“Number of Cancer Surgeries Performed in Pennsylvania Hospitals” – Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council
An article in the May 23/2019 LNP – Always Lancaster states:
“Before scheduling surgery, experts say, it’s a good idea for patients to see how often the procedure is done at the hospitals they’re considering.
“Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council issues an annual report to make that process easy for cancer patients, and the latest version came out today, for July 2017 through June 2018.”
The report released Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council “provides information about the number of cancer-related surgeries performed at Pennsylvania hospitals. Hospital surgical volume is reported for 11 types of cancers including bladder, brain, breast, colon, esophageal, liver, lung, pancreatic, prostate, rectal, and stomach cancer. This information can be helpful to cancer patients, their families, and others when making decisions about cancer surgical care in Pennsylvania.”
At its Website, this question asks: Why is hospital surgical volume important? And according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, “There is strong evidence in the scientific literature that links hospital surgical volume and patient outcomes for the cancer surgeries included in this report. In other words, patients requiring one of these 11 surgeries are likely to have better results if their surgery is performed at a higher volume hospital. Lower volume hospitals are more likely to have worse outcomes, such as more deaths. While in general the volume of cases reflects the degree of experience a hospital has with performing each type of surgery, volume data should not be used in isolation when making conclusions about hospital quality since many other factors such as patient level of sickness (stage of cancer) or surgeon experience may also contribute to the overall outcome.”
Click here to see the report, Number of Cancer Surgeries Performed in Pennsylvania Hospitals State Fiscal Year 2018 (July 2017 – June 2018).:
“A.I. Took a Test to Detect Lung Cancer. It Got an A. | Artificial intelligence may help doctors make more accurate readings of CT scans used to screen for lung cancer.” – The New York Times
A colored CT scan showing a tumor in the lung. Artificial intelligence was just as good, and sometimes better, than doctors in diagnosing lung tumors in CT scans, a new study indicates. Credit Voisin/Science Source
by Denise Grady
“Computers were as good or better than doctors at detecting tiny lung cancers on CT scans, in a study by researchers from Google and several medical centers.
“The technology is a work in progress, not ready for widespread use, but the new report, published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, offers a glimpse of the future of artificial intelligence in medicine.
“One of the most promising areas is recognizing patterns and interpreting images — the same skills that humans use to read microscope slides, X-rays, M.R.I.s and other medical scans.
“y feeding huge amounts of data from medical imaging into systems called artificial neural networks, researchers can train computers to recognize patterns linked to a specific condition, like pneumonia, cancer or a wrist fracture that would be hard for a person to see.”
“Can We Live Longer but Stay Younger? | With greater longevity, the quest to avoid the infirmities of aging is more urgent than ever.” – The New Yorker
Some view old age not as a fact to be endured but as a disease to be cured.
Illustration by Igor Bastidas
by Adam Gopnik
“Aging, like bankruptcy in Hemingway’s description, happens two ways, slowly and then all at once. The slow way is the familiar one: decades pass with little sense of internal change, middle age arrives with only a slight slowing down—a name lost, a lumbar ache, a sprinkling of white hairs and eye wrinkles. The fast way happens as a series of lurches: eyes occlude, hearing dwindles, a hand trembles where it hadn’t, a hip breaks—the usually hale and hearty doctor’s murmur in the yearly checkup, There are some signs here that concern me.
“To get a sense of what it would be like to have the slow process become the fast process, you can go to the AgeLab, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, and put on agnes (for Age Gain Now Empathy System). agnes, or the ‘sudden aging’ suit, as Joseph Coughlin, the founder and director of the AgeLab describes it, includes yellow glasses, which convey a sense of the yellowing of the ocular lens that comes with age; a boxer’s neck harness, which mimics the diminished mobility of the cervical spine; bands around the elbows, wrists, and knees to simulate stiffness; boots with foam padding to produce a loss of tactile feedback; and special gloves to ‘reduce tactile acuity while adding resistance to finger movements.'”
“Dude, where’s my regulatory framework? As CBD gains popularity, Washington struggles to keep up” – STATNews
KRISTOFFER TRIPPLAAR/SIPA VIA AP
“The $300 billion CBD industry is giving Washington a major headache. The cannabis extract is used as a home remedy for everything from pain to anxiety, and celebrities are even considering adding the extract to wine. But this lack of a clear line between therapeutic and food additive means that the FDA is unsure whether to regulate the product as a therapeutic or to treat CBD the way it treats vitamins and other nutritional supplements. “’The FDA needs to take a leadership position as quickly as possible to make sure that the wild west of CBD doesn’t harm the public health,’ Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a former FDA official.”
“WASHINGTON — Online reviews proclaim CBD a “life changer,” “the best thing ever,” and “truly incredible.” It’s a $390 million industry, expected to grow to at least $1.3 billion by 2022. Montel Williams has his own designer line of CBD products; so do Tommy Chong and Mike Tyson.
Despite the rave reviews, CBD is giving Washington a major headache. The Food and Drug Administration has different rules for regulating medicines and dietary supplements like vitamins — and it isn’t perfectly clear yet which category CBD, or cannabidiol, an extract of cannabis used as a home remedy for everything from anxiety to back pain, falls into. Congress, too, has struggled. Lawmakers passed a bill last year that officially legalized hemp, the plant from which CBD is extracted, but left the FDA will little guidance on how to regulate CBD.”
“Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s ‘monkey island.’ The surviving primates could help scientists learn about the psychological response to traumatizing events.”
“Glenna Gordon for The New York Times”
This is a longer read than normal; the article, though, is a journey through the trauma that Hurricane Maria visited on the inhabitants — human and others – of Puerto Rico and its islands.
by Luke Dittrich
“On Valentine’s Day, 2018, five months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Daniel Phillips stood at the edge of a denuded forest on the eastern half of a 38-acre island known as Cayo Santiago, a clipboard in his hand, his eyes on the monkeys. The island sits about a half-mile off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico, near a village called Punta Santiago. Phillips and his co-workers left the mainland shortly after dawn, and the monkeys had already begun to gather by the time they arrived, their screams and oddly birdlike chirps louder than the low rumble of the motorboat that ferried the humans.
“The monkeys were everywhere. Some were drinking from a large pool of stagnant rainwater; some were grooming each other, nit-picking; some were still gnawing on the plum-size pellets of chow that Phillips hurled into the crowd a half-hour before. Two sat on the naked branch of a tree, sporadically mating. They were all rhesus macaques, a species that grows to a maximum height of about two and a half feet and a weight of about 30 pounds. They have long, flexible tails; dark, expressive eyes; and fur ranging from blond to dark brown.”
Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today held the first of a series of information sessions for health care and service providers in preparation for the third phase of implementing the Community HealthChoices (CHC) program. CHC will coordinate health care coverage to improve quality for older Pennsylvanians and those with physical disabilities, serving more people in communities rather than in facilities, giving them the opportunity to work, spend more time with their families, and experience an overall better quality of life.
The third phase is scheduled for January 1, 2020, and will cover counties in central, northeast, and northwest Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.
“The Department of Human Services has seen great success with the CHC rollout in the Southwest and Southeast,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “The phased rollout of CHC has given us time to listen to participants, providers, and stakeholders and hear their experience with the program so that by 2020, we will be delivering the best care possible to more than 400,000 seniors and adults with physical disabilities across the commonwealth. We look forward to expanding the service offerings to the final regions in January 2020 and are preparing providers and eligible participants for this transition.”
Ahead of the final implementation, DHS has coordinated efforts with the managed care organizations to host provider information sessions as well as participant information sessions. Throughout May and June, provider sessions are being held in various locations around the Phase Three zone. In the fall, participant information sessions will be held offering eligible community members the opportunity to learn more about this program and to gather resources and ask questions to choose a plan that will meet their needs. Information about which counties are included in the final phase of implementation is available here.
“CHC is providing options for so many Pennsylvanians in their communities,” said Acting Secretary of Aging Robert Torres. “This is especially noteworthy because we know that the majority of older adults want to age in place. CHC is serving seniors so that they can have the opportunity to work and spend time with their families, all while having access to long-term services they need.”
CHC was established to enhance care and service coordination, improve health outcomes, and increase availability of community living options for individuals requiring long-term services and supports. By offering these services and supports in a managed care delivery system, DHS is working towards better quality of services for older Pennsylvanians and individuals with physical disabilities as well as budget predictability. Preliminary data from the Southwest shows that in CHC’s first year, the rate of individuals served in the community increased from 49.7 percent to 52.2 percent.
“One of our top priorities is to continue to enhance the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the supports and services available to serve more people in communities, giving them the opportunity to work, spend more time with their families, and experience an overall better quality of life,” said Secretary Miller. “This continued investment demonstrates a commitment to supporting elderly Pennsylvanians and adults with physical disabilities.”
CHC was first launched in southwest Pennsylvania in January 2018 and southeast Pennsylvania in January 2019. Currently, more than 210,000 older Pennsylvanians and adults with physical disabilities have an active voice when choosing how and where they receive their services and supports through CHC. The rollout in the remainder of the state will include approximately 143,000 individuals. When fully implemented across the state, CHC will impact more than 400,000 Pennsylvanians, 94 percent of whom are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
This listserv has been established for ongoing updates on the CHC program.
(MIKE REDDY FOR STAT)
by Mike Reddy
“CLEVELAND — Seven floors, and long odds, were stacked against John S. He was undergoing a test on the first floor of a Cleveland Clinic hospital when his nursing team — on the eighth floor — got a call, telling them the 57-year-old had developed a dangerously rapid heartbeat that was spiraling toward cardiac arrest.
“It is a predicament that often ends badly. Only about 25 percent of U.S. patients survive when their hearts stop in hospitals. Crucial minutes elapse before help arrives, sometimes because alarms are missed amid the din of beeping monitors.
“But the call that day didn’t come from within the hospital. It came from a darkened room in an office park several miles away, where a technician in the clinic’s Central Monitoring Unit (CMU) was watching the patient’s vital signs on a computer monitor and noticed the onset of ventricular tachycardia.”
Continue reading this STAT news article in its entirety, click here.
This Time Magazine article begins, “Global life expectancy averages out to 71.4 years. That means, of course, that some parts of the world see much shorter life spans, while others enjoy far greater longevity.
“Five places, in particular, fall into the latter category. They’re known as Blue Zones —named for the blue circles researchers drew to identify the first one on a map — and they’re home to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones and The Blue Zones Solution, told TIME why residents of these places live so long—and how you can steal their habits.”
When Older Americans Month was established in 1963, only 17 million living Americans had reached their 65th birthday. About a third of older Americans lived in poverty and there were few programs to meet their needs. Interest in older Americans and their concerns was growing. A meeting in April 1963 between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens led to designating May as “Senior Citizens Month,” the prelude to “Older Americans Month.”
Historically, Older Americans Month has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons to our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.
Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads our nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. The 2019 theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to:
- Connect with friends, family, and services that support participation.
- Create by engaging in activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment.
- Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
Communities that encourage the contributions of older adults are stronger! By engaging and supporting all community members, we recognize that older adults play a key role in the vitality of our neighborhoods, networks, and lives.
We encourage you to connect, create, and contribute for stronger and more diverse communities this May, and throughout the year.