Thu August 7, 2014
Shots - Health News

House Calls Keep People Out Of Nursing Homes And Save Money

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 12:58 pm

When it comes to reining in medical costs, delivering more health care and bringing it right to the patient's home can, for a select group of patients, save money.

These particular patients are elders struggling with multiple chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes or dementia. They make up just 5 percent of the people on Medicare, but they account for about half of all Medicare spending.

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Thu August 7, 2014
Shots - Health News

California Experiments With Fast-Tracking Medical School

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 2:46 pm

First-year medical student Ngabo Nzigira gets ready to see a patient at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento.
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

Some doctors in the state of California will soon be able to practice after three years of medical school instead of the traditional four. The American Medical Association is providing seed money for the effort in the form of a $1 million, five-year grant to the University of California at Davis.

Student Ngabo Nzigira is in his sixth week of medical school and he's already interacting with patients during training with a doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento.

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Wed August 6, 2014
Shots - Health News

Do You Want To Be Happy? Don't Set Your Expectations Too High

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 10:40 am

Sure, money can't buy you love, but it's hard to imagine that winning rewards won't make us happy.

It does, researchers say, but only if our immediate expectations aren't bigger than the size of the payoff. Disappointment squelches happiness.

"Your happiness increases only if you do better than you expected," says Robb Rutledge, a neuroscientist and senior research associate at University College London. "Just having a bigger salary isn't enough to make you happy."

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Wed August 6, 2014
Shots - Health News

Brief Counseling May Not Help With Most Drug Problems

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 10:19 am

The notion that brief interventions can catch — and stop — problem drinking started in the 1960s.
Jorge Salcedo iStockphoto

Beating a drug habit is usually a long process that includes talk therapy and, sometimes, medicine. Checking into a rehab facility can help many people, too.

But it can be hard to persuade someone to commit to that long-term treatment. So public health officials lately have been cutting to the chase — urging doctors in primary care and in hospital emergency rooms to question all patients regarding drug use, then offer those with a drug problem a 10- or 15-minute counseling session, right then and there.

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Wed August 6, 2014
Shots - Health News

Suspicious Use Of AIDS Drugs Costs Medicare $30 Million

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 10:20 am

Medicare gives drugs for HIV/AIDS special status, which may make it easier to game the system.
Astrid Riecken MCT/Landov

Medicare spent more than $30 million in 2012 on questionable HIV medication costs, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in an investigation published Wednesday.

The possible fraud schemes were all paid for by Medicare's prescription drug program known as Part D. Among the most egregious:

  • In Detroit, a 77-year-old woman purportedly filled $33,500 worth of prescriptions for 10 different HIV medications. But there's no record she had HIV or that she had visited the doctors who wrote the scripts.
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