The Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney, T.D. announced her approval of the HSE National Service Plan 2010. The Plan outlines how the HSE plans to deliver health and personal social services within its 2010 current budget of 14.069bn euros. It projects service activity levels for 2010 which are broadly in line with 2009 levels. The Minister said "I welcome the fact that the Plan commits to treating people in a more effective way with no reduction in access to appropriate services. By reducing costs, and reforming the way services are provided, I am confident the HSE will deliver the services people expect and continue to improve health outcomes for the population.
Virginian-Pilot: Area hospitals are preparing "for a round of Medicaid spending cuts that executives say could be the worst in decades and lead to more cutbacks in their organizations. Rising health care costs and a surge in the number of Medicaid patients have increased the state's obligation to the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled by $777.7 million over two years. The state also must find $1.2 billion to replace stimulus money that the federal government provided last year to help Virginia cope with rising health care demands and declining state revenue. That funding stops at the end of this year." Former Gov. Timothy M.
The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a medical malpractice law enacted in 2005 that limited monetary damages to $1 million from hospitals and $500, 000 from doctors for pain and suffering, the Chicago Tribune reports. "The much-anticipated ruling deals a blow to doctors and hospital officials who say caps on damages are a way to tame rising health care costs. ... The court said the law violates the state's separation-of-powers clause between the branches of government by allowing lawmakers to interfere with a jury's right to determine damages." Other states have similar laws that still stand, including California (Japsen and Sachdev, 2/4).
"Two Republican congressmen who help oversee billions of dollars for people with AIDS are asking the federal government for an accounting of fraud and mismanagement complaints leveled against AIDS programs nationwide, " The Washington Post reports. "Reps. Joe L. Barton (Tex.) and Greg Walden (Ore.) sent a letter Thursday to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration that raised questions about the agency's oversight of AIDS programs." A recent Washington Post series was cited in the letter. It found "the D.C. Department of Health had awarded more than $25 million, largely in federal funds, to AIDS nonprofit groups that delivered substandard services or failed to account for any work at all.
The New York Times: "The leading professional organization dedicated to radiation oncology has called for enhanced safety measures in administering medical radiation, including the establishment of the nation's first central database for the reporting of errors involving linear accelerators - machines that generate radiation - and CT scanners. The group, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, or Astro, issued a six-point plan on Wednesday that it said would improve safety and quality and reduce the chances of medical errors. ... Astro will also press for federal legislation to require national standards for radiation therapy treatment teams" (Bogdanich, 2/4).
Monash University-led nationwide study into the health beliefs and behaviours of obese people has found that the more severely obese a person is, the less likely they feel they can reduce their weight. The research, funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Grant Scheme, is the first of its kind in Australia. 141 obese Australians were extensively interviewed to try to gauge how they perceived their weight and ability to manage it. Co-author and Head of Monash University's Consumer Health Research Group (CHaRGe) Dr Samantha Thomas said those in the severely obese category with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 40, blamed themselves for their weight and often described themselves as at war with their bodies.