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Health Care Reform Driving Physicians Together
California Healthline

When the American Hospital Association recently reported that the number of physicians employed by hospitals rose 34% between 2000 and 2010, it was interesting but not exactly earth-shattering news. In fact, the AHA report was just the latest to show a steady increase in hospital employment of physicians across the last decade. And while the growth rate is noteworthy, the total number of hospital-employed physicians — AHA placed it at about 25% of active physicians — still doesn’t seem that enormous.

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Needed: Health Professionals to Treat the Aging
New York Times

Laura Kaufman no longer treats her patients in a suburban dental office. These days, she cleans teeth, does simple extractions and provides other basic care in the homes of inner-city elderly who are too frail to travel. After a decade of private practice in the Boston area, Ms. Kaufman found that a growing number of her dental patients were older people and that she often had little idea of their complete medical picture.

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Prices of drugs commonly used by elderly rose faster than inflation
Los Angeles Times

The price of drugs widely used by elderly Americans grew by almost double the rate of inflation from 2005 to 2009, according to a new study by the AARP.

The average retail price over the five-year period for the 469 drugs most often used by AARP members grew by 25.6%, compared to the 13.3% rise in inflation over the same period, according to the report.

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Eden Healthcare District supports St. Rose joint-powers proposal
The Mercury News

The Eden Township Healthcare District board of directors has agreed to support a proposal to form a joint-powers authority in an effort to preserve St. Rose Hospital in Hayward. Washington Township Healthcare District board members on Feb. 22 approved the plan committing up to $2 million to work with Alameda County to save St. Rose, which they called a critical safety net.

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Consumer group sues 8 drugmakers over drug coupons
San Francisco Chronicle

Eight major drugmakers are being sued by a consumer coalition claiming the companies’ popular coupon programs, which lower patient co-payments for hundreds of brand-name prescription medicines, are illegal. Community Catalyst alleges the increasingly common coupons appear to save patients money but increase overall health care costs significantly and violate federal bribery laws by concealing information about the payments from health insurance plans.

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Researchers report progress in cancer immunotherapy
Los Angeles Times

In a bid to make cancer immunotherapy more effective, researchers report they have succeeded in halting the progress of aggressive melanoma in its tracks — at least briefly — in seven patients treated with an army of cloned cancer-fighting immune cells. In one of those patients, the treatment resulted in complete remission of his metastatic melanoma and evidence that his immune system stands ready to fight any return of the cancer after three years.

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Study suggests breakthrough in organ transplants
Los Angeles Times

Patients who are lucky enough to get a transplant for a failed organ usually face a lifetime on anti-rejection drugs, which are expensive, dangerous and not always effective.

But in the future, those drugs may not be needed. A new study suggests that patients receiving an organ that’s less than a perfect match can be protected against rejection by a second transplant — this time of the organ donor’s imperfectly matched stem cells.

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About 800,000 in U.S. have Alzheimer’s, live alone
San Francisco Chronicle

Joseph Engh was visiting his father in San Francisco six months ago when he noticed something was wrong. His 89-year-old father, Moy Ng, seemed surlier than usual, and a little forgetful. Ng had developed pneumonia, which had prompted Engh’s visit, so Engh took his father to see his doctor. Ng, it turned out, has Alzheimer’s disease – he might have had it for months or even years.

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FDA weighs over-the-counter switch for key drugs
San Francisco Chronicle

Some of the most widely used prescription drugs, including those to treat cholesterol and high blood pressure, could be available over the counter under a new proposal being weighed by government regulators. Food and Drug Administration officials said Wednesday they are considering waiving prescription requirements for certain drugs used to treat ailments like diabetes, asthma and migraine. Driving the move is a wave of computer technology, including touch-screen kiosks found in pharmacies, designed to help patients self-diagnose common diseases.

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Sonoma Valley voters extend hospital tax
North Bay Business Journal

Voters in Sonoma Valley on Tuesday easily passed a measure that extends for five years a $195 parcel tax that generates $2.8 million annually for the area’s public hospital.

With all precincts reporting, 73.2 percent of voters approved Measure A, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, according to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters. Just more than 10,000 residents took part in the vote, representing a little less than half of the region’s registered voters.

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America Is Stealing the World’s Doctors
New York Times

It was not an unusual death. Kunj Desai, a young doctor in training at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, had seen many that were not so different and were equally needless. Still, this was the one that altered all his plans. “A guy came in, and he had a stab wound,” Desai recalled, “and his intestines got injured.” The operation was delayed, and the wound became infected. “Whatever he was eating would come out of his belly,” Desai said.

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Hospital Groups Will Get Bigger, Moody’s Predicts
New York Times

Responding to changes in health care, big hospital groups are expected to get even bigger.

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Providers Lag Behind Payers, Pharma on Data Exchange
Health Leaders Media

Healthcare providers lag behind the efforts of payers and pharmaceutical/life science companies to exchange data with others, according to a PwC US Health Research Institute report.

“Many providers are focused on using their own data first,” says Daniel Garrett, principal and leader of PwC’s healthcare practice in Philadelphia.

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Estrogen taken alone is linked to lower breast cancer risk
Los Angeles Times

Many women who used estrogen alone as hormone replacement therapy after menopause had a lower risk of developing breast cancer up to five years after they stopped taking it, a study has found.

The research, published Tuesday, adds another twist to the evolving story on whether hormone replacement therapy helps some women beyond treating menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and poor sleep quality.

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Setback reported in research into cancer treatment
USA Today

Scientists are reporting what could be very bad news for efforts to customize cancer treatment based on each person’s genes. They have discovered big differences from place to place in the same tumor as to which genes are active or mutated. They also found differences in the genetics of the main tumor and places where the cancer has spread.

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Program’s transition mired in confusion
HealthyCal.org

California is bungling its planned transition to a less expensive way to care for older adults and disabled people trying to stay out of nursing homes, leaving thousands of vulnerable people at risk of being forced into institutions, critics say. The chaos provides a case study in how the state manages a massive budget cut, and the picture isn’t pretty.

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Feather River Hospital opens brand new ER
Paradise Post

The wait is over. But only early risers were there for the official opening of Feather River Hospital’s new Emergency Department Tuesday morning. At 5 a.m., the emergency department officially opened and at 5:05 a.m. staff saw their first patient, who was moved from the old ER, which was officially closed at 7 a.m. the same day. The wait is over. But only early risers were there for the official opening of Feather River Hospital’s new Emergency Department Tuesday morning. At 5 a.m., the emergency department officially opened and at 5:05 a.m.

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4 Social Media Strategies to Build Patient Loyalty
Health Leaders Media

In order to build relationships and truly connect with members of your community through social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, hospitals are learning that it takes more than simply pushing out a weekly bit of health advice.

Social media can be a great tool for patient education and brand messaging. But to really build loyalty—and possibly even grow market share—hospitals need to engage consumers in two-way conversations.

Blogs

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Stop Lying to Your Doctor
The Health Care Blog

George Washington never met an Oncologist. I know this because of the Cherry Tree story. If our first President had spoken to a cancer doc, then that honesty fable would have been different. Anyone can tell the truth about cutting down a tree. It takes real guts to say to an oncologist, “I cannot tell a lie, I have a problem.” Doctors frighten all of us. No matter how warm and congenial they are, there is always the threat of what they may say.

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What Is the Cause of Excess Costs in US Health Care? Take Two
The Health Care Blog

We’ve discussed it before. Why are costs so much higher in US healthcare compared to other countries? The Washington Post has a pointless article which seems to answer with the tautology costs are high because healthcare in America costs more. How much more? Well, we spend nearly twice as much per capita as the next nearest country while failing to provide universal coverage.

  

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