Health Highlights: Jan. 11, 2016

Nearly 9 Million Medicare Beneficiaries to Have Access to Coordinated Care Rock Icon David Bowie Dead at 69

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

Nearly 9 Million Medicare Beneficiaries to Have Access to Coordinated Care

Almost 9 million more Medicare beneficiaries will soon have access to coordinated care, U.S. health officials said Monday.

They announced 121 new "accountable care organizations," or ACOs, which are networks of doctors and hospitals that work together to provide better service for Medicare patients with chronic health problems, the Associated Press reported.

The expansion of a major experiment means there will now be 477 ACOs nationwide and close to 1 in 4 seniors with traditional Medicare will receive their care through the organizations.

Twenty-one of the ACOs will be permitted to recruit patients, and they already have 650,000 beneficiaries, according to Patrick Conway, Medicare's chief medical officer.

He said Medicare beneficiaries should talk to their doctor to help them make a decision about joining an ACO, and they can call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 to find out if there is an ACO in their community, the AP reported.

The goal of the program is to improve quality and lower costs, and how well they meet these goals determines part of the ACOs' payment from Medicare.


Rock Legend David Bowie Dead at 69

Ground-breaking musician and actor David Bowie died of cancer Sunday at age 69.

Bowie, who had battled cancer for 18 months, died "peacefully" while surrounded by family, the Associated Press reported.

Bowie released a new album called "Blackstar" on Friday, the same day he turned 69.

"While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief," said a statement issued through Bowie's social media accounts. No further details were given, the AP reported.

Bowie, whose many hit songs included "Heroes," "Fame" and "Let's Dance," created one of rock music's most famous personas with the 1972 album "The Rise of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars."

In concerts to promote the album, Bowie dressed as the red-headed, eyeliner wearing Stardust, a bisexual alien rock star seeking success in the music world, the AP reported.

On Friday, Bowie released a music video for a new song called "Lazarus." It features a frail-looking Bowie lying in bed while singing. The first line in the song is: "Look up here, I'm in heaven."

Bowie married two times, to actress and model Mary Angela Barnett from 1970-80, and to model Iman since 1992. He had two children -- Duncan Jones and Alexandria Zahra Jones -- one with each wife, the AP reported.

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