Josh Hicks reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $55.5 million in grants to help bolster a struggling health-care workforce. Most of the money will go toward nursing to provide low-interest educational loans, pay for advanced training and encourage racial and ethnic minorities to enter the profession.
Obama’s claims on death rates and poverty due to a lack of health insurance, 12-06-13, The Washington Post
Glenn Kessler demonstrates that despite the President’s assertions that “millions” of people end up in poverty due to out-of-pocket medical expenses, researched data indicates that the number is actually closer to 700,000, after accounting for the positive effect of government programs.
No, There Won’t Be a Doctor Shortage, 12-05-13, The New York Times
Scott Gottlieb and Ezekiel Emanuel address statements claiming that in just over a decade the United States will need 130,000 more doctors than medical schools are producing. So says the Association of American Medical Colleges, which warns of a doctor shortage that will drive up wait times, shorten office visits and make it harder for Americans to access the care they need.
McCrory: Medicaid reform will be ‘crucial’ in 2014, 12-04-13, Triangle Business Journal
Owen Covingtons speaks with Governor Pat McCrory, who says state Medicaid reform will be crucial in 2014 and that input from doctors and medical practices and hospitals will aid in the process.
Uninsured Americans by State, 11-02-13, Modern Healthcare
A 2013 list of uninsured Americans by state is now available. The list provides state names, number of uninsured, and percentage of the population. Previous years’ listings are also available.
Inside the Race to Rescue a Health Care Site, and Obama, 11-30-13, The New York Times
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael D. Shear point out that though there are improvements in the US government’s health care website, www.healthcare.gov, it still suffers sporadic crashes, and large parts of the vital “back end” that processes enrollment data and transactions with insurers remains unbuilt.
UnitedHealthcare Dropping Hundreds Of Doctors From Medicare Advantage Plans, 12-01-13, Kaiser Health News
Susan Jaffe, in collaboration with USA TODAY, reports on why UHC is dropping hundreds of doctors from Medicare Advantage plans, a move it says is necessary “to meet rising quality standards, slow the increase in health costs and sustain…plans in an era of Medicare Advantage funding cuts.”
Judge’s Medicare Advantage Order Could Have National Impact, 12-06-13, Kaiser Health News
Susan Jaffe reports on a decision that could have national implications – a federal judge in Connecticut has temporarily blocked UnitedHealthcare from dropping an estimated 2,200 physicians from its Medicare Advantage plan in that state.
Featured in NEJM Journal Watch: Just Kidding, OB/GYNs, Go Ahead & Treat Guys, 12-02-13, NEJM Journal Watch
NEJM Journal Watch editors reports that the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology reversed an earlier directive that had threatened loss of board certification for those treating male patients for sexually transmitted diseases or screening them for anal cancers.
Downward Trend in Readmissions Continues, 12-06-13, Modern Healthcare
Maureen McKinney examines data from the CMS that states that the average avoidable readmission rate for Medicare beneficiaries was less than 18% during the first eight months of 2013, which it said reflects hospitals’ improvement efforts and federal initiatives. The CMS said the decrease means an estimated 130,000 fewer hospital readmissions between January 2012 and August 2013.
An effective eye drug is available for $50. But many doctors choose a $2,000 alternative., 12-07-13, The Washington Post
Avastin was not originally intended for use in the eye, and the company has refused encouragement from the FDA to seek official approval for using it to treat eye ailments, according to unpublished internal FDA documents. This forces doctors to use it “off-label,” or in ways not specified on the medicine’s label.
Novant Health extending its reach to Roanoke Rapids, 12-06-13, Winston-Salem Journal
Richard Craver reports that Novant Health Inc. plans to expand its presence in Eastern North Carolina by bringing a Roanoke Rapids hospital under its umbrella, after it provides management services to Halifax Regional Medical Center for a year, starting in March.