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Health Highlights: March 31, 2016

Medicare Tests New Payment System for Knee and Hip Replacements Head Hits During Amateur Football May Lead to Problems in Adulthood: Study New Measles Concern in California

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

Medicare Tests New Payment System for Knee and Hip Replacements

A new way of paying for hip and knee replacements is being tested by Medicare with the goal of improving quality and cutting costs.

Patients will be monitored more closely in order to improve their recovery and prevent expensive complications, the Associated Press reported.

The new program will be launched Friday in 67 metro areas nationwide that have millions of beneficiaries and about 800 hospitals. It will use financial rewards and penalties to promote coordination among doctors, hospitals and rehabilitation centers.

Hospitals are supportive but orthopedic surgeons have some concerns about the initiative, which has the interest of consumer groups, the AP reported.

Hip and knee replacements are the most common inpatient surgery for Medicare beneficiaries.


Head Hits During Amateur Football May Lead to Problems in Adulthood: Study

There's a link between the number of hits to the head a player receives during youth, high school and college football and the development of mood and behavioral problems later in life, according to a new study.

However, the Boston University authors emphasized that this is a preliminary study and further research is needed before any conclusions are made about the safety of amateur football, the Associated Press reported.

The study in the Journal of Neurotrauma is the first of its kind to examine the association between total number of head impacts when a person is young and depression, apathy and behavioral problems in adulthood, according to Dr. Robert Stern, BU School of Medicine.

He stressed the study is meant to encourage more investigation into the issue and not guide people when deciding if football is safe for them, the AP reported.


New Measles Concern in California

There are worries that a measles outbreak could occur in California after the disease was diagnosed in a student at a school with a large number of unvaccinated pupils.

The unnamed student attended the Yuba River Charter School and showed symptoms earlier this month, according to the Nevada County Public Health Department, ABC News reported.

The youngster, whose grade was not revealed, developed measles symptoms after traveling overseas, said Dr. Karen Smith, director and State Public Health Officer at the California Department of Public Health.

The child has recovered from the measles, but health officials fear other unvaccinated children may have been exposed, ABC News reported.

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