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Study: Nursing home care quality not associated with risk of hospital readmission or death

Study: Nursing home care quality not associated with risk of hospital readmission or death

Nursing home care quality does not impact the likelihood of patients being readmitted to the hospital or dying within 30 days of discharge from hospital to nursing home, according to a new analysis of Medicare data and nursing home performance measures by Penn Medicine researchers. [More]
PAP therapy reduces 30-day hospital readmission rates in cardiac patients with sleep apnea

PAP therapy reduces 30-day hospital readmission rates in cardiac patients with sleep apnea

A study of hospitalized cardiac patients is the first to show that effective treatment with positive airway pressure therapy reduces 30-day hospital readmission rates and emergency department visits in patients with both heart disease and sleep apnea. [More]
Elsevier announces availability of Mosby's Home Health Care

Elsevier announces availability of Mosby's Home Health Care

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the availability of Mosby's Home Health Care. This resource combines trusted home healthcare nursing content with convenient competency management functionality to provide a single comprehensive resource for home healthcare nurses, nurse educators and other home care professionals. [More]
New study reviews modern treatment modalities for early-stage lung cancer

New study reviews modern treatment modalities for early-stage lung cancer

Removal of the entire lobe of lung may offer patients with early-stage lung cancer better overall survival when compared with a partial resection, and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) may offer the same survival benefit as a lobectomy for some patients, according to a study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. [More]
Federal prescription-subsidy program improves drug adherence in breast cancer patients

Federal prescription-subsidy program improves drug adherence in breast cancer patients

A federal prescription-subsidy program for low-income women on Medicare significantly improved their adherence to hormone therapy to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer after surgery. [More]
State highlights: Ariz. agrees to settlement on health care for prisoners

State highlights: Ariz. agrees to settlement on health care for prisoners

Prop. 46 would make it mandatory for doctors to consult the database. California would become one of nine states requiring doctors to check before prescribing painkillers to first-time patients. After passing similar laws, Tennessee and New York saw a significant reduction in the number of narcotics prescriptions written. Studies have verified the correlation, but acknowledge that drug abusers may be turning to street drugs, like heroin. Many doctors in California like the database. Some have called it 'indispensable.' But they don't like being told how to practice medicine (Dembosky, 10/14). [More]

FTC cracks down on companies selling phony health insurance

The firms sold consumers a discount card but it offered no health insurance benefits. Also in the news, a government researcher says federal officials need to monitor billing errors and overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans. [More]
Viewpoints: Health law opposition not propelling GOP; keep politics out of the fight against Ebola

Viewpoints: Health law opposition not propelling GOP; keep politics out of the fight against Ebola

As recently as April, Obamacare was going to be the silver bullet for Republicans in this year's midterm elections. The leader of conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity said his plan was to make Obamacare "the No. 1 issue in the country." Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared that the law would be "a huge disaster in 2014" and the deciding factor in November. Well, that was then. Now, three weeks from Election Day, some GOP challengers trying to knock off Democratic incumbent senators have scaled back their anti-Obamacare ads in favor of new targets such as the economy and national security (10/13). [More]
CDC re-evaluating safety procedures after nurse contracts Ebola

CDC re-evaluating safety procedures after nurse contracts Ebola

Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announces that the agency will look again at the protocols for hospitals to see if more training or equipment is necessary to protect health care workers and the public. [More]

Group Health's HMO Medicare Advantage plan earns 5-Star rating from CMS

Group Health's HMO Medicare Advantage plan has earned the highest rating available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Group Health is one of only 16 plans in the country to receive this rating for 2015. [More]
Viewpoints: Ebola myths; Sen. McCain's 'opportunistic alarmism'; Gov. Jindal on CDC's misspent resources

Viewpoints: Ebola myths; Sen. McCain's 'opportunistic alarmism'; Gov. Jindal on CDC's misspent resources

Hubris is the greatest danger in wealthy countries -; a sort of smug assumption that advanced technologies and emergency-preparedness plans guarantee that Ebola and other germs will not spread. It was hubris that left Toronto's top hospitals battling SARS in 2003, long after the virus was conquered in poorer Vietnam. It was hubris that led the World Health Assembly in 2013 to cut the WHO's outbreak-response budget in favor of more programs to treat cancer and heart disease. [More]
State highlights: Md., Minn. see small business health insurance rate changes; Texas sues AstraZeneca over Seroquel marketing

State highlights: Md., Minn. see small business health insurance rate changes; Texas sues AstraZeneca over Seroquel marketing

Some small businesses in Maryland will see a small drop in health insurance premiums next year, while others will pay as much as 11 percent more to cover their workers, according to rates released by state regulators Friday. The rates, which go into effect in January, only apply to small firms with up to 50 employees, and not to large or self-insured firms or individuals buying coverage on the state's health insurance exchange. Evergreen Health Cooperative sought no rate increase, and Aetna Health Inc. will raise rates only slightly, according to the rate information released by the Maryland Insurance Administration. Some UnitedHealthcare premiums will drop by about 2.5 percent (Cohn, 10/10). [More]
Nursing home chain agrees to pay $38M to settle government poor care claims

Nursing home chain agrees to pay $38M to settle government poor care claims

Extendicare, which owns 150 nursing homes in 11 states and denied any wrongdoing, was accused of inappropriate billing and providing inadequate care. [More]
Medicare Advantage plans marked by shortcomings

Medicare Advantage plans marked by shortcomings

The New York Times reports that these problem areas include rejection of claims for medical services and limits on prescription drug coverage. News outlets also report on ACOs grades and Medicare Advantage rate shifts. [More]

Medicaid backlogs persist, raising concerns as enrollment season nears

The Wall Street Journal reports that hundreds of thousands of people still don't officially have the Medicaid coverage they signed up for. Some of them began the process in late 2013. In other Medicaid news, debate in Mississippi continues regarding whether the state should pursue the expansion of the health insurance program for low-income and disabled people. [More]
VisionCare's Implantable Miniature Telescope gets FDA approval for treating end-stage AMD

VisionCare's Implantable Miniature Telescope gets FDA approval for treating end-stage AMD

VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc., a developer of advanced visual prosthetic devices for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Implantable Miniature Telescope (by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz) for use in patients living with bilateral end-stage age-related macular degeneration who are age 65 or older. [More]
MiMedx announces record revenue results for Q3 2014, issues updated guidance

MiMedx announces record revenue results for Q3 2014, issues updated guidance

MiMedx Group, Inc., the leading regenerative medicine company utilizing human amniotic tissue and patent-protected processes to develop and market advanced products and therapies for the Wound Care, Surgical, Orthopedic, Spinal, Sports Medicine, Ophthalmic and Dental sectors of healthcare, announced today record revenue results for the third quarter of 2014 and issued updated guidance. [More]
State highlights: Blue Cross Blue Shield dominant in Texas

State highlights: Blue Cross Blue Shield dominant in Texas

A selection of health policy stories from Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut, Georgia, Missouri and New Mexico. [More]
Medicare premium holds steady in 2015

Medicare premium holds steady in 2015

The premium that most older people pay for outpatient, or "Part B," care will stay the same in 2015 -- $104.90 a month, while cost-sharing for hospital and skilled nursing stays will increase slightly, the government announced. [More]

Kindred Healthcare acquires Gentiva

The combined company, based in Louisville, Ky., will be the nation's largest provider of long-term care, hospice and home-health services. [More]