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VA hospital in Colorado to share patient data with private physicians

Physicians treating veterans in southeast Utah soon will have an easier time coordinating care with doctors treating them at the nearest veterans' hospital, which happens to be across the state line in Colorado. The Veterans Health Administration will begin testing a health information exchange between the Grand Junction (Colo.) VA Medical Center and Moab (Utah) Regional Hospital and surrounding physician practices. The VA hopes this is the first of many projects across the country that will expedite the coordination of care for the seven in 10 veterans who receive some portion of care from private physicians and hospitals. Without a health information exchange, care was often repeated, delayed or inefficient because physicians had to wait for phone calls and faxes. The health information network will allow private physicians to get the medical records of the veterans they treat and share their clinical notes and test results with VA hospitals. "I think this is probably one of ...

Bipartisan House caucus to promote generic drugs

Washington -- Two House members have established a group that they hope will produce legislation that leads to wider use of generic drugs, including follow-on biologics, and reduced national health spending growth. Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (R, Mo.) and Peter Welch (D, Vt.) founded the Congressional Affordable Medicines Caucus on May 12. The lawmakers have started recruiting additional members and will craft a caucus agenda when the initial member drive is finished. "At the end of the day, we want to get more of our colleagues involved in these issues," Emerson said during a May 12 conference call with reporters. Welch said two primary goals of the caucus are reducing health spending growth and demonstrating that lawmakers need to work across party lines to solve problems. Emerson said she also expects the group to lobby for an expansion of the Food and Drug Administration office responsible for approving generic drugs. Emerson said some of the generic drug policies she supports ...

State boards took fewer disciplinary actions against doctors in 2010

Disciplinary actions against physicians by state medical and osteopathic boards fell slightly in 2010 to 5,652 from 5,721 in 2009, according to an annual report from the Federation of State Medical Boards Many factors may have contributed to the 1.2% decline, such as state budget cuts, limited staffing and new state laws that require boards to regulate other health professionals, decreasing their capacity to respond to complaints, said FSMB President and CEO Humayun J. Chaudhry, DO. In some cases, a drop in board actions could signal positive changes, he said. "If a state board is effective about educating doctors, educating the public and remediating doctors, they will have fewer board actions as a result. Efficiency is a difficult thing to gauge by looking at the board actions," Dr. Chaudhry said. A total of 850,085 physicians have active medical licenses with the nation's 70 medical and osteopathic boards. "I wouldn't make too much of a 1.2% decrease," Dr. Chaudhry s ...