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2015 Locale Specific Medicare Anesthesia Conversion Factors

ASA News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 15:27

2015 Locale Specific Medicare Anesthesia Conversion Factors

Categories: Anesthesia News

As Flu Ramps Up, Texas Physicians Recommend Vaccination

Texas Medical Association - Hot Topics - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 12:19

Flu season typically peaks during the winter months. This year is no different. Physicians are now seeing more patients with the flu, or influenza. Texas physicians want to remind everyone that your best defense is getting vaccinated.

Categories: Healthcare News

Senate narrowly confirms new surgeon general

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:36

The Senate on Monday approved Vivek Murthy to serve as U.S. surgeon general despite opposition from Republicans and the gun rights lobby for his political advocacy work and statements calling guns a public health concern. The near party-line vote, 51-43, secured a four-year term for President Obama's nominee. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., joined Democrats in support. His nomination had been pending for more than a year. Obama made no reference to gun policies or Murthy's politics in a statement on the confirmation vote. Obama said his priorities would range from "stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong." He will also work on the effort to combat the spread of Ebola.

Categories: Healthcare News

HL20: Roxana Reyna, RN—Finding a Way to Heal

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:16

Roxana Reyna, RN, has learned that sometimes the best way to treat a serious injury is to improvise. Reyna's creative skills as a skin and wound care specialist earned her an invitation to a White House event honoring healthcare professionals who look beyond textbooks and develop their own solutions.

Categories: Healthcare News

HL20: Anne Wojcicki—Unlocking Consumer Access to Genetics

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:13

Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, received unexpected news in November 2013 when the FDA told her company that it would not be able to market its genetic sequence technology to consumers as personalized health reports. Since then, she has been leading the company's efforts to satisfy the FDA's concerns while making sure that 23andMe's services are accessible and affordable to consumers.

Categories: Healthcare News

The odd math of medical tests: One scan, two prices, both high

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:43

Len Charlap, a retired math professor, has had two outpatient echocardiograms in the past three years that scanned the valves of his heart. The first, performed by a technician at a community hospital near his home here in central New Jersey, lasted less than 30 minutes. The next, at a premier academic medical center in Boston, took three times as long and involved a cardiologist. And yet, when he saw the charges, the numbers seemed backward: The community hospital had charged about $5,500, while the Harvard teaching hospital had billed $1,400 for the much more elaborate test. "Why would that be?" Mr. Charlap asked. "It really bothered me."

Categories: Healthcare News

Can flat-rate pricing help control cancer costs?

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:42

For cancer patients already dealing with the extreme stress of their illness, a myriad of surging costs can add to the worry of treatment. UnitedHealthcare, the biggest U.S. health insurer, is taking aim at controlling costs of treatment with a new pilot program that will provide a set sum for a patient's coverage. The plan is being developed with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and will enroll about 150 patients at first, the insurer said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. Terms of the contract are confidential, but the idea of paying a set sum for treatment is a shift away from the typical per-service payment that Americans are familiar with.

Categories: Healthcare News

Prolific prescribers of controlled substances face Medicare scrutiny

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:40

Despite a national crackdown on prescription drug abuse, doctors churned out an ever-larger number of prescriptions for the most-potent controlled substances to Medicare patients, new data show. In addition, ProPublica found, the most prolific prescribers of such drugs as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and Ritalin often have worrisome records. In 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, Medicare covered nearly 27 million prescriptions for powerful narcotic painkillers and stimulants with the highest potential for abuse and dependence. That's up 9 percent over 2011, compared to a 5 percent increase in Medicare prescriptions overall.

Categories: Healthcare News

Patients at seven Miami-Dade hospitals are more likely to develop infections

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:36

Seven Miami-Dade hospitals fell below national standards for combating infections acquired by patients in hospitals, and patients at one hospital — North Shore Medical Center in Miami — were more likely to develop infections than patients at any other hospital in South Florida, according to data collected by the federal government as part of a national effort to reduce such infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks how hospitals around the nation perform on preventing six types of frequently occurring infections, including bloodstream and urinary tract infections that result from catheters and surgical site infections that develop after colon and hysterectomy operations.

Categories: Healthcare News

White House issues climate change guide for hospitals

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:34

Declaring climate change to be a public health hazard, the Obama administration issued suggestions Monday to help hospitals and other health care facilities cope with multiple threats of extreme weather. Health care industry leaders are visiting the White House on Monday to endorse the new report — "Primary Protection: Enhancing Health Care Resilience for a Changing Climate" — and to pledge to follow the guidelines that are proposed. The "guide and tool kit" is designed to help health care providers and others assure "the continuity of quality health and human care before, during and after extreme weather events," the report said.

Categories: Healthcare News

Report: MO hospitals provide $1.1B in uncompensated care

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:33

Missouri hospitals provided $1.1 billion in uncompensated care last year, according to a new report. The Missouri Hospital Association report provides a total figure for 122 hospitals across the state. That includes $588 million worth of charity care. The remaining $512 million represents care for which the hospital charged patients but the patients didn't pay. "Hospitals contribute to the physical health and economic strength of communities throughout Missouri," MHA CEO Herb Kuhn said in a statement. "In 2013, hospitals provided more than half a billion dollars' worth of care to individuals in their communities who are without health insurance coverage. Once again, this year's report signals the need for lawmakers to return taxpayers' money from Washington, D.C., to stabilize our state's health care infrastructure and increase access to health coverage."

Categories: Healthcare News

Opinion: Elegy for rural community hospitals

Healthcare News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:31

In a pattern being repeated across the country, the Boothbay, Maine peninsula's hospital has been shuttered, and the communities just lost their bid to even have a 24 hour urgent care on the peninsula. Citing financial need—which has been disputed—Lincoln County Healthcare (LCH), part of MaineHealth, closed St. Andrews Hospital, a critical access hospital (CAH), transferring that valuable designation to Miles Hospital in Damariscotta. This has left the entire county, with the oldest population in Maine, with only 25 beds (down from 63) and limited services, though the population surges to more than 40,000 in tourist season.

Categories: Healthcare News

Top blood transfusion-related complication more common than previously reported

ASA - News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 01:00

Two studies published in the January issue of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists® (ASA®), shed new light on the prevalence of transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) and transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO), the number one and two leading causes of blood transfusion-related deaths in the United States.   According to researchers, postoperative TRALI is significantly underreported and more common than previously thought, with an overall rate of 1.4 percent.  While the rate of TACO was found to be on the decline, the risk to surgical patients remains high, at a rate of 4 percent, similar to previous TACO estimates in non-surgical patients.

Categories: Anesthesia News

Senate Confirms New Surgeon General

ASA News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 18:21

Senate Confirms New Surgeon General

Categories: Anesthesia News

Digital Health Challenge Aims To Improve Health in Underserved Areas

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 14:24

The Aetna Foundation plans to award $4.5 million to up to six organizations as part of an initiative to leverage existing digital technologies to improve chronic disease outcomes in underserved communities. Applications will be accepted between Jan. 5, 2015, and Feb. 15, 2015. Health Data Management et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Study: Virtual Health Care Visits Cost Less Than In-Office Care

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 14:12

A new study released by the Alliance for Connected Care finds that telehealth visits cost between $40 and $50, compared with about $136 to $176 per in-office physician visit. Further, the study suggests that increasing Medicare beneficiaries’ access to telehealth would help the program cut costs. Modern Healthcare et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Former Sen. Frist Touts Risk-Based Health IT Regulatory Framework

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 14:10

Former Sen. Bill Frist uses an opinion piece to stump for various bills that would facilitate health IT innovation by creating a risk-based regulatory framework. He argues that the U.S. is “on the cusp of evolving a regulatory environment that would reward innovation, protect patient safety, create jobs and improve health and health care.” The Hill.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Personal Health Data Made Public in Cyberattack on Sony Pictures

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 13:50

Hackers have released documents that include identifiable health information on more than 30 Sony Pictures employees, their children or their spouses. The data breach is part of an ongoing hacking effort by a group called Guardians of Peace, which has been releasing batches of documents since Nov. 25. Bloomberg.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

VA’s Patient Portal Fails To Reach Some High-Priority Vets, Study Says

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 13:46

A new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research finds variation in the use and adoption of the Veterans Health Administration’s My HealtheVet online patient portal. The researchers note that the agency should better target patients with conditions that require intensive treatment, such as those with mental illnesses. Health Data Management, JMIR.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

HL20: José Ramón Fernández-Pe(n-tilde)a, MD, MPA—A Welcoming Approach

Healthcare News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 08:14

José Ramón Fernández-Pe(n-tilde)a, MD, MPA, seeing that the San Francisco Bay Area was in constant need of healthcare workers fluent in Spanish and with a good understanding of Latin culture, helped start the Welcome Back Initiative. It offers individualized guidance and support to anyone who has earned a professional degree in healthcare abroad and who currently resides in the United States.

Categories: Healthcare News