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Vital Signs

The Healthcare Business Blog
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Consumer-driven health plans draw healthier, wealthier enrollees

People enrolled in consumer-driven health plans are better educated, wealthier and healthier than those in other coverage options, according to a report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

And although these plans caught on first with small businesses, in 2013 their enrollees were more likely than those in traditional plans to work for employers with at least 500 workers.
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Offshore health record storage may pose privacy risks

State Medicaid agencies could be putting beneficiaries' personal information at risk by offshoring administrative functions, according to a report from HHS' Office of the Inspector General.

The report, sent to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and Leon Rodriguez, director of HHS' Office for Civil Rights on April 11, analyzed the practices of 56 Medicaid agencies, including 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and several U.S. territories.
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Salmonella cases down, but other foodborne bacteria still a problem

Little progress has been made toward reducing food poisoning in the U.S., according to new federal data.

Illnesses from salmonella, the most common cause of foodborne sickness, were down 9% in 2013 compared with the average from 2010-2012, according to the findings published Thursday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
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1 in 5 healthcare workers share passwords, survey warns

More than 1 in 5 healthcare workers share their passwords with colleagues, a security no-no, but healthcare security pros can take some solace that such risky business is no worse in their industry than some others.

Workers in the legal trade, for example, share passwords about as often as in healthcare (22%), according to findings in a report based on a survey of 250 healthcare IT security professionals in the U.S. and another 250 in the U.K. Architecture, construction and human resources personnel do even more password sharing, about 30%, according to the opinions of IT professionals in the survey.
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Play examines tragic surgery from patient, doctor perspectives

2:30 pm, Apr. 16 |

“Lady from Limerick,” a play revolving around a tragic surgery and being performed in a 60-seat New York theater, is attracting an audience that includes doctors, lawyers, insurance company representatives and patient advocates.

Based on a 2005 true story, the play tells what happened to Kathleen Kelly Cregan, a woman from Limerick, Ireland, who went alone to New York where she died from post-plastic surgery complications.
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Review continues for troubled Johns Hopkins’ black lung program

A review of Johns Hopkins University's black lung program is ongoing, the university said Tuesday, adding that it has no new information about the program, which was suspended last year after an investigative report by Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity.

Hamby received a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for his work.
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DeSalvo foresees ONC evolution to interoperable future

Dr. Karen DeSalvo is a woman in transition.

As the fifth head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, just four months into the job, she will oversee the winding down of many programs started and run by her two predecessors.
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Nurse experience linked to shorter hospital patient stays

The more experience a nurse has and the longer his or her tenure in a hospital unit, the shorter the length of stay for the patients they care for, finds a new study looking at the effect of nursing team structure on the quality of care a patient receives.

When making staffing decisions, management should be aware that certain disruptions in skill set can lead to decreases in productivity and poorer outcomes for patients, researchers say.
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ONC's Mostashari wants to be remembered for getting things done

“Excellence in execution” is how Dr. Farzad Mostashari would want his tenure to be described at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

“I'm kind of a practical, implementation-minded guy,” Mostashari said in an interview for a series of articles about the ONC on its 10th anniversary this month.
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C-section 'epidemic' among hot issues at OB-GYN conference

The “cesarean epidemic” will be one of the featured issues at the 62nd annual American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists meeting in Chicago from April 26 to April 30. The conference will also include sessions on the “moral imperative of contraception use” and U.S. maternal mortality patterns.

An estimated 1 out of every 3 women who gave birth in the United States in 2011 underwent a C-section, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics, which found a 60% increase in cesareans since 1996.
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