Dying and profits: The evolution of hospice – The Washington Post

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Twenty-dollar bill in a pill bottleThe influx of for-profit companies into the hospice field has benefited patients, advocates say, because the commercial companies made big investments in technology, focused on efficiency and made care more accessible.

But a Washington Post analysis of hundreds of thousands of U.S. hospice records indicates that, as those companies transformed a movement once dominated by community and religious organizations into a $17 billion industry, patient care suffered along the way.

On several key measures, for-profit hospices as a group fall short of those run by nonprofit organizations.

via Dying and profits: The evolution of hospice – The Washington Post.

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Health news headlines – January 5, 2015

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Global health news – January 5, 2015

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Global health news – January 4, 2015

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Obesity Costs Evident at the State Level | Brookings Institution

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Nearly 14 percent of Washington state’s Medicaid and nearly 8 percent of its Medicare spending goes to treat conditions caused by obesity.

At the state-level, a substantial share —between 6 percent and 20 percent—of Medicaid spending goes to adult obesity-related expenditures. In 2006, Oregon (18.8 percent), Arizona (17.0 percent) and Colorado (16.2 percent) saw the highest shares, while Kansas (6.5 percent), Virginia (6.8 percent) and North Dakota (7.5 percent) devoted the smallest shares of Medicaid spending to obesity-related expenditures.

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On a state-by-state basis, Medicare spending due to obesity was substantial, too, with shares varying from 5.2 percent to 10.2 percent in 2004.

The highest percent of obesity-attributable spending was found in Ohio (10.2 percent), Michigan (10.0 percent) and West Virginia (9.9 percent), while the lowest was in Hawaii (5.2 percent), Arizona (6.2 percent), and New Mexico (6.6 percent).

via Obesity Costs Evident at the State Level | Brookings Institution.

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Health news headlines – January 3, 2015

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photo credit: tlindenbaum via photopin cc

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Health news headlines – Jan 2, 2015

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Flu virus - courtesy of NAIAD

Flu virus – courtesy of NAIAD

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Health news headlines – January 1

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Global health news – January 1

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FDA warns health care professionals not to inject patients with IV solutions from Wallcur, of San Diego

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Alert IconBefore administering IV solutions to patients, health care providers should carefully check the labels to ensure that the products are not training products, such as Practi IV Solution Bags marketed by Wallcur.

FDA has become aware that some Wallcur training IV products have been distributed to health care facilities and administered to patients.

Wallcur’s training products, which may bear the words “for clinical simulation,” are not to be administered to patients.

FDA has become aware that some Wallcur training IV products have been distributed to health care facilities and administered to patients.

There have been reports of serious adverse events associated with the use of certain of these products – i.e., Practi IV Solution Bags.

If you suspect that any Wallcur training IV products may have been administered to a patient, whether or not the incident has resulted in an adverse event, please report the incident to FDA’s MedWatch.

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Health news headlines – December 31st

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Locking up firearms to prevent suicide

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GunBy Tony Gomez, BS, RS, Manager, Violence and Injury Prevention
Public Health — Seattle & King County

I’ve worked on Violence and Injury Prevention for over thirty years. I consistently notice in the media and in conversations about firearms that usually the discussion focuses on tragic homicides.

But, the truth is that most firearm deaths are suicides—often hidden from the public conversation. In King County, nearly 70% of firearm deaths being suicides, it’s crucial we come together despite different ideologies.

The truth is that most firearm deaths are suicides.

There are numerous entities including King County that have a deep commitment to suicide prevention and are working together to address this “silent” killer of our residents.

With firearm ownership so prevalent in King County (~25%) – and some estimated 30,000 households that keep at least one firearm loaded and unlocked – we can’t afford to wait any longer to get those easily stolen and accessed firearms locked up.

We know that impulsivity plays a significant role in suicide attempts; easy access to highly lethal means, such as firearms, increases risk.  Strong evidence exists, both in the United States and abroad, that restricting access to lethal means is an effective way to reduce suicide.

Suicide prevention efforts in King County and elsewhere in the United States now champion safe storage of firearms. Continue reading

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