FDA today approved the drug Campral (acamprosate), for treating alcohol dependent individuals seeking to continue to remain alcohol-free after they have stopped drinking. Campral may not be effective in patients who are actively drinking at the start of treatment, or in patients who abuse other substances in addition to alcohol.
Health Services and Research Policy: July 2004 Archives
By RICHARD MACKIE
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Niagara-on-the Lake, Ont. ó Canada's premiers are expected to unveil a proposal today to change and enrich health care in Canada with national goals, while ensuring that provinces can deliver services in different ways, unencumbered by federal conditions.
The premiers emerged from a day-long meeting yesterday with a plan to take to their three-day televised meeting in September with Prime Minister Paul Martin, whom they see as having little choice but to accept their program for change.
By Julie Appleby, USA TODAY
The Medicare drug discount card program does save consumers money but is confusing, and similar savings may be had outside the program, a report out this week says.
Two months in, about 4 million people have cards, but about 3 million of them were enrolled automatically by their HMOs or through state assistance programs.
By ROBERT PEAR
Published: July 28, 2004
As a result of incremental changes in the last few years, Medicare now covers a wide variety of preventive services.
The latest changes, authorized by the new Medicare law, take effect on Jan. 1, a year before outpatient drug benefits will become available.
Time Sensitive: New York Times
Medicare will offer for the first time a comprehensive set of screening tests and a full medical work-up for new recipients under changes proposed yesterday.
Report doubles earlier Institute of Medicine estimate
Wednesday, July 28, 2004 Posted: 10:08 AM EDT (1408 GMT)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- As many as 195,000 people a year could be dying in U.S. hospitals because of easily prevented errors, a company said Tuesday in an estimate that doubles previous figures.
Pay cuts could alter cancer care
By Globe Wire Services | July 28, 2004
WASHINGTON -- Cancer doctors and patients' advocates said a Bush administration proposal to cut Medicare payments to cancer doctors could force a dramatic change in care, with patients forced to get treatment in hospitals, sometimes far from their homes, rather than in physicians' offices.
Robert Pear, New York Times
July 27, 2004 MEDI0727
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Bush administration proposed rules on Monday to carry out the sweeping new Medicare law, and it said that nearly 11 million of the 41 million beneficiaries would receive comprehensive drug benefits at virtually no cost.
In issuing the proposals, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson took a swipe at Democrats who have opposed the Medicare law. After years of unfulfilled promises by Democrats, Thompson said, "it took George Bush and a Republican-led Congress to act."
NLM has reformatted and enhanced the HSR & PH Information Programs page.
There are numerous links to a variety of web sites within NLM. Take a look when you get a chance.
In court papers, the Bush administration argues that federal standards pre-empt requirements established by state judges and legislators.
BY ROBERT PEAR
New York Times
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration has been going to court to block lawsuits by consumers who say they have been injured by prescription drugs and medical devices.
The administration contends that consumers cannot recover damages for such injuries if the products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In court papers, the Justice Department acknowledges that this position reflects a "change in governmental policy," and it has persuaded some judges to accept its arguments, most recently scoring a victory in the federal appeals court in Philadelphia.
By Karen Pallarito
WEDNESDAY, July 21 (HealthDayNews) -- America's seniors would have better access to medicines if U.S. drug prices were slashed to the level paid in other industrialized nations, a new analysis suggests.
A 45 percent price cut would let Congress eliminate a gap in coverage that will occur when Medicare's outpatient prescription drug benefit takes effect in 2006, the authors conclude. Lower prices, they add, would make it possible to enhance drug coverage for seniors at no additional cost to the federal government.
by David Boaz
David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson says, "Obesity is a critical public health problem in our country."
Wrong. Obesity is a problem for many people, but it is not a public health problem. By calling it one, however, Thompson can promise that we, the taxpayers, will pay for everyone's diet programs, stomach surgery, and behavioral counseling. Get out your wallet.
The meaning of "public health" has sprawled out lazily over the decades. Once, it referred to the project of securing health benefits that were public: clean water, improved sanitation, and the control of epidemics through treatment, quarantine, and immunization. Public health officials worked to drain swamps that might breed mosquitoes and thus spread malaria. They strove to ensure that water supplies were not contaminated with cholera, typhoid, or other diseases. The U.S. Public Health Service began as the Marine Hospital Service, and one of its primary functions was ensuring that sailors didn't expose domestic populations to new and virulent illnesses from overseas.
Medicare reviewers missed two-thirds of safety issues, GAO says
Tuesday, July 20, 2004 Posted: 1:05 PM EDT (1705 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The private organization that clears hospitals to receive Medicare payments missed most problems later identified by state inspectors, potentially compromising patient safety, congressional investigators said Tuesday.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, made up mainly of health professionals, failed to find 167 of 241 "serious deficiencies" in a survey of 500 hospitals that were reviewed between 2000 and 2002, the Government Accountability Office said. The agency, Congress' investigative arm, was formerly called the General Accounting Office.
Last Updated: 2004-07-16 12:49:30 -0400 (Reuters Health)
By Todd Zwillich
WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - The nation's largest hospital accrediting body launched a Web site Wednesday designed to let doctors and the public compare the quality of medical care at thousands of facilities.
The site lets consumers search out hospitals and directly compare their performance in treating a handful of health conditions, a move supporters said would deliver badly needed objective information to patients while driving health providers to improve their quality.
Patients and doctors visiting the site, called Quality Check, can search hospitals in any state or zip code. The site grades facilities based on how consistently they deliver care proven to improve health outcomes.
Patients' choices in medical care take a hit after high court rules in favor of insurers
By Henry Gilgoff
July 18, 2004
The country's highest court delivered a major setback last month to patients trying to sue health insurers for negligence or malpractice, leaving a widow to wonder: What now?
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision gave added ammunition to health plans to argue that federal law precludes patients and their families from suing health plans for damages in state courts. The Employment Retirement Security Act of 1974 allows suits in federal court for benefits denied -- small amounts compared with the high awards possible for malpractice or negligence.
Friday, July 16, 2004 Posted: 11:09 AM EDT (1509 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Medicare now recognizes obesity as an illness, a change in policy that may allow millions of overweight Americans to make medical claims for treatments such as stomach surgery and diet programs.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said, "Obesity is a critical public health problem in our country that causes millions of Americans to suffer unnecessary health problems and to die prematurely."
Treating obesity-related illnesses results in billions of dollars in health care costs, Thompson said.
By Glenn Harlan Reynolds Published 07/14/2004
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This month's Harper's Magazine includes a cover story on the decline of the public health system, by Dr. Ronald J. Glasser. Glasser lays out a number of ways in which the global public health system isn't up to the threats posed by diseases like SARS. Dr. Glasser's diagnosis seems on target, but his article leaves a lot to be desired in terms of treatment -- he concludes (in a fashion that seems somehow emblematic for Harper's) that we are probably too foolish to survive these new epidemics, and that we probably deserve to die.
I don't agree, and I think that we should be doing something about the problem. The public health infrastructure built up in the last century was an enormous achievement. It was also, as Robert Fogel notes in his new book, Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, a gigantic undertaking. Fogel writes about...
VCU's new school of public health will address issues ranging from bioterrorism to obesity.
Wednesday July 14, 2004
Virginia Commonwealth University will soon be home to the only school of public health in Virginia.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia recently approved the school, which will address public health issues ranging from bioterrorism and the risk of biological and chemical weapons to obesity and cancer prevention.
Newswise ó One of the biggest questions facing Americans as the 2004 elections approach involves a tradeoff: Will those who currently have health insurance be willing to sacrifice in order to insure the 44 million people who donít?
The answer may turn out to be yes, according to the results of a new research study published in the August issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, especially if citizens have a chance to get together and talk about how coverage for the uninsured might affect them personally and society as a whole.
To explore whether the insured would help cover the uninsured, the research team based at the University of Michigan didnít turn to an opinion survey. Instead, they asked 322 insured people to play a board game thatís a cross between Monopoly and the Game of Life, but with a focus on health and insurance.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004 Posted: 9:43 AM EDT (1343 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government plans to open a "national bank" to better grow the only embryonic stem cells eligible for government-funded research, holding firm against critics who want Bush administration restrictions on the controversial cells lifted.
In addition, the National Institutes of Health plans to spend $18 million over four years to establish three "centers of excellence" to speed research on the currently available cell lines.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
July 13, 2004
Posted to the web July 13, 2004
WHO has called for three million on AIDS treament by 2005
Innovative community-based public health initiatives are needed to enable the rapid rollout of HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) director of HIV/AIDS, Jim Yong Kim, told PlusNews on Tuesday.
To reach WHO's '3 by 5' goal (three million people on treatment by 2005) "simplified, high- quality public health initiatives are needed", Kim said at the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. "There needs to be an attitude of learning by doing."
The 3 by 5 initiative, launched by WHO in 2003, was a strategy to "energise" what has been a painfully slow rollout of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, said Kim. Over 4 million people are in need of life-prolonging drugs in Africa, but less than 5 percent are receiving it in a continent
Last Updated: 2004-07-12 8:00:30 -0400 (Reuters Health)
By Merritt McKinney
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Hispanic women who care for older relatives with dementia may delay placing their relatives in nursing homes longer than white caregivers, new research suggests.
Cultural values and attitudes toward caregiving may help explain some of the differences, researchers say.
Taking care of a relative with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia can put a heavy burden on caregivers. Eventually, most people with dementia are placed in a nursing home or other long-term-care institution.
But most studies on the institutionalization of people with dementia have focused on non-Hispanic whites. There is some evidence that Latino caregivers wait longer before placing their loved ones in an institution.
To look at the relationship between ethnicity and care of people with dementia, a team led by Dr. Dolores Gallagher-Thompson at Stanford University School of Medicine and VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California studied 264 women who were caring for a loved one with dementia. Of the women, 154 were Caucasian and 110 were Latinas.
A Public Health article highlights how a lack of access to health information for health workers in resource-poor settings is a major obstacle to achieving the 2015 millennium goals for global health.
Saturday July 10, 9:30 am ET
Tobacco, Obesity, HIV/AIDS and Immigrant Health Addressed
MIAMI, July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of Congress, public health experts, community leaders and citizens of South Florida convened today to address racial and ethnic health disparities in the areas of tobacco, obesity, immigrant health and HIV/AIDS. The American Legacy Foundation, Pfizer and the Kellogg Men's Health Initiative sponsored the one-day summit held at Miami- Dade College.
UN, citing HIV rise, says nation may face Ďa nasty surpriseí
BANGKOK Thailand's AIDS program, which has been widely touted as the world's most successful in preventing the disease, is in serious danger of unraveling, the United Nations said in a report here Thursday.
Thursday, July 8, 2004 ∑ Last updated 6:17 a.m. PT
By FIONA SMITH
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
MEXICO CITY -- The childhood illness Rotavirus kills more than 600,000 youngsters a year, some 100,000 more than previously believed, according to a study released in Mexico's capital Wednesday.
The report was made public as hundreds of scientists, public health experts, government officials and pharmaceutical representatives kicked off the three-day International Rotavirus Symposium.
Tuesday, July 6, 2004 Posted: 10:13 AM EDT (1413 GMT)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Struggling, inner-city parents are more likely to neglect to completely vaccinate their children, while parents who refuse to vaccinate at all tend to be white and well-off, U.S. researchers reported Tuesday.
The study is the first extensive national survey to look at why some children are not vaccinated, and it shows a big difference between parents who are unable to get their children vaccinated, and those who are unwilling to do so.
Friday, July 2, 2004 Posted: 2:36 PM EDT (1836 GMT)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Add stroke to the list of health problems caused by a Western diet rich in red meat, white flour and sugar, researchers have said.
A study of more than 71,000 nurses found those who ate a "prudent" diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes and whole grains were less likely to have strokes than nurses eating a more typical American diet.
Writing Thursday in the journal Stroke, the team at the Harvard School of Public Health said its study was the first to examine overall dietary habits and stroke risk.