The Leapfrog Group unveiled its semiannual safety grades for approximately 2,500 acute-care hospitals in the US, giving an A to 30% of facilities and a B to 28%. State-by-state comparison showed 73% of Hawaii's hospitals received an A grade, putting the state at the top for safety, while none of the hospitals in North Dakota, Delaware or Alaska earned an A grade.
Researchers followed 1,078 patients with hypertension and cardiovascular disease for three years and found that those with a mean walking speed of 5.1 kilometers per hour had a lower risk of hospitalization than those who walked at a slower pace. The findings, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, showed the hospitalization risk was reduced 19% for every 1 kilometer per hour increase in speed.
The FDA has taken steps to curb sales of e-cigarettes, especially Juul vaping devices, to minors, by sending warning letters to 40 retailers, urging eBay to remove product listings and asking Juul Labs to provide documents that may help explain their products' popularity among teens. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Truth Initiative applauded the FDA's efforts but said the agency should do better in regulating e-cigarettes and cracking down on features such as flavorings designed to appeal to youths.
Wildlife biologists are asking hunters in Washington state to report sightings of lame or limping elk with deformed, overgrown or broken hooves -- signs of treponeme-associated hoof disease, a bacterial infection that causes digital dermatitis in cattle, sheep and goats. The disease has been found in elk in 11 Washington counties, and Gov. Jay Inslee recently authorized $1.5 million in funding to Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine to study the disease.
Some military surgeons might lack the experience needed to perform complex procedures or respond to battlefield trauma, and acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery has asked the Defense Health Board to review the military's complex procedure policies. Dr. Paul Cordts of the Defense Health Agency said the military could address the issue by participating in surgical registries, establishing centers of excellence for particular procedures, partnering with civilian and VA hospitals and inviting civilian surgical experts to operate alongside military surgical personnel at base hospitals.
Repeated deployments separated by six months or less, as well as deployment within the first year of service, raise the risk of suicide, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. "Our findings indicate that suicide attempts among soldiers during or after their second deployment might be reduced by as much as 14.2 percent if all soldiers were in the U.S. Army for more than one year before first deployment," researchers wrote.
The CMS Innovation Center received more than 1,000 comments from health care providers, payers and associations on reducing costs while improving patient outcomes in Medicare and Medicaid. Many comments focused on the need for stronger accountability, better chronic disease management, improvements in EHR interoperability, more patient choices and better incentives for participating in value-based care models, and feedback from Anthem and other stakeholders indicated support for the effort.
A proposed CMS rule that would modernize the EHR Incentive Programs includes a plan to rename the meaningful use program "Promoting Interoperability" and rename the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System's Advancing Care Information performance category the "Promoting Interoperability" performance category. The rule would also require providers to use 2015 edition certified EHR technology next year to qualify for federal incentive payments and comply with MU requirements.
Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, ranging from brisk walking to running, with vigorous aerobic activity and muscle conditioning at least three days a week, according to the CDC. Experts recommend considering a child's age and interests, keeping exercise fun and trying to make it part of a regular routine.
Danish researchers evaluated 371 patients who participated in the South Danish Diabetes Study and found that treatment with insulin, metformin and rosiglitazone was not associated with bone metabolism impairment among type 2 diabetes patients. The findings in the journal Bone showed that metformin did not contribute to an increase in bone formation, while short- or long-acting insulin did not affect levels of bone turnover markers, and no association was found between rosiglitazone and increased bone resorption.
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