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Small Slice of Doctors Account for Big Chunk of Medicare Costs
The Wall Street Journal
A tiny sliver of doctors and other medical providers accounted for an outsize portion of Medicare's 2012 costs, according to an analysis of federal data that lays out details of physicians' billings. The top 1 percent of 825,000 individual medical providers accounted for 14 percent of the $77 billion in billing recorded in the data.
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SGR, ICD-10 Delay Ready To Be Signed Into Law
The Senate voted on March 31 to delay scheduled cuts in physician payments under Medicare and move the switch to ICD-10 billing codes to October 2015.
The chamber passed a bill that delays by 12 months pending reimbursement cuts under Medicare's sustainable growth rate payment formula. Physicians were to face 24 percent cuts in Medicare payments starting April 1 unless Congress acted.
Blood Test Could Improve Prostate Cancer Screening
The Huffington Post
Men who have elevated levels of prostate specific antigen during prostate cancer screening often turn out not to have cancer, but a new set of markers in the blood may improve the ability of the test to distinguish men who have cancer from those who don't, a new study suggests. In the study, a blood test that looked for three markers in the blood, in addition to PSA, was much better than PSA alone at distinguishing men with prostate cancer from those with high PSA levels who did not have cancer.
Gold Nanorods Attach to, Kill Bladder Cancer Cells
A major strategy of modern cancer research is to discover a difference between cancerous and healthy cells and then to specifically target this difference to kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2014 demonstrates a novel strategy that accomplishes both: bladder cancer cells overexpress the protein EGFR; gold nanorods can be engineered to attach to EGFR proteins; and then the application of low-intensity laser to the tissue can preferentially heat these gold nanorods, killing the EGFR-rich cancer cells to which they are attached.
Modifiable Factors Help Predict Sexual Dysfunction in Older Men
Renal & Urology
Incidence and remission of erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire in aging men are predicted by a range of modifiable risk factors, according to research published online in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Dr. Sean A. Martin, from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues described the incidence or remission and biopsychosocial predictors of ED and low sexual desire in a cohort of 810 men aged 35 to 80 years.
Osteoporosis May be Present Before Prostate Cancer ADT
Renal & Urology News
Osteoporosis is common and underdiagnosed in Danish men prior to androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer, according to a study results published online ahead of print in the Scandinavian Journal of Urology. Vitamin D insufficiency also may be underdiagnosed in these men. Dr. Mads Hvid Poulsen, of the Odense University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues researchers studied at 105 PCa patients who had a mean age of 70 years. They obtained sociodemographic information and medical history, took blood samples, and performed dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans to measure bone mass density.
FDA Approves Quick-Acting Drug to Reverse Prescription Painkiller ODs
The first prescription treatment that can be used by family members or caregivers to treat an overdose of narcotic painkillers has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Evzio is a hand-held auto injector that delivers a single dose of the drug naloxone into the muscle or beneath the skin. The injector can be carried in a pocket or stored in a medicine cabinet and is meant as an emergency treatment for people who have suffered a known or suspected overdose of powerful pain drugs called opioids.
ATA's Tele-ICU Guidelines Aim to Ensure Patient Safety
Draft guidance published by the American Telemedicine Association this week focuses on the use of telecommunications technologies in intensive care settings. The stated aim of the guidance, for which ATA is accepting comments through April 26, is to "assist practitioners in pursuing a sound course of action to provide effective and safe medical care that is founded on current information, available resources and patient needs," according to its authors. What's more, the authors said, the guidelines are meant for tele-ICU services only, and should not be applied to overall ICU care.
3 Hospital Employee Engagement Strategies
A small hospital that enlisted Gallup's help to boost employee engagement not only improved its overall engagement score in a three-year period, it also experienced a drop in staff turnover and workers' compensation claims. Hospital leaders reached out to the research company in 2010 to help them improve engagement and ensure that hospital staff remained devoted to their roles and work, according to the Gallup Business Journal, which didn't identify the organization.
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