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Most-costly ACA plans cheapest for specialty drug patients

Individuals with chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis or cancer will likely spend far less money if they enroll in platinum plans through the exchanges, even though those typically have the highest monthly premiums, according to a new study by researchers at HealthPocket. That's because out-of-pocket expenses incurred through pharmaceutical costs are often significantly lower on platinum plans, which are designed to cover 90% of medical costs.
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Counseling encouraged for overweight patients at risk for heart disease, task force says

Overweight and obese adults at risk for heart disease should be referred to or offered intensive behavioral counseling for diet and exercise interventions, a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation concludes.

The task force had previously recommended only adults with known risk factors be sent for dietary counseling, but now says the evidence shows these interventions offer preventive benefits for all overweight patients.
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International clampdown needed on e-cig use, says WHO

1:45 pm, Aug. 26 |

The World Health Organization on Tuesday called on countries to impose tougher regulations on electronic cigarettes out of concerns over their unknown health risks, recommending bans on indoor use as well as sales to minors.

More regulation of e-cigarettes are needed in light of the boom in popularity of such devices in recent years, with more than 400 brands and sales reaching about $3 billion in 2013, the United Nations health agency said in its report.
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Med staff turnover remains high as doc retirements rise

The recovering economy has created challenges for medical staff retention with high turnover rates for doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, according to a survey by the American Medical Group Association and the St. Louis-based Cejka Search recruitment firm.

The physician turnover rate for 2013 was 6.8%, the same as in 2012 and the highest rate seen since the two organizations began the retention survey in 2005.
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What you don't know about Obamacare can't hurt you

5 pm, Aug. 25 |

For some Obamacare opponents running for Congress, when the evidence doesn't support their arguments they simply don't notice it.

Carl Domino, the front-runner in the Republican primary to face off against first-term Democratic congressman Patrick Murphy in the 18th district north of Palm Beach, focused his first TV ad on Murphy's support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
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Southern opposition to Obamacare not monolithic, could change, new report says

The South has been a hotbed of opposition to Obamacare with the vast majority of states there opting not to expand Medicaid or establish state-based exchanges, two pillars of the federal healthcare law.

But that opposition is not uniform and could evolve with time, according to an academic research report published by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.
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Anesthesiologists pioneered solutions for tubing risks

(Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Schaumburg, Ill.)
The Joint Commission's Sentinel Event alert last week warning of the hazards of misconnected medical tubes harkened back to how anesthesiologists addressed similar issues in the prehistory of the patient-safety movement.

Two prominent anesthesiologists say the issues are much more complex today and applaud the Joint Commission for putting the industry on alert.
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Lin MacMaster out at American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society executive Lin MacMaster is out after just more than a year as chief revenue and marketing officer for the Atlanta-based organization.

MacMaster was named to the newly created post in July last year. The job was seen as a strategic role designed to grow the organization's “fund-raising portfolio” while working “to ensure brand relevance to new and existing supporters,” according to an ACS news release.
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Say it ain't so; Cubs cut grounds crew hours because of ACA?

8:15 pm, Aug. 22 |

Moises Alou stretches in vain to catch a pop fly in the 2003 playoff game.
There are a number of reasons I have turned away over the years from being an avid fan of my hometown Chicago Cubs baseball team.

First there was the Cubs' heartbreaking collapse in the home stretch of the 1969 National League pennant race, when they were overtaken by the Miracle Mets.
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Heartbleed poses big dangers for health IT systems

The likelihood is high there are more healthcare organizations besides Community Health Systems that have been made vulnerable by Heartbleed and other undetected intrusions, security experts agree.

Where did Heartbleed come from? And exactly how much damage is it causing to health IT systems?
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