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The Senate's health overhaul plan would cover 33 million more people but fail to curb rising health costs, could threaten some Medicare patients' access to care, and may sink profits for one-fifth of hospitals and nursing homes, according to news accounts of an HHS report released Friday afternoon.

The Associated Press: "A new report from government economic analysts at the Health and Human Services Department found that the nation's $2.5 trillion annual health care tab won't shrink under the Democratic blueprint that senators are debating. Instead, it would grow somewhat more rapidly than if Congress does nothing." The AP continues, "More troubling was the report's assessment that the Democrats' plan to squeeze Medicare for $493 billion over 10 years in savings relies on specific policy changes that 'may be unrealistic' and could lead to cuts in services."

The Washington Post: The report, by Rick Foster, chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service ... Read more »

Views: 734 | Added by: manager | Date: 15.12.2009 | Comments (0)

Several new studies on health care costs reveal interesting findings.

The (Newark) Star-Ledger: "Nowhere is the sticker shock worse in the country than in New Jersey, according to health experts and a new report by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, a prominent health care policy group based in Trenton. New Jersey's hospital "charges" - the price list used to negotiate the cost of a bill for the uninsured and for insured people who use a hospital outside their network - are four times higher than the actual cost of treating a patient."

"Hospital executives say the vast majority of the 1.3 million uninsured people in New Jersey never pay the full sticker price. Charges are used as a negotiating starting point," they say.

The Detroit News: "Michigan residents and health insurers spend less on health care than the national average, according to a report released today by the [University of Michigan's] Center for Healthcare Research & Transfor ... Read more »

Views: 607 | Added by: manager | Date: 15.12.2009 | Comments (0)

Commenting on the NHS strategy announced yesterday, Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, said:

"We welcome the government's commitment to maintaining NHS funding in England and to protecting frontline services. However, the scale of the challenge in carrying out many of the plans in this document should not be underestimated. Redeploying budgets and staff, or reconfiguring services, is never straightforward.

"NHS staff are pivotal in delivering effective services to patients, and we welcome the Health Secretary's commitment to supporting and engaging with with us. The BMA will respond positively to such engagement. However, the repeated talk of "pay restraint" when what is really meant is no pay rise at all, is demoralising. While healthcare workers clearly understand the financial pressures on the NHS, and will want to act responsibly, they should not be punished for a situation which is not of their making.

"Doctors have been highly critical of ... Read more »
Views: 557 | Added by: manager | Date: 14.12.2009 | Comments (0)

The NPHS influenza surveillance scheme, which records reports of diagnoses of flu from more than 300 GP practices across Wales, shows that the rate of influenza consultation remains stable. Further detail can be found on the NPHS website.

The report from 29 November estimates there were 39.7 cases of a flu-like illness diagnosed by GPs out of every 100,000 people in Wales - this is the equivalent of 1,191 people in Wales contacting their GPs in the last seven days with flu like symptoms. Not all of these people will have swine flu and not everyone with flu like symptoms will contact their GP.

The report also shows levels of influenza activity in each county of Wales. On 29 November, the rate of diagnosis of flu-like illness at a local level ranged from 23.7 per 100,000 people in Rhondda Cynon Taf to 72.1 per 100,000 people in Carmarthen ... Read more »
Views: 545 | Added by: manager | Date: 14.12.2009 | Comments (0)

The Department of Health and Children yesterday, (1st December, 2009) published Health in Ireland: Key Trends 2009. This is the second edition of this report (previous report was published in 2007) which presents, in booklet format, a range of data on significant trends in health and health care over the past decade.

Health in Ireland: Key Trends 2009 covers population and health status as well as trends in service provision. It is a quick and handy reference guide to trends in health and health care over the past decade. Each section of the booklet has a brief introduction summarising key statistics.

In presenting a summary of key trends, the overall picture which emerges is one of population growth and population ageing, of major improvements in health status and life expectancy, and of increasing health service investment and provision. Threats to health gain are also evident particularly in the area of lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption and ... Read more »
Views: 555 | Added by: manager | Date: 13.12.2009 | Comments (0)

NHS budgets are under pressure from the ever increasing demand for hospital services. Many Primary Care Trusts are reporting significant financial concerns, with cost controls likely to tighten further when public sector spending is reviewed after the 2010 election.

In the meantime a significant proportion of privately insured patients are still being admitted or referred to NHS facilities where they are using precious resources and further increasing pressures on public hospital services.

GPs are sometimes not aware that their patients have private insurance or that they may be willing to pay for a health service. Patients are very much influenced by the GP's advice of the best place for them to receive care, and in some cases the GP may not be familiar with the processes for booking private patients into an independent sector facility.

Each time a patient is treated outside of the NHS it frees up funds for others who are waiting for services. It is importan ... Read more »
Views: 556 | Added by: manager | Date: 10.12.2009 | Comments (0)


French researchers say they have found a way of using human embryonic stem cells to create new skin which could help serious burns victims.

They say the stem cells grew into fully formed human skin 12 weeks after being grafted on to mice.

The researchers, writing in the Lancet journal, say the skin could solve the problems of rejection that burns patients currently face.

One stem cell expert said they had made an important advance.

Burns techniques

For more than 20 years, patients with serious burns have benefited from a technique which grows new skin in the laboratory using their own skin cells.

But the technique takes three weeks, putting the patients at risk of deh ... Read more »

Views: 635 | Added by: manager | Date: 30.11.2009 | Comments (0)

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — In order to expand medical tourism, "irritants” impeding its growth must be removed and concrete measures taken to stem the brain drain of highly skilled doctors, a senior minister has acknowledged.

The establishment of the Malaysia Health Travel Council — helmed by Ooi Say Chuan, the former deputy secretary-general of the Trade Ministry — seeks to advance the sector which earned an estimated RM400 million last year, by acting as a one-stop centre and serving as a platform for the private sector and government to iron out problems.

"With medical tourism, we cannot go wrong as we have very good doctors,” Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said at a seminar on healthcare tourism here yesterday.

"Unfortunately some of our doctors are attracted to neighbouring countries to work, but we will get them back. We must look at what the irritants ar ... Read more »

Views: 696 | Added by: manager | Date: 30.11.2009 | Comments (0)

Joseph Stubbs, president of the American College of Physicians -- the second-largest doctors' group in the country -- confirms that "the supply of doctors just won't be there" for the 30 million new patients President Barack Obama wants to cover. Noting that the doctor shortage is "already a catastrophic crisis," Stubbs noted that underserved areas in the U.S. currently need almost 17,000 new primary care physicians even before Obama's proposals are enacted.

In the meantime, according to Bloomberg News, a 2009 survey by Merritt Hawkins & Associates, a recruiting and research firm in Irving, Texas, found that "the average waiting time to see a family-medicine doctor in Boston...is 63 days, the most among the 15 cities" surveyed. By comparison, in Miami, it was only seven days. The study noted that Boston's longer wait was "driven in part by the healthcare reform initiative" passed in 2006 in Massachusetts, upon which the Obama program is modeled. Bloomberg reported that ... Read more »

Views: 615 | Added by: manager | Date: 30.11.2009 | Comments (0)


Heart disease patients who practise Transcendental Meditation have reduced death rates, US researchers have said.

At a meeting of the American Heart Association they said they had randomly assigned 201 African Americans to meditate or to make lifestyle changes.

After nine years, the meditation group had a 47% reduction in deaths, heart attacks and strokes.

The research was carried out by the Medical College of Wisconsin with the Maharishi University in Iowa.

It was funded by a £2.3m grant from the National Institute of Health and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

'Significant benefits'

The African American men and women had an average age of 59 years ... Read more »

Views: 675 | Added by: manager | Date: 30.11.2009 | Comments (0)

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