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Still No Relief in Sight for Long-Term Needs
New York Times

The law that many Americans had hoped would transform the nation’s dysfunctional system of long-term care for the swelling ranks of people with disabilities and dementia quietly died this month, a victim of its own weaknesses, a toxic political environment and President Obama’s re-election campaign focus on jobs. Its demise came as an intense disappointment to people like Alison Briolat, a chemist for a pharmaceutical company, whose family is staggering under the burdens of caring for her bedridden parents.

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Primary-care project set to launch
Modern Healthcare

The CMS on Monday announced that 500 community health centers have been selected to participate in a three-year, advanced primary-care model demonstration project that will begin Nov.

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GAO: Quality of healthcare price data varies widely
Modern Healthcare

The quality of data on the cost of healthcare services available through private and public transparency initiatives varies greatly, usually because of legal and technical obstacles erected by assorted healthcare entities, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The report, based on an analysis of eight government and private initiatives that provide healthcare price information to consumers before they receive care, sought to gain insight into the obstacles to greater price transparency.

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Evidence-Based Practices Are Resulting in Fewer Pressure Ulcers for Patients in California Hospitals
PR Newswire

Pressure ulcers – also known as bed sores – are among the five most common types of healthcare-acquired conditions experienced by hospitalized patients. But efforts underway at hospitals across California are showing dramatic results in the prevention of these skin lesions. White Memorial Medical Center/Adventist Health in Los Angeles and hospitals within Northern California’s Sutter Health network are among the many hospitals leading the way toward reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers.

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Insurers, employers offer incentives to promote healthful habits
Los Angeles Times

American Express Co. paid thousands of employees to exercise this summer, giving each $200 toward their healthcare expenses simply for walking 21/2 miles a day.

Health insurance giant Humana Inc. has begun offering camping gear, cameras and even hotel rooms in the Caribbean to customers who see the doctor and undergo tests for blood pressure and cholesterol.

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Children’s Hospital, CEO agree to part ways
Fresno Bee

Dr. Gordon Alexander, chief executive officer at Children’s Hospital Central California, is leaving the organization. The hospital, in a brief press release issued Monday, said Alexander and the board of trustees “mutually agreed to end their association effective November 15, 2011.” “We are very thankful for Dr. Alexander’s contributions, dedication and loyalty to the hospital,” said Jeff Mayer, chairman of the board of trustees. “And we wish him all the success in his future endeavors.”

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ACO Final Rule: 10 Healthcare Leaders Sound Off
Health Leaders Media

Healthcare leaders have been waiting since March 31 for the final rules governing accountable care organizations to be finalized. And many of them feared the worst, given the provisions in the proposed set of rules.

While the final regulations released last Thursday allow numerous concessions and dangle many carrots to woo providers, many healthcare leaders still have serious concerns.

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Concord hospital district trying to resuscitate self
The Mercury News

An obscure Central Contra Costa County public health district with no hospital, declining tax revenue and rising costs is trying to avert extermination. With a dissolution vote likely to take place early next year, the embattled Mt. Diablo Health Care District has in the past two months retained an attorney, handed out tens of thousands of dollars in grants and voted to hire its first-ever general manager.

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CDC announces push to prevent infections in cancer patients
Modern Healthcare

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has unveiled a new program created to help prevent infections among cancer patients. As part of the initiative, the CDC introduced an interactive website and a 21-page prevention plan for use in outpatient oncology centers. “Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy often have weak immune systems and need to be kept safe against germs,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC (PDF), in a news release.

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Medical school applications hit new record, enrollment up 3%, AAMC finds
Modern Healthcare

U.S. medical schools officials saw a record number of applicants in 2011, with applicant ranks increasing by 1,178, or 2.8%, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The Washington-based AAMC on Monday released its annual report on medical school applications and enrollment (PDF). A total of 43,919 individuals applied to U.S. medical schools in 2011, including 32,654 first-time applicants, according to the AAMC. First-year enrollment grew by 3% to 19,230, up from 18,665 in 2010.

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Study shows link between HPV and heart disease
USA Today

Cancer-causing strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) may increase a woman’s odds for heart disease, even if she doesn’t have any of the recognized cardiovascular risk factors, a new study suggests. It’s the first investigation of a possible link between heart disease and HPV, which is one of the most common sexually transmitted pathogens in the United States and already well known for causing cervical cancers and other malignancies. Vaccines do exist that guard against HPV.

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Health insurance expenses continue to rise, but wellness programs can help cut consumer costs
Washington Post

Signing up for health insurance during your company’s annual enrollment period, which for many plans is right now, may feel like taking a nasty dose of medicine: You know it’s good for you, but it sure doesn’t go down easy.

On the plus side, nearly two-thirds of companies are still offering health insurance to their employees, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey of employer health benefits. That’s worth a lot.

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Systems study med-mal self-insurance
Modern Healthcare

As the trend toward physician employment by hospitals continues to heat up, more healthcare systems are weighing the benefits and costs of providing malpractice coverage for doctors through in-house self-insurance plans.

An annual analysis of medical malpractice trends conducted jointly by risk-management firm Aon and the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management finds that doctors insured by hospital-employers tend to have lower overall liability loss rates compared to their peers on commercial malpractice plans.

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Patient Engagement Takes Physician Leadership
Health Leaders Media

It is easy to say that patients are at the center of healthcare, but a difficult challenge facing healthcare leaders centers on the question of responsibility for the patients’ care. Some providers are evaluating the patients’ role, moving ahead with commitment and resources to help educate them as to their central place in healthcare and what that is all about. Others are still struggling to understand the impact of patient-centered approaches.

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CDC looks to take hospital ambulatory-care survey online
Modern Healthcare

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to collect data for the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey electronically rather than via paper questionnaires, according to a notice published in Monday’s Federal Register (PDF). Since 1992, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has collected information for the annual survey about ambulatory medical-care services in the U.S. at physicians’ offices, hospital outpatient and emergency departments, and ambulatory surgery centers.

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