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Updated: 15 hours 5 min ago

PA doctor shoots patient who killed caseworker

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 05:42

A psychiatric outpatient opened fire Thursday inside a psychiatrist's office at a hospital near Philadelphia, killing his caseworker and slightly wounding the doctor, who shot the gunman with his personal firearm, authorities said. The suspect, Richard Plotts, of Upper Darby, Pa., was reported in critical condition after the shooting at 2:20 p.m. in an office at the Mercy Wellness Center of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said at an evening news conference.

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Invoking anti-fraud law, LA doctor gets rich

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 05:35

William LaCorte keeps a half-dozen marble paperweights at his medical practice in this New Orleans suburb, engraved with images of checks from a lucrative sideline: suing companies for alleged health-care fraud. Over two decades, the 65-year-old internist has filed 12 lawsuits accusing health-care companies of defrauding taxpayer-funded programs such as Medicare.

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At Cleveland hospitals: Entry-level positions open, but more doctors and RNs needed

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 05:27

The hiring challenge for area hospitals is two-fold: finding enough people to fill entry-level health care positions, while at the same time looking for physicians, advance practice nurses, physicians assistants and medical coders - positions that require more education and promise much higher salaries. In Greater Cleveland, more than 53,000 jobs – 54.2 percent of the health care workforce - don't require undergraduate degrees, according to a report released Thursday by the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution. Those jobs are classified as pre-baccalaureate or pre-BA occupations.

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Doctors Feel Pressure to Accept Risk-based Reimbursement

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 11:32

As insurers step up efforts to cover more lives with value- and performance-based contracts, physicians are under the gun to adapt to an altered reimbursement reality.

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U of Virginia doctors developing medical internet

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:29

Doctors at The University of Virginia Medical Center are looking at a new way to treat patients using technology they already have at their fingertips. Dr. David Stone with the university's Center for Wireless Health, describes the "medical internet" as Google for caregivers; a cyberspace destination where they can look up conditions or aliments and see how doctors, around the nation, or even world have treated them. The database of de-identified patient care information could help doctors diagnose patients in real time.

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Why do other rich nations spend so much less on healthcare?

Thu, 07/24/2014 - 05:21

Why does the United States spend so much more than other wealthy nations? The biggest reason is that U.S. healthcare delivers a more expensive mix of services. For example, a much larger proportion of physician visits in the U.S. are to specialists who get higher fees and usually order more high-tech diagnostic and therapeutic procedures than primary care physicians. Compared with the average OECD country, the U.S. delivers (population adjusted) almost three times as many mammograms, two-and-a-half times the number of MRI scans, and 31 percent more C-sections.

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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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