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Updated: 11 hours 20 min ago

Physician Burnout Program Targets Effects of Sentinel Events

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 10:50

Administrative burdens and long hours contribute to rising levels of physician burnout, so too do the emotional repercussions of being involved in an adverse event.

Categories: Healthcare News

Copays Don't Reduce Medicaid Non-urgent ED Visits, Study Says

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 08:06

Data from a 10-year study does not show any increase in the rate of Medicaid patients' visits to doctors' offices. A shortage of primary care physicians willing to accept Medicaid may be a factor.

Categories: Healthcare News

Private Players Launch Value-based Task Force

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:58

Two days after HHS unveiled significant Medicare payment reforms, a group of commercial payers, providers, and industry partners says it is committed to putting 75% of its business into value-based models by 2020.

Categories: Healthcare News

Obama's 'precision medicine' plan to boost research, but faces hurdles

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:48

President Barack Obama's plan to put the United States at the forefront of individually tailored medical treatment should give a much-needed boost to research in the field but experts say it won't work without reforms to healthcare, including drug testing and insurance. The administration is expected to give the first details this week on the "precision medicine" initiative that Obama announced in his Jan. 20 State of the Union address. Obama said he wanted the United States to "lead a new era of medicine, one that delivers the right treatment at the right time."

Categories: Healthcare News

Opinion: New MA state AG's opposition to Partners deal the right call

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:42

Well, that was quick. Maura Healey has been on the job less than a week, but we don't have to wonder where she stands on the biggest health care conflict in Massachusetts. The new state attorney general made it clear Monday that she doesn't like the proposed merger of the giant Partners HealthCare System with South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and two other community hospitals north of Boston. The deal was explicitly endorsed by her predecessor, Martha Coakley, with lots of strings attached. Critics of the arrangement — including the state Health Policy Commission and Partners' rivals — say it will allow the giant to become even bigger, making medical care more expensive for everyone in Eastern Massachusetts.

Categories: Healthcare News

Under siege from storm, hospitals get creative

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:40

Hospitals took extraordinary measures — and faced tough choices — as New England was frozen into place Tuesday by howling winds and relentless snowfall. From ferrying patients home in four-wheel-drive vans to fashioning temporary rooms out of waiting areas, hospital administrators got creative. At South Shore Hospital, two Chevrolet Tahoes were rented to drive roughly two dozen discharged patients to their homes, with emergency medical technicians doubling as the van drivers and even shoveling out some of the patients' walkways to gain access to their homes, hospital spokeswoman Sarah Darcy said. In Boston, Brigham and Women's Hospital teamed up with Fallon Ambulance Service for door-to-door service for some patients who lived as far as 45 miles away, said that hospital's spokeswoman, Lori Schroth.

Categories: Healthcare News

Surgeon's death spurs painful debate on docs as 'face of healthcare system'

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:38

Shocked and saddened by last week's shooting at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dr. Miranda Fielding wrote a blog post that appeared on KevinMD, a popular site that gets 5 million clicks a month: "The Legacy of Dr. Michael Davidson." KevinMD, as founder Dr. Kevin Pho puts it, aims "to share the stories of the many who intersect with our health care system, but are rarely heard from," including practicing physicians. He adds: "The public often doesn't know what it's like to work in our health system. KevinMD.com gives them an unfiltered view of our world."

Categories: Healthcare News

Sacred Heart turned patient trust in doctors 'upside down,' lawyer says

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:36

Patients should be able to trust that their doctors are making unbiased medical decisions, but administrators at a West Side hospital "turned that trust upside down" by doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks, a federal prosecutor told a jury Wednesday as a fraud trial got underway. "There was a secret behind the doors at Sacred Heart Hospital," Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur said in her opening statement. "The secret was that the most sacred thing at Sacred Heart was money." But attorneys for the three former administrators on trial told jurors that underlings were to blame for the misconduct, pointing the finger at two other former executives who are expected to be key witnesses for prosecutors.

Categories: Healthcare News

How insurance companies still discriminate against the sick

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:34

One of the most important things the Affordable Care Act was supposed to do was put an end to a practice called pre-existing condition exclusion. Before the law passed, health insurers could refuse to cover any medical services for a health condition a person already had when they joined that insurance plan, or they could prevent the person from joining the plan entirely. So, for example, if you had psoriasis, the company might say that you could be on their plan, but you'd have to pay for all your psoriasis medications out-of-pocket.

Categories: Healthcare News

Precision medicine: What's it worth?

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 10:42

During last week's State of the Union address, President Obama briefly highlighted a new "Precision Medicine Initiative," a project focused on developing more personalized therapies to treat illness. A White House press release described the approach as one that "takes into account individual differences in people's genes, environments, and lifestyles, making it possible to design highly effective, targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases."

Categories: Healthcare News

Working in pairs may lower diagnostic errors

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 10:40

Medical students who worked in pairs to solve diagnostic problems were more likely to arrive at the correct diagnosis than those who worked alone, German researchers found.

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Q&A: Brill on 'Gluttonous Profits' and 'the Ultimate ACO'

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:49

Author Steven Brill offers an approach to bending the healthcare cost curve that follows none of the usual policy paths.

Categories: Healthcare News

CMS Dialysis Center Ratings Panned by Patient Groups

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:43

Ratings of dialysis centers are based on population health statistics that are often beyond the facilities' control and don't reflect quality measures important to patients, says an executive at the National Kidney Foundation.

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First US doctors' strike in decades

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:31

A handful of doctors providing medical services to students at UC San Diego — and their colleagues at nine other University of California campuses — went on strike Tuesday. It's the first time in 25 years that fully licensed doctors are picketing a U.S. employer, according to the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, which represents the physicians at the UC schools. The work stoppage began at 7:30 a.m. and is scheduled to last one day. It involves 150 health center doctors who manage the primary care and mental health needs of students.

Categories: Healthcare News

Trial set to begin in ghoulish Medicare fraud case

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:24

He's been free for nearly two years after posting an astonishing $10 million bond. But most of the patients who ended up at Ed Novak's West Side hospital weren't so fortunate. Poor, elderly and vulnerable, many found themselves driven by ambulance across the city, past countless better hospitals, to Sacred Heart, the maggot-infested, substandard facility where some of them died, federal prosecutors say, the Sun-Times is reporting. Their doctors would never have sent them to Sacred Heart if Novak, who owned the hospital and acted as its CEO, wasn't dishing out illegal kickbacks so that he could reap millions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid payments, the feds say.

Categories: Healthcare News

NM could be fifth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:23

Judges of the New Mexico Court of Appeals will determine whether doctors can help terminally ill patients end their lives. New Mexico would join Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington as states that allow physician-assisted suicide because of terminal illness. Aja Riggs' case was presented to the court on Monday. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2011, which is in remission. If the cancer comes back, she wants to be able to end her life. "To require somebody in that case to suffer and withhold that option we know is safe and is compassionate and legal in other places, is just not right," Riggs said.

Categories: Healthcare News

Vaccine skeptics on the rise

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:15

The measles outbreak that began at California's Disneyland Resort last month is part of a new trend that worries public health officials. Large outbreaks in the U.S. of the highly infectious disease have become more common in the past two years, even though measles hasn't been indigenous since 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, persuading skeptical parents to vaccinate their children has grown more difficult because concerns about a possible link between vaccines and autism—now debunked by science—have expanded to more general, and equally groundless, worries about the effects of multiple shots on a child's immune system, vaccine experts and doctors say.

Categories: Healthcare News

What doctors make

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 07:13

As he took me through an interactive map on his computer screen, Oakland physician Nate Gross showed me what a neurosurgeon in my area might expect to make. Scrolling his cursor over the D.C. suburb of Montgomery County, Maryland, a number appeared: $580,000. I knew that, vaguely, but I did gasp. "But if you move down to South Carolina," Gross continued, scrolling south, "here, you're looking at $645,000." In an even more drastic example, the average anesthesiologist practicing in Massachusetts would increase her salary by 61 percent if she moved to Wisconsin.

Categories: Healthcare News

HHS push on paying for quality has its critics

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:43

The announcement by the Obama Administration that it will start tying most of its Medicare reimbursement to quality or value rather than volume has garnered a lot of positive responses -- but not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.

Categories: Healthcare News

Joan Rivers's daughter files malpractice suit against Manhattan clinic

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 08:42

The anesthesiologist was getting nervous. Joan Rivers, the comic known for her sassy wit and raspy voice, had been complaining of more than the usual hoarseness. Now Ms. Rivers was on the operating table at an Upper East Side clinic and her private doctor, Gwen Korovin, wanted to send a small instrument into her windpipe to take a second look at her vocal cords, according to a malpractice lawsuit filed Monday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The anesthesiologist warned that the cords were extremely swollen, and that they could seize up and Ms. Rivers would not be able to breathe.

Categories: Healthcare News