Daily Rounds: Entangled Medicaid Waiver Talks; Gummy Bear Cocktails; Spit Test For Pancreatic Cancer; De-Coding Black Death

Medicaid waiver entangled in safety net in Massachusetts - Jason Millman - (The Politico)"The extension of the Medicaid waiver that allows Massachusetts to operate its landmark health care reform has hit a roadblock over funding for “safety net” providers, who are facing a growing demand for care even though the state’s coverage expansion was supposed to limit their burden of caring for the poor. The waiver, which was part of the framework for the state reform, has been extended since June 30, when the current three-year agreement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was set to expire. Renewal is on hold as Massachusetts and CMS try to settle federal payments to the safety net institutions, according to sources who have been briefed on the closely guarded negotiations."

Underage Alcohol Usage: Soaking Gummy Bears In Alcohol Is Newest Trend For Teens "Teens are using gummy candy (bears and worms to be exact) to get drunk. They soak the candy in alcohol, reports. Darcy Jensen from Prairie View Prevention Services in South Dakota works with school districts to prevent teen drinking as part of the “Parents Matter” campaign. She sent out a warning to schools last week to warn them about the trend. It’s important for parents to be aware so that they can spot if their teen has tried it, she says." (Huffington Post)

Vitals - Spit test could be early indicator of pancreatic cancer "In a small study, pancreatic cancer patients were found to have different levels of certain bacteria in their saliva than healthy people did. While researchers weren't sure if the differences were linked to the cancer's cause or were an effect, the findings suggest there could someday be an oral test that screens for pancreatic cancer, said James Farrell, a gastroenterologist at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Currently there are no screening tests for the disease, and because it is typically caught only in its late stages, pancreatic is one of the most deadly cancers. About 95 percent of pancreatic cancer patients die within five years of their diagnosis." (

Black Death And Modern Plague Microbes Nearly The Same : Shots - Health Blog : NPR "Scientists have used DNA lurking inside the teeth of medieval Black Death victims to figure out the entire genetic code of the deadly bacterium that swept across Europe more than 600 years ago, killing an estimated half of the population. The researchers didn't find any genetic feature that could explain why the plague was so virulent, according to a report just published in the journal Nature." (

This program aired on October 13, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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