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Updated: 4 hours 45 min ago

Medicare Imaging Standards Include Payment Penalty

10 hours 24 min ago

New rules for CT scanner equipment are designed to help protect patients and medical staff from overexposure to radiation. Upgrades can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Categories: Healthcare News

Most doctors agree to 'spread out' kids' shots, survey finds

10 hours 51 min ago

Nearly all pediatricians and family doctors have been asked at least once by parents if they could "space out" the vaccines their children get and most have agreed to do so at some point, a new study finds. The main reason given is that doctors are afraid of losing their patients - costing them business but also potentially leaving innocent children without good health care, according to the survey published in the journal Pediatrics. The study's especially timely as the nation debates whether parents have the right to leave their children less than fully vaccinated because of personal beliefs and worries.

Categories: Healthcare News

Opinion: Hospitals, like vampires, want your blood

11 hours 17 min ago

Anyone who has been in the hospital, either as a patient or a healthcare provider, is keenly aware that hospitals perform a lot of tests. It has even been suggested that some of those tests may not be necessary. Now a new study published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery sheds light on just how excessive some of this testing can be. Researchers analyzed records from 1,894 patients who had cardiac surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and calculated the frequency and total volume of blood drawn from their subjects. They wrote that they "were astonished by the extent of bloodletting" they discovered.

Categories: Healthcare News

Physician Locum Tenens Rates Near Double Digits

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:16

"About 6% to 7% of physicians consider locum tenens to be their fulltime occupation and we anticipate that will grow to 11% of the workforce within the next 18 months," says the head of a healthcare temporary staffing firm.

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Nurse Nina Pham to file lawsuit against Presby

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 07:47

Experimental drugs and special care helped make Nina Pham Ebola free. But today she fears she may never escape the deadly disease. The 26-year-old nurse says she has nightmares, body aches and insomnia as a result of contracting the disease from a patient she cared for last fall at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. She says the hospital and its parent company, Texas Health Resources, failed her and her colleagues who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person in the United States diagnosed with Ebola.

Categories: Healthcare News

Patients in limbo after Carolinas Healthcare, UnitedHealthcare contract expire

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 07:44

The contract between Carolinas Healthcare System and UnitedHealthcare expired Saturday night, leaving thousands of Charlotte-area residents uncertain about where to get medical care and how their bills will be paid. UnitedHealthcare issued a statement that, effective Sunday, all Carolinas HealthCare facilities and physicians are "now out of network" for United Healthcare customers, including employees at Duke Energy, one of the Charlotte area's largest employers. "We understand and appreciate how disruptive it can be when a hospital or doctor stops participating in our network," said UnitedHealthCare spokeswoman Tracey Lempner.

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Is La Jolla big enough for two heart hospitals?

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 07:35

Soon, La Jolla will be home to two state-of-the-art heart hospitals built only half a mile apart. To some, the proximity of UC San Diego's Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and Scripps Health's Prebys Cardiovascular Institute just south of Genesee Avenue might look a little too close for comfort. (Prebys Cardiovascular, the region's newest heart hospital, had its grand opening ceremony Thursday.) However, leaders of the UC San Diego Health System and Scripps Health expressed confidence that the beds in their facilities will stay full even as trends in cardiac care shift away from overnight stays and toward less-invasive procedures performed on an outpatient basis.

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Telemedicine to transform Hancock County (GA) Healthcare

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 07:33

The doctor is making house calls again, but you will not find anyone in scrubs on your doorstep. These days, physicians get a little help from technology. Several members of the medical community met Friday as part of a project to bring telemedicine to Hancock County. The sound of a heartbeat thumps loud and clear through the monitor. With telemedicine, someone can have a doctor's exam, without setting foot in a waiting room. "The physician is at a different site, whether it be the emergency room or his office," explained Associate Dean of Rural Medicine at Mercer, Dr. Jean Sumner. "He can completely examine the patient using this equipment."

Categories: Healthcare News

Biggest US health insurer tightens rules on hysterectomy coverage

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 08:49

The nation's largest health insurer is imposing tighter controls on its coverage for hysterectomies after more than a year of debate over a medical device that was found to spread hidden cancer in some women undergoing the procedure. As of April, UnitedHealth Group Inc. will require doctors to obtain authorization from the insurer before performing most types of hysterectomies, according to a bulletin sent to physicians and hospitals. The decision marks another blow to the tool known as a laparoscopic power morcellator, which cuts up and removes tissue through small incisions in the abdomen. Until recently, morcellators were being used in thousands of laparoscopic hysterectomies every year to remove benign growths known as fibroids.

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SCOTUS and PPACA: What If?

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 08:11

There is still a week until the latest Supreme Court showdown on the Affordable Care Act—and likely months away from a ruling on King v. Burwell—but pundits already are polishing their crystal balls. From MedPage Today.

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Citing Antitrust Law, SCOTUS Backs FTC in NC Dental Board Suit

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 08:04

The ruling has far-ranging implications for state regulatory boards overseeing professional activities, including those of physicians, hospitals, and health systems.

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Report slams US Ebola response and readiness

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:50

The United States fumbled its response to the Ebola epidemic before it even began, neglecting experiments to make vaccines and drugs against the virus, and cutting funding to key public health agencies, a presidential commission said Thursday. Americans focused on their own almost nonexistent risk of catching Ebola from travelers instead of pressing to help the truly affected nations, the scathing report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues says. They've been acting against their own best interest, the commission said in its report. Ebola started spreading in Guinea just about a year ago, but the response was slow.

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Veterans propose major changes in VA healthcare

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:49

A national veterans task force is advocating radical changes in the medical system for America's former military personnel, including a choice to receive subsidized private care and conversion of the Veterans Health Administration into a non-profit corporation rather than a government agency. The reform measures, if enacted into law, would affect America's roughly 22 million veterans dramatically, especially the 8.5 million enrolled for care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Repercussions would be even more profound for future veterans. Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative non-profit, sponsored the study called "Fixing Veterans Health Care" amid a crisis in VA health-care services.

Categories: Healthcare News

High rate of shopping and switching in Obamacare plans is a good sign

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:47

For most customers returning to the Obamacare marketplaces this year, it really paid to shop around. New data shows that a large number of them did. That bodes well for those shoppers and the future offerings of the insurance marketplaces. More than half of people who bought insurance on last year explored their options before choosing a 2015 plan, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Of those 2.2 million who shopped, more than half switched to a new health plan. Those high rates of shopping and switching are unusual in public health insurance marketplaces.

Categories: Healthcare News

Doctors join forces with lawyers to reduce firearms deaths

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:45

Each year more than 32,000 people die in the United States as a result of suicides, homicides and accidents with firearms. For years doctors have tried to reduce the toll by addressing gun injuries and deaths as a public health issue; there's ample evidence that ease of access to is linked to the number of suicides and homicides. But those efforts haven't gained much traction. On Monday, six medical organizations including the American College of Physicians and professional societies for surgeons, family doctors, obstetricians and gynecologists, pediatricians and emergency physicians joined with the American Public Health Association and the American Bar Association in a "call to action" aimed at reducing the health consequences of firearms.

Categories: Healthcare News

MN hospitals report errors in hopes of learning from mistakes

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:44

The Multifire Endo TA30 stapler is a medical marvel, capable of threading inside a patient and firing a tiny row of titanium staples that hold back tissue so surgeons have space to operate. There's just one potential problem: The gunlike device has a tiny white tip that could fall off during surgery. Innovative devices have revolutionized surgery, increasing the number of procedures that can be done through tiny incisions and reducing both medical complications and recovery times. But the trade-off is the potential for pieces to break off these delicate devices inside patients, which poses new safety complications for hospitals.

Categories: Healthcare News

GA abandons its rural hospitals

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:43

How do you rescue Georgia's rural hospitals — often the heart and soul of the communities that they serve — from the financial challenges that are forcing them to close their doors forever? Apparently, you don't. If you're the state of Georgia, you express insincere concern for their health, slap a Band-Aid on their gaping wounds and push them out the door to face the ugly future that awaits them. Back in March — and back when he still had an election to win — Gov. Nathan Deal claimed to be so concerned that he appointed a special committee to study the problem and recommend potential answers.

Categories: Healthcare News

Sanctions against TX nurses increasing

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:41

A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovered a substantial increase in Texas nurses disciplined by the state and losing their licenses. Years after year, nursing ranks as the most trusted profession in the country, but even nurses make mistakes. The Defenders discovered the state is citing them for one type of crime more than any other. Dante Fair found that out the hard way. The 29-year-old father died after registered nurse Dana Tackett hit him head-on driving the wrong way just outside of Killeen on Highway 130 in 2013. Hours before, Tackett left a hospital and went drinking. Tests revealed her blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit.

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A faster way to try many drugs on many cancers

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:40

Chemotherapy and radiation failed to thwart Erika Hurwitz's rare cancer of white blood cells. So her doctors offered her another option, a drug for melanoma. The result was astonishing. Within four weeks, a red rash covering her body, so painful she had required a narcotic patch and the painkiller OxyContin, had vanished. Her cancer was undetectable. "It has been a miracle drug," said Mrs. Hurwitz, 78, of Westchester County. She is part of a new national effort to try to treat cancer based not on what organ it started in, but on what mutations drive its growth.

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Dyslexia needn't hold doctors back

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 07:38

According to the Dyslexia Research Institute, up to 15 percent of Americans are affected by this neurological difference, resulting in language, perceptual and processing difficulties. The percentage of dyslexic doctors is difficult to measure, as many fear that disclosure could thwart professional development and compromise the trust of patients. For a recent paper in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, Jean Robson at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary in Dumfries, UK, and colleagues interviewed seven dyslexic first-year physicians in the Scottish National Health Service. Most said they had not disclosed their dyslexia and had experienced difficulty with communication, time-management and anxiety.

Categories: Healthcare News