In The News

How Mississippi Could End Up Killing Medicaid, 6-13-13, Washington Post  

Sandhya Somashekhar reports the fight over expanding Medicaid has gotten ugly, and the latest state to grab the spotlight is Mississippi, where a standoff in the legislature is pushing the state toward a cliff. Without a last-minute agreement, Medicaid may cease altogether there on July 1.

Revamp ACO Rules to Improve Chronic Care, Wyden Urges, 6-13-13, Modern HealthCare

Jessica Zigmond and Melanie Evans report a leading proponent of Medicare reform on Capitol Hill says Congress should change the accountable care program to make sure ACOs are improving care for the sickest patients.

Numbers Game, 6-15-13, Modern HealthCare

Ashok Selvam reports it’s all about numbers as hospitals, physician practices and health plans move forward with preparations to meet next year’s federally mandated switch from the current 36-year-old system of coding for diseases, diagnoses and clinical procedures to a new, more comprehensive standard. It’s not just the right code sets, but the right skill sets.

Patients Lead the Way as Medicine Grapples with Apps, 6-18-13, Kaiser Health News

Martha Bebinger reports health apps are turning smartphones and tablets into exercise aides, blood pressure monitors and devices that transmit an EKG. And the day is not far off when doctors may be suggesting apps along with prescribing drugs to help patients manage their health.

Layoffs Follow Contract Loss at HP Unit, 6-18-13, Herald Sun  

Laura Oleniacz reports the layoff of 147 employees from a Hewlett Packard Co. business in Wake County follows the termination of a contract between the company and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services for management of a Medicaid claims system.

Medical Group Recognizes Obesity as a Disease, 6-19-13, USA Today  

Nanci Hellmich reports the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physician organization, decided Tuesday to recognize obesity as a disease that requires a range of medical interventions for treatment and prevention.

HPV Vaccine Is Credited in fall of Teenagers’ Infection Rate, 6-19-13, New York Times

Sabrina Tavernise reports the prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus has dropped by half among teenage girls in recent years, a striking measure of success for a vaccine against the virus that was introduced only in 2006.

Slower Growth in Obesity Rate Could be Sign Policies are Working, 6-19-13, Modern HealthCare  

Rich Daly reports even though obesity is still rising, it is doing so at a slower pace, which some experts say may be a sign people are finally responding to a smattering of policy initiatives and an outpouring of national concern about its long-term impact on healthcare spending.

Investigation Follows Trail of a Virus in Hospitals, 6-19-13, New York Times  

Denis e Grady reports a detailed investigation of the viral illness first detected last year in Saudi Arabia has revealed the chilling ease with which the virus can spread to ill patients in the hospital.

New End-of-Life Measure Quietly Sweeps the Nation, 6-20-13, The Pew  

Michael Ollove reports a new end-of-life document, more explicit and binding than a DNR and advanced directives, is designed to clarify patients’ wishes and desires as death closes in.

Cone Health to Lay Off 150 Workers, 6-20-13, News & Record  

Richard M. Barron reports Cone Health said it plans to lay off 150 workers to help cut $30 million from its annual budget. Cone will eliminate a total of 300 jobs — 150 of which are currently vacant — over the next three months.

With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny, 6-21-13, NPR  

Julie Rovner reports there are less than 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.


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