Amphastar Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had rejected its application to market an intranasal version of the emergency opioid-overdose treatment, naloxone.
From Health Affairs:
Hospital closures create an economic and health care access void, which is magnified in rural communities that typically have few other employment and health care service options. Job losses directly impact medical and ancillary staff, and the community tax base is diminished when a large employer like a hospital closes, forcing people to move away from communities where they want to live or to retire. When hospitals close, so do their Emergency Departments (EDs) and the life-saving care they provide. When an ED closes, patients are forced to seek care elsewhere, introducing long travel times to other EDs, which can increase mortality for time-sensitive diseases such as trauma, stroke, sepsis, and acute myocardial infarction. This has become a crisis for a large portion of rural communities: 77 percent of 2,050 rural counties are designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Freestanding Emergency Centers (FECs) present a practical solution to this crisis. While rural communities may have insufficient demands for inpatient care to support a full hospital, FECs have a lower cost structure and higher patient volume.
As rural hospitals shoulder increasing regulatory burdens, the demands of consumerism and the consequences of aging populations — among other responsibilities — they are perhaps under more pressure than ever to provide essential health services to their communities while fighting to survive. But a panel on the second day of the 30th annual Rural Health Care Leadership Conference delved into creative ways rural hospitals have been able to do just that.
From the Times-Tribune:
Federal authorities are stepping up investigations at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers due to a sharp increase in opioid theft, missing prescriptions or unauthorized drug use by VA employees since 2009, according to government data obtained by The Associated Press.
Doctors, nurses or pharmacy staff at federal hospitals — the vast majority within the VA system — siphoned away controlled substances for their own use or street sales, or drugs intended for patients simply disappeared. Last week, a nurse at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Plains Twp. was sentenced for stealing drugs for her personal use.
From the Star Tribune:
Doctors would be required to check up on most patients before prescribing opioid painkillers under a legislative proposal that will get a warm reception at a Capitol rally on Tuesday. From there, it may face a tougher reception from physicians who view it as overkill and a crimp on their ever-shrinking amount of time to treat patients.
But national research suggests that requiring physicians to check state registries of patients’ drug histories can help curb the painkiller epidemic by identifying patients who are abusing opioids and “shopping” among doctors for prescriptions.
From the Tribune:
Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea has expanded its services for patients with behavioral health needs.
Through a new telemedicine program, patients who come into the emergency room are able to communicate with psychiatrists and psychologists as needed at any time of the day.
Bo Madsen, medical director of emergency medicine at Mayo Clinic Health System throughout southeast Minnesota, said many smaller hospitals aren’t able to have psychiatrists and psychologists on hand all the time, so the option for telemedicine gives patients the opportunity for access to these services without having to wait or travel.
The provider through the telemedicine technology will work with the local emergency room providers and physicians to find resolutions to concerns. Services can include assessment, treatment and placement for outpatient or inpatient behavioral health needs.
Doctors who feel burned out or overwhelmed by the demands of work are less likely to view their work with patients as a “calling” that has meaning, according to a recent study.
Burnout – characterized by emotional exhaustion, a loss of a sense of self-identity and a reduced sense of accomplishment – can happen in any occupation, the researchers write in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Burnout among doctors has been linked to lower patient satisfaction, more medical errors and higher healthcare costs, the researchers write.