House OKs "fiscal cliff" deal, delays cut in Medicare doctor pay | Loss of biodiversity may increase tropical disease risk | Panda blood contains antibiotic compound
January 2, 2013
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House OKs "fiscal cliff" deal, delays cut in Medicare doctor pay
The House approved legislation to prevent huge spending cuts for government programs and avert big income tax increases on most Americans. The measure would delay for a year scheduled cuts to doctors' Medicare payments, avoiding an almost 27% cut in reimbursements. However, other health care programs would be cut to cover the extension's $30 billion cost. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/1), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/1), The Hill (1/1)
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Science & Health
Loss of biodiversity may increase tropical disease risk
Researchers using a statistical model found that countries with declining biodiversity levels have a higher chance of facing increased vector-borne and parasitic diseases. A country with relatively high biodiversity that lost 15% of it could face a 30% increase in burden for diseases such as dengue fever and malaria, according to a study published in PLoS Biology. National Public Radio/Shots blog (12/29)
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Panda blood contains antibiotic compound
Researchers in China studying pandas have discovered a peptide with antibacterial properties in panda blood. The compound, cathelicidin-AM, destroys bacteria in an hour, compared with the more than six hours needed by other antibiotics. This isn't the first time antibacterial peptides have been identified in animals. "More than 1,000 antimicrobial peptides have been found from animals, plants and microorganisms," said lead researcher Xiuwen Yan. The findings may lead to new antibiotics for humans. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (12/30)
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Emerging Trends
Robin Roberts reaches 100th day after bone marrow transplant
"Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts, who is being treated for the blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome, said she is continuing to recover and has reached the 100th day after her bone marrow transplant. "We have to watch patients super closely for 100 days. We don't trust anything for the first 100 days. After that, we're happy," said Dr. Gail Roboz, who is treating Roberts. USA Today (1/1), ABC News (1/1)
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Mobile apps seen as one of top medical trends for 2013
Smartphones are one of the top six medical innovations that will help fight disease for 2013, according to this article. The report points to an iPhone application recently receiving government approval that will provide doctors with a mobile electrocardiogram, as well as apps that help patients monitor potential skin cancer threats. "I see the smartphone as one piece of how we're going to try to get health costs under control," says Dr. David Albert, who invented the $199 AliveCor electrocardiogram app. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (12/31)
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Industry News & Practice
Governors' report supports NPs' scope of practice
Nurse practitioners and physicians offer comparable quality of care in terms of patient satisfaction, prescribing accuracy, preventive education and time spent with patients, according to a review of the literature by the National Governors Association. "The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Meeting Increasing Demand for Primary Care" report found that increasing use of nurse practitioners would not lower quality of care and that it could lead to greater access to care. MedPage Today (free registration) (12/28)
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Government & Regulatory
Surgical device is recalled over risk of bleeding
Medical device developer Zimmer Holdings' global recall of its PEEK Ardis Inserter instruments has been designated Class I by the FDA. Breakage during surgery could lead to complications, including severe bleeding. The recall covers specific lots shipped from June 2008 to December 2012. (Boston) (1/1)
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Proposed device ID rule may result in changes to packaging lines
The FDA's proposal to set up a unique device identifier system for medical technologies will compel firms to modify their packaging lines, which could be costly, according to this article. The FDA Safety and Innovation Act mandates that a final rule on the proposal be issued in the middle of May, not the middle of June as previously thought, but the agency "doesn't seem to be confident of meeting either possible deadline," said Jeffrey Secunda of the Advanced Medical Technology Association. Packaging World online (12/31)
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HHS, states prepare for multiple ACA provisions in 2013
The implementation of health insurance exchanges, a Medicaid pay increase for doctors and the Medicare tax increase are among the Affordable Care Act provisions the federal government and states are enacting in 2013 or preparing for in 2014. This year will be crunch time for the law because each state should have an operating exchange by Jan. 1, 2014. The Hill/Healthwatch blog (12/28)
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Association News
Self-assessment module tests now available in AABB's live learning center
Individuals who attended any of the AABB Annual Meeting educational sessions offering American Board of Pathology Self-Assessment Module, or SAM, credits can now access a test to demonstrate competency. Individuals must complete this test -- available in the AABB Live Learning Center -- to receive educational credit. Those who attended any of the sessions offering SAM credits should have received an e-mail with login information. AABB is an approved provider of requirements for maintenance of Certification Part II: Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment credits. Inquiries regarding SAM credits or access to tests should be directed to the AABB Education and Professional Development department.
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Performance Improvement ConsultantBlood Systems, Inc.US - AZ - Scottsdale
LABORATORY MANAGERUnited Blood ServicesUS - NV - Las Vegas
QA SpecialistSan Diego Blood BankUS - CA
Reference TechnologistLifeStreamUS - CA - San Bernardino
Click here to view more job listings.
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them."
-- Rose Kennedy,
American philanthropist
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