Healthcare Layoffs on Track to Match Last Year’s Figures

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a report that says 13 mass layoffs occurred in hospitals in September, affecting 817 people, according to American Medical News. The monthly report suggests that the industry is on track to have a similar amount of mass layoffs as 2011. According to the report, 93 layoff incidents occurred in the first nine months of 2012, resulting in 6,529 people claiming unemployment benefits. At the current rate, the year would end with about 124 mass layoff incidents with roughly 8,700 people affected. In 2011, there were 121 mass layoffs that resulted in 8,098… Full Story

Physicians with Less Experience Spend More on Patients

Physicians with the least experience spend significantly more money treating patients than physicians who have more experience, according to the RAND Corp. The findings, published in the November edition of the journal Health Affair, revealed that physicians who had less than 10 years of experience had 13.2 percent higher overall costs than physicians with 40 or more years of experience. Additionally, physicians with 10 to 19 years of experience had cost profiles that were 10 percent higher, those with 20 to 29 years of experience were 6.5 percent higher and those with 30 to 39 years of experience were 2.5… Full Story

Primary Care Physician Posts Becoming Harder to Fill

Primary care physician jobs have become more difficult to fill, according to American Medical News. AMN cites an annual benchmarking report from the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters, which shows that primary care physician positions took 151 days to fill in 2011, up from 125 in 2010 and 115 in 2009. This situation is due to a greater number of older patients increasing demand for primary care doctors, and an aging physician population limiting the supply. According to the report, recruiters filled just 51 percent of available positions for any physician specialty by the end of 2011, a decrease when… Full Story

Obama Win Confirms Health Law, But States Control Implementation

President Obama’s re-election means his healthcare law will remain, but Republican state officials will influence the manner in which it is carried out, according to a report from Kaiser Health News. Next year, Republican governors will lead 30 states—including Texas—and 24 will have Republican-controlled legislatures. State lawmakers will control whether millions of uninsured people get coverage through Medicaid beginning in 2014. State lawmakers will also play a key role in deciding whether to expand Medicaid, Kaiser Health News reports. The Supreme Court gave them the power to reject the expansion of Medicaid, which is expected to cover more than half of the 30… Full Story

AHA: New Probiotic Reduces ‘Bad’ and Total Cholesterol

The American Heart Association has presented a study in which two daily doses of a probiotic lowered key cholesterol-bearing molecules in the blood as well as “bad” and total cholesterol, according to Mitchell L. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a research assistant in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal. The findings, revealed at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions 2012, suggest the probiotic formulation can reduce cholesterol esters, molecules of cholesterol attached to fatty acids, which have been tied to arterial plaque buildup and increase risk of cardiovascular disease. Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria in… Full Story

AHA: Human Heart May be Able to Power a Pacemaker

The American Heart Association has presented a study in which an experimental device converted energy from a beating heart to provide enough electricity to power a pacemaker. The findings, revealed at the AHA’s Scientific Sessions 2012, suggest that patients could power their own pacemakers, which would lift the burden of replacing pacemakers every five to seven years when batteries run out. In the preliminary study, researchers tested an energy-harvesting device that uses piezoelectricity, or an electrical charge generated from motion. According to M. Amin Karami, Ph.D., lead author of the study and research fellow in the Department of Aerospace Engineering… Full Story

Planned Parenthood Cuts Delayed

State health officials have announced that Texas’ Planned Parenthood will not lose federal funding for the time being, according to WFAA. Gov. Rick Perry has been working to cut Planned Parenthood funding through his new Women’s Health Program, which will rely solely on state funding Officials said they need more time to make sure enough doctors are signed up for the new program that will exclude clinics with ties to abortion providers. In response, Planned Parenthood is suing the state of Texas to stay in the program. Another hearing is set for November 8.  

UNT Earns NIH Grant of $600,000 in Partnership with Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium

The UNT Health Science Center is one of five partners in the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) that is working to improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer’s. Last year, TARCC researchers, led by Sid O’Bryant, PhD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, announced progress on a blood test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. The blood test, which measures concentrations of key blood proteins, is not available to the public yet. To continue this work, O’Bryant and his research team at UNTHSC received a two-year National Institutes of Health grant exceeding $600,000. This project will be the first to compare… Full Story

NCQA: Quality of Healthcare Showing Improvement

The quality of care provided through both commercial and Medicare health plans is showing improvement in almost all areas measured, according to a report in HealthLeaders Media. The report cites a study, “The State of Health Care Quality,” from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, which tracks performance on more than 40 measures surveyed for the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) and Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) between 2009 and 2011. Measures include care for blood pressure and colorectal cancer screening, smoking cessation counseling, use of beta-blockers after a heart attack, the use of two… Full Story

Gap Narrowing Between Obama and Romney on Healthcare Issues

Kaiser Family Foundation released a poll that shows Obama’s advantage on several key health issues has narrowed among likely voters. Romney has closed in on Obama on which candidate likely voters think would do a better job with Medicare, an issue in which he previously held a 16-point lead. Overall, about 46 percent of voters said they prefer Obama on Medicare compared to 41 percent that said they prefer Romney. Obama’s advantage on that question has shrunk despite that six in 10 likely voters are opposed to Romney’s idea of changing Medicare to a premium support system. Senior voters are more likely to oppose the switch to premium support,… Full Story