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AMA helping physicians broach the subject of obesity

The patient depicted in the video is 50 pounds overweight, stressed and daunted by the task of trying to slim down. It's a common scenario for physicians facing the medical consequences of patients' poor lifestyle choices. Research shows that doctors can influence patients to eat better and be more active, but they have to know how to broach the subject with patients. The American Medical Association has released new continuing medical education tools to help doctors discuss weight with patients. The materials have been certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit and include two videos and a report. They provide tips on how to talk with patients about making positive lifestyle changes for themselves and their children, how to overcome patient negativity and how to encourage patients to persevere. "By using these tools, physicians will gain a better understanding of why patients make unhealthy decisions and will learn how to initiate conversations about healthy eating and physic ...

Kansas looks to managed care for Medicaid overhaul

Kansas is turning to managed care organizations to provide Medicaid enrollees more integrated, higher-quality care and to limit Medicaid spending growth. The state on Nov. 9 released a request for proposals for KanCare, both a consolidation of existing agencies that serve the state's 378,000 Medicaid enrollees and an attempt to recruit managed care organizations to provide comprehensive, coordinated, quality care. Bids are due by Jan. 13, and the state expects to sign statewide contracts with three MCOs. "Serving the needs of the whole person as well as ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability are the principles this plan is built upon," said Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, MD, who led the initiative. The reform will require federal approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, but the state hopes to receive it and begin KanCare by January 2013. Historically, the state's Medicaid program hasn't focused sufficiently on quality outcomes, according to a KanCare summary ...

Judge halts graphic warnings on cigarette packages

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a new rule requiring graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. The decision was a victory for tobacco companies who say the warnings are unfair and would cost millions of dollars to produce. The Food and Drug Administration in June said the nine text and graphic health warnings would be required in an effort to curb tobacco use and encourage users to quit smoking. The labels -- scheduled to appear on packages and cartons by September 2012 -- include images of a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole and a dead person with a surgery-scarred chest. In his Nov. 7 opinion, Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the tobacco companies showed they probably will prevail on their claim that the mandatory graphic images unconstitutionally force commercial speech. "This case poses a constitutional challenge to a bold new tack by the Congress and the FDA, in their obvious and continuing efforts to mini ...