In the News This Week

The first two deaths from flu in North Carolina in the 2012-13 flu season have been reported, state health officials said. WSOCTV, November 29, 2012. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said both victims were adults from the Triad region. One was at a higher risk for complications from the flu because of advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions, but the other had no known risk factors for severe flu illness. Neither had received the flu vaccine, officials said.

FDA approves first seasonal influenza vaccine manufactured using cell culture technology, FDA Press Release, November 20, 2012. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today the approval of Flucelvax, the first seasonal influenza vaccine licensed in the United States produced using cultured animal cells, instead of fertilized chicken eggs. Flucelvax is approved to prevent seasonal influenza in people ages 18 years and older.

 HHS Releases Proposed Rules On Essential Health Benefits, Other Key Parts Of Health Law, Kaiser Health News, November 20, 2012. The Obama Administration recently released some much anticipated rules that will govern the types of benefits insurers must offer in policies sold after 2014 and rules on how they can design wellness programs.

 NC report analyzes child health in 15 areas Associated Press, November 26, 2012. North Carolina’s 2.3 million children are falling behind in some important benchmarks for health, such as the poverty rate, but they’re improving in other areas, including the number who have insurance, according to a report by the NC Institute of Medicine and Action for Children.

Study Links Online Patient Access to Clinicians and Medical Records With Use of Clinical Services, JAMA, November 21, 2012. Having online access to medical records and clinicians was associated with increased use of clinical services compared with group members who did not have online access.

Companies go surgery shopping, Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2012. Staff writer, Chad Terhune reports that a growing number of employers are showering workers with generous incentives — including waiving deductibles or handing out $2,500 bonuses — to steer them to top-performing providers offering bargain prices.

EHR use climbs among primary care physicians, yet challenges remain, PhysBizTech, November 15, 2012. Editor Bernie Monegain reports that 69 percent of U.S. primary care physicians reported using electronic medical records in 2012 – up from 46 percent in 2009, according to findings from the 2012 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy survey.





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