Daily Rounds: New Car Seat Guidelines; Medical Storytelling; Katrina Hospital Trial; Prediabetes Rises

Kids should ride rear-facing longer, doctors say | Reuters Kids should sit in rear-facing car seats as long as they fit, or until age two, pediatricians urged Monday. After that, they should ride in booster seats up to age eight or if they're still too small to fit correctly in seat belts. "The best possible thing you can do is keep your child rear-facing as long as possible," said Dr. Benjamin Hoffman of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which issued the policy statement. "We hope we will be able to convince parents to keep their children rear-facing longer." (Reuters)

Patients benefit from listening to the stories of those dealing with similar ailments - The Boston Globe People going through a medical crisis have always shared stories or sought the advice of others in similar situations. But now storytelling may be becoming a formal part of the health care system. It’s easier to understand medical advice delivered by a fellow patient, Houston and others have found. It’s often more believable, too. Talking about their own medical problems can also help patients cope. And all medical care could be made better, another line of reasoning goes, if doctors would listen better to the stories their patients want to tell. (

Trial to Open in Lawsuit Connected to Hospital Deaths After Katrina - A jury trial set to open on Monday will weigh whether one of America’s largest health care corporations should be held accountable for deaths and injuries at a New Orleans hospital marooned by floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina. The class-action suit is expected to highlight desperate e-mail exchanges, not previously made public, between the hospital and its corporate parent. “Are you telling us we are on our own and you cannot help?” Sandra Cordray, a communications manager at Memorial Medical Center, which sheltered some 1,800 people, wrote to officials at the Tenet Healthcare Corporation’s Dallas headquarters after begging them for supplies and an airlift. (

Prediabetes on the rise in the U.S. - Diabetes doesn't pounce on a person out of the blue. Before the diagnosis, a person may linger on the fringes of the condition — blood sugar high but not yet over that line that is clearly diabetes — for years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released figures in January showing that the number of American adults with prediabetes had jumped from 57 million in 2008 to 79 million in 2010. During the same period, the number with full-on diabetes grew from 23.6 million to 26 million, the vast majority of which are Type 2 cases. (Los Angeles Times)

Medicare panel recommends 1% physician pay boost in 2012 — American Medical News Lawmakers should increase Medicare payment rates to physicians and prevent a massive across-the-board cut set for 2012, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommended in its annual March report to Congress. The commission suggested a 1% increase in doctor pay in place of the scheduled reduction. The report was released March 15, days after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services projected that doctor pay faces a 29.5% cut next year under the sustainable growth rate formula. The recommendation is not binding on Congress, although lawmakers sometimes use the advice as a starting point for congressional negotiations on preventing upcoming pay cuts. The 2012 reduction is the largest that physicians have faced to date. (

Health Care Overhaul Waivers Draw Kudos, and Criticism - Obama administration officials say they were expecting praise from critics of the new health care law when they offered to exempt selected employers and labor unions from a requirement to provide at least $750,000 in coverage to each person in their health insurance plans this year. Instead, Republicans have seized on the waivers as just more evidence that the law is fundamentally flawed because, they say, it requires so many exceptions. To date, for example, the administration has relaxed the $750,000 standard for more than 1,000 health plans covering 2.6 million people. The waivers have become a flash point as supporters and opponents try to shape public perceptions of the law, the Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama last March 23. (

This program aired on March 21, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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