The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) invested in health information technology (IT) and produced a net savings of $3.09 billion, according to results of a new study conducted by the Center for Information Technology Leadership (CITL).1
Jamie L. Habib
Little progress has been made in eliminating health care–associated infections (HAIs), according to the 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report recently issued by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).1
On March 2, 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services secretary released a notice of proposed rulemaking for establishing a certification program for electronic health records (EHRs).1
Now that President Obama has signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 into law (signed March 23, 2010), what will happen?
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has backed a bill that will require hospitals in Connecticut to disclose publicly all adverse events that occur in their facilities. Previously, hospital errors were reported but specifics of the errors, including where they occurred, were never disclosed because of a confidentiality provision enacted in 2004 that allowed the health department to list the overall medical errors without naming a hospital.1
A group of 18 senators have proposed to reverse a policy that imposes a lifetime ban on donating blood for men who have had any gay sex since 1977. In writing to the FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the lawmakers stressed that the science has dramatically changed since the ban was established in 1983 at the emergence of the HIV/AIDS crisis.1
Thimerosal, the organomercurial compound commonly used as a preservative in vaccines, does not cause autism, ruled the so-called vaccine court, a special branch of the US Court of Federal Claims that was established to handle claims of injury caused by vaccines. In this case, a group of parents who are convinced that there is a connection between the additive and autism were told that they had failed to prove their belief.1
Three years after the FDA’s authority was broadened to allow it to require pharmaceutical manufacturers to conduct additional clinical studies or change medication labels (among other new powers), the FDA still has concerns about medication risks. Drug safety has always been an issue for the FDA, but given the recent high-profile troubles with the recalled painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib), the contaminated blood-thinner heparin, and the sometimes fatal cardiac effects of the diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone), it is clear to the FDA that it needs to have better oversight when it comes to medication safety.
With the country’s greatest number of uninsured residents, the largest public insurance program, and one of the lowest rates of physician reimbursement, California is struggling to provide health care to the 6.5 million people who need it.
Limiting benefits and requiring higher out-of-pocket costs for patients with mental health or substance use disorders is a practice that group health insurance plans must abandon, according to new rules issued by the US government.