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Helpful information on the world of beauty and aesthetics supplies.
Hair professionals are potential front line for skin cancer detection
Physicians and patients could benefit from hair professionals being trained to help in the early detection of skin cancer on the scalp, neck and face, a study says. Nearly 60% of 203 hair professionals surveyed at 17 salons in the Houston area said they already had recommended at least once that a customer see a health professional for an abnormal mole, said a report in the October Archives of Dermatology. In addition, 37% looked at more than half of their customers' scalps for suspicious lesions during the previous month, 29% checked more than half of their customers' necks, and 30% looked at more than half of their customers' faces. Scalp and neck melanomas represent 6% of all melanomas, and they account for 10% of melanoma deaths in the United States. Hair professionals could help with earlier detection of these cancers, said Alan C. Geller, MPH, RN, a study author and senior lecturer at Harvard School of Public Health. "The scalp is a perfect example of a place for m [Read more]
California Medicaid tries to recover millions in fees
California's Medicaid agency plans to recoup millions of dollars in fees it paid in the past year for dental, chiropractic and podiatry services, but at least one group of affected health centers has said the move will put its facilities in a precarious financial position. California lawmakers cut these and other optional Medicaid services effective July 1, 2009, but the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an injunction against the cuts in October 2010, saying the state did not go through the proper Medicaid plan amendment process. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in May 2011 approved a state plan amendment allowing the California Dept. of Health Care Services -- the state's Medicaid agency -- to reinstate the cuts. On Sept. 30, the state's Medicaid agency notified clinics and health centers that it will recover fees it paid for dental, podiatry and chiropractic services between October 2010 and May 2011, the period covered by th [Read more]
New ADHD guidelines lower age of diagnosis
New guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics expands the age at which children can be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The recommendations also encourage physicians to partner with parents, teachers and mental health specialists when creating a treatment plan for these patients. The guidelines, published online Oct. 16 in Pediatrics, recommend that physicians evaluate children age 4 to 18 for ADHD if they have academic or behavioral problems and symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity. That marks a shift from AAP guidance issued in 2000 and 2001, which called for assessments for the neurobehavioral disorder in children age 6 to 12. "Treating children at a young age is important, because when we can identify them earlier and provide appropriate treatment, we can increase their chances of succeeding in school," said Mark Wolraich, MD, chair of the subcommittee that wrote the guidelines and professor of pediatrics at the University of Ok [Read more]
Medical liability concerns drive hospital admission decisions
Medical liability is a key reason physicians admit more emergency department patients and discharge them less, say two studies in the October Annals of Emergency Medicine. In one study, a survey of 849 emergency physicians and patients in two inner-city emergency departments found that 11% of physicians reported "medico-legal" concerns as a primary driver for admitting patients with potential acute coronary syndrome. In another study, researchers compared admission rates for congestive heart failure patients in 27 emergency departments in New Jersey and New York between 1996 and 2010. The percentage of such patients discharged from EDs dropped from 24% to 9%. Concerns about medical liability probably were the reason behind the decreased discharges, study authors said. The findings show that doctors consider factors other than patients' health when making admission choices, said co-author of the coronary study David Newman, MD, an emergency physician and director of clinical [Read more]
Increase in 2012 Medicare premiums will be less than expected
Washington -- Patient fees under the Medicare program for 2012 will be restrained by lower utilization rates of physician and other health services, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials. The lower-than-expected utilization means Medicare outpatient premiums will rise more modestly in 2012, CMS announced Oct. 27. Standard Part B premiums had been projected to increase to $106.60 a month, but instead will rise to $99.90 next year. The standard premium is $96.40 in 2011. Standard premiums are set so that they cover 25% of projected Medicare costs. Higher-income seniors pay higher premium amounts based on a sliding scale. At the same time, the Medicare Part B deductible will decrease to $140 in 2012 from $166 in 2011. The deductible is set by Medicare law to reflect one-half of the total estimated per-enrollee cost of benefits and administrative expenses. The calculations also assume that Congress will override a nearly 30% cut to Medicare physician pay [Read more]
Detailed disclosures would clarify financial links between doctors and industry
Clear, specific requirements for what needs to be disclosed when physicians have relationships with medical device and pharmaceutical manufactures will be essential to evaluating conflicts of interest inherent to such relationships, a study concludes. Researchers examined data from a Dept. of Justice settlement with the five largest joint implant manufacturers and found complex payment patterns to orthopedic surgeons. The settlement required the companies to release details on the number of orthopedic surgeons receiving payments, the size of the payments, the aggregate dollar amount and the proportion going to academically affiliated orthopedic surgeons in 2007 and 2008. Study authors said the number of orthopedic surgeons receiving payments declined substantially after disclosure was required under the settlement in 2007: 526 received payments in 2008, down from 939 in 2007. For three firms that continued to report in 2009 and 2010, the numbers began to rise again, but not to wh [Read more]
Massachusetts struggles with cost control after reducing uninsured
Health system reforms in Massachusetts may have reduced its uninsured population to the smallest of any state, but the effort has not controlled growth in health care costs -- at least not yet. Five years after Massachusetts launched its groundbreaking health reform initiative, health care costs continue to grow, emergency department visits have increased, and many more residents have high-deductible health plans, according to a critique released on Oct. 25 by Physicians for a National Health Program, an advocacy group with 18,000 members who support a single-payer health system. These trends could become a national story under the health system reform law, which largely was based on Massachusetts' reforms, Benjamin Day said. He is the report's lead author and executive director of "Mass-Care: The Massachusetts Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care." The state's health insurance exchange offers health plans with income-based subsidies, while a Medicaid expansion covers virtually [Read more]
170 million shots available for flu season
Washington -- Health professionals say now is the time to get vaccinated for the 2011-12 influenza season, and they are attempting to lead by example. Federal officials and physicians rolled up their sleeves for flu shots and waved immunization records proving they've been vaccinated during a Sept. 21 news conference to promote the vaccine at the start of the 2011-12 flu season. A majority of Americans are expected to receive the vaccine, with about 170 million doses set to be available this season, officials said. An estimated 123.3 million received the vaccine during the last flu cycle. The vaccine contains the same three strains as in the previous season's vaccine, but nearly everyone is being encouraged to be vaccinated again before flu activity starts increasing in October. Studies have shown that a vaccine's effectiveness wanes over time, said Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is a great time to get vaccinated -- t [Read more]
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