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Characteristics of Social Network Gamers: in between Social Networking and Online Role-Playing Games

July 6, 2015 Comments off

Characteristics of Social Network Gamers: in between Social Networking and Online Role-Playing Games
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry

Current research on internet addiction (IA) reported moderate to high prevalence rates of IA and comorbid psychiatric symptoms in users of social networking sites (SNS) and online role-playing games. The aim of this study was to characterise adult users of an internet multiplayer strategy game within a SNS. Therefore, we conducted an exploratory study using an online survey to assess sociodemographic variables, psychopathology and the rate of IA in a sample of adult social network gamers by Young´s Internet Addiction Test (IAT), the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II), the Symptom Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R) and the WHO Quality of Life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF). All participants were listed gamers of “combat zone” in the SNS “Facebook”. In the IAT analysis, 16.2 % of the participants (n = 60) were categorized as subjects with IA and 19.5 % (n = 72) fulfilled the criteria for alexithymia. Comparing study participants with and without IA, the IA group had significantly more subjects with alexithymia, reported more depressive symptoms, and showed poorer quality of life. These findings suggest that social network gaming might also be associated with maladaptive patterns of internet use. Furthermore, a relationship between IA, alexithymia and depressive symptoms was found that needs to be elucidated by future studies.

Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action (2015)

July 6, 2015 Comments off

Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action (2015)
Source: Institute of Medicine

For most Americans, staying “mentally sharp” as they age is a very high priority. Declines in memory and decision-making abilities may trigger fears of Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases. However, cognitive aging is a natural process that can have both positive and negative effects on cognitive function in older adults – effects that vary widely among individuals. At this point in time, when the older population is rapidly growing in the United States and across the globe, it is important to examine what is known about cognitive aging and to identify and promote actions that individuals, organizations, communities, and society can take to help older adults maintain and improve their cognitive health.

Cognitive Aging assesses the public health dimensions of cognitive aging with an emphasis on definitions and terminology, epidemiology and surveillance, prevention and intervention, education of health professionals, and public awareness and education. This report makes specific recommendations for individuals to reduce the risks of cognitive decline with aging. Aging is inevitable, but there are actions that can be taken by individuals, families, communities, and society that may help to prevent or ameliorate the impact of aging on the brain, understand more about its impact, and help older adults live more fully and independent lives. Cognitive aging is not just an individual or a family or a health care system challenge. It is an issue that affects the fabric of society and requires actions by many and varied stakeholders. Cognitive Aging offers clear steps that individuals, families, communities, health care providers and systems, financial organizations, community groups, public health agencies, and others can take to promote cognitive health and to help older adults live fuller and more independent lives. Ultimately, this report calls for a societal commitment to cognitive aging as a public health issue that requires prompt action across many sectors.

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages

July 6, 2015 Comments off

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages
Source: AARP Public Policy

The Livability Index is a signature initiative of the Public Policy Institute to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement.

An interactive, easily navigated website, the Livability Index allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their own communities move livable.

States Expanding Medicaid See Significant Budget Savings and Revenue Gains

July 6, 2015 Comments off

States Expanding Medicaid See Significant Budget Savings and Revenue Gains (PDF)
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In examining Medicaid expansion across eight states—Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia—it is clear that states are realizing savings and revenue gains as a result of expansion.

 Savings and revenues by the end of 2015 (just 1.5 years into expansion) are expected to exceed $1.8 billion across all eight states

 In Arkansas and Kentucky, savings and revenue gains are expected to offset costs of the expansion at least through SFY 2021

Findings from these eight states suggest that every expansion state should expect to:

 Reduce state spending on programs for the uninsured

 See savings related to previously eligible Medicaid beneficiaries now eligible for the new adult group under expansion

 See revenue gains related to existing insurer or provider taxes

Transparency About Abortion Coverage Still Lacking, but Achievable

July 6, 2015 Comments off

Transparency About Abortion Coverage Still Lacking, but Achievable
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Individuals purchasing coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces may have difficulty finding consistent, clear information on whether a plan includes or excludes abortion coverage. However, transparency about abortion coverage is both necessary and achievable, according to a new analysis published in the Guttmacher Policy Review.

Under the ACA, insurance plans are neither required to nor prohibited from covering abortion. However, 25 states prohibit coverage of abortion on their health insurance marketplaces. In the remaining states and the District of Columbia, issuers can offer plans that cover abortion care beyond the narrow instances of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is endangered. But a new Guttmacher analysis of publicly available 2015 plan documents in these states found the vast majority of plans do not include information on whether and to what extent abortion is covered. Among the minority of issuers that do address abortion coverage, the way the information is provided varies considerably and is not always useful.

Health care fraud and abuse enforcement: Relationship scrutiny

July 5, 2015 Comments off

Health care fraud and abuse enforcement: Relationship scrutiny
Source: Deloitte

Where is fraud and abuse enforcement headed in health care? One emerging area of interest is relationship scrutiny. Relationships can be complex in the business of health care: tracking and analyzing them is an important part of minimizing the fraud and abuse that may result from questionable relationships and improper influence.

Many organizations depend on analytics to understand their own performance. Insights and patterns within the data are often used to inform strategy and decision making. Researchers can apply analytics to identify external trends and factors that may impact businesses. To that end, Deloitte researchers used analytics techniques to examine the text of tens of thousands of federal regulations and identify emerging trends in health care fraud and abuse enforcement. The results are telling: Federal health care regulators are emphasizing relationship scrutiny in their fraud and abuse enforcement efforts. Also, discussion of health care fraud and abuse topics – including relationship scrutiny – is recurring, as evidenced by the cyclical rise and fall in frequency and relevance of keyword groups related to “enforcement,” “value-based care,” and “fraud and abuse.” The bottom line: discussion of these topics is present; relationship scrutiny is likely here to stay.

Minimizing the risk of health care fraud and abuse doesn’t have to be an impossible task. New insights can come from the application of analytics to an organization’s data sets. These insights, in turn, can be used to build a fraud and abuse risk-mitigation program.

This paper examines health care fraud and abuse enforcement drivers and laws, the cyclical trend of relationship scrutiny within the regulatory discussion, and how health care organizations can build a responsive, analytics-based program to address potential fraud and abuse. An effective program will likely enable organizations to identify risks in real time, adjust to mitigate them, communicate their importance, and learn from the regulatory and legislative landscape.

Few teens use the most effective types of birth control

July 4, 2015 Comments off

Few teens use the most effective types of birth control
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Teen births continue to decline in the U.S., but still more than 273,000 infants were born to teens ages 15 to 19 in 2013. Childbearing during the teen years can carry health, economic, and social costs for mothers and their children.

The good news is that more teens are waiting to have sex, and of those who are sexually active, nearly 90 percent used birth control the last time they had sex. Data show that teens most often use condoms and birth control pills which, when not used consistently and correctly, are less effective for preventing pregnancy. According to this month’s Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, increasing access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) is one way to further reduce teen pregnancy.

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