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American adolescents turn to ethnically-linked alternative tobacco products like hookahs

American adolescents turn to ethnically-linked alternative tobacco products like hookahs

While cigarette use is declining precipitously among youth, evidence indicates that American adolescents are turning to ethnically-linked alternative tobacco products, such as hookahs, cigars, and various smokeless tobacco products, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [More]
Higher socioeconomic status associated with higher rates of hookah use

Higher socioeconomic status associated with higher rates of hookah use

While cigarette use is declining precipitously among youth, evidence indicates that American adolescents are turning to ethnically-linked alternative tobacco products, such as hookahs, cigars, and various smokeless tobacco products, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [More]
Group that once supported healthier school lunches has about-face

Group that once supported healthier school lunches has about-face

The School Nutrition Association now says the new rules are too costly. Meanwhile, NPR looks at the difficulties for employers to deal with workers' weight problems and the increasing number of obese seniors. [More]

Justices rule home health care aides can't be forced to pay union dues

The high court's ruling will make it more difficult for unions in some states to continue organizing the aides, a rapidly growing segment of the workforce. [More]
ARC Healthcare to continue payment of monthly distributions at $0.68 per share

ARC Healthcare to continue payment of monthly distributions at $0.68 per share

American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust, Inc. ("ARC Healthcare") announced today that, pursuant to the prior authorization of its board of directors, ARC Healthcare intends to continue payment of monthly distributions at an annualized rate of $0.68 per share. [More]
New project to examine risk of sex assault for women who attend mass gatherings

New project to examine risk of sex assault for women who attend mass gatherings

Nearly one quarter of women are likely to be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. Now, a new project funded by Women's College Research Institute will examine the risk of sex assault for women who attend mass gatherings like concerts or sporting events. [More]
Study proposes moving open enrollment season

Study proposes moving open enrollment season

Researchers suggest consumers are not willing to spend money on insurance in the busy fall season as they plan for the holidays so sign-ups in the spring after tax returns are received might be better. Also, a look at consumers' reluctance to shop for insurance [More]

PHS implements new program to sell franchises

Preferred HealthStaff (PHS), a family-owned and operated company built on the idea of providing assistance and care to those in need or want of services, announced today that it was implementing a new program to sell franchises, beginning their expansion efforts in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware, then going nationwide. [More]
State highlights: L.A. County to trim new hire retiree benefits; lapses in state education for those with disabilities

State highlights: L.A. County to trim new hire retiree benefits; lapses in state education for those with disabilities

Los Angeles County supervisors finalized reforms to health benefits for future employees Tuesday, in a move that is projected to save the county as much as $840 million over the next 30 years. Retiree health benefits became a sticking point in contentious labor negotiations last year. Although not technically part of the contract talks, unions objected to the proposal to reduce retiree benefits (Sewell, 6/24). [More]
Molecule that blocks bone destruction could provide potential therapeutic target for osteoporosis

Molecule that blocks bone destruction could provide potential therapeutic target for osteoporosis

UT-Southwestern cancer researchers have identified a promising molecule that blocks bone destruction and, therefore, could provide a potential therapeutic target for osteoporosis and bone metastases of cancer. [More]
House approves trauma care programs, newborn screening changes

House approves trauma care programs, newborn screening changes

The House on Tuesday passed legislation by voice vote to reauthorize trauma care programs. Traumatic injury is the top cause of death for people under age 45, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One of the bills, H.R. 4080, would reauthorize Trauma Care System Planning Grants to boost access to trauma care through fiscal 2019 (Marcos, 6/24). [More]
Where you go when you survive but don't recover

Where you go when you survive but don't recover

The number of critically ill patients in the nation's long-term acute care hospitals has more than tripled in the past decade to 380,000, many of them sustained by respirators and feeding tubes, reports The New York Times. Meanwhile, MinnPost examines services for rural seniors who live at home. [More]
Viewpoints: Overlooked costs for insurers; Medicaid disparities; dropping doctors from Medicare Advantage

Viewpoints: Overlooked costs for insurers; Medicaid disparities; dropping doctors from Medicare Advantage

In a Think Tank post Thursday, I wrote about how insurers deciding to participate next year in the health exchanges established under Obamacare could be expecting funds that the federal government may not have legal authority to disburse. But that's not the only potential pitfall for carriers: They could also end up on the hook for payment reductions caused by sequestration (Chris Jacobs, 6/23). [More]
Long-term care for soaring numbers of people with dementia need to be improved, says new RAND study

Long-term care for soaring numbers of people with dementia need to be improved, says new RAND study

As millions of Americans struggle to help loved ones with dementia, policymakers should consider more ways to improve long-term services and supports for the soaring numbers of people with the debilitating condition and their caregivers, a new RAND Corporation study says -- and it offers possible ways to do so. [More]
Research roundup: Improving colon cancer screening; disparities in heart care; Medicaid expansion's effect on cities

Research roundup: Improving colon cancer screening; disparities in heart care; Medicaid expansion's effect on cities

This report estimated the effect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on 14 large and diverse cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Columbus, Charlotte, Detroit, Memphis, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, and Miami. [More]
State highlights: N.Y. lawmakers deal on heroin abuse; N.Y. birth control discrimination bill; nursing home costs in Mich.

State highlights: N.Y. lawmakers deal on heroin abuse; N.Y. birth control discrimination bill; nursing home costs in Mich.

A selection of health policy stories from New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, California, Texas, Washington state, Missouri, Massachusetts and Colorado. [More]
State highlights: Illinois Medicaid digital shift delayed; N.C. hospitals fight cuts; heroin in New England

State highlights: Illinois Medicaid digital shift delayed; N.C. hospitals fight cuts; heroin in New England

Alexian Brothers Health System is suspending its effort to launch a new Medicaid program, blaming the difficulty of connecting physicians using different electronic records systems. The Arlington Heights, Ill.-based health system was spearheading a so-called accountable care entity (ACE) to coordinate the care of about 46,000 patients on Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled. The ACEs are a form of managed care, one of Gov. Pat Quinn's initiatives to focus on preventative treatment to keep patients healthy and reduce health care costs (Schorsch, 6/17). [More]
Fireworks, public transportation, construction sites can induce hearing loss

Fireworks, public transportation, construction sites can induce hearing loss

Summer sounds include much more than crickets chirping. Outdoor concerts, parades, 4th of July fireworks, public transportation and construction sites all have one thing in common. [More]
Medicare faces cost tension with lawmakers, advocates

Medicare faces cost tension with lawmakers, advocates

More than 130 lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to expand coverage for a lung-cancer test under Medicare that could cost the program billons, calling the screening important for vulnerable seniors. In a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the lawmakers called for a timely decision on coverage for low-dose CT scans for older patients at higher risk of developing lung cancer. ... A CMS spokesman said the agency's decision will be based on whether the test is "reasonable and necessary," without regard to its cost to Medicare (Yen, 6/17). [More]
Counseling, medication management by pharmacist can lower hospital readmissions

Counseling, medication management by pharmacist can lower hospital readmissions

Getting discharged from the hospital and then having to go right back in again can be emotionally draining for a patient and their family. It can also cause financial strain for all involved - the patient, the hospital system and the insurers-including Medicaid and Medicare, which are taxpayer funded. [More]