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where we cover interesting and relevant news, insights, events, and more related to the health care industry and pMD. Most importantly, this blog is a fun, engaging way to learn about developments in an ever-changing field that is heavily influenced by technology.

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Image: FierceHealthcare.com

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• On Wednesday, the Obama administration issued a rule banning smoking in all public housing units nationwide. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will give housing agencies 18 months to bring their buildings into compliance. This rule applies to any lit tobacco products in indoor areas, as well as outdoor areas within 25 feet from public housing complexes. Read More

• Health Secretary nominee, Representative Tom Price of Georgia, is one of the first lawmakers to draft a full replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Some highlights from his proposed bill include tax credits for the purchase of individual and family health insurance policies, eliminating federal requirement for most Americans to have health insurance, allowing insurers that are licensed in one state to sell policies to residents of other states, all in addition to a long list of proposed changes. Read More

• The spread of low-quality medical information or fake news among popular social media sites could have negative effects on the medical community. Many online readers fail to read past poorly crafted headlines or rely heavily on crowd-sourced responses in group messaging boards, which may contain potentially harmful or medically inaccurate advice. Patients are advised to seek information from a health professional who knows their medical history, and physicians, in turn, should guide their patients toward more reliable information.  Read More

• The 21st Century Cures Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this Wednesday, is the largest healthcare-focused legislation since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The $6.3 billion in provisions will fund federal agencies aimed at improving disease therapies, mental health treatment and fighting the opioid crisis. Additional initiatives that will benefit from these funds include the Precision Medicine Initiative and BRAIN Initiative spearheaded by President Barack Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot program. 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.

Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Restrictive diets imposed on children by parents can be a source of tension during the holidays. For example, little Johnny rejecting great aunt Millie's special family dish due to dietary preferences may bring forth disharmony in epic proportions. Dietitians urge parents to consult a professional before embarking on a new diet for their child in order to properly assess nutritional requirements, discuss their child's motivations and screen for any underlying eating disorders. Read More

• What are some of the most heavily used ICD-10 diagnosis codes in November? It's no surprise that "W29.0XXA - Contact with powered kitchen appliance, initial encounter" is on that list but who knew there was even a code for "Problems in relationship with the in-laws (Z63.1)" or even better, "Pecked by turkey (W61.43XA)"? We hope that this Thanksgiving, you don't find yourself face-to-face with an ominous beak! Read More

• This Thursday, President Obama will pardon the final turkey of his Presidency. This long-cherished White House tradition dates back to 1947. While only one of the two birds will go home with the title of National Thanksgiving Turkey, these two lucky turkeys will safely make their way to their new home at Virginia Tech's Animal and Poultry Sciences Department. 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.

Image: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• New drug-resistant pathogens are becoming a growing problem around the world every year. How can we stop the spread of this resistance? One surprising solution lies within a simple strip of bacon. Antibiotic-raised farm animals are often treated with larger amounts of antibiotics than prescribed by doctors and nurses in hospitals, in order to help prevent livestock disease and promote the animals' growth. Fast-forward to the breakfast table where your family is likely ingesting these drug-resistant bacteria carried over from farm to table. Stop the spread of these superbugs by conscientiously choosing meat raised without antibiotics or are USDA-certified organic! Read More

• Health care experts remain optimistic that the MACRA regulation issued on October 14 will remain largely intact under the new Trump administration come January. According to Michael Millenson, president of Health Quality Advisors, the Trump administration may be too busy concerning themselves with the repeal of Obamacare that MACRA will be low on their radar. While the value of MACRA reporting will be assessed by the new administration, it is widely supported by Republicans and will likely see little change. Read More

• U.S. blood banks will now require Zika screening for all donated blood. Early testing results for the virus show an exceedingly rare occurrence. In the past six months, only about 40 cases tested positive for the virus out of about 800,000 blood donations, which can be attributed to blood banks becoming more proactive about dissuading people from donating if they recently traveled to an area where the virus is widespread. Read More

• Premier's Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs,  have contributed to 22 percent of the $1.3 billion in total Medicare savings since 2012. Premier ACOs also outshown its competing ACOs by 2.5 percentage points when looking at quality and outcomes. Premier's success, in the wake of many participants dropping out of ACO programs due to financial losses, shows that while these models can be challenging, with the right combination of tweaks and collaboration, the best possible outcomes can be achieved. 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.

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.

ImageCreditAlon Reininger/Contact Press Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• The man once blamed for starting the American AIDS epidemic has been declared innocent after new genetic analysis of stored blood samples indicate that H.I.V. had arrived in the U.S. long before Gaétan Dugas (formerly known as patient zero). Read More

• This year's Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) annual conference will be held in San Francisco, CA from October 30 through November 2. Anticipated hot topics include MACRA's final rule, value-based care, leadership, maximizing the benefits of third party relationships, the changing patient relationship and the independence to integrated spectrum. Read More

• Zika is here to stay in the U.S. Despite efforts to stop the spread of the virus in Miami, local and state officials have not been able to slow down its progress. The state of Florida has been upgraded in its Zika-related health advisory by the CDC. As Zika continues to spread through additional Miami counties, it is well on its way to becoming an epidemic disease, according to the head of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden. Read More

• The Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) introduced its Cybersecurity Hub this week in Cleveland to help the health care industry better manage mounting cybersecurity threats. The interactive exhibit allows viewers to learn how to become part of the solution. Viewers are presented with security-related scenarios and are offered countermeasures to better understand the threats and different ways to protect their systems.  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.

Image: BSIP/UIG via Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• As part of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force, the NCI (National Cancer Institute), Amazon Web Services and Microsoft teamed up to create an online repository for genomic data. The hope is to be able to improve the care and understanding of cancer by allowing the cancer medical community to have the best possible resources and tools available. By building a sustainable model to maintain and share cancer genomic data, researchers will be able to easily and securely mine stored data. Read More

• Lunacy and chaos run amuck, come November 14 and December 14. At least that's what some doctors and medical staff across the country are preparing for when the full moon strikes on these nights. Many hospitals actually beef up their staff in anticipation. The theory is that because our bodies are 70 percent water, the moon that moves the oceans may also move the water in our bodies, causing psychotic episodes. Read More

• The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported this Wednesday that people infected with gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are at an all-time high, hitting teenagers and young adults the hardest. Major drivers for these increases are tied to STD care and prevention programs being cut due to state and local budget cuts. Read More

• Rural hospitals outperformed urban hospitals in value-based programs in 2015, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some areas in which rural hospitals did very well were patient experience metrics and succesful fostering of care coordination. 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.

Image: Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Kratom advocates can breathe a momentary sigh of relief since the Drug Enforcement Administration recently withdrew its notice of intent to classify the kratom plant as a Schedule I substance. Kratom is derived from the leaves of a tree native to Southesast Asia and is most commonly used in the U.S. for coping with chronic pain. The DEA attributed 15 deaths to kratom between 2014 and 2016. The public comment period ends Dec. 1st after which the DEA could still decide to temporarily ban kratom or place the plant in a scheduled category, permanently.  Read More

• As the number of Medicaid enrollees continues to grow, most states will tighten controls on spending in anticipation of next year's reduction in federal aid. Strategies to contain costs include hiring private managed care companies to deliver services to enrollees and restricting use of pricier prescription drugs.  Read More

• CMS will soon release the final rule that will result in major changes in how physicians are paid under Medicare. Physicians and organization leaders are worried that the new rule, which will implement the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA), will hurt small practices and cause rifts between primary care doctors and specialists. MACRA will incentivize top-performing doctors and ding under-performers based on a variety of measures. Read More

• A heater-cooler machine, which is a device used during open-heart surgery, was found to have been tainted after 12 patients at a Pennsylvania hospital were infected last year. The device originated from a plant in Germany. It uses water to regulate the patient's temperature during surgery. While the water does not come into contact with the patient, bacteria can be transmitted through the air from the machine's exhaust vent. 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.

Image: FierceHealthcare

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Both commercial ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) and non-commercial ACOs are lagging in critical IT infrastructure that will help improve the cost and quality of care. Commercial ACOs still outperform their non-commercial counterparts in both cost and quality of care but significant technological improvements need to be considered, more specifically in interoperable capabilities. Read More

• Donor organs from drug overdoses are considered high-risk but due to the recent surge in deaths from drug overdoses, these organs have become a life line for transplant patients. The risk of transplanting an infected organ is small and diseases like hepatitis C can be treated or cured, and in severe cases such as HIV, can be managed. The chance at prolonging life with an infected organ in the face of death is a silver lining to those waiting for a transplant. Read More

• Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Medicine and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that there is a wide variation of medicare costs associated with post-op complications. They also found that the costs can vary from hospital to hospital. Previous research suggested that high-volume, lower cost facilities tend to have lower associated post-op costs and better outcomes than more expensive hospitals. Read More

• Congress directed $394 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund Zika response efforts. Funding for efforts to improve diagnostic tests and expand lab capacity play a big role in being able to provide a quick turnaround for women getting tested for the disease. Currently, test results can take more than 4 weeks. 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.

Image: FierceHealthcare


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• A new report from the ECRI institute found that patient-identification mix-ups in health care organizations is a much larger issue than previously thought and can lead to deadly consequences. Cases of patient identification errors included administering incorrect medications, not resuscitating a patient who did not have a DNR order on file, and an infant given breast milk from the wrong mother. The report urged all health care facilities to adopt a standardized protocol to verify patient identities. Read More

• An agency within the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday issued a rule that prevents any nursing home that receives federal funding from requiring that its residents resolve any disputes in arbitration, instead of court. Millions of elderly Americans across the country will be afforded new protections and be able to take disputes to court more easily. It is the most significant overhaul of the agency’s rules governing federal funding of long-term care facilities in more than two decades. Read More

• The Food and Drug Administration approved the first artificial pancreas on Wednesday, allowing patients with type-1 diabetes to hook up the device and skip the routine finger pricks to check their blood sugar. Many groups are working on similar systems aimed at alleviating diabetes patients of constantly having to check their blood sugar and delivering insulin. Read More

• Six health systems will test new federally-approved and winning designs for an easy-to-understand medical bill aimed to improve the patient billing experience. The Department of Health and Human Services challenged the health care and tech industry to develop a medical bill that’s easier for patients to understand. Complex medical bills are a major obstacle to both patient satisfaction and the collections process, as they tend to contain insider jargon that leaves patients confused as to the amount they owe and why. 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.

Source: www.fiercehealthcare.com

 

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Patients are sometimes burdened with the task of gathering their medical records, often finding that their health information is scattered across different states, different electronic systems or different doctors' offices. Between medical records still being in paper form, siloed EHRs and HIPAA compliancy, it can be near impossible for patients to get a full medical history in one fell swoop. Read More

• Leaders in health care met this week in Chicago to discuss the next steps in population health management. Positive patient experience, data collection, telehealth tools and care coordination were just a handful of the topics discussed at this year's Pop Health Forum 2016. Read More

• Cat-scratch disease, which is spread by cats, may have more serious and fatal complications than previously believed. Kissing kittens can increase the risk of being infected. Symptoms typically involve fatigue, fever and swollen lymph nodes but in a few cases, the disease can cause the brain to swell or infect the heart and can prove to be fatal if not treated properly. Read More

• The Census Bureau released some promising economic statistics on Tuesday, one being that only 9.1 percent of Americans do not have health care coverage, the lowest level ever recorded by the agency. About 18 million more people have coverage now than they did in 2013. 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.