Applying for a bus pass? Why not agree to be an organ donor: Minister’s plan to get more to sign up

The government plans to extend the initiative, which asks drivers if they want to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register to people applying for bus passes or paying council tax.

NHS spends £100m handing out Statin prescriptions to seven million Britons

Last year 60million prescriptions for statins were handed out last year with that figure set to rise as GPs are urged to offer more patients statins to prevent heart attacks.

Deaf nurse born with no ears builds organs from rib cartilage

Sally Evans, 35, of Gosport, Hampshire, was born with a congenital deformity which left a flap of skin in place of her right ear while her left completely sealed over.

Beware the hospital lift: Harmful bugs lurk in germ hotspot making them more unhygienic than the toilet, study finds

Physicians in Toronto compared the amounts of bacteria living on elevator buttons with those found on toilet surfaces, and discovered the lift posed greatest risk to patients.

Mother-of-three tells of crippling life with OCD and how it almost led her to kill herself

Hayley Leitch, 29, from East Grinstead, asked long-suffering husband Robin put his mother's pet in the bath.

Justin Bieber’s fringe could reduce risk of melanoma, experts say

Research carried out in Baltimore, U.S. suggests teenagers with Justin Bieber-style fringe hairdos tended to have paler skin and fewer freckles, lowering their risk of developing melanoma.

How Waking up in the Middle of the Night Affects The Rest of Your Day

Another reason to keep your phone on “do not disturb” as you snooze

This article was repurposed with permission from Time.com.

Fragmented sleep could be as physically harmful as a total lack of sleep, according to an unprecedented study.

Lead researcher Avi Sadeh, Ph.D., a professor at the School of Psychological Science at Tel Aviv University, found that an interrupted night of sleep—which is common for doctors and new parents—is similar to having only four hours of consistent sleep. The experiment, published in the journal Sleep Medicine, studied the sleep patterns of students using wristwatches that monitored when they were asleep or awake.

MORE: Is Hot Yoga Actually Good for Weight Loss?

Students slept a full eight hours one night followed by a night of interrupted sleep in which they received four phone calls directing them to complete a brief computer exercise before returning to bed. The morning after both nights, the volunteers completed tasks to measure their attention span and emotional state. Results proved that just one night of interrupted sleep had negative effects on mood, attention span, and cognitive ability.

MORE: An Hour of Exercise Makes Up for A Day of Sitting

Sadeh believes that several nights of fragmented sleep could have long-term negative consequences equivalent to missing out on slumber altogether. "We know that these effects accumulate and therefore the functional price new parents—who awaken three to 10 times a night for months on end—pay for common infant sleep disturbance is enormous," says Sadeh.

The study also acknowledged that many people of varying ages and professions are susceptible to fragmented sleep—a finding that Sadeh hopes will provide an impetus for creating solutions. "I hope that our study will bring this to the attention of scientists and clinicians, who should recognize the price paid by individuals who have to endure frequent night-wakings," he said.

MORE: This Is the Most Effective Way to Quit Smoking 

More from Women's Health:
Get More Sleep: 10 Sleep Myths Busted
15 Tricks to Sleep Better
The De-Stressing Habits That are Wrecking Your Sleep

 

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This sex toy takes pictures inside your vagina

So, now you can have a good root around with the help of this new sex vibrator called the Gaga, which comes with a camera lens and a light .

For Some Personal Hygiene Products, Sharing is Not Caring

You might be surprised to find that there are certain personal hygiene products that you are never supposed to share.

Woman left with leg pointing 90 DEGREES in the wrong direction after operation

Brenda Gorst got a life-threatening infection and her leg was also left four inches shorter following blunders by a consultant at Abergele Hospital in North Wales.

Mother told her unborn twins were just a ‘mass of cells gives birth to miracle baby after medics missed his heartbeat’

Leanne Storey, 27, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, claims she was told no baby could form from her pregnancy, instead there was simply a mass of cells in its place.

Mother instinctively identified man who was given her dead son’s heart

Freda Carter, 66, from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, was told her son John's heart had gone to a teenager called Scott, but had no idea where he lived, or who he was.

Survey: People With New Health Law Insurance Are Happy

About 9.5 million Americans gained coverage during the health law's open enrollment period, and the uninsured rate for working-age adults fell from 20 percent to 15 percent, according to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund.  

The New York Times’ The Upshot: Newest Health Insurance Customers Are Generally Happy
We’ve known for a few months now that lots of people signed up for health insurance this year in new marketplaces. A new survey shows that the people who did so are also pretty happy with their purchases (Sanger-Katz, 7/10).

McClatchy: Survey: 9.5 Million People Gained Health Coverage In First Marketplace Enrollment Period
Some 9.5 million Americans gained health coverage during the recent marketplace enrollment period as the uninsured rate for working-age adults fell from 20 percent to 15 percent, according to a new national survey by the Commonwealth Fund. Young adults ages 19-34, whose participation in the Affordable Care Act’s coverage initiative was crucial but always uncertain, saw some of the largest coverage gains. Their uninsured rate fell from 28 percent to 18 percent. Uninsured rates for Latinos fell from 36 percent to 23 percent, the survey found. And low-income adults earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level saw their uninsured rate drop from 35 percent to 24 percent (Pugh, 7/10).

Va. Lawmakers To Take Up Medicaid Debate In September

State Republican legislative leaders who opposed expansion of the health care program for low-income residents announced that they will call the legislature into session to weigh the governor's proposal.

The Washington Post: In Va. Legislature, Republicans Plan Medicaid Debate In Late September
Republican leaders plan to call the House and Senate back into session in late September to debate Medicaid expansion, a move intended to give legislators another chance to weigh in on the issue as Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) tries to find a way to expand the program without their approval (Vozzella, 7/9).

The Associated Press: Republicans Announce Special Session On Medicaid
House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment announced Wednesday that the General Assembly will be back in session the week of Sept. 22 for a "full and fair" debate on whether Virginia should accept federal Medicaid funds to provide health insurance for as many as 400,000 low income residents (7/9).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: General Assembly Will Return In September To Debate Medicaid
Republican opponents of expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program want the General Assembly to debate the idea in late September, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Democratic legislators say they’re still waiting for the GOP’s plan to close the health coverage gap for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians. House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, the leader of legislative opposition to using federal funds to expand health coverage, said Wednesday that he will call the House into session the week of Sept. 22 to debate the issue. Senate Republican leaders say they will do the same to honor their commitment to acting on the issue separately from the state budget, while blocking the governor from expanding coverage without legislative approval (Martz, 7/9).

Huffington Post: In States That Didn't Expand Medicaid, It's As If Obamacare Doesn't Even Exist For The Poor
Twenty-five states didn't take up the Obamacare Medicaid expansion at the beginning of this year, and the results speak for themselves: A new survey shows more than one-third of their lowest-income residents remain uninsured, a rate virtually unchanged from last year, even as millions gained coverage elsewhere (Young, 7/10).

Also, federal officials announce that they are seeking some states that are expanding benefits to move faster.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Feds Demand Medicaid Backlog Fixes By Six States
Tired of waiting for states to reduce their backlogs of Medicaid applications, the Obama administration has given six states until Monday to submit plans to resolve issues that have prevented more than 1 million low-income or disabled people from getting health coverage. The targeted states are Alaska, California, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee (Galewitz, 7/10). 

The Tennessean: Feds Give Tennessee Ten Days To Address ACA Failures
The federal director of Medicaid programs has put Tennessee on notice that it has failed to provide services for people as required by the Affordable Care Act and is giving the state 10 days to submit a correction plan. The crux of the problem is delays with bringing a $35 million computer system online. However, Tennessee is also criticized for not providing people with face-to-face help in applying and for not setting up a program that allows hospitals to temporarily enroll people in Medicaid if they are presumed eligible. With this year's full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Tennessee stopped providing state personnel to help people sign up for Medicaid and, instead, began directing them to use healthcare.gov, the federal health exchange (Wilemon, 7/9).

Meanwhile, Oregon is working to fix its state insurance marketplace.

The Oregonian: New Cover Oregon Executive Director Aaron Patnode Will Make $215,000 A Year
Cover Oregon's new executive director has signed a contract awarding him a base salary of $215,000 a year, more than a $30,000 raise over his predecessor. Aaron Patnode, selected by the health insurance exchange's board after a lengthy search to replace Howard "Rocky" King, starts Monday, July 14. The 36-year-old Kaiser Permanente manager will make more than twice the salary of Gov. John Kitzhaber. Patnode will also receive full state benefits as well as yearly incentive pay of $32,250 if he meets performance measures set by the Cover Oregon board (Budnick, 7/9).

Is a heart attack waiting in your medicine cabinet?

A University of Florida study has found that the regular use of some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and death in postmenopausal women.

Democrats Introduce Legislation To Undo High Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision

With only a limited calendar to work with, Democrats view this push as an important aspect of the  2014 congressional campaign.

Los Angeles Times: Congress Has Heavy Workload But Limited Time Before Summer Recess
And even as they face a series of time-sensitive votes, both parties continue to push symbolic legislation that has little hope of passage but appeals to their respective bases in an election year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), for example, told reporters Tuesday that he was committed to taking action in the Senate to address the Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. That decision gave businesses owned by devout Christians the right to refuse to pay for insurance covering contraceptives for female employees (Memoli, 7/9).

Politico: Hill Democrats See Hobby Lobby Contraception Fight In 2014 Races
With an eye on the November elections, congressional Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill that would overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby contraception decision. Democrats and women’s health groups believe they have a powerful campaign weapon in pushing back on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that Hobby Lobby and other closely held for-profit companies don’t have to comply with the health law’s contraceptive coverage requirement if it violates the owners’ religious beliefs (Haberkorn, 7/9).

CBS News: Democrats Unveil Bill To Reverse Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby Ruling
Accusing the Supreme Court of turning a religious freedom law on its head and dragging down women's rights, a group of Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday introduced legislation that would reverse the court's recent ruling on health insurance coverage for birth control. "We are peddling back with this court as fast as they can take us to the 19th Century," Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., said. "We don't want to go." Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held companies like Hobby Lobby don't have to follow the Obamacare mandate requiring large firms to help pay for their employees' birth control. Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., consequently introduced a bill that specifically bans for-profit employers from refusing to provide health coverage -- including contraceptive coverage -- guaranteed to their employees under federal law (Condon, 7/9).

Los Angeles Times: Sen. Mark Udall Skips Obama Colorado Visit To Focus On Women’s Issues
As Obama was on his way to deliver remarks on the economy in Denver’s Cheesman Park on Wednesday morning, Udall held a news conference in Washington with female senators and House members to announce a new bill that would bar employers from denying contraceptive coverage. In a direct appeal to women voters, who could be the most crucial swing voters in Colorado's Senate race this year, Udall has made contraceptive coverage a central issue in his campaign (Reston, 7/9).

Denver Post: Colorado Democrat Joins Fight Of Hobby Lobby Decision
On the heels of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, another Colorado Democrat is backing legislation to combat the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby decision. U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette is co-sponsoring a companion bill to one Udall announced Tuesday that would prohibit for-profit employers from citing religious beliefs to deny health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Neither DeGette nor Udall's bills stand good chances of becoming law in the current Congress (Santus, 7/9).

State Highlights: Fight Over New Ga. Trauma Center; San Francisco Premiums Expected To Drop

A selection of health policy stories from New York, Georgia, California, Iowa, Colorado and North Carolina.

The Associated Press: N.Y. Awards $462M To Help Hospitals Keep Services
New York health officials have awarded $462 million to help 22 hospitals and five large public hospital systems statewide continue key services. The funds followed a federal agreement in April for New York to reinvest $8 billion in Medicaid savings to support hospital overhauls and expand primary medical care over five years. The goal is to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent while helping financially struggling institutions shift to more primary and outpatient care (7/9). 

Georgia Health News: Plan For New Trauma Center Not Welcomed By All
Hospital chain HCA’s push to have its Augusta hospital designated as a trauma center has unsettled leaders in the state’s hospital industry. A trauma center is a medical facility that’s specially equipped and staffed to treat seriously injured people. Georgia authorizes four levels of such centers, depending on their capabilities. The critics of the HCA effort point to the trauma center growth in the Florida market. Such centers in the Sunshine State are charging a “response fee” – essentially an entry fee into the hospital – for each trauma case that averages more than $10,000 per patient, according to a Tampa Bay Times investigation in March (Miller, 7/9).

The San Francisco Chronicle: San Francisco Health Care Premiums Expected To Drop
A year ago, dozens of angry city workers packed a City Hall hearing where San Francisco supervisors threatened to reject proposed 2014 health premiums for city employees, saying that Kaiser Permanente had failed to justify a 5.25 percent rate increase and that they were fed up with the provider's lack of transparency. On Wednesday, in nearly empty chambers, the same budget committee easily approved the city's proposed rates for 2015 -- a package that will slash Kaiser premiums by 2 percent, a rate the insurer has agreed to hold steady through 2016. "It's quite remarkable that you were able to negotiate these rates," Supervisor John Avalos - who last year led the opposition to the rates - told Health Service System Director Catherine Dodd (Lagos, 7/9).

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Blue Cross Faces Another Suit Over Obamacare Doctor Networks
Amid growing scrutiny statewide, insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross faces another consumer lawsuit over its use of narrow networks in Obamacare coverage. A group of Anthem policyholders sued California's largest for-profit health insurer Tuesday in state court, accusing the company of misrepresenting the size of its physician networks and the insurance benefits provided (Terhune, 7/9).

Des Moines Register: Feds Give Iowa Hospitals $10M To Improve Rural Care
Twenty-five small Iowa hospitals will soon join efforts to track and coordinate care of chronically ill patients, thanks to a $10 million federal grant to the Mercy hospital system, hospital leaders said Wednesday. The three-year grant was part of $26 million in new Iowa grants made under the Affordable Care Act (Leys, 7/9).

Denver Post: Colorado Food Bank Gets Grant For Staff Helping Clients With Medicaid
When Arvada Community Food Bank director Sandy Martin wrote a grant proposal seeking U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to expand services, she knew there was a pent-up need for her organization to provide more than just food. What she didn't anticipate was just how great that need was. The food bank got the three-year grant of $187,500 for Bridges to Opportunity. It's one of several nationwide pilot programs supporting food bank clients as they move toward self-sufficiency. Instead of just providing food, the Arvada Food Bank has now hired a full-time staff member to help clients tie into assistance programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (Briggs, 7/10).

The Associated Press: One Year Later, No New Abortion Rules In NC
Abortion rights advocates in North Carolina say they are in the dark about new rules required by a year-old law that they fear could effectively shut down many of the state's clinics. Broadly speaking, the law requires that clinics be regulated in the same way as outpatient surgical centers. But exactly how those rules will take shape and what the state's 15 abortion clinics will need to do to comply remain unknown. The state's health department says it is committed to maintaining access to the procedure and is still drafting the rules. There is no deadline for drafting the rules (Ferral, 7/9).

Insurers Test New Payment Models For Health Care Providers

The patient-centered medical homes model, which has been the hallmark of one such experiment by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, is among the approaches receiving attention for reducing costs and reducing hospitalizations.

The New York Times: Health Insurers Are Trying New Payment Models, Study Shows
Health insurers are experimenting with new formulas for reimbursing doctors and hospitals, slowly moving away from the traditional approach of basing payments on the numbers of tests and procedures performed, according to a survey of Blue Cross insurers, among the most dominant plans in the country (Abelson, 7/9).

Reuters: New Form Of U.S. Healthcare Saves Money, Improves Quality, One Insurer Finds
In one of the largest tests of a novel way to deliver and pay for healthcare, insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield announced on Thursday that 1.1 million people receiving care through its "patient-centered medical homes" last year were hospitalized less often and stayed for fewer days compared to patients in traditional fee-for-service care. Medical homes, a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, have been heralded as one of the best hopes for reducing the cost of U.S. healthcare, the highest in the world, and improving its quality, which lags that of many other wealthy countries (Begley, 7/10).

Kaiser Health News: Will Health Reform Bring New Role, Respect To Primary Care Physicians?
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield spent billions on hospital procedures, drugs and specialty physicians to treat sick patients. Only one dollar in 20 went to the family-care doctors and other primary caregivers trained to keep people healthy. The company’s move to shift that balance tells a lesser-known story of the Affordable Care Act and efforts to change the health system. While much attention has focused on expanded coverage and online insurance bazaars, policymakers’ bigger challenge is improving Americans’ health while putting a brake on the cost of their care. The keys to that puzzle, CareFirst and many others are deciding, are the internists and general practitioners who have largely been left behind by health care’s financial boom (Hancock, 7/10).

In related news -  

Modern Healthcare: Preferred Referrals Gain Favor With ACOs
Each month, doctors at one Arizona accountable care organization get a rundown of referral patterns, including the percentage of patients who followed referrals to specialists the ACO deems preferred.  Doctors get on that list thanks to strong quality scores, efficient operations and laudable customer service. But when performance falters or patients leave dissatisfied, they're dropped (Evans, 7/9).

Are Insurers Using Drug Tiers To Cherrypick Healthier Enrollees?

Critics charge that some plans continue to discriminate against sick people by putting certain drugs in the highest-cost drug tiers, requiring consumers to pay big out-of-pocket expenses. Meanwhile, critics and supporters of the law wait anxiously for a court decision on a challenge to the health law's subsidies.

The Fiscal Times: Obamacare Insurers Hit High-Cost Patients With High Drug Prices
Some insurance companies are finding ways to get around one of Obamacare’s most popular provisions that requires everyone to be covered equally -- regardless of any pre-existing condition. The anti-discrimination rule was meant to guard against insurers who historically charged higher premiums to sick people. But some insurers are still charging certain patients more by passing the extra costs on in the form of higher drug prices (Ehley, 7/10).

CQ Healthbeat: Court Watchers Click 'Refresh,' Ponder Long Wait For Halbig Ruling
It’s a long shot to succeed, but the challenge to the health law filed by the plaintiffs in the court case Halbig v Sebelius would have a devastating effect on the overhaul if it ultimately prevails. Given the stakes, it’s small wonder that opponents and supporters of the law are obsessively clicking their refresh buttons browsing the web for the federal appeals court decision in the case. The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, customarily posts its opinions between 10:00 and 10:40 Tuesday and Friday mornings. When Halbig wasn’t among them on Tuesday, Twitter came alive, noting its absence (Reichard, 7/9).

Viewpoints: Turning To New Legal Challenges To ACA; Is The Law Working?; Medicaid Problems In N.C.

The Washington Post: Courts Won't Void The Affordable Care Act Over Semantics
The Supreme Court’s term ended in June with another Affordable Care Act ruling, and the ACA survived largely unscathed. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby has important ramifications for women’s health and religious freedom but does not invalidate a single section of the law. There are, however, a number of ACA lawsuits percolating up through the courts that could be much more destructive (Timothy Jost, 7/9). 

The New York Times' Taking Note: Democrats Will Vote To Undo The Hobby Lobby Decision
The Supreme Court’s ruling last week in the Hobby Lobby case wasn’t based on a fundamental right found in the First Amendment or anywhere else in the Constitution. When the justices said that closely held corporations have religious rights that let them refuse to pay for insurance plans that cover contraceptives, they based their decision on a 1993 law passed by Congress, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That means Congress has the ability to rewrite federal law to overrule the court’s decision, and Senate Democrats have wasted little time coming up with a bill to do just that (David Firestone, 7/9).

The Fiscal Times: Harry Reid's Crafty Ploy To Fight The Hobby Lobby Ruling
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to rebut the Supreme Court by amending the (Religious Freedom Restoration Act). Democrats in both chambers of Congress began working on bills that would exempt Obamacare from the bill passed in 1993 and signed by then-President Bill Clinton in an attempt to circumvent the Hobby Lobby decision and force employers to provide free contraception and sterilization to their employees. Reid announced the effort on Tuesday by announcing that Democrats wouldn’t allow women’s lives to be "determined by virtue of five white men," which must have come as a shock to Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the five justices to support the majority in the Hobby Lobby decision. That, however, was just the start of the insanity. Let’s start with a refresher course on the RFRA (Edward Morrissey, 7/10).

The New York Times: Reading Hobby Lobby In Context
To grasp the full implications of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, it helps to read it not in isolation but alongside the court's other major religion case of the term, Town of Greece v. Galloway. Issued eight weeks before Hobby Lobby and decided by the same 5 to 4 division, Town of Greece rejected a challenge to a town board's practice of beginning its public sessions with a Christian prayer. A federal appeals court found the practice unconstitutional, concluding that it violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause by conveying an official endorsement of one particular religion (Linda Greenhouse, 7/9). 

Los Angeles Times: What Do The Hobby Lobby Backers Want Women To Be?
In the fallout surrounding last week's Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, a lot of people have been wondering exactly what role the Christian right thinks women should play in society and how birth control detracts from it (Meghan Daum, 7/9). 

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: How Proposals For Obamacare Subsidies In 2015 Could Cost Taxpayers
In a Think Tank post last week, I explained why the number of unresolved inconsistencies in applications on the federal insurance exchanges probably exceeds the 2.9 million cited in two recent Department of Health and Human Services reports. Recent HHS proposals could allow many income-related inconsistencies to persist in 2015–potentially risking taxpayer funds (Chris Jacobs, 7/9). 

JAMA: How Well Is The Affordable Care Act Working?
The American people are still divided in their views of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is perhaps not surprising given how partisan the debate has been and the fundamental ideological differences in the country about the appropriate role for government in health care, as in other spheres. There are legitimate differences of opinion about the law, just as there are about any important policy issue. But the politics of the ACA often get confused with the question of whether the law is working as intended, whatever one may think of the wisdom of those intentions. That is largely a factual question, though facts about the ACA are often blurred when looked at through ideologically tinted lenses (Larry Levitt, 7/9).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Is Working. Unless You're Black.
A new survey shows that Obamacare has done a fantastic job of reducing the uninsurance rate -- for everybody except blacks. The share of Americans age 19 to 64 without health insurance fell from 20 percent last summer to 15 percent this spring, according to a telephone survey of 4,425 people from the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health-care research group. ... When the Commonwealth Fund conducted a survey from July to September last year, 21 percent of blacks reported being uninsured. This year, in a similar survey conducted from April to June, that level was effectively unchanged, at 20 percent. Blacks were about half as likely as Latinos to be uninsured a year ago; now the rates for the two groups are almost the same (Christopher Flavelle, 7/9).

Forbes: Intervention: Will North Carolina Clean Up Its Medicaid Program?
What started out as a pro forma session to pass North Carolina’s budget has turned into an intervention over the state Medicaid program’s big-spending, poor-performing ways. And it’s about time—North Carolina spends more than $14 billion per year on its Medicaid program, has run over budget the last four years, and, perhaps most shocking, the Medicaid agency doesn’t even know how many people are currently enrolled (Josh Archambault, Jonathan Ingram and Christie Herrera, 7/10). 

Arizona Republic: Brewer Was Right On Medicaid Expansion (We Have Proof)
Gov. Jan Brewer's victory in the fight for Medicaid expansion paid off. Big time. A survey by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association found a 31 percent reduction in the amount of uncompensated care in the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year. We're talking real money. Responses from 75 percent of the state's hospitals showed they wrote off $170 million in uncompensated care through April this year. During those same months in 2013, the cost of uncompensated care was $246 million (7/8).

Georgia Health News: To Help Struggling Hospitals, Replace Georgia's Malpractice System
A panel of health care and political leaders appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal kicked off its work this summer to address the ongoing crisis in rural medical care. Its focus: the very survival of hospitals outside metropolitan communities through the state. ... Four rural Georgia hospitals have closed in the past two years. ... While some continue to urge the governor to expand the state’s Medicaid rolls as a solution to the hospitals’ financial challenges, there is a healthier avenue to create revenue to sustain these hospitals. Under the proposed Patients’ Compensation System (PCS) before the General Assembly, state taxpayers could save $6.9 billion over the next decade. That state revenue could be reinvested in rural hospitals that are barely surviving and others losing these federal grants (Wayne Oliver, 7/9).

Longer Looks: Doctors’ Misunderstanding Of Test Results; The Medical Facts About Birth Control

Every week KHN reporter Marissa Evans finds interesting reads from around the Web.

BBC News: Do Doctors Understand Test Results?
[Gerd] Gigerenzer, director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy in Berlin, is an expert in uncertainty and decision-making. His new book, Risk Savvy, takes aim at health professionals for not giving patients the information they need to make choices about healthcare. But it's not just that doctors and dentists can't reel off the relevant stats for every treatment option. Even when the information is placed in front of them, Gigerenzer says, they often can't make sense of it (William Kremer, 7/6). 

Reuters: How To Fix A Broken Market In Antibiotics
The drugs don't work - and neither does the market, when it comes to antibiotics. When sophisticated bugs that medicines used to kill within days start to fight back and win, all of healthcare, and the people it keeps alive, is in trouble. ... It's a glimpse of what Britain's chief medical officer Sally Davies calls the "apocalyptic scenario" of a post-antibiotic era, which the World Health Organisation says will be upon us this century unless something drastic is done. Waking up to the threat, governments and health officials are getting serious about trying to neutralize it. It may seem like a question of science, microbes and drugs - but in truth it is a global issue of economics and national security (Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland, 7/6).

The New Republic: The Medical Facts About Birth Control and Hobby Lobby—From An OB/GYN
If you’ve read the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby or the reaction to it, then you know what sparked the lawsuit. The Affordable Care Act says that employer-provided insurance must include essential health benefits, including all medically authorized forms of contraception. The owners of Hobby Lobby objected to this requirement, because they believe that four common forms of birth control—two versions of the "morning-after pill" and two kinds of intrauterine devices (IUDs)—are "abortifacients." In other words, the owners of Hobby Lobby think these contraceptives end pregnancies rather than prevent them. And they believe that is tantamount to ending a life. The claim, which you can find on virtually any conservative website, has been making the rounds for a long time. It’s stuck because the science on how these particular drugs and devices work wasn’t that great (Jen Gunter, 7/6). 

MedPage Today: Profiles In Medicine: Mystery In The Delta
It's not unusual for physicians to encounter a slew of memorable characters in the early days of their career -- the overbearing attending who compensates for insecurity by eliminating the competition, the aggressive trial lawyer, the scalpel-happy surgeon who's potentially more dangerous than helpful -- all of which make for good tales to share at the dinner table. But for one Mississippi physician those characters furnished plot lines for novels. Darden H. North, MD, partner in a 16-member ob-gyn group practice in Jackson, Miss., has published four novels in the last 9 years, and is now hard at work on a fifth. The books' characters all hail from those early days of his career. They are his stories' backbone, he says (Suz Redfearn, 7/6). 

The Atlantic: Should We 'Fix' Intersex Children?
M was born with genitals that were not clearly male or female. Also known as disorders of sex development (DSDs), the best guess by researchers is that intersex conditions affect one in 2,000 children. The response by doctors is often to carry out largely unregulated and controversial surgeries that aim to make an infant’s genitals and reproductive organs more normal but can often have unintended consequences, according to intersex adults, advocates and some doctors. A long and gut-wrenching list of damaging side effects—painful scarring, reduced sexual sensitivity, torn genital tissue, removal of natural hormones and possible sterilization—combined with the chance of assigning children a gender they don’t feel comfortable with has left many calling for the surgeries to be heavily restricted (Charlotte Greenfield, 7/8).

Baby born at just 27 weeks defies medical odds to be allowed home – two weeks before her due date

Tiny Lily-Mae weighed just 1lb 11oz when she was born three months early at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in March.

‘I was the most stylish fat person you’d ever meet’: 27st mother-of-two splurged on designer handbags to compensate for obesity before losing 15 STONE

Claire Simcox 48, from Hertford, slimmed down from 27st to 12st, going from size 32 to 12, after doctors told her she would not live to her fifties.

4 Times to Outsmart Temptation

Research shows you're more prone to cave to cravings during certain moments, derailing weight loss. But with this advice, your willpower can prevail around the clock.

You probably know timing is everything when it comes to the stock market, booking airfare, and photobombing. It could make a big difference in your diet, too. A recent nationwide study that asked participants when they felt most likely to abandon their healthy eating habits found some interesting patterns among the 7,500 responses.

"Most of the time, people are very disciplined, but everyone has occasions when they let their guard down," says Vince Han, founder of Coach Alba, the interactive weight-loss coaching company that analyzed the results. One consistent finding of the study: Moments in which we're prone to dietary destruction tend to increase as the day continues. Read on to discover the four times you're most at risk for giving in and how to stay strong.

TEMPTATION TIME: Lunch
The likelihood of a midday feeding frenzy increases if you haven't eaten since the cup of coffee you called breakfast. A survey from Food Insight found that although 93 percent of Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal, fewer than half eat it every day. "Many women skip breakfast because they think it's a good way to save calories or because they feel like they are hungrier all day long when they eat first thing in the morning," says Alyse Levine, R.D., a nutritionist in Los Angeles.

Stay-Strong Strategy: Even if you're not skipping breakfast, you may be skimping on what you need nutritionally to power through until lunch: namely, protein, which tends to be digested more slowly and therefore keeps you full for longer. According to an NPD Group survey, half of the top 10 foods Americans eat for breakfast contain no substantial amount of protein. Women who do load up on the nutrient at breakfast (about 20 to 40 grams) are less hungry throughout the morning and consume fewer calories during lunch, according to research presented at the Experimental Biology conference of the American Society for Nutrition.

Some suggestions from Levine for increasing your early-morning intake: Have your morning cereal with Greek yogurt, parfait-style; add protein powder or a tablespoon of nut butter to your smoothie; make oatmeal with nonfat milk instead of water and top it with a quarter cup of nuts.

If you don't have the time or desire to eat a lot first thing, have a healthy mid-morning snack (say, when your appetite feels like a 5 out of 10 on the hunger scale—not ravenous). Try a quarter cup of trail mix or one ounce of cheese on whole-wheat crackers.

TEMPTATION TIME: The Afternoon Lull
If you feel as though you hit a mental and physical wall every day between 2 and 6 p.m., you're not alone. A likely explanation: According to the National Sleep Foundation, your body experiences a natural dip in energy in the early afternoon (the time depends on your individual sleep habits). As the energy you got from lunch begins to wear off, you may start to feel restless and head to the fridge for a quick snack lift. Not so coincidentally, this may also be the first time you've left your desk since lunch (if you even left it then). "It may be more about needing a break than actually needing food," says Levine.

Stay-Strong Strategy: Learn to recognize the difference between true hunger and just a desire to recharge. When you have the urge to snack, pop over to a coworker's office for a chat first. If that doesn't distract you after five minutes, you may be in need of a nosh. Even then, Levine suggests a no-eating-at-your-desk rule. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate while multitasking at their computers felt less full afterward and later ate twice as many snacks as those who weren't distracted, because they "forgot" about the multitasking nosh.

TEMPTATION TIME: The After-Dinner Hour
You'd think that if there were a time you'd be free of cravings, it would be immediately after a meal, right? Not so fast: Study respondents said their urge to eat was actually greater post-dinner.

Of course, that urge generally isn't for another helping of broccoli. It's what researchers call "hedonic hunger," or pleasure-motivated eating that activates the body's chemical reward system, triggering the release of feel-good hormones that can make us want more of the high-fat and high-sugar items that caused that reaction.

Stay-Strong Strategy: In this case, you need to walk away—literally—from temptation. Researchers at the University of Exeter in England found that walking for just 15 minutes can seriously reduce cravings for chocolate (the number one gotta-have-it among women) and reduce actual consumption by 50 percent. What's more, the cravings were reduced not only during the walk but for 10 minutes afterward (giving you renewed willpower for almost 30 minutes, which could be enough to get you out of the danger zone).

"The crucial moments we identified in our study did tend to be short-term occurrences," says Han. So typically, if you can wait out a craving for, say, 10 minutes, it will most likely pass.

TEMPTATION TIME: Before Turning In
The siren call of leftover pizza or cake in the fridge during the wee hours is responsible for many a diet derailment, and sure enough, nearly one-fifth of the study's make-or-break moments occurred at night. Research published in the journal Obesity may help explain why: There's evidence that our body's internal clock may be programmed to crave sugary, salty, and starchy foods in the evenings around 8 p.m. One theory: This tendency helped our ancestors survive food scarcity by encouraging them to eat larger, more calorie-dense meals prior to sleep, a long fasting period. Now that a nighttime snack is only as far away as the kitchen, that urge is doing more to harm us than help us.

Stay-Strong Strategy: When people are trying to exert self-control, they're just as likely to default to a good habit as a bad one—as long as it's, well, actually a habit, according to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. So if the opening credits for Scandal automatically send you to the pantry for chips, try changing up your p.m. routine. Make a ritual of brewing a cup of tea or creating your own flavored water (just add citrus or cucumber slices). Or Han suggests brushing your teeth... with a mega-minty toothpaste. Gargling with mouthwash works too. Nothing sweet or salty tastes the same after you've doused your taste buds in "clean."

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Woman vomits 7 PINTS of blood when rare stomach ulcer pierced artery

Samantha Foxcroft, 33, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, thought she had a common stomach bug before she started vomiting up huge amounts of blood at work.

First Edition: July 10, 2014

Today's headlines cover health policy headlines from the marketplace, the campaign trail and regarding the health law's implementation. 

Kaiser Health News: Will Health Reform Bring New Role, Respect To Primary Care Physicians?
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jay Hancock reports: “The company’s move to shift that balance tells a lesser-known story of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield spent billions on hospital procedures, drugs and specialty physicians to treat sick patients. Only one dollar in 20 went to the family-care doctors and other primary caregivers trained to keep people healthy. The Affordable Care Act and efforts to change the health system. While much attention has focused on expanded coverage and online insurance bazaars, policymakers’ bigger challenge is improving Americans’ health while putting a brake on the cost of their care. The keys to that puzzle, CareFirst and many others are deciding, are the internists and general practitioners who have largely been left behind by health care’s financial boom” (Hancock, 7/10). Read the story, which also appeared in the Washington Post.

Kaiser Health News: Putting The Home In A Nursing Home
Kaiser Health News staff writer Marissa Evans reports: “Mealtime. Naptime. Bath time. Bedtime. Everything is on a schedule for residents in a traditional nursing home, leaving little flexibility for personal decision making. But LaVrene Norton is working to change that. Norton is founder and president of Action Pact, a national consulting firm. It specializes in helping retirement communities and nursing homes train staff and design their facilities to feel and be more like living at home. Since beginning work on the “household model” in 1984, Norton has helped design hundreds of these communities” (Evans, 7/10). Read the interview.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Feds Demand Medicaid Backlog Fixes By Six States; CMS May Soften Paperwork Requirements For Home Health Care; Report: Adults With Serious Mental Illnesses Face 80% Unemployment
Now on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Phil Galewitz reports on a federal push for six states to address their Medicaid backlogs: “Tired of waiting for states to reduce their backlogs of Medicaid applications, the Obama administration has given six states until Monday to submit plans to resolve issues that have prevented more than 1 million low-income or disabled people from getting health coverage. The targeted states are Alaska, California, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee” (Galewitz, 7/10). 

In addition, Jenny Gold reports on a new report about unemployment and mental illness: “Employment rates for people with a serious mental illness are dismally low and getting worse, according to a report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Just 17.8 percent of people receiving public mental health services were employed in 2012 – down from 23 percent in 2003” (Gold, 7/10). 

Also on the blog, Lisa Gillespie reports on a proposed change to Medicare home health coverage rules: “Doctors may not have to write a narrative summary for patients needing home health care if a proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is finalized.For Medicare to pay for a home health visit, which includes physical therapy, speech therapy and skilled nursing care, the patient must be seen by a doctor either 90 days prior to the start of the home health care or 30 days after the start of the services. Currently, Medicare also requires that physicians certify that these patients are under their care and that they have trouble leaving home without the help of a walker or special transportation because of an illness or injury. To do so, doctors have to fill out what’s referred to as a face-to-face document, which states when the doctor saw the patient, and includes a narrative summary stating why the patient is homebound” (Gillespie, 7/10). Check out what else is on the blog.

The New York Times’ The Upshot: Newest Health Insurance Customers Are Generally Happy
We’ve known for a few months now that lots of people signed up for health insurance this year in new marketplaces. A new survey shows that the people who did so are also pretty happy with their purchases (Sanger-Katz, 7/10).

The New York Times: Health Insurers Are Trying New Payment Models, Study Shows
Health insurers are experimenting with new formulas for reimbursing doctors and hospitals, slowly moving away from the traditional approach of basing payments on the numbers of tests and procedures performed, according to a survey of Blue Cross insurers, among the most dominant plans in the country (Abelson, 7/9).

The Washington Post: In Va. Legislature, Republicans Plan Medicaid Debate In Late September
Republican leaders plan to call the House and Senate back into session in late September to debate Medicaid expansion, a move intended to give legislators another chance to weigh in on the issue as Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) tries to find a way to expand the program without their approval (Vozzella, 7/9).

The Associated Press: Republicans Announce Special Session On Medicaid
House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment announced Wednesday that the General Assembly will be back in session the week of Sept. 22 for a “full and fair” debate on whether Virginia should accept federal Medicaid funds to provide health insurance for as many as 400,000 low income residents (7/9).

The Associated Press: Medicare Providers Complain Of Duplicative Audits
Health care companies say they’re losing millions of dollars that are tied up in appeals because of increasing numbers of Medicare audits. But the rise in the often duplicative audits has failed to reduce Medicare fraud, according to a report released Wednesday. In recent years, the Obama administration has added manpower to investigate cases, increase audits and analyze more data to fight fraud in the taxpayer-funded Medicare program. Yet a report from the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging criticized the government for not targeting its resources more effectively (7/9).

Los Angeles Times: Congress Has Heavy Workload But Limited Time Before Summer Recess
And even as they face a series of time-sensitive votes, both parties continue to push symbolic legislation that has little hope of passage but appeals to their respective bases in an election year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), for example, told reporters Tuesday that he was committed to taking action in the Senate to address the Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. That decision gave businesses owned by devout Christians the right to refuse to pay for insurance covering contraceptives for female employees (Memoli, 7/9).

Los Angeles Times: Sen. Mark Udall Skips Obama Colorado Visit To Focus On Women’s Issues
As Obama was on his way to deliver remarks on the economy in Denver’s Cheesman Park on Wednesday morning, Udall held a news conference in Washington with female senators and House members to announce a new bill that would bar employers from denying contraceptive coverage. In a direct appeal to women voters, who could be the most crucial swing voters in Colorado's Senate race this year, Udall has made contraceptive coverage a central issue in his campaign (Reston, 7/9).

Politico: Hill Democrats See Hobby Lobby Contraception Fight In 2014 Races
With an eye on the November elections, congressional Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill that would overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby contraception decision. Democrats and women’s health groups believe they have a powerful campaign weapon in pushing back on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that Hobby Lobby and other closely held for-profit companies don’t have to comply with the health law’s contraceptive coverage requirement if it violates the owners’ religious beliefs (Haberkorn, 7/9).

The Associated Press: Fact Check: It’s ‘Mediscare’ Time In Kentucky
Shaky claims about Medicare were common in the 2012 campaign, from President Barack Obama on down. Now they’ve surfaced in this year’s midterm elections, in one of the hottest Senate races in the country. Alison Lundergan Grimes, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s Democratic opponent, released her first attack ad Tuesday, accusing McConnell of voting to raise a retired coal miner’s Medicare costs by $6,000. He didn’t (7/9).

Politico: Mitch McConnell Strikes Back On Medicare Ad
Mitch McConnell has decided to quickly and strongly counterpunch on Medicare. Just 24 hours after Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes began running an attack ad about the entitlement, the Kentucky senator is firing back with a Larry McCarthy-produced spot that says it is Democrats who cut Medicare under Obamacare (Hohmann, 7/9).

The Washington Post’s The Fact Checker: Did Health Insurance Premiums Jump 50 Percent Because Of Obamacare?
This campaign ad highlights Alexander’s role as one of the chief GOP critics of President Obama’s health-care law during a nationally televised “health-care summit” held on Feb. 25, 2010. The ad shows Alexander debating the president over whether the Congressional Budget Office predicted a rise in premiums because of the Senate version of the bill. Then the ad asserts that individual premiums have gone up more than 50 percent, citing 2010 and 2013 data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services. It ends with the image of a quote from a Fox New reporter from the day of the summit, “Lamar Alexander was right,” but the voiceover slightly tweaks the quote to say: “Lamar was proven right” (Kessler, 7/10).

The New York Times: Race Is On To Profit From Rise Of Urgent Care
For more than eight hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, an assortment of ailments is on display at the tidy medical clinic on Main Avenue here. But all of the patients have one thing in common: No one is being treated at a traditional doctor’s office or emergency room. Instead, they have turned to one of the fastest-growing segments of American health care: urgent care, a common category of walk-in clinics with uncommon interest from Wall Street (Creswell, 7/9).

The Associated Press: Who Pays Your Doc? Coming Soon To A Site Near You
When many of us have a medical appointment we’re concerned about our finances: how much will we owe out-of-pocket? What’s our co-pay? But next time, you may also want to ask your doctors about their financial situation. That’s because nearly 95 percent of U.S. physicians accept gifts, meals, payments, travel and other services from companies that make the drugs and medical products they prescribe, according to the New England Journal of Medicine (7/9).

USA Today: ‘Bleak Picture’ For Mentally Ill: 80% Are Jobless
About 60% of people with mental illness want to work. And two-thirds can successfully hold down a job, if they're given appropriate support, the report says. Yet fewer than 2% of people in the public mental health system receive this help, a cost-effective program called supported employment, which has been studied in 20 high-quality clinical trials over the past 25 years (Szabo, 7/10).

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Blue Cross Faces Another Suit Over Obamacare Doctor Networks
Amid growing scrutiny statewide, insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross faces another consumer lawsuit over its use of narrow networks in Obamacare coverage. A group of Anthem policyholders sued California's largest for-profit health insurer Tuesday in state court, accusing the company of misrepresenting the size of its physician networks and the insurance benefits provided (Terhune, 7/9).

The Associated Press: Va. Prison Health Provider Change Could Delay Suit
A lawsuit alleging deficient medical services at a Virginia women’s prison could be delayed by a change in health care providers. The Department of Corrections announced Tuesday that it has hired Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. to provide medical care at the state’s prisons starting Oct. 1 (7/9).

The Associated Press: NY Awards $462M To Help Hospitals Keep Services
New York health officials have awarded $462 million to help 22 hospitals and five large public hospital systems statewide continue key services. The funds followed a federal agreement in April for New York to reinvest $8 billion in Medicaid savings to support hospital overhauls and expand primary medical care over five years. The goal is to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent while helping financially struggling institutions shift to more primary and outpatient care (7/9). 

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NHS 18-week waiting time should be reviewed to ensure most seriously ill are prioritised, says top surgeon

The new president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Clare Marx said the blanket benchmark may be inappropriate and more flexibility is required to make sure the most serious cases are treated first.

Biomarker for preeclampsia detected as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy

University of Iowa researchers have discovered a biomarker that could give expecting mothers and their doctors the first simple blood test to reliably predict that a pregnant woman may develop preeclampsia , at least as early as 6 weeks into the pregnancy.

Are you HYPERSEXUAL? Researchers reveal 3 per cent of women suffer from condition – and say it leads to emotional problems

German researchers found problems may be linked to high rates of masturbation and pornography use.

Don’t make our mistake: As assisted suicide bill goes to Lords, Dutch watchdog who once backed euthanasia warns UK of ‘slippery slope’ to mass deaths

A former euthanasia supporter warned of a surge in deaths if Parliament allowed doctors to give deadly drugs to their patients.

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