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Archive for the ‘health and health care’ Category

Medications for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Brief Guide

May 22, 2015 Comments off

Medications for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Brief Guide
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Provides guidance for the use of medication-assisted treatment for alcoholism and alcohol abuse in clinical practice. Summarizes approved medications and discusses screening and patient assessment, treatment planning, and patient monitoring.

A Look at the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America

May 21, 2015 Comments off

A Look at the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America
Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute

  • This report takes a comprehensive look at the financial situation of older Americans at the end of their lives. In particular, it documents the percentage of households with a member who recently died with few or no assets. It also documents the income, debt, home-ownership rates, net home equity, and dependency on Social Security for households that experienced a recent death.
  • Significant findings include that among all those who died at ages 85 or above, 20.6 percent had no non-housing assets and 12.2 percent had no assets left. Among singles who died at or above age 85, 24.6 percent had no non-housing assets left and 16.7 percent had no assets left.
  • Data show those who died at earlier ages were generally worse off financially: 29.8 percent of households that lost a member between ages 50 and 64 had no assets left. Households with at least one member who died earlier also had significantly lower income than households with all surviving members.
  • The report shows that among singles who died at ages 85 or above, 9.1 percent had outstanding debt (other than mortgage debt) and the average debt amount for them was $6,368.
  • The report also shows that the importance of Social Security to older households cannot be overstated. For recently deceased singles, it provided at least two-thirds of their household income. Couple households above 75 with deceased members received more than 60 percent of their household income from Social Security.

Expanding coverage: How primary care physicians are accommodating the newly insured

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Expanding coverage: How primary care physicians are accommodating the newly insured
Source: Deloitte

Are there enough physicians in the US to accommodate the millions of newly insured patients? If not, how will the health care system manage its growing (and aging) patient population?

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2014 Survey of US Physicians shows that 44 percent of physicians are treating more newly insured patients – an important finding for health care stakeholders and decision makers. More primary care physicians (PCPs) (56 percent) experienced an increase in the number of newly insured patients than did surgical specialists (40 percent), non-surgical specialists (38 percent), and other physicians (33 percent). Survey respondents report that this is causing longer appointment wait times and driving PCPs to work longer hours. To cope, some PCPs are adding new physicians and hiring clinical staff to help with care coordination.

Job Lock and Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Evidence from the Literature

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Job Lock and Employer-Provided Health Insurance: Evidence from the Literature
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute

This report, written by Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, reviews the research literature on health insurance-related “job lock”—a labor market pattern that occurs when workers are reluctant to leave a job that offers health insurance because they cannot otherwise obtain affordable insurance. Based on the research, the author concludes that the Affordable Care Act’s insurance market reforms should have substantial, positive labor market effects.

The report reviews the research on three types of job lock:

  • Workers remaining in jobs in which they are not satisfied because of the fear of not being able to get health insurance at a new job (or not being able to buy or afford it in the individual market);
  • Workers being reluctant to start a business because they do not want to lose employer-provided health insurance; and
  • Workers staying employed (or employed full time) in order to obtain employer-sponsored insurance, when they would otherwise prefer to retire or work part time.

All three types of job lock are likely to be reduced by the Affordable Care Act, resulting in important gains for workers, families, and the economy.

Chronic Stress Induces a Hyporeactivity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Response to Acute Mental Stressor and Impairs Cognitive Performance in Business Executives

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Chronic Stress Induces a Hyporeactivity of the Autonomic Nervous System in Response to Acute Mental Stressor and Impairs Cognitive Performance in Business Executives
Source: PLoS ONE

The present study examined the incidence of chronic stress in business executives (109 subjects: 75 male and 34 female) and its relationship with cortisol levels, cognitive performance, and autonomic nervous system (ANS) reactivity after an acute mental stressor. Blood samples were collected from the subjects to measure cortisol concentration. After the sample collection, the subjects completed the Lipp Inventory of Stress Symptoms for Adults and the Stroop Color-Word Test to evaluate stress and cognitive performance levels, respectively. Saliva samples were collected prior to, immediately after, and five minutes after the test. The results revealed that 90.1% of the stressed subjects experienced stress phases that are considered chronic stress. At rest, the subjects with chronic stress showed higher cortisol levels, and no gender differences were observed. No differences were found between the stressed and non-stressed subjects regarding salivary amylase activity prior to test. Chronic stress also impaired performance on the Stroop test, which revealed higher rates of error and longer reaction times in the incongruent stimulus task independently of gender. For the congruent stimulus task of the Stroop test, the stressed males presented a higher rate of errors than the non-stressed males and a longer reaction time than the stressed females. After the acute mental stressor, the non-stressed male group showed an increase in salivary alpha-amylase activity, which returned to the initial values five minutes after the test; this ANS reactivity was not observed in the chronically stressed male subjects. The ANS responses of the non-stressed vs stressed female groups were not different prior to or after the Stroop test. This study is the first to demonstrate a blunted reactivity of the ANS when male subjects with chronic psychological stress were subjected to an acute mental stressor, and this change could contribute to impairments in cognitive performance.

Criminal attacks are now leading cause of healthcare breaches

May 20, 2015 Comments off

Criminal attacks are now leading cause of healthcare breaches
Source: Ponemon Institute

The Fifth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy and Security of Healthcare Data by the Ponemon Institute, sponsored by ID Experts, reveals a shift in the root cause of data breaches from accidental to intentional. Criminal attacks are up 125% compared to five years ago replacing lost laptops as the leading threat. The study also found most organizations are unprepared to address new threats and lack adequate resources to protect patient data

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Hospitals — Economic Contribution Often Overlooked (2015 Update)

May 19, 2015 Comments off

Economic Contribution Often Overlooked (2015 Update) (PDF)
Source: American Hospital Association

In 2013, America’s hospitals treated 134 million people in their emergency departments, provided care for 544 million other outpatients, performed almost 27 million surgeries, and delivered nearly 4 million babies. Every year, hospitals provide vital health care services like these to millions of people in thousands of communities. However, the importance of hospitals to their communities extends far beyond health care.

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