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Vital Signs Blog

Blog: VA Secretary McDonald warns of next crisis in veterans healthcare

Congress would “help create another crisis" in veterans healthcare if it doesn't approve the president's full budget request for the Veterans Affairs Department, VA Secretary Robert McDonald said Friday.

Blog: Missing Apple Watch sensors found, but mystery continues

Blog: Missing Apple Watch sensors found, but mystery continues

Disassembling new gadgets is a geek ritual with every technology release. The gadget-head community who tore apart the Apple Watch found a pulse oximeter that the company has mysteriously chosen not to activate.

Blog: Business-backed group says ditch insurance mandates, give everyone credits

Congress should overhaul the Affordable Care Act's insurance subsidies and scrap the individual and employer mandates, the Conference Board's Committee for Economic Development said in a report issued Thursday.

Blog: NNU's aggressive path to hospital labor wins

Blog: NNU's aggressive path to hospital labor wins

National Nurses United's call Monday for strikes at the University of Chicago Medical Center and eight hospitals in California follows a slew of fights the union has picked with management recently over what it says are issues with staffing and patient care.

Blog: Jeb Bush draws mixed reaction with mandatory advance-directive proposal

Blog: Jeb Bush draws mixed reaction with mandatory advance-directive proposal

Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush wants to require everyone to fill out an advance directive governing their end-of-life care before they can receive Medicare benefits. His proposal is both ironic and politically audacious.

Blog: Federal officials take health IT victory lap

Dr. Karen DeSalvo, HHS' top health information technology official, and acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt closed the HIMSS conference by cataloging the achievements of the Obama administration but also delivering sober assessments of IT challenges that lie ahead.

Blog: Telehealth dropped from 21st Century Cures bill, sources say

More Medicare pay for telehealth services will not be a part of the 21st Century Cures bill, according to industry sources informed of the decision by the House committee drafting the legislation.

Blog: One Pentagon bidder talks up its cybersecurity skills

The ability to protect the Pentagon's electronic health records from cybersecurity attacks will play a big role in determining who wins the multi-billion-dollar contract. Leidos, which is part of the Cerner and Accenture team, isn't bashful about touting its own capabilities.

Blog: Medicare doc fix bill would expand access to Medicare claims data

Transparency advocates are hailing a little-noticed provision in the pending Medicare physician-payment bill that would widen the availability of Medicare claims data to insurers and providers for purposes such as designing provider networks and improving quality of care.

Blog: Montana renews faith for Medicaid expansion supporters

Just when supporters of Medicaid expansion were feeling disheartened, the Republican-led legislature in the rugged individualist state of Montana revived their spirits.

Blog: When the Champagne is finished, take a closer look at the new Medicare physician pay system

Nearly everyone in healthcare is toasting what looks like the imminent repeal and replacement of the hated SGR formula for Medicare payment. But as Sarah Kliff points out this week in Vox, major questions loom about how exactly the new system will work, and whether it will accurately peg higher...

Blog: More evidence of reform's healthcare divide

People living in Florida and Texas are more likely to have problems paying their medical bills and skip unaffordable doctor visits than those living in California and New York. The reasons are rooted in history, politics and policy,.

Blog: Smaller Enroll America could spell trouble for ACA sign-ups

Blog: Smaller Enroll America could spell trouble for ACA sign-ups

The dramatic downsizing of Enroll America, the not-for-profit group tasked by the White House to educate Americans about the Affordable Care Act, could depress enrollment in states where local lawmakers oppose the law.

Blog: White House warms to healthcare industry's call to action on climate change

Blog: White House warms to healthcare industry's call to action on climate change

President Barack Obama declared this week that climate change is one of the nation's largest public health threats. The healthcare industry is often criticized for being behind the times, but it has been ahead of the curve on highlighting the environment's impact on health.

Blog: Private insurance exchange membership doubles for 2015

Roughly 6 million people chose their employer-sponsored health benefits through a private insurance exchange for 2015, according to consulting firm Accenture.

Blog: Fla. Gov. Scott's about-face on Medicaid dims expansion hopes

Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott said he no longer supports expanding Medicaid to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act because he does not believe the federal government will keep its promise to provide funding for the new group of beneficiaries. That could scuttle Medicaid expansion...

Blog: The invisible governor in the nation's hottest Medicaid expansion fight

Where's Rick? As fellow Republicans in the Florida Legislature battle over Medicaid expansion newly re-elected Gov. Rick Scott has hardly been heard from on the most important healthcare issue facing his state.

Blog: SGR bill unlikely to affect medical malpractice liability

A few small lines about medical malpractice suits in the new SGR bill touch on a larger debate over how to determine if doctors acted appropriately in such cases, some say.

Blog: Epic Systems takes to the clouds with April Fools' Day spoof

Blog: Epic Systems takes to the clouds with April Fools' Day spoof

Epic Systems Corp. used an April Fools' Day remake of its home page to take some jabs at its competitors Wednesday.

Blog: Hospitals should 'friend' Facebook; quality ratings could benefit

Blog: Hospitals should 'friend' Facebook; quality ratings could benefit

Hospitals may want to devote more attention to the power of social media, according to a recent study looking at the correlation between hospitals' Facebook ratings and how well they performed on 30-day readmission rates.

Blog: Medicaid 'gun to the head' test depends on which Supreme Court case you consider

When is a gun to the head OK and when is it not? The Supreme Court is making that difficult to know.

Blog: Reducing health disparities: It takes more than access to care

A new study shows that U.S. counties with the highest income inequality have worse health outcomes. But it will take more than giving people access to healthcare to reduce the differences in outcomes between the social classes.

Blog: Retiring Harry Reid vows to keep fighting to preserve his landmark healthcare law

Blog: Retiring Harry Reid vows to keep fighting to preserve his landmark healthcare law

Working closely with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi five years ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid achieved a treasured goal that had eluded Democratic leaders since Franklin Delano Roosevelt—enactment of a national health insurance program expanding coverage to most Americans.

Blog: States never considered subsidy issue in exchange decisions, report finds

Strong new evidence has emerged undercutting one of the key arguments Obamacare foes are using in their U.S. Supreme Court case to disallow premium subsidies in states using the federal insurance exchange.

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