The Health News USA April 4 2018

  • A study of U.S. doctors suggests that physicians charged with approving treatment plans for skilled home health care often spend no more than a minute reviewing the plans. Researchers surveyed 1,005 physicians who specialize in geriatrics, family or general medicine, or hospice and palliative care. Overall, 720 respondents, or 72 percent, said they had certified at least one plan for skilled home health care in the previous year for a patient covered by Medicare, the U.S. health program for adults 65 and older.
  • Official said that more than 50 people on a trip from New York to Washington, D.C., were taken to the hospital Sunday night after about a dozen of them showed signs of food poisoning. FOX5 DC reported that the group of 48 teenagers and 3 adults, believed to be tourists from London, were transported to the hospital as a precaution after several people reporting having “gastrointestinal” problems.  The group became sick as they were on the way to Washington, with many of them showing symptoms of food poisoning.
  • As many as 10,000 Maine residents are struggling to afford health care coverage due to rising premiums and deductibles. The Portland Press Herald reports former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act lacks cost control for enrollees who earn more than 400 percent of the federal poverty limit.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 4th of April 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-homecare-supervision/many-doctors-dont-pay-attention-to-home-health-care-plans-idUSKCN1H91WV

A study of U.S. doctors suggests that physicians charged with approving treatment plans for skilled home health care often spend no more than a minute reviewing the plans. Researchers surveyed one thousand five physicians who specialize in geriatrics, family or general medicine, or hospice and palliative care. Overall, seven hundred twenty respondents, or seventy two percent, said they had certified at least one plan for skilled home health care in the previous year for a patient covered by Medicare, the U.S. health program for adults sixty five and older.

Among the doctors who certified these plans, forty seven percent spent less than one minute reviewing the paperwork before signing off on it, researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Only twenty one percent of physicians reported spending two minutes or more.
Lead study author Doctor Cynthia Boyd, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said: “The process of care plan certification between skilled home health care and doctors was designed for regulation and payment by (Medicare), and does not appear to foster communication between doctors and the clinicians (nurses, physical therapists) going into patients’ homes.”
….
Skilled home health care services may be ordered by physicians for homebound patients who need support from nurses, physical therapists or occupational therapists to manage daily tasks and recover from injuries or illnesses. In two thousand fourteen alone, Medicare spent seventeen point seven billion dollars on skilled home health care services for three point four million beneficiaries. One third of Medicare patients don’t receive any physician evaluation or management services during their episodes of skilled home health care.
….
Approximately eighty percent of doctors said they never or only rarely changed an order for skilled home health care services, instead signing off on exactly what was detailed on the paperwork. Roughly the same proportion of physicians – seventy eight percent – said they rarely if ever contacted skilled home health care teams to discuss the care plans.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2018/04/02/dozens-tourists-taken-to-washington-dc-hospital-for-food-poisoning.html

Official said that more than fifty people on a trip from New York to Washington, D.C., were taken to the hospital Sunday night after about a dozen of them showed signs of food poisoning. FOX5 DC reported that the group of forty eight teenagers and three adults, believed to be tourists from London, were transported to the hospital as a precaution after several people reporting having “gastrointestinal” problems. The group had just arrived at Hotel Harrington in Washington.

The group became sick as they were on the way to Washington, with many of them showing symptoms of food poisoning, said Vito Maggiolo, ‎District of Columbia Fire and EMS spokesman.

Maggiolo said the first call for assistance came in at around seven p.m. and then became a “slowly escalating incident,” according to the New York Daily News. Doctors were investigating whether the sickened group contracted norovirus. Hotel Harrington is a premiere tourist destination because of its proximity to major D.C. attractions.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Residents-struggle-to-afford-rising-health-care-12799026.php

As many as ten thousand Maine residents are struggling to afford health care coverage due to rising premiums and deductibles. The Portland Press Herald reports former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act lacks cost control for enrollees who earn more than four hundred percent of the federal poverty limit.

Those enrollees have seen premiums increase as much as one hundred ten percent from three hundred seventy six dollars per month in two thousand fourteen to seven hundred ninety dollars per month this year. People who qualify for subsidies, however, have the option to purchase plans for seventy five dollars to three hundred fifty dollars a month, depending on where they live.

A representative with the Maine Bureau of Insurance says the state is working on a reinsurance program for two thousand nineteen to help balance insurance premiums. But he says affording insurance will still be difficult.

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