Researchers outline ways to improve, increase hospice care | Cancer experts offer strategies for breakthrough pain | Experts see need for "advanced direct care workers"
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September 12, 2014
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

Top Story
Researchers outline ways to improve, increase hospice care
A regulatory step that may improve access to hospice care is to change Medicare eligibility criteria from prognosis-based to needs-based, researchers Melissa Aldridge and Dr. Jean Kutner write. Hospices already are responding to patient needs by changing care models, some of them through private sector partnerships and accountable care organizations. Health Affairs Blog (9/9)
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Palliative & Hospice Care Update
Cancer experts offer strategies for breakthrough pain
Oncology professionals need a better understanding of breakthrough pain and its treatments for cancer patients, even those in remission, according to experts. Patient assessment is an important part of developing individualized treatment strategies that target improvements in quality of life. OncLive (9/9)
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Experts see need for "advanced direct care workers"
There is growing demand for personal care and home health aides, but these jobs tend to offer low pay for strenuous work, write Nancy Lundebjerg and Michèle Saunders of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance. One solution may be to create the job of advanced direct care worker, a step above an aide position, to ensure quality care and to open up the possibility for special training in areas such as dementia or palliative care. GeriPal blog (9/9)
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Other News
Patient & Family Perspective
Senator from Pa. works on National Caregiver Corps bill
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is developing a bill to create a National Caregiver Corps, an idea that has gained attention due to the projected care needs of baby boomers, writes Hilary Young of Medical Guardian. The goal is to create community-based programs and support family caregivers, but the plan also calls for paying volunteers a stipend or offering tuition or academic credits. The Huffington Post/The Blog (9/9)
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Medical Research
Survey supports Medicare coverage of palliative care
Duke University researchers asked cancer patients and caregivers what cancer services Medicare should cover at the end-of-life and 80% cited palliative, home and nursing home care. About half also wanted things Medicare currently does not cover, including concurrent palliative care. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Reuters (9/10)
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Study suggests link between blood type, dementia risk
Individuals with the AB blood type are 82% more likely than those with type O to develop cognitive problems that could lead to dementia, according to a study in the journal Neurology. The association was relatively small and further studies are needed to verify and explain it, lead researcher Dr. Mary Cushman said. HealthDay News (9/10), Medical News Today (9/10)
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Study links long-term benzodiazepine use to higher Alzheimer's risk
A study in BMJ found that older adults who were prescribed benzodiazepines for more than three months had a 51% greater risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease compared with nonusers. The risk of developing Alzheimer's was nearly twice as great among patients who took the drugs for more than six months. HealthDay News (9/10)
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Health Policy & Practice
Open Payments site is on track for Sept. 30 launch, CMS says
The Open Payments database will be ready for its public launch on Sept. 30 despite technical glitches, according to the CMS. The American Medical Association sent a letter to the CMS last month requesting more time for physicians to register before the launch and verify information in the database. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has voiced concerns about the accuracy and completeness of data posted. Kaiser Health News/Capsules blog (9/9)
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Trends & Technology
EMR use is time-consuming for some physicians
Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed attending doctors had a mean free time loss of 48 minutes per clinic day stemming from EMR use. Data also showed 89.8% of respondents agreed that at least one data management function became slower following EMR implementation, while a third reported spending more time finding and reviewing health data. (9/9)
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Scholarships available for HPM Lectures
The AAHPM Hospice and Palliative Medicine Lecture Series application is open, this scholarship provides support to members who have been accepted to present on palliative care or hospice topics at other medical society meetings. Apply today.
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AAHPM can help you prepare for the hospice and palliative medicine board exam
Learn from the experts -- listen to the Intensive Board Review Course recordings. Review a case-based book series: The UNIPAC Self-Study Program. Take a practice test -- HPM PASS and HPM FAST. Visit to learn more and purchase any of these products.
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Ideal Palliative Care Physician Opportunity - Beautiful Greenville, SCGreenville Health SystemGreenville, SC
AAHPM Chief Medical OfficerAAHPMChicago, IL
Click here to view more job listings.
You learn so much from taking chances, whether they work out or not. Either way, you can grow from the experience and become stronger and smarter."
-- John Legend,
American singer and songwriter
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