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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  President Trump's nomination for mental health "czar", Elinore F. McCance-Katz, exposes a longstanding rift in an already divided field. Supporters of Trump's nominee back the use of drug and hospital treatments, a stark contrast to the psychosocial end of the spectrum, which puts more emphasis on family and peer support as well as community care.  Read More

•  Two pharmacists from New York Presbyterian Hospital have teamed up with the hospital to consult with transplant patients virtually, tapping into telehealth to improve care for these specific subset of patients. This approach allows them to continue care after the patients' hospital discharge.  Read More

•  A rare outbreak of botulism has been linked to nacho cheese sauce bought at a gas station in Walnut Grove, California, killing one man and hospitalizing nine others. Botulism is rare, with only 20 cases in adults each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After health officials removed the nacho cheese sauce from the gas station on May 5, the California Department of Public Health said it "believes there is no continuing risk to the public."  Read More

•  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the American Health Care Act, which is the repeal and replacement to the Affordable Care Act, would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion by 2026 but would also leave 23 million people uninsured. The CBO also projects that premiums would rise in the coming years.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Mark Fiore for KQED

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Officials warned Wednesday that some blood tests used to check for lead poisoning in women and children since 2014 may have inaccurately reflected safe results from lead exposure, providing false assurance to parents. It is recommended that children under the age of 6 and pregnant and nursing women be re-tested.  Read More

•  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Wednesday that four additional regions will have the opportunity to participate in the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) model from 2018 to 2022. The CPC+ program rewards primary care providers on value and quality of care. The first round began this year and included 2,800+ practices across 14 regions.  Read More

•  Veterans are being left in the dark about their tax credit fate under the revised American Health Care Act (AHCA), the newest effort to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under ACA, veterans could take advantage of tax credits to help offset the cost of purchasing insurance coverage, regardless of whether or not they were enrolled in care through the VA. Under the revised AHCA, there are concerns on whether or not those veterans are eligible to get the tax credit.  Read More

•  While digital addictions are not official mental disorders listed in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), there's debate among psychologists as to whether that should change. Addictions begin with intermittent or recreational use and progress into daily and sometimes life-threatening use. Psychologists are now seeing a classic addictive pattern of behavior among many internet users.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Thursday which found that the number of new Hepatitis C cases skyrocketed to nearly 300 percent from 2010 to 2015. The likely culprit: the use of heroin and other injection drugs. Researchers are urging lawmakers to create public health laws to fight the disease.  Read More

•  Providers and payers have began to make investments in IoT (Internet of Things) technologies and programs, anticipating the potential to receive significant financial benefits over the next three years. The Internet of Health Things, or IoHT, is already delivering cost savings but continued investment is essential for long-term success.  Read More

•  Hospital mergers were off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2017 and there are no signs of slowing down. Not all hospitals, however, are choosing this route to offset costs. Being consolidated into another health system is only one strategy hospitals are turning to in order to lower costs and improve the quality of care and patient experience.  Read More

•  A recent analysis found that pain relievers known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can carry cardiovascular risks that may arise within a week of starting the drugs, with the potential to increase with higher doses and duration of treatment.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Dan Herrick/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A study based in Germany found that binge drinking is associated with an increased heart rate known as sinus tachycardia. The study was conducted over the course of the iconic 16-day beer festival, Oktoberfest. Scientists of this study were particularly interested in what's known as "holiday heart syndrome", in which binge drinkers suffer potentially dangerous atrial fibrillation.  Read More

•  With all the new government requirements imposed on physicians, more specifically the Meaningful Use program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has created a centralized and more accessible repository as a source of health information for eligible professions. The information within the repository was collected in September and October of 2016.  Read More

•  A drug-resistant fungus called Candida Auris is circulating in the U.S. and is severely affecting the New York and New Jersey areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the fungus can persist on surfaces and is easily spread between patients.  Read More

•  On Thursday, House Republican leaders failed to round up votes for their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, losing the opportunity for a major legislative win in Trump's first 100 days in office. This hot topic continues to pull Democrats and Republicans to opposite sides of the health care spectrum.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Researchers have turned their attention to the skin of certain frogs, whose mucus can be used to fight flu viruses. This mucus contains antimicrobial peptides, which can neutralize bacteria, fungi and viruses in our immune system. Recently published findings have found that these peptides were just as effective as some antibiotics in fighting bacteria.  Read More

•  Virtual reality is being used as a method to identify fall risks in the elderly population. By disrupting a person's sense of balance, researchers are able to disorient study participants as they walked on a treadmill and recorded their movements. Researchers are interested in learning more about the specific muscle responses that contribute to loss of balance.  Read More

•  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Thursday that drug manufacturers will be required to update their package inserts to reflect the strongest warning type, alerting doctors and parents to the sometimes fatal consequences of certain painkillers used in children. Harsher restrictions have been imposed by the FDA regarding the use of opioid codeine and tramadol in young children and nursing mothers.  Read More

•  In a recent study, researchers have found a protein in human umbilical cord blood that, in aging mice, improved memory and learning. While there is no indication that it would work in humans at the moment, it's an intriguing glimpse into the potential therapies that might someday work to prevent illnesses that are age-related.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: New York Times/Craig Frazier

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Vitamin D deficiency is likely being over tested and over treated, according to a recent study in Maine. Vitamin D popularity began back in 2000 when medical journals began publishing studies of illnesses believed to be linked to vitamin D deficiency. As a consequence, healthy people who believe they have a deficiency are taking dangerous levels of supplemental doses.  Read More

•  A study published in JAMA this week found that value-based programs yield lower hospital readmission rates and significant cost savings. Researchers examined 2,837 U.S. hospitals between 2008 and 2015 and found that participation in 1 or more of Medicare’s value-based programs, including Meaningful Use, Accountable Care Organization, and the Bundled Payment for Care Initiative, was associated with greater reductions in 30-day readmission rates.  Read More

•  It’s now easier for physicians to get licensed in multiple states thanks to the new Interstate Medical Licensure compact, which launched last week. Qualified physicians can apply for licensing in 18 participating states. This agreement will ease the administrative burden for physicians who practice medicine in multiple states, including locum tenens doctors, doctors in metropolitan areas that include more than one state, and doctors who provide telemedicine services.  Read More

•  New analysis by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority shows a rising number of medication errors that were attributed in some part to electronic health records and other technologies used to monitor and record patients’ treatment. Researches attributed the errors to system problems and/or user mistakes.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Luciano Lozano/Ikon Images/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Doctors are reimbursed for everything ranging from office visits to lab work to medical procedures. But what about the tasks that pull allocated time away from actual face-to-face visits? Data suggests that doctors are spending a significant amount of time on desktop medicine tasks. The data also highlights a reduction in time spent with patients and yet, physicians are not reimbursed for their EHR time.  Read More

•  Do you find yourself zoning out in the middle of one-on-one conversations? Do you procrastinate more often than not? There are, according to the World Health Organization, six simple questions that can reliably identify whether you have adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It's important to note that the questions should be looked at in their totality, not individually. No single question stands out as an indicator of ADHD.  Read More

•  The federal government settled on an average rate increase of 0.45% for its finalized 2018 payment rates for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The rate announcement gives MA organizations the incentive to develop innovative provider network arrangements, encouraging enrollees to access high-quality healthcare services.  Read More

•  A report published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 10 pregnant women in the continental U.S. with a confirmed Zika infection had a baby with serious birth defects or brain damage. There is also more evidence that birth defects were a bigger risk in women who were infected in the first trimester of pregnancy.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Mike Albans for Kaiser Health News

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  For many home health aides, health insurance coverage was hard to come by, mainly due to employers not offering such coverage or the inability to clock enough hours to be eligible. Cue the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which offered the state-federal low-income health insurance program. With the Trump administration's attempt at repealing the ACA and proposal for budget cuts, this lack of clarity is concerning to home-based care-givers whose paychecks rely heavily on Medicaid and Medicare and whose future health care coverage remains unclear.  Read More

•  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating an increased rate of adverse cardiac events in patients with the dissolvable heart stent. The stent, called Absorb, is manufactured by Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories. The FDA and Abbott are working together to understand the cause of the adverse events and encourage physicians to follow the device's label instructions when selecting a target heart vessel.  Read More

•  Under President Trump's proposed budget cuts, funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) may be eliminated. AHRQ is the lead federal agency involved with the improvement of safety and quality of the U.S. health care system. It also develops the resources and data for providers and consumers to help them make informed health decisions. Supporters of AHRQ believe the agency's role is misunderstood and that merging it with the National Institute of Health, as proposed by Trump's administration, would threaten its future.  Read More

•  On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to treat a severe form of multiple sclerosis. This disease leads to paralysis and cognitive decline. The drug will be sold under the brand name Ocrevus by Genentech.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) initiative to control how farmers can give antibiotics to livestock falls short in many areas.  According to the Government Accountability Office, the FDA initiative has not been collecting usage data that allows the program to know if efforts to curb the use of routine micro-doses of antibiotics, known as growth promoters, in livestock have been successful.  Read More

•  Thursday marked another blow to the GOP's efforts to pass the American Health Care Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan did not hold a floor vote as planned after President Donald Trump held meetings with conservative and moderate Republican caucuses, hoping to come to a deal. The House can lose no more than 21 votes for the bill to pass, however there's a likelihood of more than 25 members of the Freedom Caucus who plan to vote "no."  Read More

•  On Monday, an interim rule was released, delaying the expansion and implementation of major bundled payment initiatives. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say the additional three-month delay will allow the agency more time to review and modify the policy, if necessary. The delay also calls into question whether the new White House Administration is committed to the programs.  Read More

•  Oral health has never been a priority with the aging population. One reason? Medicare does not provide dental care, except for certain medical conditions, and California's Medicaid only covers some services. However, the effort to bring more dental care to older adults is advancing across the nation. New clinics and technologies are popping up to help improve oral health for the aging, such as an app that tracks dentures, which frequently disappear in nursing homes.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Fierce Healthcare

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A new study released this week by HealthlinkNY found that New York hospitals that accessed outside patient records reduced patients' average length of stay by over 7 percent and by 4.5 percent for 30-day admissions. The report clearly shows that the benefits of using HIEs are greater when they contain robust patient data and when physicians have experience using them.  Read More

•  Prestigious hospitals across the U.S. are offering more and more alternative medicine therapies. Despite very little evidence that methods such as Chinese herbal therapies and acupuncture actually work, alternative medicine is on the rise. Opposers to alternative medicine are quick to point out that physicians who promote these therapies forfeit claims they belong to a science-based profession. Advocates say these unconventional treatments offer alternatives that have helped patients who could not be cured by modern medicine.  Read More

•  Hospital and Medical groups are among the opposers to the Republicans' Health Care Plan, citing expected declines in health insurance coverage and causing potential harm to vulnerable patient populations as well as threatening health care affordability, access and delivery.  Read More

•  A newly released study found that there are two effective tests in determining the cause of a stillbirth, a death of a fetus at or after 20 weeks of gestation. Both an examination of the placenta and a fetal autopsy helped in approximately 40 percent of cases, and with genetic testing being the third most useful test.  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. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.