UT Dallas Researchers Show Binge Eating is an Addiction

Binge eating is an addiction pattern rooted in the brain’s reward center, according to UT Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth. The study, conducted by UTD assistant professor Francesca Filbey and doctoral student Samuel DeWitt, tracked 26 obese people (those with a body mass index greater than 30) who showed binging patterns without purging. The binge eating patterns were tracked by a questionnaire called the Binge Eating Scale, and all participants showed moderate to severe behavior. Participants shared their favorite high-calorie beverage preferences and completed a self-assessment about their eating patterns. An MRI scan tracked the participant’s brain activity while the beverage of… Full Story

Slight Increase in Hospital CPI for October

Consumer prices in hospital services saw a 0.1 percent increase last month, compared with 0.6 percent in September, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. October of 2011 also saw a 0.6 percent increase. During the year ending in October, hospital consumer prices went up 4.5 percent, compared with the previous year’s 5.4 percent. Inpatient hospital consumer prices went down last month by 0.2 percent, and had increased in September by 0.5 percent. Outpatient hospital consumer prices went up 0.2 percent in October and 0.7 percent in September. As for consumer prices for physician services, October… Full Story

Nursing Homes Overbilling Medicare Program

Hundreds of nursing homes overcharge Medicare annually for skilled services, which adds $1.5 billion in yearly costs to the program, according to an Office of the Inspector General  report released Tuesday. Of the facilities examined, about a quarter of Medicare bills were incorrect. Many claims involve upcoding, in which the nursing home or provider inflates the bill cost to Medicare by claiming more intensive services were done than in reality. Other cases included providing inappropriate treatments. Bills included high-intensity work like speech therapy or occupational therapy for patients who would not actually receive benefit from the treatment. On Hospice patient… Full Story

Criswell College Files Suit Against Contraception Mandate

Dallas’ Criswell College has filed suit against the contraception mandate promoted by the Accountable Care Act, which requires employers to provide health insurance that offers free sterilization and contraception, according to a report in The New American. The Christian institution opposes the mandate under the argument that the “morning after” pill causes abortion. The suit, filed Nov. 1, claims that “it would be sinful and immoral for it to intentionally participate in, pay for, facilitate, or otherwise support abortion, which destroys human life.” According to the report, campus president, Jerry Johnson, said in a statement that the mandate “requires us to violate our… Full Story

Health Care Reform Means Challenges for Medical Start-Ups

Investments in medical start-ups have gone down recently as companies struggle to go public and produce returns for venture capitalists, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Affordable Care Act may provide millions of new customers for these medical companies, but a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices also goes into affect next year, which may cause another challenge in capital. Investors also worry that insurers will tighten up prices as medical product use and number of those insured increase. The issue is already causing some public market investors to steer away from health care, intensifying difficulty for new… Full Story

Part-time Hiring on The Rise, as Employers Seek to Avoid Health Insurance Requirements

Large, low-wage employers are doing more hiring of part-time workers, in order to avoid the requirement of providing health insurance for full-time employees or face a fine, according to the Wall Street Journal. Employers are looking at ways to avoid the Affordable Care Act requirement of providing insurance for employees who work at least 30 hours a week, or pay a fine of $2,000 per worker. Many restaurants, hotels, and retailers are preparing to cut hourly workers’ schedules to less than 30 hours a week. The WSJ report listed Pillar Hotels and Resorts, CKE Restaurants Inc., and Anna’s Linens Inc. among the… Full Story

Healthcare M&A Goes Down in Q3 of 2012, But Not Too Much

Healthcare mergers and acquisitions went down almost 10 percent during the third quarter of 2012 when compared to the third quarter of 2011, according to Healthcare Finance News. The report, by Irving Levin Associates, shows industry experts are not overly alarmed, despite the fact that this is the second straight quarterly decline in publicly announced healthcare transactions. Healthcare mergers and acquisitions dollar volume went down 35 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter of 2012, and 36 percent from the third quarter of 2011. Declines in transaction volume and dollar volume for merger and acquisitions were mainly in the technology… Full Story

VA Looks to Increase Telehealth Usage

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is looking to double last year’s estimated 460,000 veterans who connected through telehealth within the coming year, according to Healthcare IT News. The VA’s program utilizes video consults, digital images, and clinical data stored on a client device and forwarded to caregivers to monitor roughly 75,000 veterans who suffer from one or more chronic conditions. It was instituted in 2003, and records about 1.3 million consultations in the past year. Video consults in the home should reach about 825,000 veterans by the end of 2013, with an emphasis on the chronic disease management program.… Full Story

Four Ways Social Media Can Benefits Medical Practices

Social media may serve as a tool for business intelligence, customer service, and reporting for the medical profession, according to American Medical News. Social media can allow physicians to learn what obstacles their patients face and what solutions they are comfortable with, according to the report done by PwC Health Research Institute and CSC’s Global Institute for Emerging Healthcare Practices. In addition, physicians may use it to advertise events such as screenings and track health trends. Physicians can also increase customer service by responding quickly to complaints or any negative feedback via social media. Jessica Logan of UC San Diego Health Sciences… Full Story

Enrollment Dip Leads to Slower Growth in Medicaid Spending

The annual growth in Medicaid spending slowed this year to 2 percent, as enrollment dipped for the third consecutive year, according to Kaiser Health News. Medicaid spending went up almost 10 percent in 2011, increasing political tension. This year’s increase is the smallest since 2006, based on a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Those for Medicaid believe this trend is a sign of controlling costs, while critics argue that spending will go up again. Enrollment slowed to 3.2 percent this year, which is down from 4.4 percent in 2011 and 7.2 percent in… Full Story