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October 3, 2012
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Study: Add palliative care into Medicare nursing home benefits
    Palliative and hospice care should be part of Medicare nursing home benefits, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine that found about one-third of beneficiaries rely on the program for end-of-life care in facilities that may not offer those services. Lead researcher Dr. Katherine Aragon of Lawrence General Hospital in Massachusetts said some nursing homes offer palliative and hospice care, but it will not become more common without reimbursement. Reuters (10/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Inform and Empower
Take action TODAY with a pain advocacy resource that provides inspiration, pain related news, downloadable materials and tools to inform and empower people with pain, health care professionals, caregivers and other concerned individuals. Visit and download the Handbook for People with Pain: a Resource Guide, 3rd edition , a resource to help you or a loved on the day-to-day journey facing challenges so often encountered by those who suffer with pain.
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Film inspires Wis. program to encourage end-of-life talks
    A documentary featuring physicians, clergy, nurses and patients who encourage people to have end-of-life care discussions and to create advance directives inspired the Wisconsin Medical Society's initiative Honoring Choices Wisconsin, which will begin as a pilot program at major health care systems. The producers of "Consider the Conversation: A Documentary on a Taboo Subject" now are considering making a series of films and are working on one for physicians. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (tiered subscription model) (9/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • Other News
  Medical Research  
  • Benzodiazepines tied to 60% increase in dementia risk, study finds
    French patients age 65 and older who took benzodiazepines had a 60% higher risk of dementia than those who did not use the anxiety drugs, according to a 20-year observational study reported in BMJ. Prescribers and regulatory agencies should take the evidence of potential adverse events into consideration, researchers concluded. MedPage Today (free registration) (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Studies back hydrocodone-only pill for pain management
    Study data show the benefits of an extended-release form of hydrocodone, which if approved by the FDA would be the first drug of its kind to offer long-lasting opioid pain management without having a nonopioid analgesic added into the formula. Dr. Srinivas R. Nalamachu said the drug would carry stricter prescribing rules as a Schedule II product but it would provide more consistent pain management for longer periods. Medscape (free registration) (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • HHS report: Restricted drugs were wrongly refilled under Medicare
    Three-quarters of contractors who processed prescriptions for Medicare Part D in 2009 wrongly refilled drugs classified as Schedule II controlled substances without a fresh prescription, according to a report from the HHS inspector general. However, the CMS said the report misinterprets partial fills for patients in long-term care facilities as refills. CBS News/The Associated Press (9/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • OpenNotes program is popular with patients, study shows
    A study of the OpenNotes program showed 87% of patients opened at least one note and most said that reading their physicians' remarks gave them more control over their care and improved medication adherence. The study, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, included 105 primary care physicians and more than 13,000 patients. Some patients had privacy concerns but 99% wanted to continue reading the notes. Doctors did not report feeling limited in making them available. Reuters (10/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • PCORI announces 2nd funding cycle
    The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute announced its second cycle of funding requests this week, which will support $96 million in comparative clinical effectiveness research awards, or about 109 individual awards. Letters of intent for Cycle II are due by Oct. 15, with applications due by Dec. 17. Awards will be made in late spring. All application materials can be accessed from the PCORI website. The review process is underway for Cycle I, and awards are expected to be announced in December. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Pharmacomistakes in hospice and palliative medicine
    What are the 10 most commonly occurring medication errors ("pharmacomistakes") seen in end-of-life care? How do you prevent them? How can you correct them? Learn the answers to these and other questions at an upcoming AAHPM webinar with Dr. Mary Lynn McPherson. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application of a rough truth."
--Edward Bulwer-Lytton,
British politician, poet, playwright and novelist

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