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Autism patients lose access to key services after high school
After young adults with autism spectrum disorder leave high school, the number who receive speech therapy and other services they had in school declines significantly, a new study shows. Just 9% receive speech therapy, 24% get medical services, 35% access mental health services and 42% have case management services, according to an article in the February Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/165/2/141). Overall, 40% of those age 19 to 23 do not receive any of those services. Researchers analyzed data about 410 young adults nationwide whose families were surveyed between April 2007 and February 2008. The information is part of a larger 10-year prospective study that independent, nonprofit research group SRI International is conducting for the Dept. of Education. "It was not a surprise that families were losing services ... but we were surprised at the dramatic drop off in speech therapy," said Paul T. Shattuck, PhD, a study [Read more]
Doctor faces discipline for shielding patient records in 10-year case
A physician who refused to release records without patient consent during a medical board investigation finally might receive his formal punishment from the board -- 10 years after it was proposed. In a 4-3 vote, the Court of Appeals of Maryland reversed a lower court decision, reinstating a reprimand and a $5,000 fine by the board against Bethesda, Md., psychiatrist Harold I. Eist, MD. The decision stems from years of litigation, including five challenges in which lower court judges dismissed charges against Dr. Eist and ruled that the board did not have unfettered access to patient records. In its Jan. 21 ruling, the appeals court said Dr. Eist should have pursued judicial action during the investigation if he believed releasing patient files to the Maryland Board of Physicians violated patient privacy. In 2001, the medical board requested medical records from Dr. Eist as it investigated claims by a patient's husband that the doctor overmedicated his wife and children. Dr. E [Read more]
More Medicare patients to learn about their rights to complain
Washington -- More Medicare beneficiaries are set to receive information about where they can lodge quality-of-care complaints under a rule proposed recently by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Hospitals that provide inpatient care to Medicare enrollees are required to give written notice to those patients about their rights to complain about the care they receive. Those concerns are referred to Medicare quality improvement organizations, contractors that operate in every state. Under the proposed expansion of this policy, more care settings would be subject to the QIO referral requirements. They are: * Ambulatory surgical centers. * Clinics, rehabilitation agencies and public health agencies that provide outpatient physical therapy and speech-language-pathology services. * Comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities. * Critical access hospitals. * Federally qualified health centers. * Home health agencies. * Hospices. [Read more]
After spate of closures, retail clinics may be on upswing
After a year of retail clinic closures nearly matching the number of openings, 2011 may be the start of a rebound for the retail clinic market that will continue through 2015. Tom Charland, CEO of Merchant Medicine, a retail clinic consultancy firm in Shoreview, Minn., published a report in January stating that the number of retail clinics could grow from 1,220 to more than 3,300 by 2015. But more likely, he predicted, the growth will average out to around 200 new clinics a year, for a 2015 total of nearly 2,300. Charland publishes a monthly market report on the retail clinic industry and a yearly market prediction report that follows a symposium of retail clinic operators. He said operators have cited health system reform and a shortage of primary physicians as reasons to expand, but he added that they might not increase clinic traffic as much as companies think. MinuteClinic announced after the health system reform law was enacted in 2010 that it planned to double the num [Read more]
House GOP slashes research, health reform funding
Washington -- The House voted early Feb. 19 to cut more than $60 billion in federal spending for the remainder of fiscal 2011, including part of the funding designated to implement the national health system reform law. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 235-189. Republicans held fast to their promises to reduce federal spending for the fiscal year, which must be resolved before Congress can start considering spending measures for fiscal 2012, which begins Oct. 1. Under a resolution enacted late last year, the federal government is funded at fiscal 2010 levels only through March 4. The measure would reduce funding for the National Institutes of Health by 5.2% and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by 21%, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "Because of past federal investments, we are on the verge of making unprecedented progress in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer in this country," said Christopher W. Hansen, the n [Read more]
Varicella vaccine much more effective with 2 doses
Two doses of varicella vaccine significantly reduce patients' risk of getting chickenpox, according to a new study. The study, published in the Feb. 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, found that children who received two doses of the vaccine were 95% less likely to develop the condition than those who got a single dose (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21208922/). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending vaccinating children against varicella in 1995. The CDC added a second dose to the recommendation in June 2006 for children who never got chickenpox. Physicians should administer the first dose between ages 12 months to 15 months, according to the CDC. The second dose should be given to children ages 4 to 6. "When the vaccine was first approved as a one-dose regimen, it was pretty effective. ... But over a longer period of time, it didn't prevent" cases of breakthrough varicella, said lead study author Eugene D. Shapiro, MD. Breakthrough vari [Read more]
Men, chronically ill embrace virtual medical visits
Men and chronically ill patients are the most likely to support remote monitoring and virtual visits as part of their health care. But a large majority of the public is at least willing to give it a try, according to a new survey. Euro RSCG Tonic, the New York-based consumer health and wellness arm of the marketing and communications firm Euro RSCG, conducted an Internet survey of 1,000 adults in mid-November 2010, and found that nearly half are receptive to virtual visits to save time and money, and 78% would be willing to give it a shot. Twenty-three percent said they would never consider a remote visit with a doctor. The groups most favorable to virtual care are men (58%) and the chronically ill (84%). Men like the idea of using technology to keep in touch with their physicians, said Kate Gill, director of strategic planning for Euro RSCG Tonic. And people with a chronic condition like the idea of staying in constant communication with their physicians and receiving regular [Read more]
Updated guidelines urge routine bone density tests
More women should undergo routine bone density tests, according to updated U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations for osteoporosis screening published online Jan. 17 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The revision expands recommended screening to women younger than 65 whose fracture risk is deemed equal to or greater than that of an average 65-year-old white woman, since white women are more prone to the disease than those of other ethnic groups. The task force has recommended routine screening for women 65 and older and high-risk patients 60 and older since 2002. But research showed that there are some post-menopausal women younger than 60 at similar risk for osteoporosis as their older peers, said Ned Calonge, MD, MPH, task force chair and president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Trust, a foundation aimed at improving health care access in Colorado. "That expansion is one thing we thought would be really important," said Dr. Calonge, a family and p [Read more]
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