Healthcare Headlines Week of August 4, 2014

Rare Condition, Hefty Price Tag

Drugs for rare conditions, some of which have questionable effectiveness, are utilizing Medicare’s valuable resources. Read the story

Hospice Payments to be Raised

Hospice can expect a 1.4% increase in payments from CMS for fiscal year 2015, as part of a rule that also updates the definitions of “terminal illness” and “related conditions,” as well as information on processes and appeals for Part D payment for drugs. Read the story

Music Therapy Heralded in Film

A documentary about the effect of music on Alzheimer’s patients is being rolled out nationally after winning an award at Sundance, and it sings the praises of music therapy’s ability to reach those patients when nothing else can. Read the story

Massive Electronic Health Record to be Created in California

Two large California insurers are working to create a large, nonprofit health information database of electronic medical records, called Cal Index, by the end of next year. Read the story

Taxes on Skilled Nursing Facilities Might Warrant Review

A Government Accountability Office analysis suggests that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should collect more robust data on a trend wherein states collect “bed taxes” from skilled nursing facilities and other healthcare providers in order to fund Medicaid. Read the story

An Aspirin a Day May Keep Cancer Away

A new study has shown that an aspirin a day may reduce the risk of colon, stomach and esophageal cancer. Read the story

Do Vitamin D Levels Affect Development of Dementia?

According to a new study, elderly people with less vitamin D in their blood may be at higher risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s. Read the story

Troubling Trend in Hospice Care

New research shows that one in three hospice patients is leaving the service before dying, a trend which worries experts about quality of care and potential misuse of the service. Read the story

More Good News for Home Health Care

By providing more primary care in frail seniors’ homes, one hospital reduced skilled nursing stays and lowered costs for Medicare. Read the story 

Opinions expressed in any of the included stories or their publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Kindred Healthcare and this blog post is a compilation of news stories from other sources that have appeared during the past week.