Category Archives: Healthcare News

‘Breakthrough’ Leukemia Drug Also Portends ‘Quantum Leap’ In Cost

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When doctors talk about a new leukemia drug from Novartis, they ooze enthusiasm, using words like “breakthrough,” “revolutionary” and “a watershed moment.”

But when they think about how much the therapy is likely to cost, their tone turns alarmist.

“It’s going to cost a fortune,” said Dr. Ivan Borrello at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore. Continue reading ‘Breakthrough’ Leukemia Drug Also Portends ‘Quantum Leap’ In Cost

Dying At Home In An Opioid Crisis: Hospices Grapple With Stolen Meds

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Nothing seemed to help the patient — and hospice staff didn’t know why.

They sent home more painkillers for weeks. But the elderly woman, who had severe dementia and incurable breast cancer, kept calling out in pain.

The answer came when the woman’s daughter, who was taking care of her at home, showed up in the emergency room with a life-threatening overdose of morphine and oxycodone. It turned out she was high on her mother’s medications, stolen from the hospice-issued stash. Continue reading Dying At Home In An Opioid Crisis: Hospices Grapple With Stolen Meds

Home Visits Help New Parents Overcome Tough Histories, Raise Healthy Children


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EL CENTRO, Calif. — Seated at a kitchen table in a cramped apartment, Rosendo Gil asked the young parents sitting across from him what they should do if their daughter caught a cold.

Blas Lopez, 29, and his fiancée, Lluvia Padilla, 28, quickly answered: Check her temperature and call the doctor if she has a fever they can’t control. Continue reading Home Visits Help New Parents Overcome Tough Histories, Raise Healthy Children

Despite Advance Directive, Dementia Patient Denied Last Wish, Says Spouse

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Bill Harris is blunt: For more than a year, he has been trying to help his wife die.

The 75-year-old retired tech worker says it’s his duty to Nora Harris, his spouse of nearly four decades, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2009.

“Let me be honest: Yes. It’s what she wanted,” he said. “I want her to pass. I want her to end her suffering.”

Nora Harris, 64, a former librarian, signed an advance directive after her diagnosis to prevent her life from being prolonged when her disease got worse. Now, her husband said, she’s being kept alive with assisted eating and drinking against her stated wishes. Continue reading Despite Advance Directive, Dementia Patient Denied Last Wish, Says Spouse

La obesidad y la depresión están relacionadas, y deberían tratarse juntas

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Hace unos 15 años, la doctora Sue McElroy, psiquiatra de Mason, Ohio, comenzó a observar un patrón. Las personas venían a verla porque estaban deprimidas, pero con frecuencia tenían una dolencia mucho más visible: estaban pesadas.

McElroy se convenció de que tenía que haber una conexión. “Muchos de mis pacientes [deprimidos] eran obesos. Y estaban muy enojados por la obesidad”, recordó McElroy. “Busqué en la literatura médica y decía que no había relación. No tenía sentido”. Continue reading La obesidad y la depresión están relacionadas, y deberían tratarse juntas

Anthem’s Exit Leaves Thousands With No Choice Of Health Plans

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For about 60,000 Covered California customers, choosing a health plan next year will be easier, and possibly more painful, than ever: There will be only one insurer left in their communities after Anthem Blue Cross of California pulls out of much of the state’s individual market.

That means they could lose doctors they trust, or pay higher premiums. Continue reading Anthem’s Exit Leaves Thousands With No Choice Of Health Plans

Too Few Patients Follow The Adage: You Better Shop Around

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Despite having more financial “skin in the game” than ever, many consumers don’t make any attempt to compare prices for health care services, a newly released study found.

In a survey of nearly 3,000 adults younger than 65, about half of the roughly 1,900 who said they spent money on medical care in the previous year reported that they knew in advance what their costs would be. Of those who didn’t anticipate how much they would owe before receiving care, only 13 percent said they tried to predict their out-of-pocket expenses. An even smaller proportion, 3 percent, compared prices from multiple providers ahead of time. Continue reading Too Few Patients Follow The Adage: You Better Shop Around

For Covered California, Uncertainty Is The New Certainty

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SACRAMENTO — Covered California’s board made several multimillion-dollar decisions Thursday, all addressing one unsettling theme: uncertainty.

Over and over, board members blamed “uncertainty” at the federal level for interfering with their ability to finalize premiums for 2018 and prepare consumers for open enrollment, which begins Nov. 1. Continue reading For Covered California, Uncertainty Is The New Certainty

Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Counties Coping With Scant Insurance Coverage

With the deadline fast approaching for insurers to decide whether they will participate in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces next year, all eyes are on the shortage of options some consumers will experience.

The number of counties without a participating insurer is low, but there are still concerns about the large swaths of the country where there will likely be only one carrier. This is often considered a problem for rural areas, but even some cities could face that situation this year. Continue reading Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Counties Coping With Scant Insurance Coverage

Gun Sellers Join Forces To Curb Suicide-By-Firearm, Rampant In Rural Areas

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John Yule, 53, manages Wildlife Sport Outfitters, a hunting and fishing supplies store on the edge of Manchester, N.H., and is “deeply involved in the Second Amendment community.”

But six years ago, while listening to a public radio story, Yule heard about a way he could tackle a familiar problem — the high rates of suicide in rural areas like some nearby in his state — through the New Hampshire Firearms Safety Coalition.

He decided to get involved. Continue reading Gun Sellers Join Forces To Curb Suicide-By-Firearm, Rampant In Rural Areas