KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Scans, Hospital Infections At Heart Of New Quality Issues

The Boston Globe: Heart Scan Not Suggested For Low-Risk Patients
A new diagnostic imaging test that can detect plaque in the arteries of the heart is not an efficient tool for screening people not experiencing symptoms of heart disease, a recent study found (5/30).

The Associated Press/Boston Globe: VA Infection Issues Lead To 13,000 Veterans Tests
[Former Marine Herman] Williams is among 13,000 U.S. veterans who have been warned in the last two years that their blood should be tested for potentially fatal infections after possible exposures by improper hygiene practices at five VA hospitals in Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee. This Memorial Day finds the Department of Veterans Affairs under political fire and numerous veterans upset after enduring fear and uncertainty over their health (Sewell, 5/29).

The Sacramento Bee: Deadly Bacteria Lurk Inside Hospital Wards
California legislators passed some of the nation's toughest anti-infection laws in 2006 and 2008 to assure that patients are protected from dangerous bacteria in the hospitals that are supposed to heal them. That campaign has faltered, due to thin resources and missteps at the state Department of Public Health, which is charged with protecting the health of state residents (Schoch, 5/29).

CQ HealthBeat: Medicare Payments for Bone Density Tests to Plunge, Lawmakers Warn
Although bone density scans are recognized as pivotal in the early detection of osteoporosis, Medicare reimbursements for the procedure are scheduled to be cut in half by Jan. 1. Lawmakers are scrambling to avert the reduction. House and Senate members introduced bipartisan measures this week that would extend current reimbursement rates through 2013. The payments are for energy X-ray absorpitometry, or DXA, tests in a physician's office that measure bone density (Norman, 5/27).

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