Week of Sept. 13 - 17, 2010

UNC System, UNC Hospitals face $20M in rate-swap losses
The Triangle Business Journal
Three big state government units, enamored with the prospect of cutting borrowing costs through the use of interest rate swaps between 2003 and 2006, are staring at losses of as much as $25 million on the sophisticated, but risky, financial transactions. The University of North Carolina System and UNC Hospitals as of June 30, 2009, were facing paper losses totaling $10.08 million and $9.22 million, respectively. Separately, the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, as of the same date, was staring at a loss of $5.7 million, according to state documents.

Many people change docs due to perceived mistakes
Reuters (Wire Service)
A new survey of primary care practices in North Carolina shows nearly one in six patients believed their physician had made a wrong diagnosis or a treatment error, and about one in seven said they had changed doctor as a result. "Patients perceive mistakes in all types of outpatient clinics from primary care to specialty care, eye doctors to dentists, and they often change their doctors because of these perceptions," said Dr. Christine E. Kistler, whose findings are published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. But Kistler, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, added that in some cases it didn't appear the doctor had done anything wrong.

UNC granted $2.4M to develop drugs for childhood leukemia, brain tumors
The Triangle Business Journal
Two groups of UNC-Chapel Hill scientists have been granted a total $2.4 million for their work in developing drugs for treating childhood leukemia and brain tumors. The research is part of a national effort to accelerate the creation and testing of new anti-cancer drugs.

Artist partners with cancer hospital
The Chapel Hill News
Local textile collage artist Elaine O'Neil has collaborated with the N.C. Cancer Hospital to create a year of original art - twelve scenes that highlight the beauty and character of North Carolina. A kickoff event and signing was held Monday at the N.C. Cancer Hospital. ...Proceeds from the sale of the display-quality art calendars will benefit the N.C. Cancer Hospital.

A healthy tailgate? (Blog)
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
And now, from the No Fun At All Department....how to have a healthy tailgate. An eating disorders expert from UNC-Chapel Hill says tailgating can be pretty unhealthy, whaty with all the high-fat, high-calorie foods washed down by all those high-calorie adult beverages. So how do you eat better?

Number of uninsured Americans hits record high
In a reflection of the battered economy, the number of people without health insurance rose sharply last year to 50.7 million — an all time high — according to data  released Thursday by the Census Bureau. ...“In a word, this is devastating,” said Jonathan Oberlander, professor of social medicine and health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Teaching Doctors About Nutrition and Diet
The New York Times
...Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked nutrition educators from more than 100 medical schools to describe the nutrition instruction offered to their students. While the researchers learned that almost all schools require exposure to nutrition, only about a quarter offered the recommended 25 hours of instruction, a decrease from six years earlier, when almost 40 percent of schools met the minimum recommendations.
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With separate entity, UNC Health Care to go bidding for doctor practices
The Triangle Business Journal
UNC Health Care is joining the race to gobble up physician practices through a newly created subsidiary. The state-owned health care system has created the Triangle Physician Network LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary that will serve as the channel through which UNC acquires private physician practices. ...UNC Hospitals CFO Chris Ellington says the system can provide the physicians access to UNC’s managed care contracts, which means better reimbursement rates for doctors.
FDA approves gout drug developed by Duke doctor
The Triangle Business Journal
...For the past 17 years, Dr. Michael Hershfield has been working to create an enzymatic treatment for severe gout. That quest came to an end on Sept. 14, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Savient Pharmaceuticals’ Krystexxa, a drug created by Hershfield and his colleagues at Duke. ...Dr. Beth Jonas at UNC Hospitals says if physicians can diagnose and treat patients early, existing drugs can prevent gout from developing into destructive arthritis. But this new treatment will be critical for patients who do not get treatment early or for whom existing therapies do not work.

How to tailgate the healthy way
The Chapel Hill Herald
...But eating such high-fat, high-calorie food can easily cause weight gain, said Cynthia Bulik, director of the Eating Disorders Program at the UNC School of Medicine. That’s bad news for millions of tailgaters, fans who celebrate football games by holding parties in stadium parking lots. Most tailgate parties feature grilled meats, creamy cold salads and drinking games such as beer pong and flip cup.

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