Health

Shots - Health News
1:28 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Measles Hits Amish Communities, And U.S. Cases Reach 20-Year High

Measles was brought to Ohio's Amish communities by people returning from mission trips to the Philippines.
Chuck Crow The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 5:34 pm

Members of Amish communities in Ohio traveled to the Philippines for heartfelt reasons: They were there on service projects to help less fortunate people. Unfortunately, they came home with unwelcome hitchhikers: measles viruses.

Those travelers hadn't been vaccinated against this highly contagious disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. As a result, they have triggered an outbreak of more than 130 cases, primarily among their unvaccinated friends and relatives in Amish communities.

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Shots - Health News
11:39 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Medicare Frequently Overpays Doctors For Patients' Visits

Medicare spent $6.7 billion too much for office visits and other patient evaluations in 2010, according to a report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

But in its reply to the findings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, said it doesn't plan to review the billings of doctors who almost always charge for the most expensive visits because it isn't cost-effective to do so.

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Shots - Health News
10:28 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Doctors Say They Would Shun Aggressive Treatment When Near Death

The vast majority of young physicians surveyed by Stanford researchers wouldn't want to receive CPR or cardiac life support if they were terminally ill and their heart or breathing stopped.
UygarGeographic/iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:49 pm

Everybody dies.

But when doctors' time is up, they are different from the rest of us. They "go gently" rather than opt for aggressive end-of-life treatments, as one physician wrote a few years ago. They have seen the suffering of their patients at the end of life and want no part of it.

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Shots - Health News
1:57 am
Thu May 29, 2014

The Divide Over Involuntary Mental Health Treatment

Involuntary commitment to a hospital for mental illness can be a lengthy and complex process. A California law makes mandatory outpatient treatment an option.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 12:19 pm

The attacks near the University of California, Santa Barbara, are renewing focus on programs aimed at requiring treatment for people who are mentally ill as a way to prevent mass shootings and other violence.

In California, a 2002 law allows authorities to require outpatient mental health care for people who have been refusing it. Proponents argue that this kind of intervention could prevent violent acts.

But counties within the state have been slow to adopt the legislation, and mental health professionals are divided over its effects.

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Shots - Health News
5:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Georgia Looks To Reopen Some Closed Hospitals As ERs

Charlton Memorial Hospital closed in 2013, but it may now be able to offer some ER services thanks to a limited license Georgia is now offering to struggling rural hospitals.
Susanna Capelouto

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 7:10 pm

An ambulance races down an empty street in Folkston, Ga., population about 5,000. It bypasses Charlton Memorial Hospital, makes a sharp right turn and speeds to an emergency room 40 miles away.

Why? Because Charlton Memorial Hospital has been closed since last August.

Four of Georgia's 65 rural hospitals have shut down over the past two years. A dozen more have cut services in response to shrinking budgets.

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Shots - Health News
4:36 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

A Cholera Vaccine Halts New Cases In A Guinea Epidemic

A woman in Guinea takes her first dose of the two-stage vaccine Shanchol during the country's 2012 epidemic.
David Di Lorenzo/Courtesy of MSF

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 4:54 pm

There's new evidence that an oral cholera vaccine might help stop an epidemic in its tracks.

That's the encouraging message from a study that tested a two-dose vaccine during a 2012 outbreak in Guinea. The virus was 86 percent effective in preventing immediate infection of a scourge that afflicts up to five million people a year and kills around 120,000.

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Shots - Health News
3:39 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Thriving Towns In East Africa Are Good News For A Parasitic Worm

Fishermen drag a net in Lake Malawi in 2012. About the size of New Jersey, the lake is home to hundreds of fish species and is considered one of the most biologically diverse lakes in the world.
Ding Haitao Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

People trying to grow food and support their families on the shores of Lake Malawi are not only causing serious environmental problems, they're also causing a surge in a debilitating disease.

Thriving towns along the lake are changing the ecosystem in ways that are allowing a parasitic worm to flourish, researchers reported last week in the journal Trends in Parasitology.

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News
3:39 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Report Finds Systemic Problems With VA Wait Lists

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A systemic problem nationwide - that's how the Inspector General for Veterans Affairs has described the problem of falsified wait times at VA medical centers. At one facility in Phoenix, veterans waited on average 115 days for an appointment.

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Shots - Health News
3:08 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Today's Heroin Addict Is Young, White And Suburban

A heroin user in St. Johnsbury, Vt., prepares to shoot up.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:50 pm

Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.

A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young — their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.

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The Two-Way
1:31 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Report Finds Evidence Of Secret Wait Lists At VA Hospital

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Phoenix, where the VA's inspector general says numerous problems with scheduling practices were uncovered.
Matt York AP

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:12 pm

The inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs has affirmed that some 1,700 patients at the Phoenix VA hospital were put on unofficial wait lists and subjected to treatment delays of up to 115 days.

In an interim report released Wednesday, the inspector general's office reported it had "substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care" at Phoenix HCS.

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