Managed Care e-News
Apr. 23, 2013

UnitedHealth criticizes Medicare rates, eyes pruning business
Kaiser Health News
If the Obama administration expected the biggest health insurance company to give thanks for this month's decision to reverse cuts to private Medicare plans, it was wrong. UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley said that Medicare Advantage rates are still far too low and that the company may shrink its business of managing care for seniors.More

More hospitals say they plan to buy physician practices in 2013
D Magazine
Fifty-two percent of hospitals plan to acquire physician practices in 2013, compared with 44 percent that made such purchases in 2012, according to a survey by Jackson Healthcare, a health care staffing company. The nationwide survey of 118 hospital administrators found that opportunity, rather than strategy, was the overwhelming reason hospitals are acquiring physician practices. Seventy percent of acquisitions in 2012 began with physicians approaching the hospital to sell their practices.More

Robot hot among surgeons but US taking fresh look
Medical Xpress
The biggest thing in operating rooms these days is a million-dollar, multi-armed robot named da Vinci, used in nearly 400,000 surgeries in America in 2012 — triple the number just four years earlier. But now the high-tech helper is under scrutiny over reports of problems, including several deaths that may be linked with it, and the high cost of using the robotic system.More

FDA given green light to ask docs about drug advertising
The Hill
The Obama administration gave regulators approval to ask doctors about the marketing practices of drug companies. The survey project by the Food and Drug Administration is expected to cost as much as $365,000 over two years. It will be allowable to ask physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants their opinions about how drugs are promoted to consumers and healthcare professionals.More

Genital wart decline tracked to HPV vaccine
MedPage Today
The incidence of genital warts declined by more than 90 percent in adolescent and teenage girls in the first four to five years after introduction of the human papillomavirus vaccine in Australia, investigators reported.More

Mammo rates unchanged despite controversial guidelines
HealthDay News
More than three years after controversial new guidelines rejected routine annual mammograms for most women, women in all age groups continue to get yearly screenings, a new survey shows.More

Gene data show China bird flu mutated 'under the radar'
The new strain of bird flu that has killed 17 people in China has been circulating widely "under the radar" and has acquired significant genetic diversity that makes it more of a threat, scientists said.More

Light at the end of the tunnel: A potential biomarker for a rare form of kidney cancer
By Dr. Kim Blenman
Renal medullary carcinoma is a rare kidney cancer found primarily in individuals with sickle cell disease or the sickle cell trait.More

Medicare revises readmissions penalties — Again
Kaiser Health News
In its effort to crack down on repeat hospitalizations, Medicare has its own readmission: for the second time in six months, it has erred in calculating penalties for more than 1,000 of the nation’s hospitals.More

5 ways Obama's budget would change Medicare
Kaiser Health News
President Barack Obama's fiscal 2014 budget includes a variety of what he says are "manageable" changes for Medicare's 54 million beneficiaries as well as for the hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers that serve them.More

Cancer center goes public with assisted-suicide protocol
American Medical News
The physicians who run the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance do their best to treat patients who have cancer. For patients whose disease progression cannot be controlled, the University of Washington-affiliated comprehensive care center offers palliative care and transition to hospice. And for those who seek physician-assisted suicide under state law, the center is prepared to help them with that, too.More

Light at the end of the tunnel: A potential biomarker for a rare form of kidney cancer
By Dr. Kim Blenman
Renal medullary carcinoma is a rare kidney cancer found primarily in individuals with sickle cell disease or the sickle cell trait. It is a highly aggressive cancer predominately presenting in young males with an average age of onset in the mid-20s. Our current medical and scientific understanding of the disease is still quite limited, which results in ineffective therapeutic options. However, recent research may have shed some light on the pathogenesis of the disease.More

Researchers abuzz over caffeine as cancer-cell killer
Medical Xpress
Researchers from the University of Alberta are abuzz after using fruit flies to find new ways of taking advantage of caffeine's lethal effects on cancer cells — results that could one day be used to advance cancer therapies for people. More

Kids' learning disabilities may have multiple causes
HealthDay news
Up to 10 percent of children — two or three kids in every classroom — are thought to have learning disabilities, and a new review finds these disabilities have complex causes and suggests possible approaches.More

Brain changes seen in relatives of people with Alzheimer's
HealthDay News
If Alzheimer's disease runs in your family, you may be more likely to have brain changes associated with the disorder even before symptoms such as memory and thinking problems occur, according to new research. To get a better handle on risk for Alzheimer's disease, researchers at Duke University looked at brain scans of more than 250 adults aged 55 to 89. More