Popular Medicare News and Current Events

Popular Medicare News and Current Events, Medicare News Articles.
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MD Anderson study evaluates need for biopsies during follow-up care in women with early breast cancer
In an analysis of more than 120,000 women diagnosed with and treated for early-stage breast cancer, researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center determined the rate of additional breast biopsies needed for these patients during their follow-up care. The findings, reported in JAMA Surgery, are the first comprehensive nationwide population-based study regarding the need for breast biopsies performed during follow up after treatment for invasive breast cancer. (2018-01-31)

Medicare claims show long-term prostate cancer prevention benefits of finasteride
Men who take the medication finasteride get a prostate cancer prevention benefit that can last 16 years -- twice as long as previously recorded, according to SWOG clinical trial analysis that made innovative use of Medicare data. (2018-03-20)

ICU care for COPD, heart failure and heart attack may not be better
Does a stay in the intensive care unit give patients a better chance of surviving a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure flare-up or even a heart attack, compared with care in another type of hospital unit? Unless a patient is clearly critically ill, the answer may be no, according to University of Michigan researchers who analyzed more than 1.5 million Medicare records. (2017-02-17)

Health insurance plans may be fueling opioid epidemic
Health care insurers including Medicare, Medicaid and major private insurers have not done enough to combat the opioid epidemic, suggests a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2018-06-22)

Telemedicine as effective as in-person care for Parkinson's disease
New findings from a nationwide program that links neurologists with patients with Parkinson's disease in their homes via video conferencing shows that telemedicine can successfully deliver quality care. The study, which appears today in the journal Neurology, points to a new way to improve care for people who suffer from the disease, but may have not have access to a neurologist. (2017-08-16)

International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs
A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the US care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools. (2019-02-19)

Critical heart drug too pricey for some Medicare patients
An effective drug to treat chronic heart failure may cost too much for senior citizens with a standard Medicare Part D drug plan, said a study co-authored by a John A. Burns School of Medicine researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The therapy is a combination of sacubitril/valsartan called Entresto®. Researchers found that, even with insurance, the cost to Medicare patients may be more than $1,600 a year. (2019-07-22)

Study examines opioid use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
A new analysis indicates that the use of opioid pain medications in older US rheumatoid arthritis patients peaked in 2010 and is now declining slightly. (2017-06-21)

Healthcare spending in late life is not wasteful, predictive model shows
End-of-life health care spending in the United States is not wasteful, a new study says; many recipients of such expenditures aren't, in fact, certain to die, as the thinking goes. (2018-06-28)

New study uncovers major differences in billing complexity among US health insurers
One frequently proclaimed advantage of single-payer health care is its potential to reduce administrative costs, but new research from the Vancouver School of Economics calls that assumption into question. (2018-04-02)

Study says some nursing homes gaming the system to improve their Medicare star ratings
A new study of nursing homes in California, the nation's largest system, by faculty at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Connecticut, found that some nursing homes inflate their self-assessment reporting to improve their score in the Five-Star Quality Rating System employed by Medicare to help consumers. (2018-01-17)

Hospitals in Medicare ACOs reduced readmissions faster
The Accountable Care Organization model of paying for health care appears to help reduce hospital readmissions among Medicare patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities, a new study suggests. (2017-01-09)

Multidisciplinary care likely cost-effective for chronic kidney disease patients
Medicare-funded multidisciplinary care programs in the US are likely to be cost-effective in patients with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Eugene Lin from Stanford University, California, USA, and colleagues. (2018-03-27)

Patients who get opioids in the ER are less likely to use them long-term
Compared to other medical settings, emergency patients who are prescribed opioids for the first time in the emergency department are less likely to become long-term users and more likely to be prescribed these powerful painkillers in accordance with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. A paper analyzing 5.2 million prescriptions for opioids is being published online today in Annals of Emergency Medicine. (2017-09-26)

Loss of employer-based health insurance in early retirement affects mental, physical health
The loss of private health insurance from an employer can lead to poorer mental and physical health as older adults transition to early retirement, according to a study by Georgia State University. (2016-07-18)

Care management program reduced health care costs in Partners Pioneer ACO
Pesearchers at Partners HealthCare published a study showing that Partners Pioneer ACO not only reduces spending growth, but does this by reducing avoidable hospitalizations for patients with elevated but modifiable risks. (2017-05-01)

Local economic factors affect opioid prescribing to disabled Medicare beneficiaries
For non-elderly Americans on disability, local prescribing of opioid pain medications is significantly related to county-level economic factors like unemployment and income level, reports a study in the January issue of Medical Care, published by Wolters Kluwer. (2017-12-27)

Pre-Medicare years bring health insurance worries for many, U-M/AARP poll finds
With the dawn of a new year, most Americans have just started a new health insurance coverage period -- whether they receive their coverage through a job, buy it themselves or have a government plan. But a new national poll suggests that many people in their 50s and early 60s harbor serious worries about their health insurance status, now and in the future. (2019-01-03)

New AI technology significantly improves human kidney analysis
The ability to quantify the extent of kidney damage and predict the life remaining in the kidney, using an image obtained at the time when a patient visits the hospital for a kidney biopsy, now is possible using a computer model based on artificial intelligence (AI). (2018-01-11)

New RISE registry dashboard will help rheumatologists monitor MIPS quality scores
Quality measures reported by rheumatology practices using the RISE registry significantly varied in the first quarter of 2017, with financial repercussions for practices through the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), according to research presented at the 2017 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting. (2017-11-04)

UC researchers examine racial and gender disparities in dialysis patients
UC researchers are examining racial and gender disparities in dialysis patients as well as the impact of poor functional status and pre-dialysis hospitalizations on elderly dialysis patients. The research team presented four separate studies, all based on data from the United States Renal Data System. Three of the four studies accounted for elderly patient pre-dialysis health status, while the fourth examined racial and gender disparities and the type of vascular access in hemodialysis patients. (2017-11-03)

Veterans health administration hospitals outperform non-VHA hospitals in most markets
In a new study, researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont, used the most current publicly available data to compare health outcomes for VA and non-VA hospitals within 121 local healthcare markets that included both a VA medical center and a non-VA hospital. (2018-12-10)

Older adults with small social networks less likely to get cataract surgery
A new study by University of Michigan Kellogg Ey Center links familial relationships to the likelihood older adults will get needed cataract surgery -- a procedure with broad implications for health. (2018-03-09)

Commentary: Modifications to Medicare rules could support care innovation for dialysis
Public health researchers suggest adjustments to recently proposed rule changes on how Medicare pays for dialysis services. (2019-04-19)

Lack of communication puts older adults at risk of clashes between their medicines
Most older Americans take multiple medicines every day. But a new poll suggests they don't get -- or seek -- enough help to make sure those medicines actually mix safely. That lack of communication could be putting older adults at risk of health problems from interactions between their drugs, and between their prescription drugs and other substances such as over-the-counter medicines, supplements, food and alcohol. (2017-11-29)

Small-cell lung cancer patients face barriers to receiving standard-of-care treatment
Despite decades of clinical research establishing chemotherapy with thoracic radiation as the standard-of-care for the initial management of non-metastatic small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), a large percentage of US patients do not receive these treatments and in turn have lower overall survival, according to research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. (2018-01-04)

Preparing for the 'silver tsunami'
Case Western Reserve University law professor suggests how to address nation's looming health-care and economic crisis caused by surging baby-boom population. (2018-05-14)

VA delivers higher quality care than other health providers, study finds
Examining a wide array of commonly used measures of health care quality, researchers have found that the VA health care system performs similar to or better than non-VA systems on most measures of inpatient and outpatient care quality. However, there is high variation in quality across individual VA facilities, suggesting that the VA needs targeted quality improvement efforts to ensure that veterans receive uniformly high-quality care. (2018-04-26)

Women more likely to use other preventive health services after mammography
Medicare beneficiaries who undergo breast cancer screening with mammography are more likely than unscreened women to undergo other preventive health services like screening for cervical cancer and osteoporosis, according to a major new study. (2018-06-05)

Program to reduce hospital readmissions linked with increased risk of death among HF patients
Implementation of a program designed to reduce hospital readmissions was associated with a reduction in the rate of readmissions, but also an increase in the rate of death among Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure. (2017-11-12)

Study examines differences in hip fracture rates among nursing homes
In a nationally representative study, researchers found considerable variation in the rates of hip fractures across US nursing home facilities. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study identified a number of modifiable facility-level characteristics that might be addressed, but the majority of the variation in the risk of hip fracture remained unexplained. (2018-01-22)

Air pollution associated with acute respiratory distress hospitalization of elderly
In a new study, researchers found significant associations between seniors' long-term exposure to two types of air pollution and hospitalization for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The study was presented at the 2018 American Thoracic Society International Conference. (2018-05-23)

COPD patients rarely receive pulmonary rehabilitation despite its health benefits
Only a tiny fraction of patients hospitalized for COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, participate in a pulmonary rehabilitation program following hospitalization, even though such programs are recommended and Medicare covers their cost, according to new research published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. (2018-11-12)

Not having a regular doctor affects healthcare quality for older adults
About five percent of older adults on Medicare don't have a 'personal physician,' and this group scores lower on measures of healthcare quality, reports a study in the April issue of Medical Care, published by Wolters Kluwer. (2018-03-16)

Are dialysis patients being over-screened for colon cancer?
Colonoscopies are being performed more often on healthier dialysis patients than on those with more limited life expectancies; however, overall, dialysis patients are being screened at a much higher rate relative to their life expectancy than their counterparts without kidney failure. (2017-03-23)

Many epilepsy patients take drug combinations that interact
In an Epilepsia analysis of 2008-2010 Medicare claims data, one in four older Americans with new-onset epilepsy and more than one-third with prevalent epilepsy received a combination of antiepileptic drugs and non-epilepsy drugs that could interact to alter the effectiveness of the non-epilepsy drugs. Also, more than 1 in 5 patients received a drug combination that could alter the effect of the antiepileptic drugs and potentially cause toxicity. (2018-02-07)

Time for physicians to prepare for impending appropriate use mandate
Within a year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will implement a provision in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act that requires physicians to consult appropriate use criteria using CMS-approved computer-based clinical decision support mechanisms when ordering advanced imaging procedures. (2017-02-27)

Sex and race disparities in cardiovascular health could be reduced
Substantial sex and racial gaps exist for cardiac rehabilitation referral at hospital discharge, especially among females, African-Americans, Hispanic and Asian patients leading to less favorable outcomes and/or survival rates. (2018-04-10)

Osteoporosis is underdiagnosed and undertreated in older men
A new study reveals that many older men who experience a fracture are still underdiagnosed with and undertreated for osteoporosis. Details of the study was presented at ACR Convergence, the American College Rheumatology's annual meeting. (2020-11-06)

Hospital rankings: More than meets the eye
Medicare's pay-for-performance program ranks and rewards hospitals according to how well they meet certain guidelines for clinical care. But researchers at Duke Clinical Research Institute say the program penalizes hospitals that care for the greatest numbers of the poor and needy by not taking into account their greater clinical burden. (2008-10-21)

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