Michael Steele: Rural hospitals generate prosperity and are worthy of our protection

From The Hill:

According to the Maryland Department of Health, “the State of Maryland recognizes 18 out of the 24 counties and jurisdictions as rural.” And the 150,816 Marylanders who reside in these rural communities depend on 24 federally qualified health center sites located outside of urbanized areas and 7 short term hospitals located outside of urbanized areas for their care.

Unfortunately, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is seeking to severely underfund these already financially failing facilities through the use of site-neutral payments. This is a reimbursement model that attempts to justify paying hospitals the same amount as single-physician offices.

While I appreciate CMS trying to save American taxpayer dollars, it is outrageous to consider reimbursing hospitals, which have enormous overhead costs, at the same rates as an office with one doctor.

Orthopedists drive fastest, but internists more likely to be ticketed, study shows

From Becker’s:

Physicians from the following five specialties drive the fastest:
Note: Figures represent average speed over the limit.

● Orthopedists: 16.8 mph
● Psychiatrists: 16.5 mph
● Internal medicine subspecialists: 16.4 mph
● Cardiologists: 16.3 mph
● Emergency physicians: 16.2 mph

Physicians from the following five specialties get the most tickets:
Note: Figures represent percentage of all tickets included in the study.

● Internal medicine subspecialists: 12 percent
● Family physicians: 12 percent
● General surgeons: 10 percent
● Anesthesiologists: 8 percent
● Surgical subspecialists: 7 percent

US flu season arrives early, driven by an unexpected virus

From the AP:

 The U.S. winter flu season is off to its earliest start in more than 15 years.

An early barrage of illness in the South has begun to spread more broadly, and there’s a decent chance flu season could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say.