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Health Care Week In Review: Unnecessary Genetic Blood Tests, Doctor Shortage, EpiKit, Soda Tax Measures

Image: Erik Carter

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• A study done by the journal of Hospital Medicine found that Medicare is spending approximately $500 million a year on unnecessary genetic blood tests. The report examines testing for one disorder in particular, venous thromboembolism or VTEs. Doctors currently do hundreds of thousands of these tests a year on Medicare patients alone when there is very little justification for ordering inherited thromboembolism testing on inpatients. Read More

• The Association of American Medical Colleges is projecting that by 2025, there will be a shortfall of 46,100 to 90,400 doctors in the United States. In primary care alone, the shortfall is projected to be between 12,500 and 31,100 doctors. While training and hiring more physicians seems like an easy solution, the situation becomes more complicated when considering the distribution of doctors who find big cities with higher Medicare reimbursements more desirable over rural towns or the distribution of doctors who are specialists over generalists. Read More

• The University of Utah Health Care system has developed a version of the EpiPen that costs only $10, which is a drastic reduction from the $600 EpiPen of drug company, Mylan. The EpiKit is expected to save the health care system $35,000 per year. In comparison to the EpiPen, however, the EpiKit is not as straightforward, containing a vial of epinephrine, two needles, alcohol wipes, two syringes and instructions. Read More

• Voters in three California cities passed ballot measures to place a tax on sodas and other sugary beverages in an effort to tackle the growing obesity problem. The CEO of the American Heart Association, Nancy Brown, saw this as a big win for public health. Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.
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