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Updated: 14 hours 47 min ago

Gender Pay Gap Persists in Nursing

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 07:11

Female RNs continue to earn less than their male counterparts across settings, specialties, and positions, data shows.

Categories: Healthcare News

Merging Practices Into an ACO a Tricky Business

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 07:07

Sometimes the best way to integrate electronic medical record systems is not to integrate them—at least not right away. From MedPage Today.

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Technological Change Creates a 'Blind Spot' in Physician Credentialing

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 07:03

A recent court ruling over liability for da Vinci robotic surgery gone wrong has sparked a debate over how physicians should train to use new devices. Do credentialing methods keep up with the pace of technological change?

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Opinion: Insurance coverage for mammograms jeopardized by new guidelines

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 06:47

Earlier this week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent group of doctors and health-care experts, issued draft recommendations on mammography for women at various ages. Their recommendations could lead to insurance companies dropping coverage of mammograms for women under age 50, as well as other preventive techniques that would help protect young women from getting breast cancer and help those who do have it. This is a wrong and dangerous path to take. For me, this is a deeply personal fight. In 2007, at 41, I discovered a lump in my breast that turned out to be cancer.

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Healthcare workplace violence injuries up from 2012-2014

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 06:46

From 2012 to 2014, workplace violence injury rates increased for all healthcare job classifications and nearly doubled for nurse assistants and nurses, according to data from the Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN). "The health care and social assistance sector accounts for the greatest proportion (20.7%) of private industry nonfatal occupational injuries among all sectors," write Ahmed E. Gomaa, MD, from the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and colleagues in an article published in the April 24 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. "The most common injuries are due to patient handling; slips, trips, and falls; and workplace violence." [Subscription Required]

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Meet the team that wants to help keep independent hospitals alive

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 06:44

Pat Walls and Lee Perry have worked for many of Nashville's well-known hospital companies. Taken together their resumes include stints at Community Health Systems, LifePoint Hospitals and RegionalCare Hospital Partners, among others. But now they're striking out on their own, looking to help hospitals that aren't getting gobbled up by those corporate players. In August they launched LPW-Supplied Solutions, a Franklin-based consulting firm whose primary mission is to help hospitals cut costs to offset reimbursement pressures. Perry, COO of the new company, said the team expects about 80 percent of its business to come from independent hospitals, though they'll also work with corporations who may need support in the course of an acquisition.

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FL bid to expand telemedicine falters in legislature

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 06:43

In a legislative session where the ongoing dispute over Medicaid expansion and funding care for the poor has emerged as the dominant health issue, legislative efforts to promote the use of telecommunications technology to provide long-distance health care services appear dead for the second year in a row. "It doesn't look good," Jeff Scott, the general counsel for the Florida Medical Association, said Wednesday. "It hasn't cleared committees on either side. It looks pretty dead right now." In the Florida Senate, state Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Jacksonville, introduced a telehealth bill that cruised through its first two committees but never made the agenda in its final required stop — the Appropriations Committee.

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Antibiotics shortages could put patients at risk from superbugs

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 06:42

Shortages of antibiotics, including those used to treat drug-resistant infections, may be putting patients at risk for sickness and death, according to a new report. Between 2001 and 2013, there were shortages of 148 antibiotics. And the shortages started getting worse in 2007, researchers found. "Many of the drug shortages were among the only drugs to treat a particular condition, drugs to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and drugs used to treat children," said lead researcher Dr. Larissa May, an associate professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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Doctors' views on connected health depend on how old they are

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 06:40

Two-thirds of U.S. doctors age 40 and under believe a fully connected healthcare environment will be achieved within the next five years. For those over 40, though, the proportion falls to 39 percent?and they just might be laughing at the younger generation's naiveté. That's one of my takeaways from a new study by MedData Group, a healthcare marketing company based in Topsfield, MA. The report surveyed 171 physicians across specialties and practices in February. We've previously written about the firm's surveys of mobile health adoption and doctors' opinions on the future of connected health.

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Keeping Up with Stroke Advances

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 07:27

Despite strides in neuroscience service line and stroke care, "proper stroke care is not universally is not what it should be or could be," says one expert.

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Appeals of Denied Medicare Claims Mean High Costs for Hospitals, Low Risk for RACs

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 07:08

Appeals are costly for hospitals, but denials overturned before they enter the formal appeals process are not reported to CMS and recovery audit contractors stand to lose very little. Hospitals stand to lose a lot more, research suggests.

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Mandatory vaccination bill clears hurdle in CA

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:53

Opponents of a proposal that would require California schoolchildren to be vaccinated vowed to continue their fight after a Senate committee overwhelmingly approved the bill Wednesday. The Senate Education Committee voted 7-2 on the bill by Sen. Richard Pan, a Democratic pediatrician from Sacramento, with votes from both Democrats and Republicans. The bill now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing next week as part of a long legislative process. "We will continue to show our strength, and we will continue to educate lawmakers and the public about why this is a bad bill," said Jean Keese, a spokeswoman for the California Coalition for Health Choice.

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Medical errors in America kill more people than AIDS or drug overdoses. Here's why.

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:52

Medical errors kill more people than car crashes or new disease outbreaks. They kill more people annually than breast cancer, AIDS, plane crashes, or drug overdoses. Depending which estimate you use, medical errors are either the 3rd or 9th leading cause of death in the United States. Those left dead as a result of their medical care could fill an average-sized Major League Baseball stadium — sometimes twice over. Medical errors tend to fall into two buckets. There are the mistakes that happen when doctors set a wrong plan: when they prescribe the wrong medication, for example, thinking it was the right treatment.

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Will doctors be able to escape random drug testing?

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:48

An item on the California ballot in November 2014 revived an issue that had been less visible for many years. The item would have mandated physicians to undergo random urine tests for drugs and alcohol. The ballot measure, called "Proposition 46," was defeated, but the issue does not appear to be going away. Voters actually seemed to like the idea of randomly testing doctors. They just didn't like the companion proposal within Prop 46, which was about raising the state's cap on noneconomic damages for physicians in malpractice cases. In a Los Angeles Times poll taken before the vote, potential voters had a chance to weigh both issues separately.

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State investigation prompts big changes for Children's Hospital in Colorado Springs

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:46

A state investigation prompted UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central to surrender a waiver Tuesday that allowed it to treat the most seriously ill or injured patients at its pediatric emergency room and take over operation in June of its inpatient pediatric hospital from Children's Hospital Colorado. Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said Wednesday the actions by UCHealth and Children's resulted from a 2-month-long investigation by the department and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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The status of medical errors among health IT systems

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:45

While adoption of EHRs and health IT systems has been stressed among federal agencies and the medical industry in order to improve patient care and health outcomes, some issues within the health IT sector may be actually leading to medical errors among healthcare staff. For instance, a survey from West Health Institute showed that about 50 percent of polled nurses noticed a medical error because a device or EHR system was not integrated adequately within the hospital or practice. Lack of EHR interoperability or integration may make it more difficult for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to provide effective care and avoid medical errors.

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The new surgeon general's 4 rules for health

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:43

Over the past year, Vivek Murthy has unexpectedly become one of the most controversial figures in American politics. President Obama nominated him for the post of US surgeon general, the nation's top spokesperson for public health, back in November 2013. The Senate then promptly blocked his nomination for more than a year, particularly after the National Rifle Association criticized a letter Murthy had co-signed in support of gun control measures. Murthy only got confirmed in December 2014 after some red-state Democrats who were losing their seats anyway decided to switch course and back him.

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Why many doctors don't follow 'best practices'

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:41

For all their talk about evidence-based medicine, a lot of doctors don't follow the clinical guidelines set by leading medical groups. Consider, for example, the case of cataract surgery. It's a fairly straightforward medical procedure: Doctors replace an eye's cloudy lens with a clear, prosthetic one. More than a million people each year in the U.S. have the surgery ? most of them older than 65. "The procedure itself is relatively painless and quick," says Dr. Catherine Chen, an anesthesiologist and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. She calls it the "prototypical low-risk surgery."

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Heart failure incidence drops by more than a third

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 09:54

Heart failure rates dropped dramatically between 2000 and 2010, but hospitalizations among heart failure patients did not decline in a population-based study from Olmsted County, Minn.

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Merging practices into an ACO a tricky business

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 09:52

Sometimes the best way to integrate electronic medical record (EMR) systems is not to integrate them -- at least not right away, Jim Walton, DO, MBA, president and CEO of Genesis Accountable Physician Network, said here.

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