June 2014 Briefing - Infectious Disease

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Infectious Disease for June 2014. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

New Plan Would Permit Doctors to Treat Patients in Other States

MONDAY, June 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A proposal to make it much easier for doctors licensed in one state to treat patients in other states in person, online, or by videoconference has been prepared by the Federation of State Medical Boards, which includes the agencies that license and discipline doctors.

Health Highlights: June 30, 2014

Noroviruses Causes One-Fifth of Worldwide Gastroenteritis

MONDAY, June 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Worldwide, across all age groups, noroviruses are responsible for almost one-fifth of acute gastroenteritis cases, according to a study published online June 27 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Salmonella-Induced Gastroenteritis Ups Risk of IBS

MONDAY, June 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Salmonella-induced gastroenteritis during childhood is associated with increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published in the July issue of Gastroenterology.

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UnitedHealth Cutting More Docs From Medicare Advantage

FRIDAY, June 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- UnitedHealth Group's Medicare Advantage network has begun notifying physicians of a new wave of cuts to its network, according to an article published June 17 in Medical Economics.

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Court: Patients Responsible for Outcomes of Risky Behavior

FRIDAY, June 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that patients can be at least partially responsible for their health outcomes resulting from their own unhealthy behavior, according to the American Medical Association (AMA), which supported the physicians in the case.

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CDC: Flu Vaccine Spray Better Than Shots for Young Children

THURSDAY, June 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Flu vaccination via spray is more effective for young children than injection, a U.S. government panel ruled Wednesday.

Health Highlights: June 26, 2014

Tips Offered for Improving Practice Productivity

THURSDAY, June 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Four steps can be utilized to improve practice productivity, according to an article published June 24 in Medical Economics.

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Unique Sexual Health Risks for Bisexual Men

THURSDAY, June 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) have unique vulnerability to HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other sexual health problems, according to a review published online June 22 in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Wikipedia Drug Entries Often Not Up-to-Date

THURSDAY, June 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients frequently turn to digital media for drug information; however, many Wikipedia entries about medications aren't up-to-date and accurate, according to a perspective piece published in the June 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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One in Five Children With Persistent Cough Have Pertussis

THURSDAY, June 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- One-fifth of school-aged children with persistent cough have evidence of pertussis, even among those who are fully vaccinated, according to a study published online June 24 in BMJ.

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Survival Up After Progression in HPV-Positive Oropharynx CA

THURSDAY, June 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with oropharynx cancer (OPC), human papillomavirus (HPV) positivity is associated with improved survival after disease progression, according to a study published online June 23 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Survey Reveals 1 in 10 U.S. Beaches Fails Bacteria Test

WEDNESDAY, June 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Ten percent of water samples taken from U.S. coastal and lake beaches fail to meet safety standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a new report finds.

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MERS-Related Abnormality Distribution ID'd on CT

WEDNESDAY, June 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Airspace opacities are commonly seen in CT images of patients hospitalized with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, according to a clinical perspective published online June 18 in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

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Medicaid Backlog May Have Financial Ramifications

TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There is a considerable backlog in Medicaid enrollment applications, which may have financial ramifications on physicians and practices, according to an article published online June 10 in Medical Economics.

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CMS Launches Initiative to Assist Newly Insured

MONDAY, June 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A national initiative has been launched to help answer questions that people may have about their new health coverage and to offer health providers the tools needed to promote patient engagement, according to a press release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

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Sivextro Approved for Adult Acute Bacterial Skin Infections

MONDAY, June 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The antibiotic Sivextro (tedizolid phosphate) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with serious-to-severe skin and skin structure infections.

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Complex Electronic Record Safety Issues Surface Long After Launch

MONDAY, June 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic health record-related safety concerns involving both unsafe technology and unsafe use of technology persist long after "go-live," according to a study published online June 20 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

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Guidance Offered for Protection When Firing Employees

FRIDAY, June 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Steps can be taken to protect employers in the case of termination of an employee, according to an article published online June 10 in Medical Economics.

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CDC Lab Workers May Have Been Exposed to Anthrax

FRIDAY, June 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As many as 75 staffers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may have been exposed to anthrax because safety procedures weren't followed properly, the agency said Thursday.

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NCHS: Insurance Coverage Expands, Gaps Remain

THURSDAY, June 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Two new U.S. government reports provide a statistical snapshot of health and health insurance coverage in 2013, before new coverage options took effect under the Affordable Care Act.

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Screening Can Identify Early-Stage HCC But Benefits Unclear

THURSDAY, June 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) screening can identify patients at an earlier stage, but the benefits and harms of screening are unclear, according to a study published online June 16 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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ACA May Mean Healthier Young Adults, Study Suggests

WEDNESDAY, June 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A popular provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on a parent's health insurance plan up to age 26 may be good for their health and financial security, a new study suggests. The study was published as a research letter in the June 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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MERS Virus Did Not Spread in Two U.S. Cases: Health Officials

TUESDAY, June 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The potentially deadly MERS virus did not spread from two patients in the United States to any people in their homes or to health care workers who treated them, federal health officials said Tuesday.

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Tips Offered for Finding Buyer for Medical Practice

TUESDAY, June 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Suggestions are provided for finding a buyer for a medical practice in an article published online June 10 in Medical Economics.

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U.S. Health Care System Ranked Last Again: Report

MONDAY, June 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The United States' health system once again comes in last when compared to 10 other rich nations, according to the latest Commonwealth Fund report on the issue.

Health Highlights: June 16, 2014
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Clinicians Often Fail to Empathize After Adverse Event

MONDAY, June 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The health care industry is recognizing the benefits of prompt and transparent physician communication with patients and families about bad outcomes, according to an article published June 10 in Medical Economics.

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Physician Leadership, Ownership Dominates ACOs

MONDAY, June 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians are playing strong leadership and ownership roles in accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to research published in the June issue of Health Affairs.

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Pertussis Epidemic Reported in California

MONDAY, June 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than 3,400 new cases of pertussis were reported in California between January 1 and June 10, which means the outbreak is officially an epidemic, according to the state's department of health.

Health Highlights: June 16, 2014

HHS Inspector General Finds Big Problem With Medicare Coding

FRIDAY, June 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 42 percent of Medicare claims for evaluation and management (E/M) services are incorrectly coded, according to an article published June 2 in Medical Economics.

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Researchers Hesitant to Use Social Media to Show Findings

FRIDAY, June 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers remain uncertain about the use of social media to communicate their findings to policy makers, according to research published online June 6 in Health Affairs.

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Data From EHRs Should Be Used to Improve Patient Care

THURSDAY, June 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The data from electronic health records (EHRs) should be utilized to improve the quality of patient care, according to an article published online June 10 in Medical Economics.

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Current Bird Flu Has Pandemic Potential

WEDNESDAY, June 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Flu viruses currently circulating in birds closely resemble the one that caused the 1918 pandemic that killed about 50 million people worldwide, researchers say.

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Medicare Will Cover Primary Care-Ordered HCV Testing

WEDNESDAY, June 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Medicare will cover primary care provider-ordered hepatitis C virus testing for adults, according to a statement released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and discussed in an article published online June 3 in Medical Economics.

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Many STDs May Go Undiagnosed, U.S. Report Finds

TUESDAY, June 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- About 400,000 Americans may have the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, but not know they have it, new research suggests. The study was scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta.

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Millions Will Not Have to Pay ACA Tax Penalties: Report

TUESDAY, June 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Although an estimated 30 million people will still be uninsured in 2016, only four million are expected to pay penalties, according to the latest report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

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New HPV Test Sensitive, Specific for Cervical Cancer

TUESDAY, June 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The new human papillomavirus (HPV) test has higher sensitivity and specificity than Papanicolaou (Pap) testing for cervical cancer, according to an ideas and opinion piece published online June 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Rotavirus Vaccination Cuts Diarrhea Health Care Utilization

TUESDAY, June 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Since the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine, diarrhea-related health care utilization and costs have declined in children in the United States, according to research published online June 9 in Pediatrics.

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Incentives May Lead to Greater Support for Practice Goals

MONDAY, June 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Incentives may aid employees in meeting practice goals, according to an article published May 23 in Medical Economics.

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Measles Outbreak ID'd in Undervaccinated Community

MONDAY, June 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- One article describes an outbreak of measles in an undervaccinated community, while a second study examines the impact of vaccination on varicella incidence. Both articles were published online June 9 in Pediatrics.

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Fourth U.S. Case of Mad Cow-Related Disease Reported

FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A fourth U.S. case of a fatal brain disorder that's related to mad cow disease has been confirmed by federal health officials.

Health Highlights: June 6, 2014

Veterans Affected by Scandal May Seek Private Care

FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The recent scandal at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may lead to more veteran visits to private physicians and community health centers, according to an article published June 2 in Medical Economics.

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Physician Political Contributions Are Increasing, Shifting

FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The political alignment of physicians in the United States has shifted from predominantly Republican to predominantly Democrat, based in part on the larger number of women physicians and smaller percentage of physicians practicing solo or in small practices, according to research published online June 2 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Cartilage Injury With Levofloxacin Appears Uncommon

FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Levofloxacin exhibits long-term musculoskeletal safety for children, according to a study published online June 2 in Pediatrics.

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High Recurrence Risk With Severe Cutaneous Adverse Reactions

FRIDAY, June 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of recurrent episodes of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is substantially higher than the risk of a first episode in the general population, according to a research letter published in the June 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Lower Mortality Tied to Azithromycin for Pneumonia

THURSDAY, June 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Older patients hospitalized with pneumonia and treated with azithromycin have lower risk of 90-day mortality, compared to those treated with other antibiotics, according to a study published in the June 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Many 'Inconsistencies' in ACA Sign-Ups: Report

THURSDAY, June 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new government document finds that more than a quarter of the eight million people who signed up for coverage under the Obama Administration's new health care law have "inconsistencies" in the data they supplied.

Health Highlights: June 5, 2014

New Agents Found Noninferior to Vancomycin for Skin Infection

THURSDAY, June 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Two lipoglycopeptide agents that are active against gram-positive bacteria, dalbavancin and oritavancin, are noninferior to daily vancomycin for the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin-structure infections, according to two studies published in the June 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Camels Confirmed as Source of Human MERS Infection

THURSDAY, June 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Saudi Arabian doctors say they've identified camels as one source of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) infections in humans. The scientists report they matched genetic samples from the virus that killed a Saudi man last November to virus samples present in one of nine camels that he owned.

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Claim Denials Expected to Increase

WEDNESDAY, June 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Even with good office procedures, most practices are plagued by claim denials, a hassle that is expected to increase in the coming years, according to an article published May 8 in Medical Economics.

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Most Physicians Would Forgo Aggressive Treatment

WEDNESDAY, June 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Although physicians regularly recommend high-intensity, aggressive, life-prolonging care for their terminally ill patients, the vast majority would choose to forgo such care for themselves at the end of life, according to a study published online May 28 in PLOS ONE.

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CDC: Food Handlers Cause Most Food-Poisoning Cases

WEDNESDAY, June 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Norovirus illness is more often caused by infected restaurant workers than outbreaks on cruise ships, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

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EHRs Can Be Used to Boost Practice Revenue

TUESDAY, June 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Practices can achieve return on investment (ROI) for implementation of electronic health record (EHR) systems if they participate in alternative delivery models, according to an article published May 8 in Medical Economics.

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UV Environmental Disinfection Cuts Drug Resistant Infection

MONDAY, June 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Use of ultraviolet environmental disinfection (UVD) following discharge cleaning of contact precautions rooms is associated with a significant reduction in overall hospital-acquired multiple-drug-resistant organism (MDRO) and Clostridium difficile (CD) incidence, according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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Physician's Briefing