Health

Health
6:58 am
Sat May 17, 2014

Measles And Mumps Make A Comeback

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 10:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

More than 90 percent of American toddlers get the MMR vaccine. It protects against measles, mumps and rubella. But in Ohio, more than 350 cases of mumps have been confirmed this year. And the CDC has said that measles cases are at their highest in two decades.

To try and find out why and how these viruses are spreading, we're joined by William Schaffner. He teaches preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. Professor, thanks for being with us.

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER: My pleasure, Scott.

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Shots - Health News
6:58 am
Sat May 17, 2014

High Charges By Doctors May Or May Not Be Red Flags For Fraud

Doctors who bill the federal government for a lot of services may be gaming the system, but there also may be a reasonable explanation.
Aslan Alphan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 17, 2014 10:29 am

That which walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, is not always actually a duck.

That's the argument the American Medical Association has been using for decades to block public access to doctors' Medicare billing records. The AMA worries that people and the press will misinterpret the numbers when they see how doctors bill the government's $500 billion health care program for the elderly and disabled, and that doctors who are doing nothing wrong could be unfairly accused of fraud.

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Shots - Health News
4:39 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

FDA Dangles Golden Ticket To Spur Drugs For Neglected Diseases

Drew Kilb Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 11:07 am

When the Food and Drug Administration gave the OK to a new treatment for a parasitic disease called leishmaniasis in late March, the Canadian company that owns the medicine got something that's quite likely to prove even more valuable than U.S. sales of the drug will ever be.

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The Salt
3:40 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Will Soda Lovers Drink To Less Sugar?

Samples from Dry Soda, Spindrift, Q and Veri Organic, four small companies that are trying to win back soda lovers by lowering the sugar.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 2:18 pm

Who's a member of the Pepsi Generation? Anyone?

Would anyone still "like to buy the world a Coke"?

Yes, it's tough times for Big Soda in the U.S. The numbers alone make it clear. "The entire [U.S.] carbonated soft drink category has been down for nine years," says John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest. "Diet [soft drinks] are declining at a steeper pace than sugared [soft drinks]," likely because people are concerned about artificial ingredients.

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Health Care
3:01 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

To Pay For Hepatitis C Drugs, Medicare Might Face A Steep Bill

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 7:00 pm

The federal Medicare program for the elderly and disabled will cover two new drugs that can cure hepatitis C, a liver disease that can cause cancer and lead to death. The drugs are very expensive, but they cure hepatitis C in most cases. The government and insurers are concerned about these costs; three million Americans have hepatitis C, most of whom don't know they have it.

The Two-Way
2:14 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Top VA Health Official Resigns Amid Scandal Over Treatment Delays

Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Robert Petzel testifies Thursday on Capitol Hill. Petzel tendered his resignation from the VA on Friday.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 4:49 pm

This post was updated at 5:45 p.m. ET.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki says he has accepted the resignation of the department's undersecretary for health, a day after both men testified before Congress about a growing controversy over delays in treatment.

"Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs," Shinseki said in a statement cited by Reuters.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:25 am
Fri May 16, 2014

When Numbers Bleed, Freeze, Starve And Die On A Battlefield: The Dark Poetry Of Data

Roger Viollet Collection Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 3:43 pm

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Shots - Health News
11:02 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Medicare Eases Restrictions On Pricey Hepatitis C Treatment

Walter Bianco's liver is severely damaged by hepatitis C, but insurers had refused to pay for the medications that could cure him.
Alexandra Olgin for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 12:27 pm

Federal Medicare officials are embracing medical guidelines for the treatment of hepatitis C that could result in tens of thousands of older Americans getting access to expensive new drugs that can cure the deadly infection.

This policy change would pay for treatment with a combination of new, expensive drugs for patients who haven't responded to older treatment regimens and are approaching or have cirrhosis of the liver.

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NPR Story
3:58 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Propublica: Doctors Overcharge Medicare For Office Visit

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 11:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Medicare pays for more than 200 million office visits each year. Most visits require only a modest amount of time and expertise. But a new investigation by the nonprofit news organization ProPublica suggests that hundreds of health professionals are overcharging Medicare for office visits. ProPublica senior reporter Charles Ornstein tells us what he found.

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Shots - Health News
2:44 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Corruption In Ukraine Robs HIV Patients Of Crucial Medicine

The mask of this Kiev protester (at a 2012 demonstration demanding more funding for HIV treatment) reads "quarantine." There are enough drugs to treat only half the HIV patients in Ukraine.
Sergei Supinsky AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 11:07 am

I recently took a Ukrainian taxi from the airport to my hotel. The fare should have been $20. The cab driver was adamant that I pay $30. When I finally paid him $30, the driver gave me a receipt with a wink. He'd made it out for $40.

The driver got a cut by overcharging me, and assumed that I would take a cut by overcharging NPR (which I did not).

In Ukraine, corruption is a daily fact of life. It reaches into big business, law enforcement, education and even the smallest transactions between people on the street.

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