News & Information
When Hospitals Buy Practices, Insurers, Patients Pay the Piper
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 11:01 AM

A new study gives ammunition to what health economists and health insurers have argued for years: When hospitals buy physician practices, the result is usually higher hospital prices and increased spending by privately insured patients.  The study was based on an analysis of 2.1 million hospital claims from workers of self-insured employers between 2001 and 2007. The analysis by Stanford University researchers found prices were most likely to increase when hospitals bought physician practices, as opposed to hospitals forming looser contractual relationships with physicians.

HHS Says ACA Saved $4 Billion and 15,000 Lives
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:45 AM

Hospital-acquired infections and other harms that befall inpatients dropped 9% in 2011-2012, preventing nearly 15,000 deaths and saving about $4 billion, the Obama administration announced.  In addition, hospital readmissions for Medicare patients dropped to 17.5%, in 2013.  The decline in infections, adverse drug events, falls, and other hospital-acquired conditions also avoided 560,000 patient injuries, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Murder: Another Ambien Side Effect?
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:34 AM
Forensic psychiatrists have found it challenging to unravel the role of zolpidem (Ambien) in several brutal murders committed against loved ones.  The cases may be the most extreme examples of an already known side effect of zolpidem -- that, even at recommended doses, people using the drug may get out of bed and do things while still effectively asleep, and don't remember it the next day.

Numerous reports have described people fixing meals, having sex, and even getting into their cars and driving away in the middle of the night, with no later recollection. A few "Ambien zombies" have wrecked their cars and even killed people in accidents.  But in at least three cases, a person with no apparent motive and no history of violence brutally murdered a spouse or close friend in the wee hours after taking more than the recommended dose of zolpidem along with other psychotropic medications.

Aspirin: FDA Says 'No'
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 12:00 AM

The FDA recently issued a message to consumers stating that the evidence does not support the "general" use of aspirin for the primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

"In fact, there are serious risks associated with the use of aspirin, including increased risk of bleeding in the stomach and brain, in situations where the benefit of aspirin for primary prevention has not been established," the agency said, adding that the benefits of aspirin outweigh the risks in the setting of secondary prevention.

CDC Reports on Disability, Chronic Disease
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 06:24 PM

People with a disability were more likely to report at least one chronic illness and were less likely to participate in recommended physical activities, researchers reported.  Inactive adults with a disability were 50% more likely to report one or more chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

Among U.S. adults, ages 18-64, 11.6% reported having a disability -- hearing, vision, cognition, or mobility -- and those adults were far more likely to report inactivity compared with adults who did not have a disability (47.1% versus 26.1%), although 44% said their healthcare provider had recommended they take part in physical activity.

There are several resources health professionals can use to assist patients in reaching their activity goals, specifically, there are five steps doctors and other health professionals can take:

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