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January 10, 2013
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  Top Story 
  • CMS notifies physicians of electronic prescribing penalties
    The CMS has begun notifying Medicare participating physicians of their Medicare penalty status for failing to meet Medicare Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program requirements in 2012. Physicians can request a review of their status or seek a hardship exemption. The noncompliance penalty is a 1.5% Medicare pay cut in 2013, and nonparticipation in 2013 will result in a 2% pay cut in 2014. AAFP News Now (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Clinical News 
  • BP-lowering drugs plus NSAIDs may raise acute kidney injury risk
    Researchers analyzed data from two U.K. health databases and found that patients who simultaneously took a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and a dual antihypertensive regimen consisting of a diuretic and either an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker were 31% more likely to develop acute kidney injury than those who took the blood pressure drugs alone. The risk was highest during the first 30 days of treatment, according to the study published online in BMJ. MedPage Today (free registration) (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Flu outbreak prompts Boston to declare public emergency
    Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on Wednesday declared a public health emergency. The city has recorded 10 times the number of flu cases so far this year as in the entire previous flu season. Officials will provide residents free vaccinations on Saturday. "This is the worst flu season we've seen since 2009 and people should take the threat of flu seriously," Menino said. (1/9) , Reuters (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • One in 8 U.S. teens have suicidal thoughts
    Harvard University researchers looked at nearly 6,500 teenagers and found that 12.1% of them experienced suicidal ideation and 4% have either made plans to end their life or attempted suicide. Although most teens with suicidal thoughts received treatment for mental health problems, more than 50% of them didn't begin manifesting suicidal tendencies until after treatment started. The findings were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. HealthDay News (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. life expectancy, health status lag
    Americans have shorter average life expectancy than those in other wealthy nations and are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as consuming high-fat, high-calorie diets, according to a report released by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Researchers also said the U.S. fared poorly on metrics such as infant mortality, teen pregnancy, and obesity and diabetes when compared with 16 other countries. Reuters (1/9) , WebMD (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Practice Management 
  • New packaging, labeling might improve Rx adherence
    Blister packaging labeled with the days of the week, pill bottle caps that give alerts and sound alarms when they are not opened on time, and clearer patient instructions are among the methods designed to increase prescription adherence. Patients who do not take their medications as prescribed are at higher risk for complications and expensive hospitalizations, and CMS reimbursement to health plans depends in part on refill rates for cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes drugs. The Wall Street Journal (1/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Legislation 
  • Kathleen Sebelius will remain HHS secretary
    HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will not be stepping down as some other Obama administration cabinet officials have done, administration officials announced. Sebelius had been expected to remain in the job. The Affordable Care Act's biggest provisions will be put in place next year, and Senate confirmation of a replacement could be difficult to obtain given Republican opposition to the law. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report suggests how U.S. could save $2 trillion in health costs
    A Commonwealth Fund report said the U.S. health care system could save about $2 trillion over a decade by adopting annual spending targets and getting government programs and private insurers to increase efforts to provide cost-effective care. Commonwealth Fund president Dr. David Blumenthal said the idea could gain traction in deficit-reduction negotiations as an alternative to cutting entitlement programs. Reuters (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 5 options for states to build foundation for ACOs, medical homes
    Almost every state is exploring policy frameworks aimed at addressing care access, coverage, quality, cost control and delivery system transformation, says John Colmers of Johns Hopkins Medicine. To help lay the groundwork for accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes, Colmers recommends that states assume the roles of regulators, data holders, purchasers, market enablers and conveners. Government Health IT online (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Issues & Trends 
  • Doctor visits dropped during Great Recession in U.S.
    Americans visited their doctors' offices less often and filled fewer prescriptions when the Great Recession was in full swing in 2008 and 2009 compared with before the economic downturn, a study showed. Following the recession, blacks had fewer hospital stays than before, while hospitalization rates remained flat for Latinos and whites. The findings, based on data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, appear in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)/Booster Shots blog (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Inside the AAFP 
  • Time for a national conversation about gun violence
    The need to improve mental health care, address media violence and gun safety were all part of the conversation at a recent meeting between representatives of health care organizations and staff members from HHS and the White House. AAFP President Jeff Cain, M.D., who attended the meeting, has more in the latest AAFP Leader Voices Blog. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Luck enters into every contingency. You are a fool if you forget it -- and a greater fool if you count upon it."
--Phyllis Bottome,
British writer

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