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Daily Rounds: No CA Blue Shield Increase; 'RoboNurse'; Spouses Who Sabotage Diets

Blue Shield of California to Forgo Rate Increase - NYTimes.com Blue Shield of California, a nonprofit insurer, on Wednesday withdrew its request to seek higher rates this year for individual policies amid stiff criticism from regulators and consumers. Some people would have experienced rate increases as high as 87 percent if Blue Shield had gone ahead with all of its planned increases. Blue Shield’s retreat echoed moves last year by WellPoint, the large commercial insurer whose proposed premium increases were met with stiff resistance that spread across the country and even evoked denunciations from President Obama. In making its announcement, Blue Shield emphasized its role as a nonprofit organization in seeking to provide insurance to as many people as possible. (nytimes.com)

RoboNurse: Coming soon to a hospital near you? - USATODAY.com Besides drugs, these robots can transport medical equipment, blood samples, meal trays, linens and other supplies. They're not meant to replace humans, their makers and employers say, but rather to free them to do the work that only humans can do. (yourlife.usatoday.com)

Dieting is tough enough without adding a sabotaging (if well-intentioned) spouse to the mix - The Boston Globe “I don’t stand a chance,’’ said Maffeo, 53, an administrative assistant at Fidelity Investments. Not against the custard pies Jerry brings home to Melrose from the North End, where he co-owns Martini’s News, or the cannolis he pushes, the chocolate bars he wants her to enjoy. “I’ve got a surprise for you,’’ he’ll call out cheerfully, entering with 3,000 calories of trouble...But what happens when one spouse’s enjoyment is another’s blown diet? Statistics on diet-wreckers are hard to come by. But experts see the behavior so often they have a term for it: the “sabotaging spouse.’’ Sometimes it’s inno cent (see Jerry, above), other times it’s more calculated. But one thing is for sure: With the spring dieting season upon us, spouses — chubby or not — are pointing fingers. (boston.com)

DEA: Georgia May Have Broken Law By Importing Lethal Injection Drug : NPR Records show Georgia bought the drug from an English distributor, Dream Pharma. In court, the Georgia Department of Corrections said it was not worried about the quality of its supply. But defense attorneys got records that showed the state may have violated federal law in obtaining the drug.
"Georgia has engaged in a pattern of illegality and shady misconduct to get drugs to execute people," says William Montross, an attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. (npr.org)

Doctor and Patient: What Makes a Hospital Great - NYTimes.com Hospitals have long vied for the greatest clinical reputation, and recent efforts to increase public accountability by publishing hospital results have added a statistical dimension to this battle of the health care titans. Information from most hospitals on mortality rates, readmissions and patient satisfaction is readily available on the Internet. A quick click of the green “compare” button on the “Hospital Compare” Web site operated by the Department of Health and Human Services gives any potential patient, or competitor, side-by-side lists of statistics from rival institutions that leaves little to the imagination. The upside of such transparency is that hospitals all over the country are eager to improve their patient outcomes. The downside is that no one really knows how. (ell.blogs.nytimes.com)

This program aired on March 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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