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Updated: 2 hours 32 min ago

What's Your Growth Prescription?

13 hours 43 min ago

As healthcare organizations reevaluate their strategies for growth, we examine three very different approaches.

Categories: Healthcare News

HHS, DHS chiefs to testify on Ebola funding

13 hours 55 min ago

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson are among the witnesses who expected to testify on the government's response to Ebola at an upcoming Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. The committee announced the witnesses on Thursday and moved the hearing to Nov. 12, after the midterm elections. Other witnesses expected to testify include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as officials from the State Department, Defense Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Categories: Healthcare News

Nurses to hold Ebola protests in 13 states

13 hours 59 min ago

The largest U.S. nurses union is planning a day of action in mid-November to protest the lack of federally enforced safety precautions against Ebola. National Nurses United (NNU) announced it will hold events in at least 13 states and the District of Columbia to call attention to the issue. The group has been one of the most vocal critics of the federal response to Ebola, arguing the best way to prepare for a pandemic would be to impose new training and protection requirements for healthcare workers.

Categories: Healthcare News

How Obamacare went south in MS

14 hours 6 min ago

The first year of the Affordable Care Act in Mississippi was, by almost every measure, an unmitigated disaster. In a state stricken by diabetes, heart disease, obesity and the highest infant mortality rate in the nation, President Barack Obama's landmark health care law has barely registered, leaving the country's poorest and perhaps most segregated state trapped in a severe and intractable health care crisis. "There are wide swaths of Mississippi where the Affordable Care Act is not a reality," Conner Reeves, who led Obamacare enrollment for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told me when we met in the state capital of Jackson.

Categories: Healthcare News

Less than half of doctors in insurance directories may be available

14 hours 7 min ago

More than half the dermatologists in Medicare Advantage plan directories were either dead, retired, not accepting new patients or specialized only in specific conditions, researchers found when they tried making appointments. Inaccurate directories of doctors covered by an insurance plan may lead to people having very few options and to the U.S. government approving plans that don't meet standards regarding provider availability, the study team writes in JAMA Dermatology. "I think it just identifies a big area that needs a lot of help to increase transparency to patients," said Dr. Jack Resneck, Jr. from the University of California, San Francisco, the study's lead author.

Categories: Healthcare News

Opinion: ICD-10 is ready to serve

14 hours 10 min ago

With Halloween just around the corner, physicians may find it comforting to know that ICD-10 does not need to be on our list of scary things. We've all heard so much about ICD-10, I think we're getting a bit numbed to the subject, and some of us may be having trouble separating fact from fiction. Of course, many doctors are -- and should be -- concerned about running a business (namely, their practice), and they wonder how all this will impact their bottom line. But I want to focus instead on ICD-10 as it impacts the clinical side of our profession.

Categories: Healthcare News

Study: Doctors using EHRs spend more time on administrative tasks

14 hours 12 min ago

Physicians who use electronic health record systems experience more administrative burdens than their peers who use paper records, according to a study published in the International Journal of Health Services. For the study, researchers from the City University of New York analyzed data from the 2008 Health Tracking Physician Survey -- the most recent available -- to gauge how much time physicians spend on administrative tasks. The data included a nationally representative sample of 4,720 physicians who practiced 20 or more hours per weeks. The study found that physicians who used EHRs reported spending about 17% of their working hours on administrative tasks, compared with 15.5% of those who used paper records.

Categories: Healthcare News

CA doctors accused of abusing drugs, alcohol and over-prescribing

14 hours 15 min ago

Jenny Spielman was found dead in a bathtub at a drug treatment facility in Bay Park a few hours after spending the evening with family, celebrating her 29th birthday. "She was smart," Spielman's sister, Laura, told NBC 7 Investigates. "She was funny. She was beautiful. And she was taken away, way too soon." Spielman battled serious mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction for a decade. It was a battle she and her loving family lost that April 2008 night in a group treatment home on Ottawa Street. The San Diego County Medical Examiner determined Spielman's death was an accidental drowning, but a combination of powerful drugs — including the narcotics Fentanyl and Oxycodone — also contributed to her death, according to the report.

Categories: Healthcare News

How sick are the world's healthcare systems?

14 hours 16 min ago

In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, Alice finds herself facing a difficult conundrum. She's running towards a distant hill; yet no matter how quickly she runs, her surroundings move with her, effectively stranding her. She meets the enigmatic Red Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place," the Queen explains. "If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" China's healthcare system suffers from the same problem – despite running at full speed over the past few decades, it can't possibly move fast enough to keep up with the country's social and economic changes.

Categories: Healthcare News

76% of Physicians Don't Like CMS Quality Reporting Programs

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 10:38

An overwhelming number of practices surveyed say Medicare's quality reporting programs have a negative or significant negative impact on practice resources. They also say the programs negatively impact efficiency, morale, and staff time.

Categories: Healthcare News

Abington Health, Jefferson Health Plan '100% Equal' Merger

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:59

Completion of the deal would unify the two Philadelphia-area health systems, creating a system with a combined 18,000 employees under a shared governance model.

Categories: Healthcare News

The Case for Recycling Surgical Supplies

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:50

A large hospital can rack up $15 million in wasted surgical supplies annually, researchers find. At least some of these materials could be recycled for use in developing countries, they say.

Categories: Healthcare News

ME nurse vows to fight Ebola quarantine order

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:41

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa, vowed to fight Maine officials who are seeking a court order to force her to self-quarantine at home. Hickox, who is holed up in a house in the town of Fort Kent, gave the state until Thursday to let her move freely and threatened to take the matter to court herself. But Maine Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that "when it is made clear by an individual in this risk category that they do not intend to voluntarily stay at home for the remaining 21 days, we will immediate see a court order."

Categories: Healthcare News

Under Obamacare, mental health lacking

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:38

A flood of patients who have become newly insured under the Affordable Care Act are visiting doctor's offices and hospitals, causing some health workers to worry about how they can provide care to everyone in need. One group, however, isn't lining up for care: People with mental health issues or substance use disorders. Though Obamacare extends coverage to this group – collectively referred to as behavioral health – various loopholes in the health care law at this time have kept people from requesting mental health care. Some states haven't expanded Medicaid, the government health insurance program for poor or disabled Americans, leaving about 5 million in a coverage gap, the majority of whom, experts believe, need mental health care.

Categories: Healthcare News

Two years after Sandy, FEMA aid to hospitals questioned

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:34

On New York City's First Avenue, two hospitals sit two blocks apart, but the scenes last week could not have been more different. In front of Bellevue Hospital Center, a dozen news vans clogged the street. Reporters jockeyed for position in front of the main entrance. They were gathered to cover the city's response to the region's first confirmed case of Ebola. Just north of the media spectacle, First Avenue was calm. At NYU Medical Center, it was business as usual -- no crowds of journalists, no Ebola patient. The stark comparison raised uncomfortable questions about disparities in the way FEMA has treated the two hospitals in the wake of Sandy.

Categories: Healthcare News

Epic Systems makes strategic next moves for expansion

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:32

What do you do after you've won the gold rush? When you've claimed the richest veins of ore? That's the big question for Epic Systems, the medical software giant that has become Dane County's signature company with 8,000 or so employees at its fairyland campus in Verona. Epic is the big winner in the federally subsidized effort to shift American medical care from paper to electronic records. As part of President Obama's economic stimulus plan, Congress approved a $27 billion incentive program in 2009 that touched off a mad scramble to modernize health systems in the name of improved efficiency and better care.

Categories: Healthcare News

Bellevue workers, worn out from treating Ebola patient, face stigma outside hospital

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:29

For six years, Mayra Martinez had been going to the same beautician in Queens, and considered her a friend. On Saturday, while getting her hair done, Ms. Martinez, 45, mentioned she had just gotten a new job. "Where?" the beautician asked. "Bellevue," Ms. Martinez said. "She just froze and asked, 'Are you anywhere near him?' " Ms. Martinez recalled. Then the beautician asked her to please find someone else to do her hair. By "him," the beautician meant Dr. Craig Spencer, who is New York's first Ebola patient. As Bellevue Hospital Center goes into its eighth day of treating Dr. Spencer, who had worked with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, some of its employees are feeling stigmatized.

Categories: Healthcare News

Honeywell facing lawsuit over health tests

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:25

Two Minnesota employees have filed complaints against Honeywell for its wellness program, and the federal government is suing to stop it. Court documents filed this month say that Honeywell, as part of its 2015 health benefit plan, requires employees and their spouses to take blood and medical tests that check for smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and other problems. The employees were told about the new procedures in August, and they have until Nov. 14 to undergo testing. If employees opt out of the tests, according to the documents, they can lose up to $1,500 in Health Savings Account contributions, as well as face a $500 charge to their medical plan, or a $1,000 tobacco surcharge.

Categories: Healthcare News

Cleveland Clinic-IBM Watson collaboration highlighted at Medical Innovation Summit

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 06:24

Watson was center stage Tuesday at the 2014 Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit, but the IBM supercomputer was nowhere to be seen. While Clinic physicians demonstrated the potential for how Watson could one day boost the efficiency of electronic medical records and provide medical students with a deeper education, the star attraction was "in the cloud," as it were. No hardware to be found. That didn't detract from the show-and-tell of the possibilities that cognitive computing could hold for the future.

Categories: Healthcare News

Ballot Initiative Pits Providers Against Payers in SD

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 06:57

If passed, a ballot measure in South Dakota will do away with insurance networks as they currently exist, allowing patients to see any doctor willing to see them.

Categories: Healthcare News