2 new CBO reports on health care issues

CBO is releasing two volumes that focus on health care issues: Key Issues in Analyzing Major Health Insurance Proposals and Budget Options, Volume 1: Health Care – US’ Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is releasing two volumes that focus on health care issues: Key Issues in Analyzing Major Health Insurance Proposals and Budget Options, Volume 1: Health Care.

Older adults at high risk for drug interactions

Older adults at high risk for drug interactions. More attention needed for non-prescription meds. – At least one in 25 older adults, about 2.2 million people in the United States, take multiple drugs in combinations that can produce a harmful drug-drug interaction, and half of these interactions involve a non-prescription medication, researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center report in the Dec. 24/31, 2008, issue of JAMA.

Nursing homes in US with star quality rating system

US CMS issues historic star quality rating system for nursing homes – For the first time in history, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of US released quality ratings for each of 15,800 nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid.

14 drugs identified for off label use

Researchers have developed a list of 14 widely prescribed medications most urgently in need of additional study to determine how effective and safe they are for their off-label uses. – Physicians and policy-makers know that drugs are frequently prescribed to treat certain diseases despite a lack of FDA approval – a practice known as off-label prescribing. Yet they say the problem is so big they don’t know how to begin tackling it.

Medicare will not pay for extra care

Medicare policy to withhold payments to hospitals that harm patients goes into effect october 1. Non-payment rules seek to spur hospitals to improve patient safety. – New US federal regulations to restrict Medicare payments to hospitals for the extra care required to treat patients harmed by certain preventable infections and medical errors go into effect on Wednesday, October 1.

Palliative care access varies widely in US

Palliative care access varies widely in the US according to new study in the Journal of Palliative Medicine. – There has been rapid growth of new, innovative palliative care consultation services in the US’s hospitals. More than half of the 50-bed or larger hospitals in the U.S. offer palliative care services to ease pain and suffering for seriously ill patients and their families.

Colorectal cancer deaths are down in US

The American College of Gastroenterology is committed to national policy changes to improve access to colorectal screening and increased use of these proven prevention strategies. – New data revealing decreasing trends in cancer deaths in the United States overall, and in colorectal cancer deaths in particular, highlight the remarkable benefits of colorectal cancer screening tests, but the lifesaving potential of these tests is unrealized for many Americans, according to experts from the American College of Gastroenterology.

US improving health care quality

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) takes next step to improve quality in nation’s nursing homes. This is latest in a series of actions to expand information to consumers. – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issuing more information on special focus facilities to better equip beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers to make informed decisions and stimulate robust improvements in nursing homes having not improved their quality of care.

27% lower mortality in top hospitals, finds HealthGrades

Hospital quality gap persists, resulting in 171,424 preventable deaths, according to HealthGrades’ Sixth Annual Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study. – Patients treated at top-rated hospitals in US are nearly one-third less likely to die, on average, than those admitted to all other hospitals, according to a study released by HealthGrades (Nasdaq: HGRD), the leading independent healthcare ratings organization.

Diabetes increasing among older Americans

Diabetes increasing among older Americans

The burden of financing and providing medical care for persons older than 65 in the United States having diagnosed diabetes is growing rapidly as a result of increased incidence and, especially, prevalence of diagnosed diabetes, decreased mortality, and overall lack of improvement in rates of complications in persons having diagnosed diabetes. – The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is growing worldwide. Consequently, there has been increased emphasis on primary and secondary prevention of diabetes. The annual number of Americans older than 65 newly diagnosed with diabetes increased by 23 percent between 1994 to 1995 and 2003 to 2004, according to a report in the January 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

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