Friday, October 12, 2012


VA Telemedicine Announcement:  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a final rule that aims to encourage the use of telemedicine by veterans. Under the rule, the VA will no longer charge beneficiaries a copay when receiving in-home care that uses video conference technology.

Redefining Medicine.  The New York Times has a story about how medicine is being redefined with ‘Apps and iPads’.

Feds Crackdown on Fraud.  A federal health care fraud strike team have charged 91 providers for fraudulent billing totaling $430 million.

Personalized Medicine.  Sen. Bill Frist, MD, penned a piece for the Institute of Medicine about the future with personalized medicine:  “With personalized medicine, researchers use extremely sophisticated data analysis to separate a large population of people who used to be treated uniformly into smaller, more discrete, "personalized clusters" of people who share some important physiology or biochemical variants that respond in different ways to a particular treatment.”

Debates.  We have now had the first two debates of the presidential election season and while I am not going to pontificate about them or candidate performances, I ran across this quip by the chair of the RNC, Reince Priebus, quoted by National Journal, lowering expectations for Paul Ryan in advance of the vice presidential debate, and thought it was just too funny not to pass along:  "It's a nervous situation... this is his [Paul Ryan’s] first time.  Joe Biden's been doing this since the 1800s."

Sabato’s Take.  Political scientist Larry Sabato and his team at the University of Virginia had predicted that the presidential debates wouldn’t impact that election unless there was a ‘major blunder’.  Well, his take today is that Obama’s performance was the major blunder and it has therefore moved the needle.

Memorable Debate Moments.  Looking at past presidential debates, this site highlights 8 memorable moments.

Medicare ‘Cage Match’.  Politico penned the headline in reaction to the performance of Rep. Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden’s during last night’s debate.

Inspiring Story.  I ran across this article about a man born without complete arms/legs and how he hasn’t let that stop him.

‘Radical Surgery’.  That’s how the Commonwealth Fund summarized the impact that the Simpson-Bowles debt and deficit reduction plan would have on health care in the U.S.
Means-testing seniors.  This recent Boston Globe article talks about how, no matter who ends up in the White House, there is a strong chance that some form of means-testing will factor into entitlement programs for seniors (Social Security and Medicare).

Losing Health Insurance.  Rep. Paul Ryan has said that under the Affordable Care Act, 20 million Americans will lose insurance.  This ‘fact check’ shows how Rep. Ryan came up with that number.  The Commonwealth Fund released a report last week comparing the Obama and Romney health plans, concluding that by the year 2022, under Obama’s plan, there will be 27 million Americans without health insurance whereas under the Romney plan, that number jumps to 72 million uninsured.  See page 25 of the report for details.  You can find state by state and national data from the report here.

‘Rogue’ Stem Cell Therapies.  Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka warned patients on about unproven "stem cell therapies" offered at clinics and hospitals in a growing number of countries, saying they were highly risky.

The Nats.  While still a Twins (formerly the Washington Senators) fan, I can’t let this pass without a mention.  It has been 79 years since a Washington ball team has played in the post-season – the Washington Nationals have a ‘do-or-die’ game tonight to see if their post-season play will continue for the first time since 1933.  Either way, great season for the Nats – Congrats!

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