Managed Care e-News
Feb. 7, 2012

Budget report shows impact of health costs and aging population
Healthcare Finance News
The aging of the country's population and the rise in healthcare costs will continue to be the nation's biggest economic challenge, concluded the Congressional Budget Office's latest economic outlook. The cost of government healthcare programs will more than double by 2022 with federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other healthcare programs reaching $1.8 trillion.More

Hospitals mine patients' records in search of customers
Kaiser Health News
A growing number of hospitals are using their patients' health and financial records to pitch their most lucrative services, such as cancer and orthopedic care. As part of these direct mail campaigns, they are also buying detailed information about local residents compiled by consumer marketing firms — from age and marital status to shopping habits and whether they have pets.More

Future of healthcare: Comparison shopping
Minneapolis Star Tribune
In 2014, insurance exchanges are set to be up and running, creating a one-stop, competitive marketplace online for as many as 1 million Minnesotans to comparison shop. The promises are many: Put consumers in the driver's seat with more choices. Make the process as simple as comparing hotel prices and amenities.More

Nursing homes offer plan to help cut Medicare spending
Kaiser Health News
Much attention has been focused on a government committee's efforts to find ways to prevent a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians. But the nursing home industry is also facing some stiff funding reductions, and a trade group has come up with a proposal to help Congress cut Medicare spending while shielding nursing homes.More

FDA questions Amgen drug for prostate cancer
The Associated Press via Los Angeles Times
Scientists for the Food and Drug Administration say an Amgen drug slowed the spread of cancer to the bone in men with hard-to-treat prostate cancer, though the drug did not extend life and carried significant side effects. The FDA will ask a panel of experts whether the benefits of Xgeva outweigh its risks, which included bone disease in about 5 percent of patients.More

ADHD drugs on critical list as medication shortages soar
Psychiatric News
The Food and Drug Administration is battling widespread and increasing drug shortages, but the lack of drugs used to treat ADHD may have unique etiologies. The FDA faced more than 250 such shortages in 2011. High on the list are anesthetics and stimulants used to treat patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.More

Utah committee gives preliminary approval to underage tanning ban
The Salt Lake Tribune
Swayed by evidence of the harms of indoor tanning and moving testimony from melanoma survivors, a Utah Senate committee endorsed a ban on underage tanning. One senator initially proposed a bill prohibiting all minors from commercial tanning beds, but changed the ban to apply to those age 13 and under.More

Two glasses of wine a day 'triples mouth cancer risk'
The Guardian
Regularly drinking two large glasses of wine or two strong pints of beer a day triples the risk of developing mouth cancer, a U.K. government campaign will warn. Television advertisements will aim to show that drinking just over the recommended daily limit for alcohol increases the risk of serious health problems.More

Study: Green tea drinkers show less disability with age
Elderly adults who regularly drink green tea may stay more agile and independent than their peers, according to a Japanese study. Green tea contains antioxidant chemicals that may help ward off cell damage that can lead to disease. Researchers have been studying green tea's effect on everything from cholesterol to the risk of certain cancers.More

Taking another shot at the flu vaccine
Kaiser Health News
Despite nearly 20 years of recommendations that health workers get flu shots, the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show less than 64 percent of them do. Consumer and business groups support a recommendation from the National Business Group on Health that hospitals require all healthcare workers be vaccinated annually against the flu.More

Sex and parenting genes discovered in mice
LiveScience via MSNBC
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but how did they get there? Our gender differences might be a function of how our brains react to hormones, a new study suggests. The mice study showed that when different sex hormones turned genes in the brain on or off, mice showed different parenting behaviors.More

Norway to bring cancer-gene tests to the clinic
Norway is set to become the first country to incorporate genome sequencing into its national healthcare system. The Scandinavian nation, which has a population of 4.8 million, will use "next-generation" DNA sequencers to trawl for mutations in tumors that might reveal which cancer treatments would be most effective.More

Blood test may help diagnose depression
ABC News
A blood test may eventually help diagnose depression, according to a new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. In the study, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analyzed the levels of nine biomarkers that could distinguish patients who had a major depressive disorder from those who did not.More

Study: Sleep apnea, silent strokes linked
The Huffington Post
Sleep apnea, the disorder that causes a person to stop breathing suddenly while sleeping, is already known to increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke and daytime sleepiness. And a new study suggests that the sleep disorder is also linked with small brain lesions and a symptomless form of stroke, known as silent stroke. More