Daily Rounds: Hospital Squeeze Tightens; Why Asthma Costs More; Med School Speed-Dating; Gonorrhea Superbug

Hospitals in Mass. feel fiscal squeeze - The Boston Globe "Health care professionals say the financial squeeze is likely to tighten - especially for community hospitals and those that treat low-income patients - as Medicare and Medicaid payments are reduced. Reimbursements from such public payers account for about 60 percent of revenue at the average Massachusetts hospital. 'We are entering what is going to be a down period for hospitals, especially those without market clout,' said John McDonough, director of the Center for Public Health Leadership at the Harvard School of Public Health. 'There will be far fewer independent, freestanding community hospitals. Some will close, some will be swallowed up by larger systems.'" (

Why You're Paying More to Breathe | Mother Jones "If you or someone you know has asthma, you've probably noticed that the price of inhalers has jumped—from as little as $5 a few years ago to as much as $60 today. How'd that happen? The answer is a case study in how drug companies turned a well-meaning environmental regulation into an opportunity to suck billions from consumers." (

More Medical Schools Are Screening Applicants Closely for People Skills - "At Virginia Tech Carilion, the nation’s newest medical school, administrators decided against relying solely on grades, test scores and hourlong interviews to determine who got in. Instead, the school invited candidates to the admissions equivalent of speed-dating: nine brief interviews that forced candidates to show they had the social skills to navigate a health care system in which good communication has become critical. The new process has enormous consequences not only for the lives of the applicants but, its backers hope, also for the entire health care system. It is called the multiple mini interview, or M.M.I., and its use is spreading." (

‘Alarming’ find: Gonorrhoeae strain resistant to all antibiotics - Medical Observer "Swedish scientists have reported the 'alarming' discovery of a variant of Neisseria gonorrhoeae that is resistant to all currently available antibiotics. The H041 strain is resistant to all cephalosporin-class antibiotics – the last remaining drugs still effective in treating a gonorrhoea infection, researchers said. 'This is both an alarming and a predictable discovery,' Dr Magnus Unemo, of the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria, said in a statement. (

Worcester Telegram & Gazette - - Intensive partnership "During the first three months of this year at Harrington Hospital in Southbridge, five patients who were expected to die, based on their conditions when admitted to the nonprofit hospital's Intensive Care Unit, survived, said Dr. Arthur R. Russo, chief medical officer. He attributes their survival to Harrington becoming the first independent hospital to join an eICU partnership with UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. Using two-way video technology, Worcester doctors help monitor Harrington ICU patients while doctors and nurses are at their bedside." (

This program aired on July 11, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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