Study: Physicians should recognize GI issues as COVID-19 symptoms | Patients with IBS don't have higher mortality rate, study finds | Study: Prophylactic endoscopic clipping should not be used routinely
April 1, 2020
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Clinical Updates
Some COVID-19 patients initially present with gastrointestinal symptoms, and physicians should suspect the virus if the patient has been exposed to it, according to Xiaohua Hou, MD, of the division of gastroenterology at Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, who analyzed a cohort of 206 patients with mild COVID-19 disease, published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. "Failure to recognize these patients early and often may lead to unwitting spread of the disease among outpatients with mild illness who remain undiagnosed and unaware of their potential to infect others," researchers wrote. Read the study.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (3/31) 
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Irritable bowel syndrome was not associated with an increased risk for death, according to a study led by Kyle Staller, MD, director of the GI Motility Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. A small risk was found in patients with colorectal inflammation, and patients who did have colorectal biopsies did not see any increased risk. Read the abstract.
Full Story: Medical Dialogues (3/30) 
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Delayed postpolypectomy bleeding is not alleviated by prophylactic endoscopic clipping and should not be used routinely, according to a study led by Steven Heitman, MD, of the Cumming School of Medicine at University of Calgary, and published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. The study, which included over 8,300 colonoscopies, found that clipping did not affect patient outcome. Read the abstract.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (3/30) 
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More Americans are getting vaccinated against hepatitis B, and the number of infections have decreased from 5.7% between 1999 to 2002 to 4.3% from 2015 to 2018, according to research published in the National Center for Health Statistics' Health Data Brief. The study was limited because it did not include homeless residents or those incarcerated.
Full Story: MedPage Today (free registration) (3/26) 
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Legal & Regulatory
Congress has designated $200 million to enhance telehealth services under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, has proposed letting medical facilities use the funds for improved broadband service as well as home devices for patients.
Full Story: CNET (3/30) 
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The CMS announced a host of regulatory changes and flexibilities aimed at helping hospitals combat the coronavirus pandemic. The changes include allowing the use of non-hospital buildings and spaces for patient care or as quarantine sites, permitting hospitals to test for coronavirus at home or in other settings outside the hospital, allowing health care providers to enroll in the Medicare program temporarily, and permitting Medicare providers to bill for over 80 telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (3/30),  Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (3/30) 
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The $2 trillion stimulus package signed into law last week contains billions of dollars for the health care industry, including the rollback of some scheduled cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. The bill contains a temporary suspension of a 2% Medicare cut for hospitals to help health care professionals.
Full Story: Kaiser Health News (3/30) 
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Practice News
Sharing clinical notes with patients takes time, but health care providers generally approve of the concept and say it helps engage patients in their own care, according to the results of a survey published in JAMA Network Open. Clinicians who participate in the OpenNotes initiative say it has increased the amount of time they spend documenting, likely because they augmented their notes to make them more easily understood, and many said they would like a way to find out which patients view clinical notes.
Full Story: Patient Engagement HIT (3/31) 
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Business & Market Trends
Health care facilities and staff are focused on treating COVID-19 and dealing with shortages of personal protective equipment, but the industry will feel the impact of the pandemic for many years, writes Dr. Halee Fischer-Wright, president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association. Some believe the pandemic will accelerate a move toward value-based care, and there are also concerns that the government will reduce health care payments to help the economy recover, she writes.
Full Story: Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (3/26) 
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Patient's Perspective
Amir Akhtar said he did everything to avoid contracting COVID-19 but still caught it and is recovering. Amir, who has Crohn's disease, said he didn't experience breathing problems but did have a fever, body aches and chills.
Full Story: KFOR-TV (Oklahoma City) (3/31) 
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ACG News
ACG Virtual Grand Rounds: Run M/W indefinitely
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