Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday After the Long Weekend Edition

I could have used a few more days. But I think that would always be the case, no matter how long I had off -- I have years of exhaustion stored up. And the brain needs vacation. But alas, it's back to the grind. So here's the news:

The House will vote -- against -- raising the debt ceiling today in advance of a negotiation session with the White House. They will not vote in favor without major cuts to the deficit. Sen Mitch McConnell, GOP leader, says we all know Medicare will change consistent with the Ryan plan. Let's hope he's wrong about the WAY Medicare is going to change. A year ago, the GOP was screaming about how health reform would change Medicare; now they want to make it unrecognizable. But yes, there will be change.

For example, Medicare is changing how it pays hospitals, paying for how well patients do in the 90 days after a hospital discharge. Read how the new value based payment system will work. Maybe it would help if hospitals would respond to calls for help. Certainly, hospitals must try to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections.

But for me, the most outrageous thing the GOP has done to date is to say there will be no aid to the victims of the Joplin, MO tornado without corresponding budget cuts. I understand the need to cut the deficit, but what are these folks to do? Read about the human toll in Joplin at my friend Susan Campbell's blog.

Maryland is on a fast track to implementation of health reform. Here's how it looks when it's working right.

Many states are switching Medicaid to managed care. Too bad those states didn't look at Connecticut, where managed care cost us more than $50 million extra - and we're now switching back to fee for service.

The NIH continues to run clinical trials to try to find new solutions to health care problems. Here are summaries of a few studies and their results.

30 years in and we're still learning from AIDS. It's affected 60 million people world-wide. But with money running low, what do we spend and who do we save?

Nurses play a critical role in delivery of health care beyond the hospital.

Emergency departments are popping up separate from hospitals.

Breaches of medical privacy may lead to new rules to keep data safe.

Pharma giant to give $5.7 million in poor countries. Um, does that include the US? Not that I'm against international aid, but I know there are so many poor Americans who need help paying for meds.

A medical journal is asking the authors of a paper on chronic fatigue syndrome to retract it. The paper linked CFS to a retrovirus.

An interesting study on how we remember, what we don't, and why.

And that's this morning's news. Have a great day! Jennifer

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