Report: Preterm births, infant mortality decline in 2010   07/13/2012
Preterm births declined for the fourth straight year in 2010, according to the latest annual report by the federal government on the well-being of U.S. children. Births at less than 37 weeks of gestation fell to 12%, down from 12.2% in 2009 and 12.8% in 2006, primarily due to declines in late preterm births (between 34-36 weeks' gestation). The infant mortality rate declined for the third straight year in 2010, to 6.1 from 6.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. "This year's report contains good news about newborns," said Alan Guttmacher, M.D., director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "Fewer infants were born preterm and fewer died in the first year of life." To access the report, by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, visit
IOM recommends DoD, VA actions to improve access to PTSD treatment    07/13/2012
The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs should ensure that service members and veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder have timely access to evidence-based care, according to a report released today by the Institute of Medicine. The report recommends that DoD screen service members for PTSD at least once a year (as does the VA) when primary care providers see service members at DoD military treatment facilities or at Tricare provider locations. In addition, DoD and VA should evaluate the effectiveness of their PTSD programs, and better track PTSD patient treatments and outcomes, the IOM committee said. Among U.S. service members and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, about 40% who screen positive for PTSD symptoms receive a referral for additional evaluation or treatment, about 65% of whom go on to receive treatment, the report notes.
Hospital prices climb 0.1% in June   07/13/2012
Overall hospital prices increased 0.1% in June, and were 2.2% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Prices for the subgroup of general medical and surgical hospitals were unchanged for the month, and 2.2% higher than in June 2011, according to the BLS' Producer Price Indices, which measure average changes in selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. For hospitals, this translates into actual or expected reimbursement for a sample of treatments or services. The PPI for hospitals measure changes in actual or expected reimbursement received for services across the full range of payer types. This includes the negotiated contract rate from the payer plus any portion expected to be paid by the patient.