Task force recommends screening all adults for alcohol misuse   05/14/2013
Primary care professionals should ask all adults aged 18 or older about their drinking habits and offer brief behavioral counseling to those who drink more than the recommended daily, weekly or per-occasion amounts, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended today. Recommended screening tools include the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, abbreviated AUDIT-Consumption test, and single-question screening such as asking, “How many times in the past year have you had five (for men) or four (for women and all adults older than 65 years) or more drinks in a day?” The panel assigned a "B" grade to the recommendation, which means all copays and deductibles for the screenings will be waived under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. According to the task force, an estimated 30% of U.S. residents drink more than they should, making alcohol misuse the third leading cause of preventable death. The panel found insufficient evidence to recommend screening for all adolescents.
IOM report examines sodium intake and health outcomes   05/14/2013
Americans should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day, but recent studies on sodium and health outcomes do not support lower levels, according to a report released today by the Institute of Medicine. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans urge most people aged 14-50 to limit their sodium intake to 2,300 mg daily, but advise older people, African Americans and people with hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease to follow an even stricter limit of 1,500 mg per day. “These new studies support previous findings that reducing sodium from very high intake levels to moderate levels improves health,” said Brian Strom, a professor of public health and preventive medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who chaired the IOM committee. “But they also suggest that lowering sodium intake too much may actually increase a person’s risk of some health problems.” The report was sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reminder: Flu vaccination data due tomorrow   05/14/2013
May 15 is the deadline for acute care hospitals participating in the inpatient quality reporting program to submit summary data on health care personnel flu vaccination to the National Health Safety Network for the 2012-2013 flu season. Participating hospitals must report summary data for health care personnel working in the hospital for at least 30 days between Oct. 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013 to avoid a 2% reduction in their Medicare inpatient payments for FY 2015 and exclusion from the Value Based Purchasing program. For more information, see the AHA Quality Advisory.