of eight cardiologists, and more than 50 staff members, who joined Mercy in 2010 when the medical center acquired their private practice group Heart Health Center, which previously was part of Missouri Baptist Medical Center's Heart Center. Cole said Mercy is in the process of developing a new nationwide contract for physicians in its cardiology group, and wanted Cole and her partners to break their existing contract a year and a half early to sign the new contract, which the doctors declined to do.

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Contradictory Obamacare Rulings Issued by Appellate Courts

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 14:17

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does not authorize the IRS to extend tax credits to those who bought health insurance on the federal marketplace. An hour later, the Fourth Circuit Court upholds the statute.

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Hopkins agrees to pay $190 million to settle pelvic exam claims

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 05:56

Johns Hopkins Hospital has agreed to pay $190 million to settle claims from thousands of women who may have been surreptitiously recorded during pelvic exams by gynecologist Dr. Nikita A. Levy. The amount of the settlement is one of the largest on record involving sexual misconduct by a physician. Levy, a doctor in the Johns Hopkins Community Medicine system for 25 years, took his life in February 2013 during an investigation that revealed he was using tiny cameras concealed in pens and key fobs to record patients. Investigators found more than 1,300 videos and images during searches of Levy's home and office. Plaintiffs' attorneys estimate more than 8,000 patients could have a claim.

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Burnout in the hospital: Why doctors are set up for stress

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 05:05

In the premiere issue of the journal Burnout Research, which is dedicated to research on the topic, Anthony Montgomery, an associate professor in the Psychology of Work and Organizations in the University of Macedonia in Greece, focused on physician burnout, and argues that the way doctors are trained may set them up for a career of frustrations and high-stress situations. And the consequences may be hurting the care they provide patients. He says that while doctors interact with people on a daily basis, their training and their worth as physicians are focused almost entirely on their technical capabilities, leaving them with few tools for understanding and navigating social interactions and for collaborating as part of a larger team or organization.

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How a team of hospital doctors boosted hand washing, cut infections and created a culture of safety

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 06:48

Dr. Gerald Hickson had two primary concerns after his wife’s double-knee replacement operation at Vanderbilt University Hospital in July 2008: making sure she received appropriate pain control and getting her moving as quickly as possible to avoid blood clots. But as he sat with her during her recovery, Hickson made a disturbing discovery. Most of the nurses, doctors and other hospital workers filing in and out of the room to care for his wife, who was at risk of contracting an infection after surgery, were not washing their hands. A compulsive person by nature, Hickson started counting.

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Doctors, nurses relying more on tablets in hospitals

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 06:40

At the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, doctors are just as likely to store iPads in their white coat pockets as stethoscopies. The center's clinicians use mobile devices -- tablets, smartphones, and occasionally wearable computers such as Google Glass -- to access electronic medical records, both at the patient's bedside or in the operating room. Sometimes they use the devices to show patients their X-rays or other images. Though it is among the first to bring Google Glass into the operating room, Beth Israel isn't alone in its pro-technology approach. A growing group of health centers are incorporating mobile devices into medicine, allowing providers to immediately access patient information from the Internet cloud, often during examination or treatment.

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Opinion: Busy doctors, wasteful spending

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 06:11

Of all the ways to limit health care costs, perhaps none is as popular as cutting payments to doctors. In recent years payment cuts have resulted in a sharp downturn in revenue for many hospitals and private practices. What this has meant for most physicians is that in order to maintain their income, they've had to see more patients. When you reduce the volume of air per breath, the only way to maintain ventilation is to breathe faster. As our workdays have gotten busier, we doctors have had less time to devote to individual patients. An internist I know in private practice used to see 15 patients a day.

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Medical Errors Third Leading Cause of Death, Senators Told

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 06:09

At a Senate subcommittee hearing, hospital quality experts urge lawmakers to establish measures to halt preventable medical errors in hospitals, which kill as many as 400,000 people each year.

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Independent ID doctors defy hospital trend

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 05:28

As many doctors decide to ditch their own shingle and go to big hospitals, a group of nearly 200 Idaho doctors is banding together to promote independent physicians. "Independent Doctors of Idaho" (IDID) started as a response to what the organization calls an "unprecedented number of physicians in the Treasure Valley and throughout Idaho becoming employees of large hospital systems", like Saint Alphonsus or St. Luke's. Some of the independent doctors say they're at a disadvantage from a marketing standpoint because they don't have hospital billboards, big ads, or automatic networking within a system. The organization's goal is to let patients know about alternatives in health care providers through independents.

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Telemedicine Providers Welcome AMA Guidelines

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:24

In its recommendations, the AMA cements what providers have been hearing for years: Telemedicine needs more regulation and reimbursement.

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CareFirst Announces PCMH Program Results

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:55

The Washington, DC health plan provider says it has improved healthcare access for at-risk populations while lowering costs.

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Chronic Disease Care Costs Get Bipartisan Attention

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:48

The Senate Finance Committee hears testimony and is expected to examine in the coming months possible solutions to the problems posed by chronic disease care, which accounts for 93 percent of all Medicare spending.

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Specialty care is a challenge in some ACA plans

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:36

Primary care doctors have reported problems making referrals for patients who have purchased some of the cheaper plans from the federal insurance marketplace.Complaints about narrow networks with too few doctors have attracted the attention of federal regulators and have even prompted lawsuits. But they're also causing headaches in the day-to-day work of doctors and clinics. "The biggest problem we've run into is figuring out what specialists take a lot of these plans," said Dr. Charu Sawhney of Houston. Sawhney is an internist at the Hope Clinic, a federally qualified health center in southwest Houston, in the bustling heart of the Asian immigrant community. Her patients speak 14 different languages, and many of them are immigrants or refugees from places as far flung as Burma and Bhutan.

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Seton Medical Center workers seek to preserve jobs, services with sale of hospital

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:32

Some health care workers and patients of the Seton Medical Center in Daly City are pushing forward in a campaign calling for action to protect jobs and preserve services with the impending sale of the hospital. Employees and union representatives have expressed some anxiety about their jobs since the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul announced several months ago that it was seeking a buyer for Seton's parent organization, the Daughters of Charity Health System, a family of six California facilities.

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'Boot camp' teaches doctor, nurse teamwork

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:30

Rochester General Hospital first-year residents learned cooperation through state-of-the-art simulations during a resident boot camp Wednesday at St. John Fisher College. The pilot program, held in partnership with Fisher, brought together first-year internal medicine and pharmacy residents, nurse practitioner students and respiratory therapists. "Medicine is a team sport," said Dr. Richard Sterns, RGH internal medicine residency program director. "Teamwork is essential for safety, efficiency and patient satisfaction." During the Intensive Care Unit portion of the eight-week boot camp, the interdisciplinary teams practiced cooperating in tough scenarios such as a patient having a major heart attack or dying under their care.

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Flu shots lag among MA acute-care workers, regulators find

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:29

State health regulators will start cracking down on acute care hospitals that have large numbers of workers who do not receive a flu shot, but are stopping short of mandating the vaccine, according to plans unveiled Wednesday. At roughly one-third of Massachusetts' acute care hospitals, fewer than 80 percent of health care personnel received a flu shot this past flu season, new data from the state Department of Public Health show. The statewide median among the hospitals was 86 percent, which is below the 90 percent goal regulators have long sought.

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Registered nurses increasingly delay retirement, study finds

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:27

Despite predictions of an impending nurse shortage, the current number of working registered nurses has surpassed expectations in part due to the number of baby-boomer RNs delaying retirement, a study by the RAND Corp. found. The study, published online Wednesday by Health Affairs, notes that the RN workforce, rather than peaking in 2012 at 2.2 million – as the researchers predicted a decade ago – reached 2.7 million that year and has continued growing. The trend of nurses delaying retirement accounted for an extra 136,000 RNs in 2012, the study suggests. Shifts in retirement benefits and "economic uncertainty in general" could have contributed to their decisions to extend their careers, said David Auerbach, the study's primary author and a policy researcher at RAND.

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The case for concierge medicine

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 06:25

Physicians go into medicine because they want to make a difference, and it is the daily opportunity to help patients that keeps many of them going. Yet today many worry that their contribution is diminishing, and more and more physicians are reporting burnout. Many factors are responsible: increasing productivity demands, decreasing amounts of face time with patients, and a growing awareness that they are spending more time on activities such as record-keeping that don't enhance their patients' health. Such concerns sound especially familiar to many of the 210,000 or so U.S. primary care physicians, a group that includes family physicians, general practitioners, general internists, general pediatricians, and geriatricians.

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