Cancer, CVD are top causes of mortality among cancer survivors | Doctor learns palliative care can be right decision | Ky. bill would OK marijuana for palliative, end-of-life care
June 23, 2017
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill
Top Story
Cancer, CVD are top causes of mortality among cancer survivors
Thirty-three percent of cancer survivors died from cardiovascular disease, while 51% died from cancer, according to 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys data presented by Dr. Ronald Schwartz of the University of Rochester Medical Center at the SNMMI Annual Meeting. The findings should prompt inclusion of patient-centered cardio-oncology using nuclear cardiology and radionuclide studies as well as PET/CT in comprehensive cancer care, experts said.
DOTMed (6/20) 
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Demonstrate Your Commitment to Quality!
Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) is pleased to announce its new Distinction in Palliative Care. Designed to complement ACHC Home Health, Hospice, or Private Duty Accreditation, this Distinction features a comprehensive, on-site evaluation of palliative care services. Learn more!
Palliative & Hospice Care Update
Doctor learns palliative care can be right decision
Dr. Benjamin Gold, a third-year internal medicine resident at Baylor College of Medicine, said he went to medical school to learn how to save people's lives. However, his experience at the bedside has shown him when treatments no longer work, the decision to turn to palliative care at the end of life can be a victory.
Houston Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (6/20) 
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Ky. bill would OK marijuana for palliative, end-of-life care
A bill in the Kentucky Legislature would make medical marijuana legal for end-of-life and palliative care patients. The legislation also would establish a task force to decide how people would get marijuana and who could prescribe it.
WLKY-TV (Louisville, Ky.) (6/21) 
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Patient & Family Perspective
Veterans groups seek to expand caregiver assistance program
The US government by law provides caregiver services for veterans injured on Sept. 11, 2001, or after but not for those injured earlier, leaving out many older veterans who need assistance. Veterans groups are lobbying to change the law and have launched the "Unsung Heroes Initiative" to increase public awareness.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (6/19) 
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Medical Research
20% of patients return to hospital after observational stay
About 20% of Medicare patients who had an observational stay at a hospital ended up returning within 30 days, and 49.7% were admitted for inpatient care, researchers reported in The BMJ. The study analyzed 363,037 initial observation stays from 2006 to 2011 that resulted in discharge.
Connecticut Post (Fairfield County-Bridgeport) (6/20) 
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Childhood cancer survivors more likely to develop cognitive problems
A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that childhood cancer survivors who underwent chemotherapy had similar long-term memory and concentration test scores but lower results on short-term memory and thinking flexibility tests in young adulthood, compared with healthy controls. The findings also showed that elevated p-Tau protein levels in the brain fluid of cancer survivors predicted later cognitive problems.
HealthDay News (6/20) 
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Online visual test may ID dementia risk in Parkinson's
Research presented at the International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders showed how an online visual test may identify Parkinson's disease patients at highest risk of dementia. Up to half of these patients develop dementia within 10 years, and studies have found those with visual processing problems to be at higher risk.
Medscape (free registration) (6/20) 
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Health Policy & Practice
Senate bill calls for steep cuts to Medicaid, end of mandate
Senate Republicans on Thursday released a 142-page bill, aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, that would make steep cuts to Medicaid and end the requirement for all Americans to have health insurance, while creating new federal tax credits to help people buy coverage. The bill, which could face opposition from conservative and moderate Republican senators along with Democrats, would allow states to drop benefits mandated by the ACA, such as maternity and mental health care.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (6/22) 
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CMS: About 500,000 clinicians to get PQRS-related penalty
The CMS said about 500,000 clinicians will get their fee-for-service Medicare payments cut by 2% this year because they did not meet Physician Quality Reporting System requirements in 2015. The report said half of those affected are physicians and for many the impact may be minor.
Medscape (free registration) (6/20) 
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Trends & Technology
Patient portal adoption lags among rural patients
An athenahealth analysis found that 18% of rural patients used patient portals between January and August 2016, compared with 33% of urban patients and 21% of suburban ones. Researchers suggested that the geographical disparities in patient portal adoption may be because of lower internet access rates in rural homes.
Becker's Hospital Review (6/21) 
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Final week to purchase UNIPAC, 4th Edition
AAHPM's 9-volume self-study series, UNIPAC, is getting a facelift. The UNIPAC, 4th edition is becoming Essential Practices in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 5th edition, also known as Essentials. June 30 is the final day to purchase the 4th edition of the UNIPAC. You can purchase it at 50% off using promo code UNIPAC50. Learn more.
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Submit an abstract for the #PallOnc Symposium
The American Society of Clinical Oncology is now accepting abstracts for their fall meeting, Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium, October 27-28, 2017 in San Diego, CA. Deadline to submit abstracts is July 11. Learn more.
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Memories are like flagstones -- time and distance work upon them like drops of acid.
Ugo Betti,
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