Trump’s Health Chief Wants to Change How Doctors Do Business

From BusinessWeek:

On March 5, the Trump administration’s top health official told a conference of hospital executives to hurry up. Washington has spent more than a decade slowly nudging the medical industry away from treating health care as a volume commodity business, where more care is better, and toward incentives that reward improving patients’ health. In all that time, almost nothing has changed. “That transition needs to accelerate dramatically,” said Alex Azar, a former Eli Lilly and Co. executive who was confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services in January.

New HHS secretary: Opioid addiction is not a moral failing and should be treated as a medical condition

From CNBC:

People who are dependent on opioids shouldn’t be stigmatized, and their addiction should be treated as a medical condition, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday.

“This is not a moral issue,” said Azar, who has spent his career working in both the private and public sector of health care as an attorney and other various leadership roles.

“They are not individuals who are seeking out to be drug addicts or are seeking out a high. They are individuals who are getting trapped in a cycle of addiction,” Azar told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Number of nurse practitioners in US hits record high

From Beckers:

The number of nurse practitioners in the U.S. reached an all-time high March 20, with more than 248,000 NPs currently licensed to practice across the country, according to data released by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

The number of U.S. NPs significantly increased since 2007, when there were approximately 120,000 NPs.

An additional 23,000 newly licensed NPs graduated from programs in the 2015-16 academic year, up 3,000 graduates (15.5 percent) from the 2014-15 academic year.

Emergency Doctors: CPR Training For 911 Operators Could Save Lives


A group of emergency physicians is calling on state officials to expand training for 911 dispatchers to improve survival rates of residents who experience a sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital.

Rhode Island is the only state in New England where 911 operators are not certified to coach callers on how to perform CPR. In states with certified Emergency Medical Dispatch Centers, 911 operators also can instruct callers about how to control bleeding, relieve choking and help someone overdosing until emergency responders arrive, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Emergency Medical Services.

The health department’s stroke-prevention task force’s 2016 report recommended a dispatcher certification program based on the current emergency medical dispatch standards.

Stroke treatment window expanded after study involving UW Hospital

From the State Journal:

When Kent Wittwer couldn’t wake up his wife last month, he called 911.

Jill Wittwer, 59, was rushed to UW Hospital, where doctors said she had a stroke. Using a stent device inside a catheter, they removed a clot blocking blood flow in her brain.

Until recently, patients couldn’t get the procedure unless doctors knew the stroke happened within six hours. But two national studies, one involving patients at UW Hospital, expanded the window to 24 hours — a potential life-saver for people who have strokes during sleep, as Wittwer did.

Bill Requiring ID To Get Opioid Prescriptions Introduced In Illinois

From The Fix:

With recent statistics showing a 70% increase in opioid-related overdoses in the midwestern United States, a Republican congressman has sought to fight back by introducing a new bill, HR 5219, that would require individuals to present a valid ID before picking up prescription opioids from a pharmacy.

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) announced the proposed legislation at a press conference in Normal, Illinois on March 9, where he was joined by members of local law enforcement and government, as well as health care officials. As Davis noted at the conference, the bill is intended to halt the practice of “pharmacy shopping,” and to help police track down drug dealers who may be filling out prescriptions written for others.

Loss of Obstetric Services in Rural Counties Associated With Childbirth Risks

From AJMC:

Rural counties in the United States have experienced a decline in the availability of hospital-based obstetric services, dropping from 55% of counties having these services in 2004 to 46% in 2014. This loss can “exacerbate maternal health challenges” in rural areas, according to a study in JAMA.