House Republicans have long called for major changes to Medicare, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has advocated for a plan involving premium support for beneficiaries, who would shop an exchangelike structure for coverage, choosing from private plans and traditional Medicare. President-elect Donald Trump's transition website lists "modernize Medicare" among his priorities, but he has not shared any specifics.
Rising prices for prescription drugs and medical care pushed health care spending for privately insured consumers up 4.6% in 2015, compared with increases of 2.6% a year earlier and 3% in 2013, the Health Care Cost Institute found. Emergency department utilization, surgical hospital admissions and primary care visits fell, while utilization of outpatient care, laboratory tests and specialty care have increased.
A transitional care clinic at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio treats as many as 1,500 patients with serious mental illness each year while they await care, keeping them out of emergency departments. Hospital staff can schedule appointments for patients at the transitional care clinic through a web-based system, and a Medicaid pilot program covers extra services for up to five patients who use care at high levels.
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Eleven of 13 Brazilian infants with congenital Zika syndrome and normal head circumference at birth developed microcephaly in the following months. A report in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said the infants had a range of symptoms of congenital Zika syndrome, including muscle and joint problems and difficulty moving and swallowing.
Researchers found that although Asian-Americans have a heightened risk for type 2 diabetes, they are 34% less likely to be screened than non-Hispanic whites. The findings in the Journal of General Internal Medicine were based on a telephone survey involving more than 500,000 individuals.
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New quality metrics are being studied to assess whether patients receive hospice care consultation quickly enough, writes Dr. Lori Rousche. More than half of patients said they wished they had gone the hospice route earlier in their illness.
A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed that telemedicine consultations for newborns implemented at six health system sites helped prevent unnecessary transfer of patients to a larger hospital for higher levels of care and improved access to neonatologists. The Mayo Clinic's Division of Neonatal Medicine in Rochester, Minn., provided 84 telemedicine consultations for high-risk deliveries over 20 months.
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The FDA has approved Sanofi's Soliqua 100/33, or insulin glargine and lixisenatide injection, as a treatment for type 2 diabetes in adults whose disease is not adequately managed on basal insulin or lixisenatide. The drug will be available as a single prefilled pen in January.
HHS, Enroll America and other Affordable Care Act advocates are continuing to encourage eligible Americans younger than 35 to enroll in a health insurance plan through a publicly run exchange. Participation by young, healthy people is needed to balance risk pools and ensure stability in the individual market, experts say.
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Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light
won't come in.
Alan Alda, actor, writer and director
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