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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Minnesota offers startling glimpse into privatization
David Feinwachs was, for nearly 30 years, the general counsel for the Minnesota Hospital Association. For the past five years he has been investigating and examining the issues surrounding managed care involvement in publicly funded health care programs such as Medicaid. Managed care has been used in Minnesota for more than three decades and Feinwachs outlines lessons that Iowa can learn from Minnesota. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Parents hope cannabis oil study helps children
Tina McDermott lays her 9-year-old son Ryan down flat on the living room floor and places her leg on his chest. He has a seizure as the cocktail flows through a tube straight into his abdomen. After a few seconds, his body loosens back up. She has every hope cannabis oil will eliminate her son’s seizures and she can eventually ween him off pharmaceuticals. Ryan is one of a handful of children participating in a clinical trial at University Hospitals, Iowa City. (Quad-City Times)

Several thousand children now immunized against flu
The 2015 Genesis Flu-Free Quad-Cities initiative resulted in 8,800 vaccinations given to schoolchildren in the Quad-City region. The Flu-Free effort began almost a decade ago and involves an effort to inoculate children across the region. This year it reached 97 elementary schools. (Quad-City Times)

Knoxville Hospital & Clinics begins demolition of old clinic
With a swipe from facilities director John Gotta, demolition of the old clinic at Knoxville Hospital & Clinics began Monday. Gotta earned first swipe at the building after winning the silent auction prize at the Knoxville Hospital & Clinics Foundation Gala last month. CEO Kevin Kincaid says the demolition of the old clinic will make way for completion of the new clinic, which is only about three-quarters of the way done. (KNIA/KRLS)

National News

Fight over Medicaid managed care tax punches hole in California budget
California lawmakers are staring down a $1.1 billion hole in next year’s health budget after failing to come up with a way to replace the state’s “managed care organization tax” on health insurance plans that serve Medi-Cal managed care recipients. It’s a hole big enough that state Governor Jerry Brown recently used it as a reason to veto 15 health care and other bills sent to him by the state legislature. (Kaiser Health News)

Boy dies of Ebola in Liberia, first fatality in months
A 15-year-old boy has died of Ebola in Liberia, the first such fatality for months in a country declared free of the disease in September, its chief medical officer said on Tuesday. The boy tested positive last week and died late on Monday in hospital in Paynesville near the capital, where his father and brother are also being treated for Ebola, officials said. Liberia has placed under surveillance 153 people who may have come into contact with the boy. A further 25 health care workers are being monitored, of whom 10 are identified as high-risk, chief medical officer Francis Kateh said. (Reuters)

Coordinated, multihospital effort improves ED patient flow
A collaborative effort by 42 hospitals in 16 U.S. communities to improve patient flow in their emergency departments (EDs) led to measurable improvements at two-thirds of the hospitals, according to a study published in the December issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety. During the 18-month effort, organized by the Aligning Forces for Quality program, hospitals reduced their discharged length of stay by 26 minutes, their admitted length of stay by 36.5 minutes and their boarding time by nearly 21 minutes, according to the study. (Fierce Healthcare)

NYC announces $850M mental health services program
New York City recently announced an $850 million program called ThriveNYC, with 54 different initiatives, to improve mental health services and expand access to such care. The plan involves training 250,000 New Yorkers in mental health first aid to identify and respond to individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues. The city will also launch a public awareness campaign to reduce the stigma of mental health and educate residents where they can access services. (Healthcare Dive)

Health care mergers: Good, bad or both?
While two major merger deals involving the four largest health insurers in the U.S. are being investigated by the Department of Justice, industry experts are debating whether consolidation is good for business and for patients. Currently, the nation’s four largest health insurers control roughly 80 percent of the private insurance marketplace, said Ed Howard, president of the Alliance for Health Reform. In 2014, the health care sector witnessed a total of 1,299 mergers and acquisitions, a small jump from 1,035 in 2013. (MedPage Today)

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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Another Medicaid math puzzler: Who has the contracts?
The Iowa Hospital Association on Monday questioned whether Iowa has reached agreements with heath care providers on more than 12,000 contracts to provide Medicaid services through for-profit management companies. The hospital association, which represents more than 100 Iowa hospitals, claimed Monday it has found discrepancies between the list of health care providers the Iowa Department of Human Services released last week and the businesses that have actually signed contracts. (Des Moines Register)

Group of Medicaid recipients plan trip to statehouse
As Rhonda Shouse sat listening in on a disorderly phone call with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on November 10 that had hundreds of Medicaid recipients and advocates on the line — all speaking over one another in the hopes to have their complaints heard and who were periodically put on mute by the moderator — she had one thought. “Being on that chaotic call, I realized how important it was to get up to that meeting,” she said. The meeting she means is the December 7 Health Policy Oversight Committee meeting in Des Moines. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Branstad asks agencies to submit status quo budgets
Governor Terry Branstad said Monday he has asked state agencies to submit budgets with no spending increases for the coming fiscal year. Branstad is in the midst of holding budget hearings with various state departments. The governor then will craft his budget and present it to the Legislature in January. Iowa is expected to see another modest increase in state revenue, according to the state’s fiscal estimating agency. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

About 4,800 students vaccinated for mumps
University of Iowa health specialists said Monday that after eight vaccination clinics held over two weeks, about 4,800 students have received a third dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The university on November 6 announced that it would hold the vaccination clinics in response to the growing number of confirmed cases of mumps on campus. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

National News

‘Flying ICUs’ part of rural health care strategy
Air transport is a key part of the region’s health care strategy when it comes to traumatic injuries, strokes and heart attacks, said Dr. Mark Monte, chief of trauma surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital in Minnesota. Life Link III, the helicopter intensive care unit (ICU) system, now incorporates nine hospital systems in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota and its helicopters can reach all but farthest points of northwestern Minnesota within an hour, as well as large chunks of the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ontario. (Duluth News Tribune)

Small coastal California town fights to keep hospital afloat
Board meetings for the Mendocino Coast District Hospital are usually pretty dismal affairs. The facility in remote Fort Bragg, California, has been running at a deficit for a decade and barely survived a recent bankruptcy. Across the country, rural communities share similar fears. Small, rural hospitals everywhere have been struggling to survive. Many people who live in these areas are older or low income — not a great customer base for a hospital that needs to make money. (Kaiser Health News)

Hospitals must take proactive approach against violence
Hospital violence is on the rise, but health care leaders face the difficult task of taking measures to prevent it without compromising the open, healing environment of their organizations. The key, according to an article by StatNews, is to develop effective strategies that go beyond simply reacting to individual incidents. The Joint Commission is taking a closer look at institutions and agencies developing innovative anti-violence strategies. (Fierce Healthcare)

Hospitals broaden scope of community-benefit work
Dignity Health, which owns St. Francis Memorial, is one of a number of hospitals and health systems across the country targeting funds to address societal ills such as poverty, violence, hunger, poor nutrition and lack of housing. While not-for-profit hospitals have always been expected to offer programs that improve health or increase health care access, that work has traditionally focused on training new doctors, conducting research and providing charity care for the poor and uninsured. Critics, joined by some health system leaders, argue that hospitals can and should do more to address broader health issues in their communities. (Modern Healthcare)

FDA targets inaccurate medical tests, citing dangers and costs
Inaccurate and unreliable medical tests are prompting abortions, promoting unnecessary surgeries, putting tens of thousands of people on unneeded drugs and raising medical costs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has concluded. The findings come at a time when the use of laboratory-developed tests is booming, the Obama administration is seeking new regulatory powers and even Republicans in Congress are working on legislation to set stricter standards. (New York Times)

Doctors, hospitals still oppose revised bill to limit out-of-network charges
A measure intended to rein in the cost of out-of-network medical services has gone through a number of changes as it makes its way through the New Jersey Legislature. And despite the fact that a key provision has been dropped, which would have eliminated surprise medical bills for many patients, consumer advocates say they still back the bill due to the provisions it has retained. The legislation came under heavy fire in the Assembly earlier this year, when the largest trade groups representing doctors and hospitals criticized it for giving too much negotiating power to health insurers. They renewed that criticism at a hearing yesterday. (NJ Spotlight)

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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Branstad should delay Medicaid plan
Late last week, Governor Terry Branstad sent out a news release touting Iowa’s success in getting 12,000 providers to sign contracts with managed care organizations (MCOs) as the state hurtles toward implementation of its “Medicaid Modernization” plan on January 1. “We are proud of our progress and we will keep working to serve Medicaid patients,” Branstad said in the release. Many Iowans don’t share the administration’s optimism and are skeptical that the state will be ready to transition to MCOs on January 1, putting the care of Medicaid patients at risk throughout the state. (Quad-City Times)

Iowa’s Medicaid providers plead: Delay switch
Dozens of Iowa’s health care providers voiced warnings to federal officials in meetings last week about Governor Terry Branstad’s plan to privatize Medicaid management, one calling it an upcoming “catastrophe of monumental proportions.” “Trying to accomplish this in a two-month time frame and shoving this down the throats of providers is outrageous, unreasonable and shows no concern for the provider community or the patients we serve,” Mitch Harris of the Oncology Center of Iowa said, regarding the short turnaround for his agency to review the contracts and implement the new system. (Des Moines Register)

Rural hospitals worry Medicaid transition could end essential funding
Virginia Gay Hospital is working hard to keep its head above water. The tiny hospital in Vinton is moving its medical records over to an electronic medical record system and, as with the rest of the health care industry, it switched to a new medical coding system on October 1 – both costly and time consuming processes. The hospital is trying to work within an accountable care organization and is pushing to have better care coordination for its patients. But Michael Riege, the hospital’s CEO, worries the state’s plan to transition 560,000 Medicaid enrollees to plans managed by four out-of-state companies by January 1 could be the tipping point. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Medicaid transition moving at slow pace in Iowa
Top staff for Iowa Governor Terry Branstad say he is “pleased by the progress” in the Medicaid managed care transition, even though none of the four for-profit companies has individually enrolled more than 40 percent of the current Medicaid provider network. Branstad’s administration released data Thursday afternoon showing the number of providers signed by each of the companies selected to take over the state’s $4.2 billion Medicaid system January 1, pending federal approval. Each of the state’s 560,000 Medicaid members will be required to choose one of the four companies for their health care. (Dubuque Telegraph Herald)

The struggles behind rural health care
With a population of around 2,500 people, every business matters in Rock Rapids, Iowa, including the hospital and clinic. “We have a large elderly population, so that accessibility to receive good medical care is very important. It alleviates them having to drive to Sioux Falls,” Sanford Rock Rapids Physician Assistant Brenda Vis said. Vis says the rural clinic is also essential for moms of young children, but now more than ever, the rural health care system is struggling. It’s dealing with larger percentages of under-insured patients and declining reimbursement rates. (Keloland TV)

National rural health day draws attention to health care access
Iowa is among the top 10 states with adults in excellent or good health, according to a survey by the Iowa Department of Health. In large part, that’s the result of Iowa’s rural health care system, since 43 percent of the state’s population lives in rural areas or small communities. Bill Menner, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development state director in Iowa, says it makes sense for his agency to be involved in rural health care. “Rural communities provide support to ag producers,” says Menner. “Without rural hospitals, our farmers and ranchers might not have access to critical health care.” (KMALand)

Mercy Medical Center donates life-saving equipment to 11 organizations
Mercy Medical Center donated automatic external defibrillators (AED) to eleven schools, one church and Waypoint Services on Friday. Mercy Medical Center said more than a year ago the library requested an AED, but they realized many places in the community also didn’t have them. “We definitely know that there are people in the community that have these electrical rhythm issues and so it is important that they have access in the event,” Melissa Cullum of Mercy, said. (KCRG)

National News

Hospitals checking security after St. Cloud shooting
Hospitals across Minnesota are re-examining their security precautions amid an increase in violence associated with unstable psychiatric patients and fallout from the October shooting of a deputy by a patient in St. Cloud. Hospital officials say the number of nurses and aides injured by patients or visitors spiked last year, and the St. Cloud Hospital shooting is the second hospital assault in 12 months that ended in a fatality. None had been reported by hospitals in 11 prior years. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

CMS may impose minimum provider-network standards for ACA plans
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed mandating minimum network standards for health plans sold on the federal insurance marketplace in 2017 as part of an effort to handle the broad shift toward narrow provider networks. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all medical policies on the exchanges have enough in-network hospitals and doctors for members so that “all services will be accessible without unreasonable delay.” (Modern Healthcare)

Ebola crisis: WHO slammed by Harvard-convened panel over slow response
A panel of global health experts has strongly criticized the World Health Organization (WHO), saying it mishandled the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The panel, convened by Harvard Global Health Institute and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, called for extensive reform in the way infectious diseases are managed around the world, but singled out the WHO in particular for criticism. (CNN)

Antibiotic resistance: World on cusp of ‘post-antibiotic era’
The world is on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era”, scientists have warned after finding bacteria resistant to drugs used when all other treatments have failed. They identified bacteria able to shrug off the drug of last resort – colistin – in patients and livestock in China. They said that resistance would spread around the world and raised the spectre of untreatable infections. (BBC News)

Mental health care in OH shifts from hospitals to jails
In the aftermath of highly publicized issues, such as mass shootings and skyrocketing drug addiction, more scrutiny has been placed on services for those with mental health and recovery issues. In the past five decades, state-run psychiatric hospitals have been phased out with funds shifted into each community to create outpatient care and support services for those afflicted with any of a number of mental illnesses. The 112-bed Woodside Hospital was shuttered 19 years ago. Today, the Mahoning County jail handles an inordinate number of inmates who oftentimes find themselves incarcerated because there is no other facility available to help them balance their mental health needs. (Youngstown Vindicator)

The state of telepresence: Health care and telemedicine
Telemedicine is a rapidly growing field and, with the aid of telepresence robots, is quickly gaining traction in hospitals and homes around the world. In rural hospital settings where a medical specialist is physically unavailable, a robot can be deployed to check in on a patient with a physician from elsewhere. In the home, a nurse can check in with a patient while they recover in a comfortable setting. (Robohub)

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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Medicaid moved to privatized management beginning January 1
Health providers across the state are preparing for a change to the way Iowa’s Medicaid services will be offered to beneficiaries as soon as January 1. On August 17, Governor Terry Branstad selected four private insurance companies after a bid to serve as options for health care providers, according to Spencer Municipal Hospital President Bill Bumgarner. The four companies are Amerigroup Iowa Inc.; AmeriHealth Caritas Iowa Inc.; UnitedHealthcare Plan of the River Valley Inc. and WellCare of Iowa Inc. (Spencer Daily Reporter)

Branstad touts Medicaid contracts, but few hospitals signed
Governor Terry Branstad, who is pushing to shift management of the state’s Medicaid program to private companies on January 1, said Thursday that the firms have signed more than 12,000 contracts with pharmacies, doctors and other health care providers. But most Iowa hospitals and physicians have not signed contracts to participate in the new system, according to the Department of Human Services. The issue is important, because the managed-care companies are supposed to show they have broad networks of health care providers willing to care for the new plans’ members. (Des Moines Register)

Concussions put football on the brink
Drew Buzynski, then a sophomore quarterback for Wapsie Valley, scored the game-winning touchdown in the Warriors’ 21-17 Homecoming victory over Grundy Center last fall. He then collapsed on the field, eventually transported by ambulance to Waterloo hospital, where he was later airlifted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and treated for concussion symptoms. Football is arguably the most popular sport in America. Despite the growing popularity of the sport, there’s a terrifying trend. And it doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. (Waverly Newspapers)

IA unemployment drops
Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased slightly to 3.5 percent in October from 3.6 percent in September. The state’s jobless rate was 4.3 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 5.0 percent in October. “Iowa’s economy continues to improve” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 60,300 in October from 61,400 in September. The current estimate is 13,500 lower than the year ago level of 73,800. (KGAN)

National News

UnitedHealth may exit ACA exchange
Iowans could face even fewer choices on the state’s health insurance exchange. The Wall Street Journal reports that United Health Group is among several insurers losing big money on policies sold under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and may withdraw from that market. Some industry analysts say an enrollment shortfall and a risk pool skewed toward ill people set the stage for a “death spiral” in which companies selling ACA policies raise premiums to cover losses, discouraging all but the oldest, sickest people from buying coverage. (KGAN)

Rural Hospitals weigh in on their importance
A recent report highlights nine rural hospitals throughout the state that are at risk of closing. Administrators from rural hospitals in South Mississippi are weighing in on their importance to their communities. Steve Vaughan is the CEO of Pearl River County Hospital. He says although his hospital isn’t at risk of closing, it’s important to highlight the role rural hospitals play. “Rural hospitals form the backbone of the health care delivery system in rural areas,” Vaughan said. (WLOX)

Plotting the ACO roadmap: Leveraging the appropriate technology
Launching and sustaining an accountable care organization (ACO) without robust technology is like building a house without power tools. It can be done, but it will take a lot of time and resources to accomplish. Technology, including electronic health records; data acquisition, aggregation, and normalization; financial and clinical analytics; patient engagement applications and care management software can help ACOs efficiently identify at-risk patients and proactively transition them into cost-effective care–activities that are essential to any well-performing operation. (HealthCare IT News)

CMS determined to make full ACA fallback payments
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a memo late Thursday that reiterated the federal agency’s desire to pay out risk corridors payments despite the massive shortfall in the near term. The notice came the same day that UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, said it was seriously considering pulling out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces. UnitedHealth’s announcement shocked the healthcare industry and raised questions about the stability of the exchanges. (Modern Healthcare)

How a NJ health system bridges ACOs and population health management
A New Jersey health system’s aggressive push into accountable care and population health management is already showing signs of success, according to Healthcare Informatics. Atlantic Health System, a five-hospital system in Morristown, New Jersey, runs two active Accountable Care Organization (ACOs): Optimus Healthcare Partners and the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization. The ACOs’ leaders have identified a series of quality measures for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), including readmission reduction, cost savings and reduced length of stay, with 61 area SNFs already making progress on all three. (Fierce Healthcare)

Trinity Health to invest $80 million to improve health in six communities
Trinity Health, a Catholic health system with 88 hospitals, announced Thursday it will invest $80 million in six communities it serves over the next five years to improve public health, with a particular focus on obesity and tobacco use. The $80 million investment will consist of grants and loans for the communities to implement policies, programs and resources that aim to decrease obesity and smoking rates. The six communities chosen will be announced in January, said Bechara Choucair, Trinity’s senior vice president for safety net and community health. (Modern Healthcare)

Uber delivers flu shots in 36 cities, in one-day experiment
For four hours Thursday, people in Boston and 35 other cities had the opportunity to summon a nurse to their doorstep to give them a flu shot. This experiment in “on-demand health care,” which involved the use of hundreds of Uber drivers, heralds what some consider the wave of the future: bringing health care to the people, instead of waiting for them to come and get it. (The Boston Globe)

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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Iowa Democrats take Medicaid concerns to D.C.
Federal officials are heeding the thousands of Iowans who have flooded them with concerns about the state’s plan to privatize its Medicaid program, Democratic legislators said Wednesday. Three leading Iowa Senate Democrats met Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C., with Obama administration officials who will decide whether to approve Governor Terry Branstad’s plan. The Iowa legislators want federal officials to at least slow down the shift to private Medicaid management, which is set to take place January 1. (Des Moines Register)

Three Democrats in DC to raise concerns about Branstad’s Medicaid plan
Three Democrats from the Iowa Senate are in Washington, D.C. to raise “issues and concerns” about Governor Branstad’s plan to shift 560,000 Iowa Medicaid patients into managed care plans. Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum of Dubuque says she left meeting with five agency decision-makers “feeling somewhat positive” the federal government may put the brakes on Branstad’s plan. (Radio Iowa)

Where Medicare Advantage enrollment lags, health systems see opportunity
Two large Midwest health systems are building an insurance plan together centered on Medicare Advantage. The joint venture marks yet another example of providers’ burning ambition to join the insurance game. This week, UnityPoint Health, a 17-hospital system based in West Des Moines, Iowa, and HealthPartners, an integrated delivery system based in Bloomington, Minnesota, said they are creating a new health insurance company in which each organization will have a 50 percent stake. (Modern Healthcare)

Iowa community college enrollment continues to drop
Combined enrollment for Iowa’s 15 community colleges continued to slip this fall, although a handful of institutions bucked the trend — including Cedar Rapids-based Kirkwood Community College, which welcomed nearly 4 percent more students. But total numbers, according to a new report out of the Iowa Department of Education, dipped .6 percent to 93,072 this fall, from 93,772 last fall. The drop follows a .5 percent decrease last fall and a 6.3 percent slide the year before that. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

McCaughey septuplets turning 18, prepare to leave nest
The McCaughey septuplets soon enter adulthood, turning 18 on November 19, and Iowans wonder where the time has gone. With the news-bulletin birth, and years of national attention that followed, the renown could have gone to their heads. Yet the septuplets seem like nice young Iowans. Parents Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey have been protective, but entertained media requests every November to poke around their spacious 7-bedroom home in Carlisle with cameras, lights and personal questions. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Ohio hospitals sue HHS over two-midnight pay cut
Six Ohio hospitals are suing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over a part of the two-midnight rule that would cut inpatient payments to hospitals, following a judge’s ruling against HHS in a similar case. The hospitals want the U.S. District Court in Columbus to vacate a part of the rule, implemented in 2013, that would reduce compensation for inpatient services by 0.2 percent. That reduction was meant to offset estimated costs to Medicare associated with the rule, which directs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services payment contractors to presume short-term hospital stays are inpatient admissions rather than outpatient observation visits if they span two midnights. (Modern Healthcare)

As TX hospital closes, baffled mayor mulls options
Unlike many of rural hospital closures that occur despite public outcry and angst, the people of Bowie, Texas had the opportunity to save their hospital. They literally elected not to. Nearly 50 years after it opened, the doors have finally closed for good at Bowie Memorial Hospital, a 51-bed independent community hospital serving Bowie, TX. (HealthLeaders Media)

‘Post-EHR era’? Not so fast
Many have commented these past couple years about the “post-electronic health record (ERH) era.” In the half-decade since Stage 1 meaningful use, the story goes, health providers all now have their ERHs installed, humming and finely-tuned and are now turning their attention to newer and more advanced species of IT – to better prepare them for the realities of care coordination and analytics-driven population health management. But a recent study in Health Affairs suggests the truth is a bit more complicated than that. (Healthcare IT News)

U.S. public health funding on the decline
U.S. public health funding – which covers things like disease prevention, cancer screenings, contraceptives and vaccines – has been steadily falling in recent years and is expected to keep going down, a recent study projects. Real, inflation-adjusted public health expenditures surged from $39 per capita in 1960 to $281 per capita in 2008, then fell 9.3 percent to $255 per capita in 2014, according to the analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health. Public health’s share of total U.S. health expenditures rose from 1.36 percent in 1960 to 3.18 percent in 2002, then fell to 2.65 percent in 2014, the analysis found. (Reuters)

Feds call on hospitals to review disaster plans after Paris attacks
The horrifying attacks on restaurants, clubs and cafés in Paris last week have resulted in a call by U.S. federal agencies for health care providers and hospitals to review their disaster plans and to exercise “enhanced vigilance” in the days ahead. The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Health and Human Services urged health care providers this week to “review and exercise their security plans” in the wake of the attacks. (Fierce Healthcare)

How tightly should e-cigarettes be regulated?
Both Republicans and Democrats want to see more regulation of the e-cigarette industry, a new poll from STAT and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds. But what should those regulations look like? Several experts were asked for their views. All agreed that e-cigarette regulations should include language about safety — the devices should be safe to operate, the liquid they use should be free from contaminants or toxins and the devices and liquid containers should be childproof. Beyond that, a variety of suggestions are on the wish list. (STAT)

Telemedicine won’t make traditional health care services extinct
As the retooling of the health care industry with telemedicine capabilities advances, the technology is supplementing rather than supplanting traditional modalities of medical service delivery. The outsourcing of some medical services through the use of telemedicine appears to be moving in a kinder and gentler direction. (HealthLeaders Media)


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