Sept. 23 - 27, 2013

International Coverage

Brain circuitry causing overeating identified
The Post (India)
Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have pinpointed the precise cellular connections responsible for eating disorders in people which can make them eat when they are full or avoid food when they are hungry.

National Coverage

Stay Healthy: The Doctor Will See (All of) You Now
Parade Magazine
When a dozen pregnant women arrive at the University of North Carolina Family Medicine Center in Chapel Hill, all with the same appointment time, it’s not a scheduling snafu. They will see their doctor on time—together. “We have been doing group visits in our practice since 2001,” says the department’s residency director, Cristy Page, M.D. Page says that about 40 percent of the clinic’s prenatal patients choose group care when offered the choice, and the rate can be even higher for second pregnancies.

Patients who come to the ED for mental health issues can need lifesaving care
Psychiatric emergencies can be as serious as a medical condition, but in traditional EDs, mental health patients may wait for treatment. …As demand for emergency care has increased, so has the number of mental health patients seeking services. A study from the Carolina Center for Health Informatics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported in 2013 that nearly 10% of ED visits in North Carolina from 2008-2010 were for mental health diagnoses, and the rate of mental health related visits increased seven times more than overall ED visits.

The Otago Exercise Program reduces falls among older adults
Two years ago, the Carolina Geriatric Education Center at the UNC School of Medicine began training physical therapists to use the Otago Exercise Program, an evidence-based intervention program proven to reduce falls among older adults. The reactions from physical therapists and patients have been overwhelmingly positive.

Weight loss tied to knee arthritis benefits
Fox News
Intensive weight loss together with regular exercise did more to ease knee arthritis than exercise alone for overweight and obese adults in a new U.S. study…"No one expects diet and exercise to have a huge impact" on osteoarthritis, Dr. Amanda Nelson, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Thurston Arthritis Research Center, said. "The fact that most of the improvements were modest is what we would expect to see."

Researchers Identify Neurons that Drive Overeating
US News & World Report
Giving strength to the belief that overeating and eating disorders are partially caused by functions in the brain, a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, discovered a neural pathway in the brain that appears to control feeding habits.

State & Local Coverage

N.C. declines to implement healthcare law
Fayetteville Observer
On Oct. 1, as many as 1.5 million North Carolina residents will be swept into a complex government program that will force them to buy health insurance. … North Carolina and 26 other states decided not to provide their residents with a health care exchange, also called the Health Insurance Marketplace. … "The disadvantage is that the state doesn't have a role in shaping the creation and implementation of the exchange - it is run by Washington," said Jonathan Oberlander, professor of social medicine and health policy and management at UNC.

UNC Health Care squeezes bonus pay for employees
Triangle Business Journal

UNC Health Care decreased its total incentive compensation payout last year compared with the year before, but it was still higher than in the past half decade. In total, the health care system paid out $10.1 million of incentive bonuses last year, down from the $11 million total the previous year. The lower payouts are partly a function of an adjusted formula. In the 2012 fiscal year, the system had a minimum payout of $119 and a maximum of $5,133. It decreased that this past year to a minimum of $65 and a maximum of $4,959. The total eligible employees increased from 6,691 to 6,977 year over year. Fiscal years run from July 1 through June 30.

Economies of Care: As UNC Health expands, it saves
Triangle Business Journal
As hospitals around the state fall under the UNC Health Care umbrella, the system is seeing more in purchasing savings. … For the fiscal year ending June 30, UNC Health Care reported $8.9 million of purchasing savings, according to its annual report. That’s more than any year in history and up from the previous record of $5.5 million, set in 2010.

UNC Health Care tackles turnover, incentive pay
Triangle Business Journal
UNC Health Care recently released its annual report, and there were a few interesting data points for the past fiscal year, which ended June 30. Chief Operating Officer Dr. Brian Goldstein and I chatted about a few of those topics via email. Here are a few tidbits from that conversation.

After a nearly 40 percent increase in incentive pay from 2010 to 2011, UNC Health Care paid out fewer total incentive checks in 2012. More people were eligible, but total payouts decreased from $11 million to $10.1 million.

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