National health spending grew slowly for the fourth consecutive year, increasing 3.7 percent in 2012 to $2.8 trillion, the federal government said. But officials disagreed over whether the Affordable Care Act or lingering effects of the recession were primarily responsible for the remarkable trend.
Reform Update: Systems Saying They’re Being Flooded with Calls from Newly Insured Patients, Modern Healthcare, 1/6/14
Beth Kutcher reports that health systems are reporting a flood of phone calls as newly insured patients start seeking care.
Women’s Health Editor’s Choice: Top Stories of 2013, NEJM Journal Watch, 12/26/13
Women’s Health Editor, Andrew Kaunitz, MD, highlights 10 top stories from 2013 including lowering cesarean delivery rates, advantages of long-acting reversible contraceptives (notably, intrauterine contraception), safety of transdermal estrogen for menopausal hormone therapy, and the first nonhormonal medication approved for vasomotor symptoms.
WakeMed, Duke Approved By Medicare For Profit-Sharing Programs, Raleigh News & Observer, 12/23/13
John Murawski writes that two hospital systems in the Triangle received the go-ahead from Medicare authorities to launch an intensive health management program that will give the hospitals a financial incentive to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and medical services. NCMS President Dev Sangvai, MD, MBA, associate chief medical officer for Duke who will serve as executive director for the Duke Connected Care program, is quoted in the story.
E.R. Costs for Mentally Ill Soar, and Hospitals Seek Better Way, The New York Times, 12/16/13
Reporter Julie Creswell features the Emergency Department at WakeMed in Raleigh in this story about ways to control the treatment costs of mental illness.
New Tests for Brain Trauma Create Hope and Skepticism, The New York Times, 12/26/13
Ken Belson writes that the search for remedies to the long-term cognitive problems associated with concussions and chronic brain trauma has received great attention not only because N.F.L. players are involved, but also because the health of millions of young football players could be at stake. The N.F.L. is spending tens of millions of dollars on research into concussion-related ailments.
Blue Cross Wins Round Two Against Docs, Triangle Business Journal, 12/24/13
Not exactly a hoped-for Christmas gift — Jason DeBruyn reports that the judge ruled against the doctors in round two of the case involving charges for imaging. NCMS CEO Bob Seligson is quoted in the story.
McCrory: Feel fortunate that I did not expand Obamacare, Triangle Business Journal, 12/24/13
In response to renewed calls for a special legislative session to expand Medicaid, Gov. McCrory firmly stands by his original stance not to expand, as Jason DeBruyn writes in this story.
More NC Children Receive the Gift of Health Coverage, Public News Service, 12/23/13
A report by Action for Children North Carolina and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine found that the share of uninsured children has declined by 30 percent in the past five years, to 8.4 percent in 2012.