Next AHA Town Hall to focus on hospital-physician relations   09/26/2012
Tune in for the next AHA members-only Town Hall Interactive webcast - Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock will discuss hospital and physician relations with John Combes, M.D., AHA senior vice president and head of the association's Physician Leadership Forum; Craig Becker, president and CEO of the Tennessee Hospital Association; and Patrick Cawley, M.D., chief medical officer at the Medical University of South Carolina. Becker and Cawley serve on the AHA's Physician Leadership Forum advisory council and will share their experiences from the field. Hosted by AHA leaders, members-only Town Hall Interactive webcasts focus on advocacy and other important developments in the hospital and health care field. For more information, call (800) 424-4301.
NIH center to engage health systems in clinical studies   09/26/2012
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $11.3 million for the first year of a program to engage health care systems in clinical research. The funding will establish a center at Duke University, Durham, NC, to provide national leadership and technical expertise in research with health care systems, and support seven clinical trial demonstration projects. Among other topics, the projects will look at ways to prevent hospital-associated infections, improve colon cancer screening and prevent suicide. NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., said the Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory "represents a paradigm shift in clinical research. These institutions will move us beyond traditional methods of participant-level randomized clinical trials to more broad-based, real-world settings."
FDA task force to promote antibacterial drug development   09/26/2012
The Food and Drug Administration has formed an internal task force to promote the development of new antibacterial drugs. Among other issues, the panel will identify the reasons for the lack of a robust pipeline for new antibiotics and explore novel approaches to facilitating their development, FDA said. According to the agency, more than 70% of the bacteria that cause hospital-associated infections are resistant to at least one type of antibacterial drug commonly used to treat such infections.
Report looks at aging U.S. population, economic implications   09/26/2012
The unprecedented demographic shift in which people over age 65 make up an increasingly large percentage of the population is not a temporary phenomenon associated with the aging of the baby boom generation, but a pervasive trend that is here to stay, according to a new report by the National Research Council. That's because people are living longer, and many couples are choosing to have fewer children and have them later in life. According to the report, the ultimate national response to this major demographic shift will likely be some combination of major structural changes to public support programs, more savings during people's working years, and longer working lives. The NRC committee found substantial potential for increased labor force participation at older ages, which would boost national output, slow the draw-down on retirement savings, and allow workers to save longer. In addition, the report suggests that workers can better prepare for retirement by planning ahead and adapting their saving and spending habits.
Study examines knee replacement trends, readmissions   09/26/2012
The number of Medicare enrollees receiving knee replacements more than doubled over the past 20 years, partly due to an aging population and increase in patients likely to benefit from the procedure, according to a study in today's Journal of the American Medical Association. Over the same period, hospital lengths of stay for the procedure declined while readmissions for certain complications following knee replacement revisions more than doubled. According to the authors, findings from this and other recent studies suggest "an inherent tradeoff between shorter hospital LOS, greater need for post-acute care and higher readmission rates." The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has recommended that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services publish readmission and complication information for knee replacement patients and incorporate such measures into payment programs.