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September 19, 2012
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Europe needs new palliative care strategies, researchers say
    European countries need long- and short-term palliative care strategies to deal with cancer and chronic diseases that account for 42% of deaths, researchers from the Netherlands wrote in the journal BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. Tes Smith of U.K. charity Macmillan Cancer Support said changes in end-of-life care are vital because 73% of cancer patients would prefer to die at home, while only 27% do so. BBC (9/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • NICE cautions against painkillers' rebound headache risk
    New guidance from the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence calls for patients who regularly use painkillers to treat chronic headaches to switch to methods that prevent headaches instead. NICE physicians said regular use of such drugs can lead to immunity to the medications and cause medication overuse headaches. The Telegraph (London) (9/19), BBC (9/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • Dementia dog gives Alzheimer's patient a sense of security
    A dementia service dog helps early-onset Alzheimer's disease patient Rick Phelps lead a more normal life and raise awareness of his condition. The German shepherd named Sam can alert Phelps if the stove is left on or remind him to take his medications. Sam can help Phelps find his way and even locate him up to 40 miles away should he get lost. Coshocton Tribune (Ohio) (9/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Research  
  • Halting anticoagulant use may increase risk of clots, death
    Patients who stop taking the anticoagulant warfarin following gastrointestinal bleeding and who remain off the drug face an increased risk of blood clots and death, compared with those who resume taking the drug, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researcher Daniel Witt of Kaiser Permanente Colorado said that the higher mortality rate was striking and that some sicker patients went into hospice care, suggesting physicians may have been reluctant to resume warfarin therapy. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (9/17), Medscape (free registration) (9/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Where the health law's Medicare payment cuts will be felt
    A study published by the University of Minnesota lays out county-by-county effects of Medicare payment reductions under President Barack Obama's health care law. The study lists the eight states that will bear the biggest brunt of the cuts: California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (9/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report: Physicians, hospitals code Medicare visits at higher pay rates
    Physicians and hospitals increasingly used higher-paying codes to bill Medicare for office and emergency department visits from 2001 to 2010, according to the Center for Public Integrity, which analyzed 362 million claims. Some physicians say more Medicare patients are sicker and older, requiring more complex care. Family physician coding expert Thomas Weida said switching to electronic records means physicians may spend more time with patients, also justifying the higher payment codes. The Washington Post (9/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Legislators see the need for policy reforms to boost EHR use
    More legislation and increased efforts to promote IT to providers are needed to boost EHR adoption in the country, members of Congress announced Thursday. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he is planning to introduce a bill that could address conflicts between federal initiatives to spur health information exchange and privacy laws in the states, which some experts say have slowed the adoption of HIE. Legislators also encouraged health IT groups to educate doctors about the benefits technology can provide to practices and patients as a way to boost their HIT use. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (9/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • More adults aren't filling prescriptions for drugs, survey finds
    Almost half of adults in the U.S. did not fill a prescription in the past year because of cost, according to a poll conducted by Consumer Reports. For people without drug coverage, the figure was higher, at 80%. To help with drug costs, Consumer Reports' prescription drugs editor suggested researching manufacturers' assistance programs. WebMD (9/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • HPM FAST Prognostication
    What do you know of prognostication? Test your knowledge in this new edition that includes 25 questions. Great tool to prepare for the HPM board exam. CMEs are now available. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • IntensiveTalk will raise the bar on communications skills in your fellowship program
    Looking to engage and transform your fellows with improved communication skills? IntensiveTalk,, a new train-the-trainer course for critical care and palliative care faculty, will raise the bar on communications skills in your fellowship program. Transform the culture in your ICU. Endorsed by AAHPM, ATS and ACP. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Editor's Note 
  • Updated SmartBrief privacy policy
    SmartBrief has updated its privacy policy to better reflect the state of the digital world. View the updated policy. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
The well bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves."
--Oscar Wilde,
Irish writer

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