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December 5, 2012
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Medicare rules may be obstacle to hospice enrollment
    A study in the journal Health Affairs found that 78% of hospices surveyed had one or more enrollment criteria that excluded treatments such as chemotherapy, palliative radiation, intravenous feeding or blood transfusions. Researchers said the responses, from 591 hospices, reflected the fact that hospices feel Medicare reimbursement rates are not high enough to pay for certain care. Kaiser Health News/Capsules blog (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Can Your Hospice Patients Go Home for the Holidays?
Only 4 in 10 people who are eligible for hospice care in the United States receive it. We've created this hospice patient eligibility kit to help health care providers understand the hospice eligibility requirements, the many diagnoses that can qualify a patient for hospice, and the ways that hospice can work with you to care for patients with a life-limiting illness.
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Study considers how to solve conflicts over futile care
    Collaboration and good communication are needed to resolve conflicts over decisions about futile care that occur between health care providers and patients or families, researchers reported in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Researchers said bringing disputes to a medical ethics committee is another option. MedWire News (U.K.) (12/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • Author: Patients face choice between hospice, nursing home
    A study found that a third of older patients discharged from the hospital with less than six months to live choose to go to a nursing home even though hospice services may be better for some end-of-life care needs, writes Paula Span, author of "When the Time Comes: Families With Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions." Medicare usually does not pay for both nursing home and hospice care at the same time, leaving patients and families with difficult financial and care decisions. Candid conversations with physicians can help, Span writes. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Research  
  • Longer hours of sleep may lessen pain sensitivity
    Adults who slept two hours longer than usual for four nights had decreased pain sensitivity than those who kept their normal sleep schedule, according to a study in the journal Sleep. The findings failed to explain why more sleep reduces pain, but researchers said that sleep loss and pain each raise levels of inflammatory markers. WebMD (12/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Adequate vitamin D may protect women from mental decline
    Two studies in the Journal of Gerontology showed a significant link between vitamin D intake and women's cognitive health. Women with low vitamin D levels were more at risk for cognitive decline compared with those who had enough vitamin D, according to one study. Meanwhile, French researchers found that women with Alzheimer's disease were more likely to have had low vitamin D intake than women who didn't develop the disease. (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Hospice CEO focuses on communication, education, efficiency
    Nurse Anna-Gene O'Neal has been CEO of Alive Hospice in Nashville, Tenn., for seven months and is focusing on improving communication and making processes more efficient to reduce duplication of services and prepare for any future payment changes. She says a goal for 2013 is increasing public education about the importance of hospice and palliative care. The Tennessean (Nashville) (tiered subscription model) (12/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Cost of 1-year SGR fix increases by $7 billion, CBO says
    The Congressional Budget Office said a one-year fix of Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula for 2013, to stop a 26.5% physician pay cut, will cost $25 billion -- $7 billion more than earlier estimated. American Medical Association President Dr. Jeremy Lazarus said a short-term approach to put off cuts will not work to fix the flawed SGR formula, which should be eliminated. American Medical News (free content) (12/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Trends & Technology  
  • MobiCare to unveil Alzheimer's disease tracker
    MobiCare is developing a mobile health application that allows caregivers to use the day-to-day emotional health and wellness of patients with Alzheimer's disease to monitor their progression. The app features a symptom tracker that enables users to log their observations, a medicine tracker and more. (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • How can you stay inspired and up to date on the latest advances in hospice and palliative care?
    Join the more than 2,400 hospice and palliative care professionals who meet once each year to gain knowledge directly from leaders in the field at the 2013 AAHPM & HPNA Annual Assembly. Learn the latest scientific advances. Share best practices. Build long-lasting relationships. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
The forceps of our minds are clumsy things and crush the truth a little in the course of taking hold of it."
--H.G. Wells,
British author

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