This Drug (Narcan) Could Save Thousands Of Lives A Year, So Why Aren’t We Using It?

From the Huffington Post:

The national drug overdose epidemic has been steadily on the rise for nearly 20 years. From 1999 to 2010, deaths surged a colossal 102 percent. And while overdoses kill more people each year than either cars or guns, the debate over what can be done to address the disturbing trend often gets overshadowed by noisier killers.

On Saturday, the 13th annual International Overdose Awareness Day, drug policy reform advocates and those affected by overdoses will gather around the world, putting solutions front and center.

One such solution is naloxone, a prescription-only opiate reversal drug that has already been used to save thousands of lives. Supporters say it could easily save thousands more if it was more widely distributed. Opiate-based prescription drugs and heroin account for the vast majority of overdose deaths, making the debate around naloxone particularly critical.

Mayo concussion bot to debut at Arizona football game

From CNet:

Just a day after the NFL and more than 4,500 former football players reached a $765 million settlement over concussion-related lawsuits, a telemedicine robot will make its debut on the sidelines of tonight’s Northern Arizona University football match against the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Wisconsin Emergency Physician Indicted for Prescription Drug Fraud

From the Beloit Daily News:

Dr. Richard Barney, who headed the emergency department at Beloit Health System for years, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 15 counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud.

Barney, who lives in Janesville, acquired Percocet by sending prescriptions to an InstyMeds machine in the names of 15 patients without the patients’ knowledge.

Proposed Medicare change threatens 26 rural hospitals in South Dakota

From the Argus Leader:

Twenty-six rural hospitals in South Dakota are threatened by a federal agency’s proposal that could take away the extra payments they get for service to Medicare patients, a move that might even force some hospitals to close, a state official said.

State Health Secretary Doneen Hollingsworth said the proposal is a long way from being approved, but state officials plan to fight the proposed change in the way rural facilities designated as critical access hospitals are reimbursed for care provided to Medicare patients.

Experts say rural healthcare in crisis

From Fierce Healthcare:

Some states’ refusal to expand Medicaid and a recommendation by the Department of Health & Human Services to recertify critical access hospitals are causing concern about rural access to healthcare.

According to a health economist, if states refuse to expand Medicaid in accordance with healthcare reform, the rural poor will be hit the hardest, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

From Fierce Healthcare:

… my heart sank a bit this week when I read in FierceHealthcare that the 25-bed Charlton Memorial Hospital will close its doors today, the third rural hospital in Georgia to close this year. The closure–a trend affecting small community hospitals across the country–may force elderly residents and those living below the poverty line to travel long distances for healthcare, MSN Money reported.

The announcement comes in the wake of a Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General report earlier this month that Medicare could save millions by re-evaluating critical access hospital (CAH) certification. Essentially, the OIG wants the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to have the right to change the requirements so they can “recertify” CHAs–which would mean nearly two-thirds of the existing CAHs would lose that designation.

Unprecedented Demand For Family Docs, Nurse Practitioners As Obamacare Emerges

From Forbes (hat tip: Dr. Menadue)

The family physician is the most highly recruited doctor as the Affordable Care Act and trends in medical economics move more health care service to less expensive outpatient settings, according to a national doctor recruitment firm.

Primary care professions, led by family physicians and the up and coming professions of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, are in high demand,according to physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins