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Stark decision leaves CMS open to more Medicare challenges
If your practice has a financial arrangement with or owns a lithotripsy center, you no longer have to worry about violating the Stark law when you refer patients to the center. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on July 12, 2013 that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) overstepped its bounds when it included lithotripsy services among the designated health services covered under Stark.
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Doctors and EHR: Can This Shotgun Marriage be Saved?
David F. Carr writes, "There are many things about healthcare IT that I would like to understand or understand better. One of the most basic revolves around happiness and unhappiness, love and hate.
When I wrote a column on 'Why Doctors Hate EHR Software,' I knew that was a gross oversimplification but hoped it would start a discussion. And it has."
Demand for Physician Assistants Intensifies
There is no corner of the healthcare job market that is hotter now than the search for physician assistants.
"PA searches are up 127 percent year-over-year in the numbers we do, which is insane. You just don't see that spikes like that," says Travis Singleton, senior vice president at healthcare recruiters Merritt Hawkins. "We are not quite at a feeding frenzy yet, but we are getting there."
$128 Billion SGR Repeal Deal Needs a Payment Plan
Analysts, providers, and Medicare patient advocates are cautiously optimistic that the Sustainable Growth Rate formula repeal deal announced Thursday in Congress is a stride forward in the quest to move U.S. healthcare from a fee-for-service model to value-based payment of doctors.
Figuring out how to pay for it may be a bigger challenge.
Searching for the Best Physician in the World
By Clint Hubler
Often as I review physician CVs, I see accomplishments and rankings such as "top doctor in the U.S." or "best doctor in state." In conversations I also hear about prestigious awards and recognition. These types of things fall under the general category of "what people say about themselves." In my work as a physician representative, I'm always asking myself, "What makes a physician great?" I listen to what people say about themselves, but that's not my primary focus. I'm looking for something else. How do I find out if a physician is great?
Do Fish Oil Supplements Really Increase Prostate Cancer Risk?
Fish oil supplements have been shown to provide a variety of benefits when it comes to cardiovascular health, but is there a down side to taking them?
The omega-3 fatty acids found in some fish are known to help reduce inflammation, and can be very beneficial in protecting against certain conditions like heart disease and even Alzheimer’s.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery Controlled CNS Metastases in Renal Cell Carcinoma
Stereotactic radiosurgery achieved excellent local control in patients with central nervous system metastases from renal cell carcinoma, according to results of a retrospective study. The study included 166 patients with renal cell carcinoma who had CNS metastases. All patients underwent stereotactic radiosurgery at Cleveland Clinic between 1996 and 2010. Follow-up was 1 month to 2 months after radiosurgery, then every 3 months to 6 months after.
Kidney Donors May Have Small Increased Risk Of End-Stage Renal Disease; Is It Significant?
A recent analysis of about 100,000 kidney donors found they had a small increased risk of developing end-stage renal disease compared to those who had not donated.
"In the U.S. about 6,000 adults provide kidneys," a JAMA Network Journals news release reported.
"It is imperative that the transplant community, in due diligence to donors, understands the risk of donation to the fullest extent possible and communicates known risks to those considering donation," background information on the study said, the news release reported.
Kidney Cancer Patients on ASI Antihypertensives Live Longer
A retrospective analysis of 4736 patients with metastatic kidney cancer has found that patients who were taking antihypertensive drugs that act as angiotensin system inhibitors lived significantly longer than patients who were not taking such drugs.
The overall survival among patients taking ASIs was 27 months versus 17 months for patients who were not taking these drugs.
Cancer Prevention: WHO Report Says Diet is Critical
The World Health Organization caused alarm for some recently by releasing a report showing that we're woefully unaware of the link between cancer and diet or lifestyle.
In the WHO report, researchers stated that new cancer cases might reach 25 million per year in the next two decades, according to The Guardian. That's a frightening 70 percent increase over current levels and suggests that we need to make some radical changes to our cancer prevention approach.
Bladder Cancer Outcomes Better in Induction Chemotherapy Responders
Clinical Oncology News
Response to induction chemotherapy in patients with node-positive bladder cancer is predictive of outcomes, a study has concluded.
Researchers from the Netherlands reviewed database records of 149 consecutive patients with NPBC who were treated with at least two cycles of neoadjuvant/induction chemotherapy before undergoing pelvic lymph node dissection and radical cystectomy. The researchers, led by Richard P. Meijer, hypothesized that response to NIC would be a prognosticator for extended cancer-specific survival, and that down-staging of the primary tumor after chemotherapy might be a surrogate marker for treatment efficacy.
Beta-Blockers Linked to Lower Mortality in High-Risk Prostate Cancer
The Oncology Report
The use of beta-blockers in men with metastatic and high-risk prostate cancer was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer–specific mortality independent of statin or acetylsalicylic acid use, according to a study published in European Urology.
"Given these results, beta-blocker use should be further investigated where large registries are available," wrote Dr. Helene Hartvedt Grytli of the Institute of Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital and her co-investigators. "This is the first study to assess the association between beta-blocker use and prostate cancer–specific survival in a large cohort of men with known disease aggressiveness at diagnosis."
Are Advanced Imaging Technologies Worth the Risks?
By Denise A. Valenti
The use of advanced imaging technologies — MRIs and CT scans — increased more than threefold between the years 2000 and 2010. Noninvasive diagnostic technologies can lead to earlier and more precise diagnosis of pathology, but they also come with an increased cost and sometimes with a danger of exposure to ionizing radiation. The risk of incurring cancer from the radiation exposure with CT is small, but it is not zero. With more than 85 million scans performed yearly in the United States, do the benefits outweigh the risks?
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