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States Advance, Reject Various Telehealth-Related Bills

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:36

Several states recently have taken action on telehealth-related legislation. For example, Arkansas lawmakers rejected a bill that would have allowed telehealth providers to operate in the state, while Colorado passed a bill that requires insurers to reimburse health care providers for telehealth services. mHealth Intelligence et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Catheter-based pulmonary valve recs stress heart team

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 09:42

Transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement is a less invasive option for children and adults whose congenital heart repair is starting to fail, but it still should be decided on by a multidisciplinary team, an expert consensus statement urged.

Categories: Healthcare News

Gov't could do more to promote innovation, Senators told

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 09:36

Investing in research, developing better data collection tools, and maintaining a stable regulatory process could speed the development of new drugs and devices, said industry experts at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee hearing on Tuesday.

Categories: Healthcare News

Some Value-Based Models Ready to Scale, Says CMS

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:56

Speaking to an audience of national quality measurement experts, CMS's chief medical officer spotlights projects that have bolstered both the pace of cost reduction and quality improvement efforts.

Categories: Healthcare News

Bipartisan SGR Bill Unveiled in House

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:52

The bill also delays until Sept. 30 changes in the two-midnight rule on inpatient billing that were set to take effect at the end of this month.

Categories: Healthcare News

VA says it will relax 40-mile rule for private medical care

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:43

Responding to pressure from Congress and veterans groups, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday it is relaxing a rule that makes it hard for some veterans in rural areas to prove they live at least 40 miles from a VA health site. The change comes amid complaints from lawmakers and advocates who said the VA's current policy has prevented thousands of veterans from taking advantage of a new law intended to allow veterans in remote areas to gain access to federally paid medical care from local doctors. The VA said it will now measure the 40-mile trip by driving miles as calculated by Google maps or other sites, rather than as the crow flies, as currently interpreted.

Categories: Healthcare News

Baton Rouge emergency room shows the cost of Obamacare fight

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:42

Baton Rouge hospital is closing the only emergency room on the city's impoverished north side, a real-world ripple effect of the ideological clash over President Barack Obama's health-care law. The shutdown on April 1 serves as an early warning for hospitals in states such as Louisiana, where Republican Governor Bobby Jindal turned down federal money to expand the Medicaid program for the poor. Charity hospitals will lose billions of federal aid beginning late next year, a cut that was supposed to be offset as more residents were covered by Medicaid.

Categories: Healthcare News

U of M nurse practitioner clinic aims to help fill doctor void

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:40

One of the first clinics in the state fully operated by nurses will start scheduling patients Wednesday in what University of Minnesota officials hope will be a solution to the state's looming shortage of doctors. The University of Minnesota Health Nurse Practitioners Clinic is an outgrowth of a law passed last year that gives autonomy to nurse practitioners. Previously, they needed to collaborate with supervising doctors to treat patients. Marquee goals of the clinic, a block from the Vikings' stadium in Minneapolis, are to improve medical access for downtown residents, tourists and commuters and to provide hands-on training for aspiring nurse practitioners who will now enter practice with more independence.

Categories: Healthcare News

As Parkland prepares for move, attention turns to current hospital

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:38

What will happen to the current Parkland Memorial Hospital when its replacement opens this summer? Leaders of Dallas County's public hospital have been trying to answer that question almost since 2008, when voters approved paying for the new hospital. Even seven years later, the answer is not certain. The new hospital campus, located across Harry Hines Boulevard from the current facility, is 2.8 million square feet or twice as big as the current facility. On Tuesday, the hospital's facilities committee asked the staff to estimate how much of the old buildings would continue to be used by Parkland after the Aug. 20 moving date.

Categories: Healthcare News

Courses on empathy train physicians to heal by listening and caring

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:32

The patient was dying and she knew it. In her mid-50s, she had been battling breast cancer for years, but it had spread to her bones, causing unrelenting pain that required hospitalization. Jeremy Force, a first-year oncology fellow at Duke University Medical Center who had never met the woman, was assigned to stop by her room last November to discuss her decision to enter hospice. Employing the skills he had just learned in a day-long course, Force sat at the end of her bed and listened intently. The woman wept, telling him she was exhausted and worried about the impact her death would have on her two daughters.

Categories: Healthcare News

Hopkins Medicine forms partnership to offer diagnostic lab services across China

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:31

Johns Hopkins Medicine has formed a partnership with Chinese company DIAN Diagnostics that will spread its pathology lab services across that country. Paul Rothman, CEO of Hopkins Medicine, and Haibin Chen, DIAN's CEO, signed a memorandum of understanding formalizing the collaboration Tuesday. Chinese doctors and patients will have access to Hopkins diagnostic services at DIAN labs in 17 Chinese cities, the organizations said. Hopkins pathologists will help train Chinese doctors, who will also have access to a Hopkins diagnostic iPad application. A core pathology lab at Johns Hopkins Hospital opened in 2014 and analyzes more than 8 million samples per year, while a surgical laboratory handles 80,000 cases per year.

Categories: Healthcare News

Is a male nurse worth $5,148 more than a female nurse?

Healthcare News - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 06:29

When Linda Hippolyte first got into nursing, she thought everyone at her hospital was paid based on their experience and education. But when she got a peek at other nurses' salaries at Parkview Community Hospital in Riverside, she was in for a surprise. "You could really see the difference," she said, noting that male nurses seemed to be making more. "Why was this person who happens to be male making more than this person who is female, with the same experience?" For nurses, as for nearly everyone else in the U.S. workforce today, it pays to be a man.

Categories: Healthcare News

$100M Effort To Boost Health Data Collection in Developing Countries

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:01

A new four-year, $100 million initiative led by Bloomberg Philanthropies aims to bolster health data collection to help 1.2 billion individuals in 20 countries live healthier and longer lives. The project will leverage inexpensive data collection tools — such as mobile phones — to help local officials prioritize health issues and develop policies. Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Philanthropies release.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Yale Launches First Online Program To Train Physician Assistants

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 11:35

A new online-only training program being launched at Yale University aims to address a growing demand for physician assistants. The program also aims to encourage more PA students to practice in their local communities — which often are rural and in need of clinicians. The Atlantic.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Patient-Centered Medical Homes Need Better IT Tools, Study Says

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 11:24

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association finds that new health IT tools focused on monitoring, notification, collaboration, reporting and interoperability could improve care coordination and quality at patient-centered medical homes. FierceHealthIT, JAMIA.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Cloud Adoption Gains Traction

Healthcare News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 09:45

Physician practices and ambulatory care sites have been gravitating to the cloud for years, but Web-based services are now finding hospital-based and even industrywide applications.

Categories: Healthcare News

RAC Court Ruling Deals Blow to CMS

Healthcare News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 07:02

An appellate court ruling is a setback for federal officials in their effort to award a new round of contracts for Medicare's Recovery Audit Program.

Categories: Healthcare News

Business Roundup: Tenet Signs 3 Big Deals; Humana Sells Concentra for $1B

Healthcare News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 06:57

In one of three deals Tenet Healthcare signed Monday, it formed a joint venture with United Surgical Partners International to have ownership interests in 244 ambulatory surgery centers, 16 short-stay surgical hospitals and 20 imaging centers in 29 states.

Categories: Healthcare News

HHS: Hospitals saved billions under Obamacare

Healthcare News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 06:45

A massive expansion of insurance programs like Medicaid and a drop in emergency room visits saved hospitals at least $7.4 billion over the last year, the Obama administration announced Monday. With millions more people covered under ObamaCare last year, hospitals faced fewer bills from patients who lacked insurance and were unable to pay. Hospitals also saw fewer emergency room visits, which rack up far higher costs and often leave hospitals with the tab. The costs of those services — known as uncompensated care — dropped by one-fifth nationwide in 2014, according to a government report released Monday.

Categories: Healthcare News

Researchers use A.I. to reimagine healthcare

Healthcare News - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 06:38

Two patients receiving the same treatment for breast cancer may be entirely different in significant ways. One may be a marathon runner, the other a more sedate reader. One might be a smoker, while the other is considered a health nut. One may be in her 60s while the other just turned 40. With all these differences, these two women might need different cancer treatments. The challenges for scientists and doctors is in finding information about treatments for specific types of people. That critical information is lost in mountains of data, and doctors don't have the time – possibly years – it would take to sift through all of that data to find what they need.

Categories: Healthcare News