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UROLOGY INDUSTRY NEWS
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High Activity Levels May Help Erectile Function
HealthDay News via Renal & Urology
High weekly exercise levels are tied to better erectile/sexual function in men, whereas exercise at lower levels is not, according to a study published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The researchers found that higher exercise was associated with a better sexual function score. Since there was no association between black race and exercise (P-interaction = 0.772), exercise was tied to better erectile/sexual function regardless of race. Better erectile/sexual function was predicted by exercise greater than or equal to 18 MET hours/week, which was clinically significant. Erectile/sexual function was not significantly associated with exercise at lower levels, either statistically or clinically.
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Common Heartburn Drugs Linked to Kidney Failure in the Elderly
Reuters
Older patients taking proton pump inhibitors, a common remedy for heartburn and acid reflux, are two times more likely to be hospitalized with kidney failure than peers who don't take the pills, a study finds. While the side effect is extremely rare, and the study doesn't prove the drugs cause kidney failure, the association is worrisome because tens of millions of people a year take these pills, sold by prescription and over-the-counter in some countries, with brand names including Prilosec, Prevacid and Zegerid.
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PersonalizeDx - Your service lab for personalized DIAGNOSTIC, PROGNOSTIC and PREDICTIVE test results.
PersonalizeDx
We serve the molecular testing needs of Urologists and Pathologists, and other reference laboratories, with a specialized emphasis in proprietary testing for Prostate and Bladder Cancer patients. Our area of particular focus is the early detection of genomic changes, through Fluorescence in situ Hybridization (FISH) technology, that may detect cancer, measure the potential aggressiveness of the disease, as well as identify patients most likely to respond to targeted therapies. We offer flexible testing solutions that are tailored to each client's needs.
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Use of Radiotherapy After Prostate Cancer Surgery Declining, Despite Evidence of Benefit
Medical Xpress
Despite strong evidence and guidelines supporting its use, post-surgical radiation therapy for prostate cancer patients at risk of recurrence is declining in the United States. The study, published online in the journal European Urology, finds fewer than 10 percent of patients at risk of recurrence received postoperative radiotherapy within six months of surgery in the U.S. Although radical prostatectomy (RP) is a common curative treatment for localized prostate cancer, about 30 percent of patients will develop biochemical recurrence after surgery, meaning their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level will again rise.
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HEALTHCARE NEWS


Senate Passes SGR: ICD-10 Implementation Delays Unlikely
EHR Intelligence
The long-awaited Senate stance on the new SGR bill was unmasked when the Senate approved the legislation on Tuesday, April 14. This effectively puts an end to a flawed formula for Medicare payments as well as any ICD-10 implementation delays. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act was passed 92-8 and now awaits the signature of President Barack Obama before it becomes law, according to Politico.
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Are Medicare and Medicaid Sustainable?
U.S. News &World Report
It has been nearly half a century since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, and while both continue to drive contentious debate among lawmakers, there is one point of agreement: The method of spending on these programs needs to change. In a summit at Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, District of Columbia, former chiefs of government agencies responsible for the programs reflected on the law's passage and its future. A major theme rippled through the discussions: As much as the programs have accomplished, their rising costs are concerning. President Barack Obama's healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, aims to make changes to both programs, which together offer health care coverage to about 110 million Americans.
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Party on SGR's Grave May End in Hangover
Modern Healthcare
The permanent "doc-fix" deal that cleared the Senate by an overwhelming margin on Tuesday, April 14, night ends a perennial fight over Medicare payments that's dragged on for more than a decade. The legislation repeals Medicare's loathed sustainable growth-rate formula for paying doctors and averts a 21.2 percent cut in payments that would have kicked in this month. It also sets up a two-track payment system that's designed to push physicians away from the traditional fee-for-service reimbursement model.
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Is the Healthcare Industry Poised for a Renaissance or Stuck in the Dark Ages?
HealthLeaders Media
Is the Healthcare Industry Poised for a Renaissance or Stuck in the Dark Ages? Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , April 17, 2015 Anthem's Joe Swedish believes providers and payers are ready to cooperate on creating a new healthcare system focused on customer service and moderated cost. "Collectively, we're creating a renaissance period in healthcare." Those are bold words. But if anyone is qualified to make such a sweeping statement, it's probably Joe Swedish, president and CEO of Anthem Inc., the nation's second-largest health insurer, headquartered in Indianapolis and operating Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states.
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Only 251 Hospitals Score 5 Stars in Medicare's New Ratings
Kaiser Health News
In an effort to make comparing hospitals more like shopping for refrigerators and restaurants, the federal government has awarded its first star ratings to hospitals based on patients’ appraisals. Many of the nation's leading hospitals received middling ratings, while comparatively obscure local hospitals and others that specialized in lucrative surgeries frequently received the most stars.
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PRACTICE MANAGEMENT


Doctors See Benefits and Risks in Medicare Changes
The New York Times
President Obama has signaled that he will sign the bill, resolving an issue that frustrated lawmakers in both parties for more than a decade because it repeatedly required Congress to step in to avert cuts to doctor fees. Doctors and health policy experts have begun to take stock of the practical implications of the legislation, which seeks to move away from paying doctors solely on the volume of their services and toward reimbursing them based on the quality and value of the care they provide. Many said the legislation was short on details about how such quality will be measured, and others expressed apprehension about whether the system will be fair.
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Patient Financing: How It Helps Your Patients and Practice
Urology Times
In today's insurance environment, many patients are facing higher out-of-pocket costs, including insurance deductibles and co-pays that can make moving forward with urologic treatment a challenge. A recent analysis by USA Today found the minimum deductible available for a family health insurance plan at the silver level had increased by as much as $5,000 over the previous year. While some patients are seeing lower premiums, co-insurance payments are on the rise with self-pay portions varying from 10 percent to 40 percent under the Affordable Care Act.
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NEWS IN CALIFORNIA


Cash-And-Carry Health Insurance for Some in Los Angeles
Kaiser Health News
The largest publicly run health plan in the nation, L.A. Care, will allow customers who do not have traditional bank accounts to pay their health insurance premiums with cash. One in four Americans who were previously uninsured and eligible for federal insurance subsidies do not have a bank account, relying instead on pre-paid debit cards, money orders and cash to pay bills, according to a study by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.
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Endoscope Maker Warned Europe 2 Years Before California Outbreaks
California Healthline
Olympus Corporation, the maker of the medical endoscopes linked to superbug outbreaks at two Los Angeles area hospitals had warned European facilities about the risks associated with devices nearly two years before the California cases, but U.S. hospitals did not receive such a warning. According to the Times, Olympus first warned European hospitals about the devices in January 2013, when it issued "important safety advice."
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CMS Proposes 1.1 Percent Hospital Pay Raise for 2016
California Healthline
On Friday, April 17, CMS issued its inpatient prospective payment system proposed rule for fiscal year 2016. The proposed rule – which would affect about 3,400 acute-care facilities – adjusts for things such as productivity improvement, coding changes and market conditions in the region in which the hospital is located. Overall, the proposed rule would increase FY 2016 Medicare operating payments to acute-care hospitals by 1.1 percent, a slight decline from last year's 1.4 percent raise.
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State Senate Committee Votes to Subsidize Healthcare for Immigrants Here Illegally
Orange County Register
A California Senate Health Committee voted 7-0 Wednesday, April 15 to expand healthcare coverage for all Californians, regardless of their immigration status. The bill by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, would expand Medi-Cal eligibility for immigrants here illegally who are income-eligible. It is one of 10 bills that aims to expand the rights of people who are living illegally in the country and offer them additional protections.
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WSAUA Insights
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Lonny Alfred, Content Editor, 469.420.2663  
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