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Spin and Win at the Annual Meetings!
It pays to visit the exhibits in many ways! Dr. Tim Brand holds up a valuable silver coin that he won with a spin of the wheel
after filing out his completed Aloha Passport Card filled with vendor companies.
Plan Ahead |
91st Annual Meeting Oct. 24-29, 2015,
Renaissance Esmeralda Hotel, Indian Wells, California
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New Technology Improves Prostate Cancer Biopsies
University of California, Los Angeles via Medical Xpress
The goal is not to find every prostate cancer — it's to find aggressive prostate cancer that may impact a man's survival. Prostate cancer specialists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center are refining prostate cancer diagnosis to better identify those cancers that are more likely to grow quickly and spread to other parts of the body. The University of Michigan is the first in the region to offer men a new technology that combines MRI and real-time ultrasound to help guide a biopsy needle, ensuring that tissue from all suspicious areas is captured.
Study: Patients with Operable Kidney Cancers More Likely to Have Partial Nephrectomy
The Medical News
Patients with operable kidney cancers were more likely to have a partial nephrectomy — the recommended treatment for localized tumors — when treated in hospitals that were early adopters of robotic surgery, according to a new study. Researchers report that by 2008, hospitals that had adopted robotic surgery at the start of the current century (between 2001 and 2004) performed partial nephrectomies in 38 percent of kidney cancer cases compared to late adopters (2005 to 2008) who performed partial nephrectomies only 24 percent of the time.
PSA Doubling Time Predicts Salvage Radiation Outcomes
Renal & Urology News
Salvage external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is effective in some patients with detectable and rising PSA levels following prostate cancer (PCa) surgery, a new study confirms. PSA doubling time of 6 months or less and seminal vesicle invasion predicted an inadequate response. For these high-risk PCa patients, androgen deprivation could be considered, suggested the research team led by Einar Servoll, MD, of Sørlandet County Hospital in Norway.
THE GIVING POWER OF UROLOGY: Western Section Urologists Can Improve the Environment while Redistributing Medical Supplies to Areas of Need
According to the 2006 Alameda County Recycling Plan, hospitals are the 4th largest producers of solid waste. At the same time, safety net clinics and remote clinics here and abroad are struggling to offer services for lack of medical supplies. Due to legal restrictions and other reasons, U.S. hospitals discard 5,000 tons of useful medical supplies every day.
Since 1998, MedShare has been the bridge between surplus and need to improve healthcare and the environment through the efficient recovery and redistribution of surplus medical supplies and equipment from hospitals, manufacturers and distributors. MedShare, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, offers healthcare organizations a unique opportunity to divert this surplus from landfills and make it available to local community health clinics and hospitals in the developing world.
MedShare's Container Program delivers containers with medical supplies and equipment to the developing world. Last year, MedShare shipped 128 containers to recipients in 28 different countries and equipped 107 safety net clinics. In the Western region alone, MedShare equipped 295 medical mission teams and diverted 292 tons of medical surplus from Bay Area landfills. Watch how it’s done (put link in your browser): http://youtu.be/XEQBn53LYKk
Two Western Section urologists, Linda Shortliffe and Eric Engelman are members of MedShare’s Western Regional Council. We hope that Western Section urologists will join us in making a difference in our West and the world, and consider supporting Medshare to fund shipping a container of our medical surplus supplies to places of medical need.
The Power of One the Impact of Many. Follow us on Twitter #givingTuesday @MedShare, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
MedShare is recipient of Charity Navigator's top 4 star rating for 8 consecutive years, 2012 Acterra Environmental Innovation Award, Google’s 2014 Bay Area Impact Challenge Award, and the 2014 Volunteer Choice Award.
As Controlled Substance Use Rises in Medicare, Prolific Prescribers Face More Scrutiny
Despite a national crackdown on prescription drug abuse, doctors churned out an ever-larger number of prescriptions for the most-potent controlled substances to Medicare patients, new data shows.
In addition, ProPublica found, the most prolific prescribers of such drugs as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and Ritalin often have worrisome records.
Why Most People Won't Shop Again for Health Insurance
The New York Times
In general, people have a bias toward the status quo — and a bit of laziness. That's why similar auto-renewal policies are showing up all over the place, in public radio memberships, say, and gym memberships (and for subscriptions to The New York Times). For most businesses, it pays if the default option is that you remain their customer. Auto-renewals are also a key feature of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces. People who want to come to a website and review their options every year have been encouraged to do so. But, just in case they don’t, most people will simply be kept in their existing plan or shifted to one that’s similar if they take no action.
Medical Scribes May Ease EHR, ICD-10 Aches
With the advent of electronic health records in patient care, healthcare organizations have been looking for a way to help physicians combat the deluge of mandates, while still maintaining a high level of efficiency. One fast-growing position designed to remedy this situation is the medical scribe. A medical scribe's primary duty is to document a physician's encounter with a patient in the electronic health record system. Scribes enter information about a patient's history, the physical exam, the physician's assessment, notes on decision making and discharge and after care instructions.
10 Top Patient Safety Issues for 2015
Becker's Infection Control & Clinical Quality
Hospitals are charged with the dual task of keeping patients well while also keeping patients safe. The two are inextricably linked, as patient safety concerns often tie directly into patient health concerns — hand hygiene, transitions of care and medication errors are a few such concerns that come to mind. Retrospectively, 2014 provided some lessons in patient safety issues. Looking prospectively, these concerns, and many others, will flow into the next calendar year. Some of the patient safety issues are long established, and will remain in the forefront of healthcare's mind for years to come. Here, in no particular order, are 10 important patient safety issues for providers to consider in the upcoming year.
US Healthcare Lags Worldwide for Those Over 65
The New York Times
The Commonwealth Fund has been publishing surveys comparing health care in industrialized countries since 1998, a continuing report card in which the United States has usually fared poorly because of its high proportion of uninsured people. But its latest report — an early anniversary tribute to Medicare, which turns 50 next year — focuses on those over 65, the one segment of the American population with nearly universal coverage and access to care.
Physicians: Obamacare Shortchanges Doctors, Patients
With a growing, aging U.S. population, the demand for physicians has increased and communities the country are already experiencing doctor shortages. According to estimates by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States faces a shortage of more than 130,000 doctors by 2025.
The shortage "is equally distributed among primary care and medical specialties such as general surgery, cardiology, and oncology," according to the AAMC, which says that 250,000 doctors are "likely to retire" by 2020.
The federal government has now entered this realm with the launch of Physician Compare, a website mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Physician Compare follows in the tradition of, and will be cousin to, Hospital Compare, Nursing Home Compare, Home Health Compare, and Dialysis Facility Compare. Those earlier-established sites and the data they present have evolved significantly over the past decade and now encompass thousands of facilities nationwide, including every acute care hospital in the nation and almost 16,000 nursing homes.
No Rest for Battle-Weary Docs
Year-end accolades are making the rounds, but physicians can't afford to be distracted from efforts to repeal the despised sustainable growth rate formula, to fight a large commercial payer, and to fund the education of primary care doctors in rural areas.
White House to Healthcare Providers: Prepare for Climate Impacts
The White House wants healthcare providers to get serious about bulking up their defenses against climate change. In a best-practice guide for healthcare providers and policymakers released on Dec. 15, the administration advises them on how to best improve their "climate readiness."
The guide is one piece of a larger initiative at the Department of Health and Human Services launched by President Barack Obama last year, and provides information to healthcare facilities on how to prepare of extreme weather events the administration says is tied to climate change. The guidelines include commitments from leading healthcare providers across the country to bulk up climate resilience at facilities and of operations.
CMS to Pay Physicians for Managing Chronic Care
Beginning in January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will reimburse physicians for managing care for Medicare patients with two or more chronic conditions. According to The New York Times, a statistician at the Department of Health and Human Services found two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have at least two chronic conditions, and that these patients account for 93 percent of Medicare spending.
California's Proposition 46 and the Uncertain Future of Medical Malpractice Liability Reform
On Nov. 4, Californians voted against Proposition 46, an unprecedented statewide ballot initiative that would have, among other things, raised the $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages to $1.1 million and indexed it to the rate of inflation in future years. The margin was significant — 67 percent voted against it.
Virtual Visits Cheaper, Even if Other Factors Considered
Patients using virtual visits are largely using them to replace emergency department, urgent-care and office visits and they don't require extensive follow-up care, a new study reports.
Those findings could bolster the case of those who suggest that virtual visits can cut healthcare costs and so should be eligible for Medicaid reimbursements.
Covered California extends deadline to sign up for Obamacare
Los Angeles Times
California's health insurance exchange extended its deadline for consumers who want Obamacare coverage in effect beginning Jan. 1. Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said people who start the application process or made some "good faith effort" by Monday will have until Dec. 21 to finish signing up. Monday at midnight was the original deadline.
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