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March 2011 - Posts

The Politics of Health Care

EPA and FDA Say Radiation Levels in Air and Milk are Far Below Levels of Public Health Concern
March 31, 2011 11:24 AM by Frank Irving
Agencies will continue their monitoring activities following Japanese nuclear incident. On March 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced results of filter analyses from 12 air monitor locations following the release of radioactive Read More...
Mayo Clinic Study Finds Cost of Heart Drugs a Major Barrier to Patient Compliance
March 30, 2011 12:03 PM by Frank Irving
Even among patients eligible for Medicare, medication costs were an important issue. In a study appearing in the April issue of peer-reviewed Mayo Clinic Proceedings , Mayo Clinic researchers found that many patients with heart failure do not take the Read More...
AHRQ Report Links Low Health Literacy with Poorer Health Status
March 29, 2011 7:15 AM by Frank Irving
Literature review also finds association between low health literacy and increased use of ERs and inpatient care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported on March 28 that low health literacy in older Americans is linked to poorer Read More...
Public Comment Period on Federal Health IT Plan Open Through April 22
March 28, 2011 9:08 AM by Frank Irving
ONC's plan initiates "the era of meaningful use." On March 25, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced an open public comment period on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan: 2011-2015 ("the Plan") . ONC Read More...
Agency Report Reveals Need to Increase Access to Medical Homes
March 25, 2011 4:01 PM by Frank Irving
HRSA says model represents fundamental change in provision, coordination and management of care. According to a report released March 18 by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), 57 percent of children in the United States have access Read More...
SAMHSA Reports Spike in Ecstasy-Related ED Visits
March 24, 2011 10:06 PM by Frank Irving
Agency's new study finds nearly 75 percent increase from 2004 to 2008. According to a report released March 24 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of hospital emergency visits involving the drug MDMA (street Read More...
NIH Looks to Accelerate Diabetes Research
March 23, 2011 7:48 PM by Frank Irving
New strategic plan addresses types 1 and 2, as well as gestational diabetes. On March 18, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new strategic plan to guide diabetes-related research over the next decade. The plan, developed by a federal Read More...
CDC Statistics Show U.S. Death Rates Declined in 2009 for Tenth Straight Year
March 22, 2011 9:38 PM by Frank Irving
Age-adjusted death rates declined significantly for 10 of the 15 leading causes of death in 2009. The age-adjusted death rate for the U.S. population fell to an all-time low of 741 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009 -- 2.3 percent lower than the 2008 rate, Read More...
Study Concludes that Risk of Hospital Patient Mortality Increases with Nurse Staffing Shortfalls
March 21, 2011 8:56 AM by Frank Irving
Research team from UCLA, Mayo Clinic and Vanderbilt also shows that higher patient turnover affects mortality rate. In a new study, researchers from the UCLA School of Public Health, Mayo Clinic and Vanderbilt University determined that hospital patients' Read More...
Preventive Services Task Force Names New Leaders
March 18, 2011 6:28 AM by Frank Irving
Panel makes recommendations to clinicians; chair and co-chairs bring expertise in pediatrics, geriatrics and preventive medicine. On March 14, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced the appointments of Virginia A. Moyer, MD, Read More...
Study Shows 10 States Will Carry Most of U.S. Costs from Diabetes by 2025
March 17, 2011 11:10 AM by Frank Irving
Overall number of people living with diabetes will increase 64 percent in next 15 years. A new study conducted by the Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF), a nonprofit research and educational organization, identified California, Texas, Florida, New Read More...
TV and Radio Campaign Educates Seniors About Medicare Fraud
March 16, 2011 10:55 AM by Frank Irving
PSAs recruit volunteers for community presentations and counseling. On March 15, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), through its Administration on Aging (AoA), announced a nationwide TV and radio campaign aimed at educating seniors Read More...
Federal Partners Offer Guidance for Child Care as an Element of Emergency Planning
March 15, 2011 11:17 AM by Frank Irving
Report recommends that states develop child care disaster plans in coordination with state/local managers and agencies. Grantees across the country are receiving help from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to develop emergency preparedness Read More...
Adverse Drug Reactions Account for Over 1.1 Million ED Visits Per Year By Older Americans
March 14, 2011 11:38 AM by Frank Irving
SAMHSA reports that nearly one-third of such visits end up with patient hospitalization. Adults aged 50 and older comprise 51.5 percent of all emergency department (ED) visits each year related to adverse reactions to medications, according to a study Read More...
Proposed Rules Set Requirements for State Waivers from Affordable Care Act
March 11, 2011 11:56 AM by Frank Irving
White House supports making waivers available in 2014. On March 10, the Departments of Health & Human Services (HHS) and Treasury proposed new rules outlining the steps states may pursue in order to receive a State Innovation Waiver under the Affordable Read More...
Obama Administration Stands Up to Bullying
March 10, 2011 1:14 PM by Frank Irving
From social networks to federal agencies, programs address issue faced by nearly 13 million students. On March 10, U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama called for a united effort to address bullying at the White House Conference on Read More...
Clinical Drug Vocabulary Enhanced
March 9, 2011 10:33 AM by Frank Irving
RxNorm now includes First DataBank's set of product identifiers. The RxNorm standard clinical drug vocabulary produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) now contains more accurate and complete connections between National Drug Codes (NDCs) and Read More...
Disclosure Notices Would Require Insurers to Report Proposed Rate Increases Over 10 Percent
March 8, 2011 8:31 AM by Frank Irving
Consumers would be able to see insurance providers' explanation for premium hikes. On March 7, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published proposed consumer disclosure notices required by the Affordable Care Act. The notices would Read More...
Most Substance-Abuse Programs Accept Private Insurance
March 7, 2011 8:33 AM by Frank Irving
Ability to bill third-party payers seen as critical to survival of treatment facilities. A nationwide survey of substance abuse treatment facilities revealed that in 2008 nearly two-thirds (65 percent) accepted some private health insurance payment. The Read More...
ACO Forms in San Francisco
March 4, 2011 12:16 PM by Frank Irving
Effort modeled after Sacramento pilot, which has netted an estimated $20 million in savings. A new Accountable Care Organization (ACO) formed in San Francisco this week with the approval of an employee benefits agreement between the City and County of Read More...
Governments and Employers Received $535 Million in 2010 to Protect Retiree Health Coverage
March 3, 2011 5:53 AM by Frank Irving
ERRP, created by the Affordable Care Act, made payments to benefit more than 4.5 million Americans. A new report released March 2 by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) shows that the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP) created Read More...
CDC Report Shows Dramatic Decline in Infections in ICU Patients with Central Lines
March 2, 2011 8:35 AM by Frank Irving
Decrease saved an estimated 27,000 lives; similar preventive measures needed beyond ICU settings. The number of bloodstream infections in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with central lines decreased by 58 percent in 2009 compared to 2001, according Read More...
AHRQ Reports Show Slow Gains in Health Care Quality While Disparities Persist
March 1, 2011 11:32 AM by Frank Irving
Highest rates of improvement related to treatment of acute illness or injury; 20 percent of Americans report barriers to care. Improvements in health care quality continue to progress at about 2.3 percent a year; however, disparities based on race and Read More...


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