April 1 - 5, 2013

National Coverage

Heart risk assessment tests also predict cognitive decline
Fox News
Having risk factors for heart disease in middle age is associated with cognitive decline, according to a new study. ...“This study basically says that having medical problems related to heart disease and stroke are associated with declining cognitive function,” said Dr. Daniel Kaufer, director of the University of North Carolina Memory Disorder Program, who was not associated with the study.

Doctor, what would you do if you were me? (Blog)
The Scientific American
“Effectiveness” is at the forefront of the health policy debate. Effectiveness is the assessment of whether any particular medical intervention actually advantages patients when prescribed in practice settings. To be considered effective, the intervention must result in a clinically meaningful improvement for an adequate percentage of patients. (Dr. Nortin M. Hadler is professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)

Johnston County, UNC Health Care Partner to Lower Operating Costs
Becker’s ASC Review
Johnston County hospital system in Smithfield, N.C., will partner with UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill to provide a larger range of services and cut operating costs, according to a News Observer report.

Officials at Johnston said the UNC partnership will help the smaller system cope with Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement changes and other healthcare reforms, according to the report. The two systems may also share electronic health records and billing systems, further reducing individual costs.

Critics fear hospital consolidation will drive up patient bills and insurance premiums. UNC's expansion may make it increasingly hard for other hospital systems to compete, according to the report.

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Allergy season will be even worse this year
"Today" NBC
As the weather warms and plant pollination begins this spring, allergy sufferers are likely to feel worse than in past years. Unfortunately, a number of environmental factors are likely to keep the pattern of worsening allergies around in the coming years. ..."There are more pollen bullets and the bullets are bigger," said Dr. David Peden, a professor of pediatrics, medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Black Men Often Face Delays in Prostate Cancer Care: Study
HealthDay News
...The gap was even longer, nine days, for black patients with aggressive prostate cancer, according to the University of North Carolina (UNC) study published online March 28 in the journal Cancer. "These are all patients with some form of insurance, [namely] Medicare, so it is not a lack of insurance that delays the care," study leader Dr. Ronald Chen, an assistant professor at UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a university news release.

State & Local Coverage

Johnston Health to partner with UNC
WRAL-TV (CBS/Raleigh)
UNC Health Care is poised to gain a foothold in the growing Johnston County market on Monday by teaming up with Johnston Health. Johnston Health, which operates a 199-bed hospital in Smithfield, an outpatient campus in Clayton and primary care and urgent care centers across the county, said Monday that it was working on a partnership deal with UNC.

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Research from UNC-CH points to early warning signs for schizophrenia
The News & Observer (Raleigh)
Changes in brain function may foreshadow schizophrenia as early as puberty, nearly a decade before most patients begin showing obvious symptoms, new research from the University of North Carolina shows. Researchers in Chapel Hill looked at brain scans of 42 children, some as young as 9, who had close relatives with schizophrenia.

Faculty member gets fellowship
The Herald-Sun (Durham)
Anne Marion Taylor, a biomedical engineer at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, is among 126 scientists and scholars in the U.S. and Canada to receive 2013 Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Medicaid announcement caught many by surprise (Blog)
The Triangle Business Journal
...That decision flew in the face of a report that showed expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would add 25,000 jobs, $1.7 billion in annual state domestic product and $70 million additional annual state taxes. In addition, Dr. Bill Roper, CEO of UNC Health Care, has long said he supports an expanded Medicaid and even spoke with lawmakers about the topic.

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