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Healthcare Headlines Week of August 25, 2014

How Accurate are Star Ratings?

According to this article, nursing home star ratings, which rely on a significant amount of self-reporting, may not always be accurate. Read the story

Restrictions Added for Hydrocodone Products

The Drug Enforcement Association has imposed new restrictions on hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin, making them ineligible for automatic refill and allowing fewer pills per prescription, and the decision has come under fire by long-term care advocates who worry that it will impede patients’ access to needed pain medications.Read the story

Deep Brain Stimulation Safe for Older Parkinson’s Patients

A study looking at the safety of a procedure that involves placing electrodes in the brains of Parkinson’s patients has found that the treatment is as safe for older patients as it is for younger ones. Read the story

Medicare, Medicaid Spending Projected to Drop

A reduction in costs for medical care and labor are two reasons credited with a projected drop in Medicare and Medicaid spending by a combined $89 billion over 10 years. Read the story

Can Falls be Prevented with Intentional Tripping?

By using a treadmill designed to cause seniors to lose balance, some researchers are aiming to build the skills necessary to actually prevent falls. Read the story

Sleep Apnea Treatment Beneficial for Seniors

A new study has shown that CPAP treatment, which uses a continuous stream of air to keep patients’ airways open during sleep, is an effective treatment for sleep apnea in seniors, helping to lower healthcare costs. Read the story

Elderly Prostate Cancer Patients May Develop Mental Illness

A study has shown that 20 percent of elderly prostate cancer patients go on to develop mental health issues, particularly those whose cancer is treated with a “watchful waiting” approach that may engender anxiety about whether they are being effectively treated. Read the story

Medicare Patients Sue Over Delayed Appeals

A group of Medicare beneficiaries has sued the Obama administration over appeals that took longer than the 90-day limit to resolve. Read the story

When Medicaid Pays, Screenings are Plentiful

There appears to be a correlation between higher Medicaid payouts for doctor office visits and higher rates of screenings for colorectal, breast and cervical cancer. Read the story

Catheter Alerts Reduce Incidence of UTIs

An alert system embedded in electronic health records, which calls physicians’ attention to whether patients need catheters in the first place and why they haven’t been removed, has been successful in reducing urinary tract infections by lowering catheter use by 15 percent. 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.