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Helpful information on the world of beauty and aesthetics supplies.
First review in for embattled federal prevention fund
The Dept. of Health and Human Services spent nearly $1.3 billion in two years on prevention and public health initiatives from an account controlled by the HHS secretary. The Government Accountability Office issued a report on spending from the HHS prevention and public health fund following the enactment of the 2010 health system reform law that authorized the fund. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R, Utah) and Tom Coburn, MD (R, Okla.), had requested the analysis. Republicans have characterized the expenditures as waste that the government can’t afford to spend, and they regularly refer to the account as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ “slush fund.” The Affordable Care Act authorized $5 billion to be distributed by the secretary between 2010 and 2014. An additional $2 billion would be made available each year thereafter, but Congress voted in February to reduce total funding by $6.3 billion over 10 years to offset part of a legislative package that included a 10-month delay to the M [Read more]
Pediatricians target talks with parents to curb teen gun deaths
Physicians can play a crucial role in helping to decrease the risk of gun-related injuries and deaths among children and adolescents, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Gun-related deaths among youths ages 15 to 19 have declined from a peak of 27.8 per 100,000 in 1994 to 11.4 per 100,000 in 2009, says an AAP policy statement published online Oct. 18 in Pediatrics. But rates are still too high, said O. Marion Burton, MD, AAP immediate past president. “While the rate of firearm-related deaths has declined over the past two decades, it is still one of the top three causes of death in American youths,” he said. The AAP recommends that physicians discuss firearm safety as part of routine injury-prevention counseling. Such discussions are best done during well-child visits with parents present, Dr. Burton said. Counseling children about gun safety is not enough, he said. Young children are curious and unlikely to remember safety instructions, while older children can ha [Read more]
Exam room disclosure: Nonphysicians must be clearly ID’d, states say
In Utah, a billboard advertisement showed a nurse practitioner dressed in a white coat with a stethoscope. The caption read, “I make house calls,” and the woman had the abbreviation “Dr.” before her name. In Mississippi, some physicians wanting to ensure appropriate follow-up care for discharged hospital patients have struggled to find those patients’ primary care physicians. The people who patients said were their doctors were not listed in the state’s physician directory because they were mid-level health professionals, not physicians. Such examples demonstrate how patients can be confused about the credentials of health care professionals, say supporters of the American Medical Association’s Truth in Advertising campaign. Since the campaign launched three years ago, 25 states have introduced legislation aimed at curtailing such confusion. Laws have been enacted in 12 of those states. “Patients deserve transparency in health care,” said AMA Board of Trustee [Read more]
Doctors follow own advice for healthy living
U.S. physicians are healthier and have better health habits than nurses and the general adult population, according to an Oct. 3 Gallup report. An analysis of data from the Gallup Healthways Physical Health Index and Healthy Behaviors Index found that physicians are about half as likely as nurses and other workers to be obese. They are five times less likely than the general employed population to smoke, said Elizabeth Mendes, Gallup deputy managing editor. “Both obesity and smoking pose significant health risks, so that physicians — who are on the front lines in helping address such issues — are setting a relatively good example is good news,” she said. The report encompassed surveys conducted between Jan. 2, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2012, with 1,984 physicians and 7,166 nurses. To gauge physical health, respondents were measured on 18 factors, including the number of sick days they took in the past month, their energy levels, health issues and body mass index. To examine t [Read more]
Hospitals seeking to hire doctors who “play well with others”
Most hospital systems that have or are developing accountable care organizations say the new structure is affecting the way they hire physicians. Seventy-eight percent of 105 hiring executives said they wanted doctors who were team-oriented, 68% were looking for physicians who were motivated by quality incentives, and 65% sought doctors who were technologically savvy, according to a report released Oct. 2 by the Medicus Firm, a physician recruiter based in Dallas and Atlanta. They’re asking for the skills in part because hospitals don’t believe all their physicians have them: 58% said between zero and half their physician staff were a good fit for ACOs. “There are certain personality attributes and characteristics that, unless it was for a physician leadership position, I don’t think most places have really asked for before,” said Jim Stone, president of the Medicus Firm. ACOs are becoming an increasingly common way of attempting to control costs and increase quality [Read more]
Tracking prescribing habits cuts inappropriate antibiotic use
Educating primary care pediatricians about proper antibiotic use and regularly showing them their prescribing habits reduces inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions, says research scheduled to be presented in October in San Diego. The findings come as physicians increasingly are being challenged to find antibacterial drugs that are effective on their patients due to growing resistance to the medications and a lack of new antibiotics, health professionals say. In some cases, doctors use drugs that were shelved decades ago due to high levels of toxicity or they combine antibiotics to fight infection. “Improving antibiotic use is a crucial public health goal and [is] necessary, given increasing antibiotic resistance,” said Daniel Diekema, MD, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. “This study shows that the same approaches we use in hospitals can also improve antibiotic use in clinics.” Dr. Diekema and other ex [Read more]
Court ends long battle by upholding state liability cap
After three years of waiting for a high court ruling, Kansas physicians are applauding a decision by the Kansas Supreme Court upholding the state’s $250,000 non-economic damages cap in medical liability cases. The decision strengthens the award limit and clears the uncertainty that has plagued health professionals since the cap first was challenged, said Jerry Slaughter, executive director of the Kansas Medical Society. “Although we have had a previous decision that upheld the cap, there continued to be questions about whether that was a definitive decision,” he said. “This decision was quite comprehensive and answered any existing questions. [The ruling] should satisfy any doubts about the cap’s constitutionality.” At this article’s deadline, attorney William Skepnek, who represented the plaintiff, had not returned messages seeking comment. In a statement issued Oct. 5, the Kansas Assn. for Justice, representing the state’s trial bar, expressed disappointment [Read more]
Doctors appeal ruling dismissing certificate-of-need challenge
A group of physicians will appeal a court decision throwing out a constitutional challenge of Virginia’s certificate-of-need mandate. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Sept. 14 dismissed the doctors’ lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiffs’ claims had no merit. The physicians are not discouraged by the decision and are confident that they will prevail in a higher court, said Robert McNamara, an attorney for the Institute for Justice. The libertarian civil rights law firm, based in Arlington, Va., sued the state on the doctors’ behalf. “It is important to appeal this case, because what the lower court did was completely wrong,” McNamara said. “This case is about vindicating the right to earn an honest living, not just for our clients, but for doctors and entrepreneurs nationwide.” A spokeswoman for Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell referred questions about the case to Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Services Bill Hazel. At this arti [Read more]
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