News & Information
April is Alcohol Awareness Month
Written by Editor   
Friday, April 10, 2015 12:00 AM

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to learn about alcohol and the health and social problems caused by drinking too much. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) encourages the public to dedicate this month to understanding how excessive drinking can affect health and to evaluating their own drinking habits.

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State Boards Can Be Sued for Antitrust
Saturday, March 14, 2015 04:18 PM

When practitioners set rules to restrict who can practice, federal antitrust rules may come into play.  In a ruling that could have far-reaching implications for state medical boards, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that a state dental board violated antitrust laws when it tried to prevent nondentists from providing teeth-whitening services.

The decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC could conceivably support challenges to the authority of state physician boards to regulate scope of practice by nonphysicians.

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Changes at the Top of Medicare, Medicaid Agency
Saturday, March 14, 2015 03:41 PM
Big changes are in store later this month at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after Administrator Marilyn Tavenner officially steps down.
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Aspirin Overused for Primary Prevention
Saturday, March 14, 2015 03:21 PM

Aspirin is too often used to prevent stroke and other cardiovascular risks in people for whom guidelines suggest no net benefit, examination of a national registry of cardiology practices suggested.  Fully 11.6% of aspirin use in primary prevention by cardiologists was among people below the recommended 6% 10-year baseline risk threshold.  That rate ranged from as low as 0% in some practices to as high as 71.8% in others.

The variation across practices was so significant that a patient would be 63% more likely to get aspirin inappropriately at one randomly-selected office than an identical patient at another randomly-chosen practice.  "Our findings suggest that there are important opportunities to improve evidence-based aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease," the group concluded.

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Can Better Financial Data Management Save $375 Billion a Year?
Saturday, March 14, 2015 03:13 PM

Simplifying the process of billing and financial data management in the healthcare industry could save up to $375 billion per year in unnecessary costs, claims a new study.  That amounts to approximately fifteen percent of total healthcare spending in the United States.  The massive reduction in costs would require a thorough overhaul of how financial data is created, transmitted, and used from its start in the physician’s office through its journey to payers and back again.   

A team of health policy researchers from a number of institutions wished to examine the enormous burden that billing and insurance related (BIR) costs are placing on a health system already strained by the clinical weight of chronic disease management, overutilization, poor care coordination, and an aging population.  Administrative costs more than doubled as a percentage of healthcare spending between 1980 and 2010, the study says, as more complex relationships between payers and providers continue to develop.  As payers attempt to take more control over what services providers deliver, costs related to prior authorizations, claims, and managed care have spiked administrative spending.

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