‘Bag of Pills’: Is It Necessary? Fewer medications is an achievable goal

MedPage Today by Joyce Frieden   News Editor, MedPage Today  WASHINGTON — Polypharmacy is a difficult problem for many physicians who treat older patients, but there are steps they can take to cut down on their patients’ medications,Amit Shah, MD, said here at the American College of Physicians annual meeting.

“I do a lot of medical student and resident teaching, and whenever I teach this topic, I like to say, ‘As a geriatrician, I have cured more disease by stopping medications than starting them,'” said Shah, who is at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. “It’s a bit of an overstatement but it gets people’s attention” because they never thought about fixing problems by taking medications away rather than adding things on.”  Read More

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Now There’s Proof: Docs Who Get Company Cash Tend to Prescribe More Brand-Name Meds

This story was co-published with NPR, the Boston Globe and the Tampa Bay Times.  Doctors have long disputed that the payments they receive from pharmaceutical companies have any relationship to how they prescribe drugs.

A ProPublica analysis has found for the first time that doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed tend to prescribe drugs differently than their colleagues who don’t. And the more money they receive, on average, the more brand-name medications they prescribe.  Read more

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Let’s involve Connecticut patients in reducing medical errors

Lisa Freeman

March 13 through 18 is National Patient Safety Awareness Week.

As I sit here, thinking of what to write, stories of the people who have reached out to the CT Center for Patient Safety over the years are streaming through my mind.  I am remembering the story of an infant whose high bilirubin level was not treated after birth and who suffered from kernicterus and now lives with severe complications of cerebral palsy; the story of the young mom who died sitting next to her 4-year-old after getting an allergy shot at the doctor’s office and going into anaphylactic shock. They didn’t have IV epinephrine to help her.  Read more

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Want to know about medical mistakes? Talk to the parents.

As someone who has spent quite a bit of time as a visitor at a hospital recently, it quickly struck me just how many doctors, nurses, assistants, orderlies, therapists and nutritionists eventually become involved in a complex case. One is barely gone before another pops through the doorway, each on his or her own mission. And despite the sea of records, their need for information and updates is constant — each typically knows part of the patient’s story, rarely the whole.  Read more

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Number of hospital accidents not getting any better

Watch Jean Rexford’s  February 10th interview with Eric Parker,WFSB’s iTeam Investigative reporter. The discussion centered on the recently released CT Adverse Event report which addressed a total of 471 reports of adverse events in Connecticut 2014. Included are 15 wrong site surgeries, 4 wrong surgical procedures performed and 24 instances of foreing objects being left in the patient after surgery amongst many others. In the published report this year is a new section, “a patient-initiated voluntary online survey of adverse medical events: the perspective of 696 injured patients and families,” bringing the patient voice into the report. The CT State report can be seen at: http://www.wfsb.com/l…/762860/quality-in-health-care-program.

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Rory’s Story: Person-Centered Care Must be our Goal

On December 2nd I presented the keynote speech at the Hartford Business Journal Health Care Heroes Award Luncheon. The subject was patient-centered care, a topic that I am very passionate about. Following that presentation, I was asked by the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut to write a guest blog for them based on my presentation.  By following this link, you can read my guest blog on person-centered care, based on my own, and others experiences in our healthcare system.  Read more

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Bill Ensures Meds And Devices Won’t Be Adequately Tested

November 22, 2015  7:00 AM  |  SUSAN F. WOOD and DIANA ZUCKERMAN  |  Hartford Courant  |  Precision medicine is the next big thing in health care, and it’s also one of the few health goals that Congress and the White House agree on. But while we await treatments targeting the precise genetic makeups of individuals and diseases, medical researchers still are not paying enough attention to the most important kinds of differences among patients: those of sex, age and race.  Read more
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1,800 hospitals will see value-based purchasing bonuses in fiscal 2016

Modern Healthcare  By Virgil Dickson  | October 26, 2015

Medicare will reward more hospitals than it will penalize in fiscal 2016 under its value-based purchasing program, the CMS said Monday.About 1,800 hospitals will see positive payment adjustments the CMS said. The changes in base DRG payments will be very small—between -0.4% and 0.4%, for about half of the more than 3,000 hospitals that are subject to the program.

Under the value-based purchasing program, the CMS imposed an across-the-board 1.75% reduction in Medicare payments (up from 1.5% for fiscal 2015) for most inpatient acute-care hospitals. The reduction created a budget-neutral bonus pool of about $1.5 billion to reward hospitals that perform well on certain metrics and patient surveys. The hospitals that performed the worst won’t see any of the reduction restored.  Read more

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Marketplace Customers Could See Higher Premiums, No Coverage For Out-Of-Network Care

Kaiser Health News By Michelle Andrews

When the health insurance marketplaces open on Sunday, consumers shopping for 2016 coverage may encounter steeper premium increases than last year and more plans that offer no out-of-network coverage.

open enrollment 570According to an analysis released Monday evening by the Health and Human Services Department, the cost of the second-lowest silver plan in states using the federal marketplace will rise an average of 7.5 percent for 2016 coverage. Silver plans are the most popular type of marketplace plan. They pay 70 percent of medical costs, on average, leaving consumers to cover 30 percent. And premium tax credits that are available to people with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level — about $47,000 for one person — are benchmarked to the second-cheapest silver plan.  Read more

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CMS updates hospital results for consumers

CMS reports these outcomes for patients who are admitted to the hospital for a heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery, and for total elective hip and knee replacement. CMS also The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) updated hospital performance results on its consumer-oriented Hospital Compare website (www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html).

One of CMS’s goals is to improve health care for patients. CMS evaluates hospital quality of care and gives incentives to hospitals to make improvements that can impact patients’ wellbeing. Continue reading

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