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Updated: 10 hours 58 min ago

Transforming Cancer Care

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:50

Leaders from UNC Health Care are driving outcomes and patient engagement through a multidisciplinary model.

Categories: Healthcare News

NFP Hospitals' Revenue Growth at 'All-Time Low'

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:45

Not-for-profit hospitals are feeling financially pinched as healthcare reform efforts seek to simultaneously increase healthcare accessibility, cut costs, and improve quality.

Categories: Healthcare News

More data to be withheld from database of physician payments

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:31

A new problem has emerged with the federal government's Open Payments system, which is supposed to go live Sept. 30 and disclose payments to physicians by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. A couple weeks ago, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it would be withholding information on one-third of the payments, citing data inconsistencies in company submissions. Now, a source familiar with the matter tells ProPublica that CMS won't disclose another batch of payments: research grants made by pharmaceutical companies to doctors through intermediaries, such as contract research organizations. In these cases, doctors apparently have not been given a chance to verify and dispute payments attributed to them, as required by law.

Categories: Healthcare News

Freestanding ERs target suburbs, rural panel told

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:26

Freestanding emergency departments (ED) have been proposed in Georgia as a potential solution for struggling rural hospitals, or newly closed ones, that want to remain operational in downsized form to help patients in need. But the trend toward such standalone emergency rooms nationally is totally different from that picture, members of the Georgia Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee were told Monday. Freestanding EDs are actually proliferating in suburban areas, targeting high-income patients who have private insurance, said Charles Horne of accounting firm Draffin & Tucker. The prevailing emphasis is on patient convenience, not need, he told committee members at a meeting in Cordele.

Categories: Healthcare News

Why are there so few doctors in rural America?

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:23

There are about 6,000 federally designated areas with a shortage of primary care doctors in the U.S., and 4,000 with a shortage of dentists. Rural areas have about 68 primary care doctors per 100,000 people, compared with 84 in urban centers. Put another way, about a fifth of Americans live in rural areas, but barely a tenth of physicians practice there. A few stopgap measures have aimed to fix the problem, at least temporarily. The National Health Service Corps offers scholarships to students who train as primary care doctors, as long as they agree to serve for a year in a designated shortage area. medicine.

Categories: Healthcare News

Parkland's patient care draws federal scrutiny

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:21

Federal authorities have determined that staff at a Dallas hospital endangered a patient in their care, marking the third time the hospital has been cited since promising to reform its psychiatric services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services claims workers in the psychiatric emergency room at Parkland Memorial Hospital failed in June to safely move a disabled, elderly patient, causing broken bones in her ankle. The finding comes weeks after the federal agency threatened to cut off $400 million in annual funding after determining that Parkland jeopardized another patient, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Categories: Healthcare News

MN doctors now must report dense breast tissue on mammograms

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:16

The standard "all-clear" letter sent after mammograms to tell women they are cancer-free is going to contain new and potentially troubling information for thousands of Minnesota women — the disclosure that they have dense tissue in their breasts that could cloud their cancer screenings. Minnesota mandated as of Aug. 1 that doctors notify women if their mammograms discover dense breast tissue, which can mask the presence of a tumor on an X-ray. "There is no shortage of women like me who have been harmed by their density and never knew it," said Nancy Cappello, a breast cancer survivor from Connecticut. She became an advocate for state-mandated disclosure of tissue density after mammograms failed to find her tumor until it was enlarged and her cancer had spread beyond her breast.

Categories: Healthcare News

Interventional Radiology No Longer a Sub-Specialty

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:21

"The elevation of interventional radiology to a specialty level with its own distinct residency program places IR on the same level as surgery, pediatrics, and internal medicine," says one proponent.

Categories: Healthcare News

Sharp HealthCare Leaves Pioneer ACO Program

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:49

After two and a half years of work to coordinate care for more than 28,000 Medicare beneficiaries, Sharp says it cannot make the financial model work.

Categories: Healthcare News

Acute Kidney Injury Gets New Focus

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:44

Healthcare leaders are stepping up efforts to diagnose and treat acute kidney injury.

Categories: Healthcare News

3 ways insurers can discourage sick from enrolling

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:34

Insurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul. But consumer advocates warn that companies are still using wiggle room to discourage the sickest — and costliest — patients from enrolling. Some insurers are excluding well-known cancer centers from the list of providers they cover under a plan; requiring patients to make large, initial payments for HIV medications; or delaying participation in public insurance exchanges created by the overhaul. Advocates and industry insiders say these practices may dissuade the neediest from signing up and make it likelier that the customers these insurers do serve will be healthier—and less expensive.

Categories: Healthcare News

IBM's Watson: Can it improve returns on R&D?

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:32

IBM on Thursday will outline a new advance in its Watson cognitive computing system that could ultimately help the returns on research and development. At an event in New York, IBM will show off new uses for Watson as it aims to commercialize cognitive computing and make its Watson Group a growth driver. IBM launched its Watson Group in January and invested $1 billion into the effort. To date, IBM has been deploying Watson in key verticals such as healthcare and life sciences and delivering its Watson Discovery Advisor as a cloud service. The catch is that Watson has to be prepped properly before deployed as a service. The system has to train itself as it ingests content that an IBM client wants.

Categories: Healthcare News

Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, Cadence Health finalize merger

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:29

Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Cadence Health have finalized their plan to combine, creating a health system with four acute-care hospitals, 1,600 inpatient beds and a medical staff of more than 4,000 physicians. The merger, approved unanimously by the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board in July, takes effect Sept. 1, Northwestern said Wednesday. Northwestern Chief Executive Dean Harrison will retain that role in the combined system. Cadence Health's CEO, Mike Vivoda, will become a Northwestern regional president. John Orsini, Cadence's CFO, will take over that role at Northwestern. Another Cadence executive, Liz Rosenberg, was named a senior vice president of strategy for the combined system.

Categories: Healthcare News

Lake Shore (NY) hospital plans to stay open under its own management

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:27

Following 10 months of uncertainty over its fate, embattled Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving no longer plans to close and is no longer seeking a buyer, a hospital spokesman told The Buffalo News this morning. The hospital has withdrawn the closure plan it filed last October with the state Labor Department, said Scott Butler, a spokesman for TLC Health Network, which operates the hospital and related facilities. The hospital – which is licensed for 35 in-patient beds and 120 long-term beds – also received permission from the state Health Department to remain open under its own management, after previously operating as part of a Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York that included Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk.

Categories: Healthcare News

Some St. Charles Parish, LA Hospital employees might not be rehired after merger

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:25

Ochsner Health System says it won't lay off St. Charles Parish Hospital employees when it takes over management of the Luling public hospital, but some current workers might not be rehired if they fail a pre-employment screen. Warner Thomas, Ochsner's president and chief executive, said in a statement Tuesday evening that no layoffs or downsizing are planned as part of the merger. "Under the agreed-upon terms of this partnership, Ochsner intends to continue employment at St. Charles Parish Hospital for all employees who successfully complete a pre-screen process which includes standard drug testing, background checks and re-hire eligibility," Thomas wrote. "As a result, there may be a small number of employees impacted by this pre-screen process."

Categories: Healthcare News

Hospitals' hand washing strategies effective in reducing patient infection rates

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:24

A bacterial infection in 2010 that spread from the room of one patient to another served as the impetus of an intensive hand-washing program at MetroHealth Medical Center. Less than four years later, hospital officials are taking pride in the reduction of hospital-acquired infections. On any given day, 1 in 25 hospital patients has at least one infection they got from being in a health care setting, according to data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine. The most effective way for hospitals to combat HAIs (also referred to as healthcare associated infections) is to stop them in their tracks before they start.

Categories: Healthcare News

A hotline for end-of-life care

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 06:22

Imagine you're at home. Maybe that's in Florida, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, wherever. You have cancer. You just had another round of chemo, and the phone rings. "My name is Kate. I'm a healthcare counselor," the gentle voice says from her cubicle in Cherry Hill, N.J. This is no telemarketing call … it's about the end of your life. Kate Schleicher, 27, is a licensed clinical social worker, who knows almost as little about you as you do about her. Except she knows your phone number, your insurance provider, and that you are pretty sick.

Categories: Healthcare News

MA an Insurance Proving Ground for Providers

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:46

The Medicare Advantage program is emerging as an entry point for healthcare providers seeking to establish their own health plans, such as UNC Health Care and Catholic Healthcare Initiatives.

Categories: Healthcare News

Targeting Self-Insured Populations

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:38

Healthcare providers are discovering strategic opportunities with large employers that are self-insured, but they need to be willing to partner more directly with payers and employers.

Categories: Healthcare News

Obama plans more measures to improve healthcare for veterans

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 06:27

President Obama on Tuesday promised several thousand military veterans that he would fulfill his "sacred trust" to those returning from America's wars by overhauling a dysfunctional health care system, even as a new report documented "unacceptable and troubling lapses" in medical treatment. Addressing the American Legion's national convention three months after a scandal rocked the Department of Veterans Affairs and forced the resignation of the agency's leader, Mr. Obama said he had "made real progress" in improving services and getting patients off waiting lists. But he added that he was "very clear eyed about the problems that still are there" and about the need to "regain the trust" of veterans.

Categories: Healthcare News