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Daily Rounds: Blue Cross 'Distraction'; Marathons May Harm Hearts; Brits 'Healthier Than Americans'

Blue Cross board suspends its own pay - The Boston Globe “Obviously, this has become a great distraction,’’ Blue Cross chief executive Andrew Dreyfus conceded in an interview. Dreyfus said he called for the board meeting because “it was important that they make a statement’’ following a week of complaints from the public and some elected officials over the board fees and an $11 million payout given to former Blue Cross chief executive Cleve L. Killingsworth. “I recognize that the public was angry, outraged in some cases, over the size of my predecessor’s retirement package. I get it,’’ Dreyfus said. He reiterated that his own salary and retirement pay will be less extravagant — in the best case, about half of what Killingsworth collected. (boston.com)

When Exercise Is Too Much of a Good Thing - NYTimes.com "None of the younger athletes or the older nonathletes had fibrosis in their hearts. But half of the older lifelong athletes showed some heart muscle scarring. The affected men were, in each case, those who’d trained the longest and hardest. Spending more years exercising strenuously or completing more marathon or ultramarathon races was, in this study, associated with a greater likelihood of heart damage. The question of whether years of intense endurance training might, just possibly, be harmful to the heart is hardly new. It arises whenever a seemingly healthy distance runner, cyclist or other endurance athlete suffers a heart attack. It’s also sometimes invoked by those looking for an excuse not to exercise." (ell.blogs.nytimes.com)

BBC News - England 'healthier than the US' "Across all ages, US residents tend to fare worse in terms of diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease markers, data on over 100,000 people show.
The reason remains a mystery, says the US team, and challenges the idea that resources necessarily improve health. It may be due to the UK's bigger drive on health prevention, they say. (The BBC)

States slash $1.8 billion in mental health funds since 2009 - USATODAY.com "Since 2009, state legislatures have cut $1.8 billion in non-Medicaid mental health spending, according to a report released today by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Vital services cut include community- and hospital-based psychiatric care, inpatient housing and access to medications for tens of thousands of adults and children living with serious mental illnesses, the report says. Deeper cuts are projected for 2011 and 2012."On any given day, half the people with serious mental illness in this country receive no treatment," says Michael Fitzpatrick. (yourlife.usatoday.com)

For A Price, The Doctor Will See You Anytime : Shots - Health Blog : NPR "If people could get in to see their primary care doctor for urgent problems when they needed to and could work with that doctor to manage their chronic health problems, just about everyone agrees we could save a lot of money on emergency department visits and hospitalizations, among other things. Now a growing number of primary care physicians have decided that the solution to hamster-wheel care is to bypass the health insurance system entirely. By doing so, the doctors say, they save so much on overhead that they can afford to spend more time with fewer patients." (npr.org)

This program aired on March 9, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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