Health

Electronic opioid scripts save lives

Electronic opioid scripts save lives

Passing Baker's bill is key to stemming the overdose crisis

A HEARING EARLIER this month on Beacon Hill underscored the critical need for Massachusetts-specific solutions to the nation’s opioid crisis. As the Legislature prepares next steps to address this critical issue, it would do well to consider a bill recently proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker that would capitalize on technological advances to help address the(...)

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Debit card payer pulls plug on pot dispensaries

Debit card payer pulls plug on pot dispensaries

Cash only after statement by federal prosecutor begins to chill legal market

THE HARDLINE STANCE from the top federal prosecutor in the state about pot enforcement has caused a company that processes debit transactions for medical marijuana dispensaries to stop accepting the bank cards and forced the shops to revert to cash-only, adding a layer of hardship to patients. Westborough-based Merchant Services Consulting Group (MSCG), which processes(...)

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Partners hospitals decry ‘legislative attack’

Partners hospitals decry ‘legislative attack’

Community hospitals applaud bill as a lifeline

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE Plans to tackle hospital pricing are emerging as a flashpoint in the Senate’s health care reform bill, with the head of Massachusetts General Hospital decrying an unfair attack while community hospital heads cheered them as a potential lifeline. The 100-page bill, rolled out last week by a working group helmed by(...)

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Alzheimer’s a growing public health crisis

Alzheimer’s a growing public health crisis

Longer lifespans mean higher rates of disease, often undiagnosed

STATE SEN. BARBARA L’ITALIEN‘s mother, Claire, lived with her and her family for 20 years near the end of her life. Claire helped raise Barbara’s four children, enabled Barbara to run her first campaign, and was a great source of support and love for the family. When Claire was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, from which(...)

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Humira, a money-making machine, rolls on

Humira, a money-making machine, rolls on

Profit trumps patients in Abbvie-Amgen deal

IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED that US healthcare expenditures are dramatically higher than any other developed country by all measures. The total amount spent, the per capita cost, and the percentage of GDP consumed by healthcare are the highest here even though health outcomes are average and access is far from universal. The reasons for this(...)

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Senators stress health care in cost-effective settings

Senators stress health care in cost-effective settings

Bill cautiously lays groundwork for tougher regulatory oversight

A WORKING GROUP of the Massachusetts Senate unveiled health care legislation on Tuesday that promotes the treatment of patients in more cost-effective settings while laying the groundwork for tougher regulatory oversight of hospital readmissions and payments to pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals. The working group, led by Sen. James Welch of Springfield and funded by the(...)

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5 takeaways from health cost trends hearings

5 takeaways from health cost trends hearings

Baker, Partners margins, and social determinants

HAVING ATTENDED the Health Policy Commission’s annual cost trend hearings earlier this month, I came away thinking about five interesting moments, which I present in the chronological order in which they occurred. 1. In his third time kicking off the hearings since his election as governor, Charlie Baker stayed consistent in the directional theme of(...)

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Nurses, hospitals tangle over staffing levels

Nurses, hospitals tangle over staffing levels

Union skirmishes foreshadow ballot campaign over who makes the call

MARK BRODEUR, a nurse at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, says his unit, which serves patients recovering from anesthesia post-surgery, is usually staffed pretty well. But not long ago he says he found himself struggling to care simultaneously for three patients all requiring critical care. “I had one incoming patient, so I’m hearing the report(...)

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Biking for cancer research is uphill climb

Biking for cancer research is uphill climb

Shouldn't we also focus on stopping carcinogens at the source

I RODE FOR THE FIRST TIME in the Pan Mass Challenge fundraiser for cancer research this year.  The weather was perfect, and it was a glorious experience.  Thousands lined the roads to cheer and thank us.  Many held signs indicating that they survived cancer, or held up photos of loved ones who did not. During(...)

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Deregulated health care not the answer

Deregulated health care not the answer

Medical capitalism works for investors, not patients

THE UNITED STATES has by far the most expensive health care system in the world. We spent $3.35 trillion, almost 18 percent of GDP and more than $10,000 per person, on health costs last year. The next highest country, Switzerland, spends approximately $7,000 per capita. France, Canada, Australia, and the UK spend about half of(...)

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