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BUSINESS
February 6, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - In a rare bipartisan agreement, congressional leaders have settled on a plan to fix Medicare's system for paying physicians, potentially ending years of uncertainty that often held up fees for doctors who care for the nation's senior citizens. The proposed fix still must be paid for, requiring lawmakers to come up with as much as $150 billion in savings from elsewhere in the budget. But there is optimism on Capitol Hill that the federal government will finally replace a dysfunctional 17-year-old system designed to control Medicare spending by limiting annual increases in physicians' reimbursements.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 14, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Dr. Clement A. Finch, a University of Washington hematologist who became known as Mr. Iron because of his pioneering research on the metabolism of that crucial metal, died June 28 at his home in La Jolla. He was 94, and the cause of death was not revealed. Iron plays a key role in many aspects of bodily function but is most important as a component of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. When Finch began his work, clinicians could diagnose iron deficiency anemia but were in the dark about its causes.
NEWS
June 18, 1995 | SUZANNE POSSEHL, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Like many other expectant mothers in northern Appalachia, Janice Hay drove 100 miles to see her obstetrician. But on the winter night that her baby was born at home, 15 weeks prematurely, the drive to Burlington, Vt., would have been fatal. By the time Hay, a 37-year-old fitness instructor, got to the local hospital in an ambulance, the 1.8-pound infant wasn't breathing. Dr. Hemant Pandhi, a new general practitioner from India, began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. In 10 minutes, Hay's newborn son, Blake, let out his first cry. "That's why I came here," said Pandhi, 46, who passed up a higher-paying offer in Albany, N.Y., to practice medicine in Ticonderoga, a logging town of 4,600 people on the Vermont border.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2014 | Sandy Banks
It will take more than doctors, judges and medical records to convince Nailah Winkfield that her child is dead. Winkfield's 13-year-old daughter, Jahi McMath, entered an Oakland hospital for tonsil surgery three weeks ago and wound up on life support. Now Jahi is hooked to a ventilator that handles the mechanics of breathing, but she's been declared brain-dead by several physicians, including a court-appointed neurologist from Stanford. Officials at Children's Hospital Oakland want to disconnect the machine; Jahi, they say, has zero chance of recovery.
HEALTH
March 13, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
After the surging ocean waters spawned by Japan's magnitude 8.9 earthquake receded, the drowned were only the first victims to be counted. In the coming days, physicians and public health officials along Japan's hard-hit eastern coast can expect a second wave of tsunami victims with aspiration-related illnesses, trauma and crush wounds, as well as the threat of disease spread by contaminated water. As they tend to survivors, Japanese officials can look to the experience of health workers who ministered to victims after the massive tsunami that inundated Indian Ocean nations on Dec. 26, 2004.
HEALTH
October 24, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
Some of the most daunting challenges to the expansion of palliative care come down to payments and people. Despite early research suggesting there are eventual cost savings in palliative care, setting up a palliative care team does require an investment. And in a medical care system that largely rewards doctors and hospitals for performing procedures, many financially strapped hospitals ask whether and how palliative care teams will pay for themselves. Currently, they are largely paid for by philanthropic funds and are most likely to exist in not-for-profit hospitals.
NATIONAL
November 21, 2013 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
A surging share of Americans believe that doctors should do everything possible to save a life despite concerns over the costs and consequences of such intensive care. The new survey, released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, surprised doctors and bioethicists who have advocated for physicians and families to carefully weigh aggressive medical treatments for patients near death. Invasive procedures may not lengthen or improve life for the chronically ill, they warn. Many Americans agree with them: Two out of three people believe there are some situations in which a patient should be allowed to die, the survey found.
OPINION
September 18, 2013 | By Glenn D. Braunstein
This year, 36.6 million people will be admitted to U.S. hospitals. Each patient will stay an average of 4.8 days, and the cost for all those hospitalizations will reach into the billions. Is all that time spent in hospitals good for patients? Hospitals, of course, are vital institutions that save lives. When someone needs intensive, around-the-clock care, there is no substitute. But as physicians and hospital staffs know well, the longer a patient stays in a hospital, the more perilous the hospitalization can become.
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