Today’s Headlines – April 16, 2012

The New York Times: GOP Lawmakers And Romney Face A Delicate Tango
With Representative Paul D. Ryan’s budget plan, Republicans have already set the agenda on the key issue that divides the two parties in an age of austerity: how to manage the federal budget and its related entitlement programs. Mr. Romney has eagerly embraced it, campaigning with Mr. Ryan by his side and calling him “bold and brilliant.” But a disagreement between the parties over spending levels has paved a path for the sort of clash that led to the near shutdown of the government last year, and it could leave Mr. Romney in the position of having to choose between a loud public battle and a budget compromise with Democrats in the closing weeks of the fall campaign (Weisman and Steinhauer, 4/15).

Los Angeles Times: Health Care Pricing Still A Struggle For Consumers
Californians are still struggling to get straight answers about the cost of common medical procedures despite state efforts aimed at lifting the veil on medical pricing (Terhune, 4/15).

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The Wall Street Journal: Treating Wounds – The Holistic Way
Commonly known as bedsores, pressure ulcers can happen to vulnerable and ill patients over an extended hospital stay. Wounds can also start as a complication of diabetes, an ulcer from a problem leg vein or an infection at the site of a surgical incision. But they can last for months or years, and may never fully heal. And often, they are poorly understood and insufficiently treated, studies show (Landro, 4/16).

Los Angeles Times: California State Mental Hospitals Plagued By Peril
In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state, alleging that it was violating patients’ rights by heavily drugging and improperly restraining them and failing to provide appropriate treatment. The state settled, agreeing to an extensive court-supervised improvement plan at four hospitals with more than 4,000 patients. But a Times investigation found that the plan has failed to achieve the Justice Department’s main objective: to raise the level of care so patients could control their violent tendencies and would not be institutionalized any longer than necessary (Romney and Hoeffel, 4/15).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Big Gaps Found In Nursing Homes’ Plan To Protect Frail Residents In Event Of Natural Disasters
Tornado, hurricane or flood, nursing homes are woefully unprepared to protect frail residents in a natural disaster, government investigators say. Emergency plans required by the government often lack specific steps such as coordinating with local authorities, notifying relatives or even pinning name tags and medication lists to residents in an evacuation, according to the findings (4/16).