For rural veterans with PTSD, telemedicine may help

From Reuters:

For the many veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who don’t have access to a trained mental health care team, connecting with such a team remotely by phone and video chats may help, a new study suggests.

At least 500,000 veterans in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system, or nearly 10 percent of the VHA population, were diagnosed with PTSD in 2012, the researchers write in JAMA Psychiatry.

“Why you don’t want a high-tech ambulance if you’re in cardiac arrest”

From PBS:

Emergency treatments delivered in ambulances that offer “Advanced Life Support” for cardiac arrest may be linked to more death, comas and brain damage than those providing “Basic Life Support.”

That’s according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, which suggests that high-tech equipment and sophisticated treatment techniques may distract from what’s most important during cardiac arrest — transporting a critically ill patient to the hospital quickly.

“They’re taking a lot of time in the field to perform interventions that don’t seem to be as effective in that environment,” said Prachi Sanghavi, lead author of the study and a PhD student in Harvard University’s Program in Health Policy. Those interventions include the use of advanced defibrillators to shock the heart, the administration of IV drugs, and perhaps most risky in the field, intubation — the insertion of a plastic tube in the airway to help with breathing.

“Of course, these are treatments we know are good in the emergency room, but they’ve been pushed into the field without really bei

Senators urge President Obama to protect Critical Access Hospitals

From Rural Health Voices:

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and 26 other senators wrote a bipartisan letter to President Obama urging him to exclude the Critical Access Hospital (CAH) reimbursement cuts and the 10-mile exclusion proposal from his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget request.

Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposed reducing Medicare reimbursements for CAHs and removing the CAH designation for hospitals located within 10 miles of another hospital.

“Rural Hospitals have experienced significant Medicare reimbursement cuts that have strained critical resources. CAH facilities already face unique challenges, such as remote geographic location, workforce shortages, and limited resources, as they continue to provide 24 hour access to care for isolated rural communities,” the letter says. “Since the beginning of 2013, 24 rural hospitals have closed; this is double the pace of the previous 20 months. Proposals to reduce payments to CAHs will only serve to exacerbate the current problem and cause further care shortages in these isolated areas.”

The National Rural Health Association applauds Senator Baldwin and the other cosigners. NRHA urges members of Congress to stand up and protect the rural health care safety net.