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More doctors sought to meet hospice and palliative care demands

The U.S. physician work force is failing to keep pace with increasing demands for hospice and palliative care services as more people live longer with chronic diseases, said the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. From 8,000 to 10,000 physician specialists are needed to meet demands in hospice and palliative care programs nationwide, according to the AAHPM, a professional organization for hospice and palliative medicine physicians. But only 4,500 doctors specialize in the field, and training programs are expected to produce only an additional 4,600 specialists in the next 20 years, the academy said. Physician shortages will worsen with the aging of the population, said AAHPM President Timothy Quill, MD, director of the palliative care program at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “Demand has grown faster than our ability to produce and train specialists,” Dr. Quill said. The number of Americans 65 and older is projected to increase ...

Weight training found to lessen type 2 diabetes risk in men

Physicians should encourage male patients to add moderate weight lifting to their fitness regimens to help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, says the author of a recent Harvard School of Public Health study. Men who do weight training for 30 minutes, five days a week, might be able to reduce their risk of developing the chronic disease by up to 34%, said the study, published online Aug. 6 in Archives of Internal Medicine. But even modest lifting, such as 20 minutes, two or three times a week, can decrease a man’s diabetes risk, said senior study author Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD. “It’s pretty well-established that increasing aerobic exercise is beneficial to diabetes prevention,” said Dr. Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Dept. of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “But no epidemiological studies have looked at weight training and diabetes risk. This study provides some very clear evidence that weight train ...

Tax delinquents still drawing Medicaid pay, GAO reports

Health care professionals who owe significant back taxes for years still are getting paid by Medicaid because of a loophole in the tax laws, the Government Accountability Office concluded in a report issued Aug. 2. GAO investigated known federal tax debts owed by Medicaid health care professionals in Florida, New York and Texas — three states whose Medicaid programs received some of the largest allotments of money from the 2009 federal stimulus package. The agency found that roughly 7,000 were delinquent on nearly $800 million in federal taxes from 2009 or earlier but had been paid a total of more than $6 billion by Medicaid. Because the estimates didn’t include entities that either had under-reported their income or failed to file tax returns, the watchdog agency expects that the amount of unpaid taxes was even higher. The report also profiled 40 Medicaid health care professionals or businesses that had sizable federal tax debts in these states. GAO found that they collectiv ...