Health Highlights: Dec. 19, 2014

Many Doctors Hit With Medicare Payment Cuts Half of Dr. Oz's Advice Unproven or Wrong: Study

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Many Doctors Hit With Medicare Payment Cuts

Hundreds of thousands of American doctors will have their Medicare payments cut next year because they haven't met specified goals, federal officials say.

More than 257,000 doctors will have their payments reduced by one percent because they didn't meet federal goals for using electronic medical records, and about 28,000 will lose another one percent for not prescribing medications electronically, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has also told about 200 hospitals they will have their Medicare payments cut by one percent next year for missing a deadline for electronic medical records use.

The payment cuts next year are the result of missing an important deadline in 2013, and will take effect even if doctors and hospitals have since complied with the rules meant to spur health care providers to switch from paper files to electronic records, WSJ reported.

The American Medical Association is "appalled" by the payment cuts, which affect more than half of doctors who treat Medicare patients, according to AMA president-elect Steven Stack.


Half of Dr. Oz's Advice Unproven or Wrong: Study

More than half of Dr. Oz's recommendations are contradicted or not supported by medical research, a new study says.

Dr. Mehmet Oz is an extremely popular talk show host who dispenses health advice to millions of viewers, but he's been widely criticized for recommending unproven treatments.

For example, during an appearance before Congress in June, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told Oz he gave people false hope and said his shows were a "recipe for disaster." And a study that Oz said showed the effectiveness of coffee bean weight-loss pills was retracted last month, the Washington Post reported.

"Recommendations made on medical talk shows often lack adequate information on specific benefits or the magnitude of the effects of these benefits," said the new study in the British Medical Journal.

The authors added that the "public should be skeptical about recommendations made on medical talk shows," the Post reported.

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