News and Updates for Healthcare Professionals

Study finds premature death rates diverge in the United States by race and ethnicity

Premature death rates have declined in the United States among Hispanics, blacks, and Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs) — in line with trends in Canada and the United Kingdom — but increased among whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), according to a comprehensive study of premature death rates for the entire U.S. population from 1999 to 2014. This divergence was reported by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and colleagues at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), both part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. The findings appeared Jan. 25, 2017, in The Lancet.

Declining rates of premature death (i.e., deaths among 25- to 64-year-olds) among Hispanics, blacks, and APIs were due mainly to fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, and HIV over the time period of the study. The decline reflects successes in public health efforts to reduce tobacco use and medical advances to improve diagnosis and treatment. Whites also experienced fewer premature deaths from cancer and, for most ages, fewer deaths from heart disease over the study period. Despite these substantial improvements, overall premature death rates still remained higher for black men and women than for whites.

In contrast, overall premature death rates for whites and AI/ANs were driven up by dramatic increases in deaths from accidents (primarily drug overdoses), as well as suicide and liver disease. Among 25- to 30-year-old whites and AI/ANs, the investigators observed increases in death rates as high as 2 percent to 5 percent per year, comparable to those increases observed at the height of the U.S. AIDS epidemic.

“The results of our study suggest that, in addition to continued efforts against cancer, heart disease, and HIV, there is an urgent need for aggressive actions targeting emerging causes of death, namely drug overdoses, suicide, and liver disease,” said Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., M.H.S., Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), NCI, lead author of the study.

“Death at any age is devastating for those left behind, but premature death is especially so, in particular for children and parents,” emphasized Amy Berrington, D.Phil., also of DCEG and senior author of the study. “We focused on premature deaths because, as Sir Richard Doll, the eminent epidemiologist and my mentor, observed: ‘Death in old age is inevitable, but death before old age is not.’ Our study can be used to target prevention and surveillance efforts to help those groups in greatest need.”

The study findings were based on death certificate data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Putting Engaged and Empowered Individuals at the Center of our Health Care System

At HHS, we are working toward transforming our health care system into one that puts individuals at the center. By making prices and quality information more accessible, providing the right tools to help people navigate the system, and listening to patients, we can help engage and empower people to take control of their health, something that’s good for them and good for our communities. Personally, I have seen first-hand what a difference the right information at the right time can make to someone facing a health care decision, which is why I signed on to help expand this work at HHS.

Earlier this month, Secretary Burwell hosted leaders who represent consumers, providers, health insurers, technology companies, and other industry perspectives to share their experiences with putting individuals at the center of the health care system and to help HHS leaders recognize ways we can walk the same path.

Read More

Final Recommendation Statement: Screening for Depression in Adults

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released today a final recommendation statement on Screening for Depression in Adults. The Task Force recommends that clinicians screen all adults for depression. The Task Force found evidence that screening in the primary care setting is beneficial. To view the recommendation and the evidence on which it is based, please go to Final Recommendation Statement: Depression in Adults: Screening. A fact sheet that explains the final recommendation in plain language is also available. The final recommendation statement can also be found in the January 26, 2016 online issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

MACRA Physician Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee Announcement

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announces the first meeting of the new Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee on February 1, 2016. The Committee is required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), and its members were appointed by the Comptroller General. On January 5, 2016, Secretary Burwell signed the Charter of the Committee. The Committee will review proposals for physician-focused payment models submitted by stakeholders based on criteria that the law requires the Secretary to establish through notice and comment rulemaking by November 1, 2016.

The Committee includes 11 members who are nationally recognized for their expertise in physician-focused payment models and related delivery of care. With authority delegated by the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Richard G. Frank, PhD has appointed Jeffrey Bailet, MD, as the Chairperson of the Committee and Elizabeth Mitchell as the Vice Chairperson of the Committee.

Dr. Bailet is an otolaryngologist and President of Aurora Health Care Medical Group in Wisconsin. Ms. Mitchell is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement in Maine.

Meeting information can be found by visiting the Federal Register Notice of Public Meeting.

More information can be found by visiting the Next Generation ACO, Pioneer ACO, Comprehensive ESRD Care Models web pages.

Finalization of the Affordable Care Act Federal Upper Limit

This notification is to update states and stakeholders on the finalization of the Affordable Care Act Federal upper limits (FUL) for multiple source drugs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to publish draft Affordable Care Act FULs calculated in accordance with the Medicaid Covered Outpatient Drug final rule with comment (CMS-2345-FC) for two months beginning in January 2016 before finalizing the FULs. The final Affordable Care Act FULs will be published in late March 2016 and will be effective on April 1, 2016 to coincide with the effective date of the final rule with comment. States will have up to 30 days from the April 1, 2016 effective date to implement the FULs. Thereafter, the FULs will be updated monthly on the website, and will be effective on the first date of the month following the publication of the update. States will, likewise, have up to 30 days after the effective date to implement the FULs. CMS also plans to publish an updated Methodology and Data Elements Guide used to calculate these draft FULs.

CMS will issue a monthly Listserv notification when the updated draft FULs are available on the website, and when the FULs are finalized. Further, CMS will continue to issue these monthly Listserv notifications to stakeholders when the updated monthly FULs are available on the website for the first six months after the finalization of the FULs.

Although CMS will no longer be publishing the draft Affordable Care Act FULs based on the methodology proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (CMS-2345-P) (77 FR 5345) published in February 2012, those draft files and the draft Methodology and Data Elements Guides used to calculate those FULs will be available on the website at the address provided below.

Once we publish the final Affordable Care Act FULs, the prior FULs calculated using the methodology at 42 CFR 447.332 (FUL Changes Made To Transmittal No.37 and Transmittal No.37 – FUL November 20, 2001), as in effect on December 31, 2006, under the authority of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 will no longer be in effect.

We look forward to continuing to work with you as you apply the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

Accountable Care Organization initiatives announced to improve health system care delivery

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced 121 new participants in Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiatives designed to improve the care patients receive in the health care system and lower costs. With this announcement, ACOs now represent 49 states and the District of Columbia.

ACOs are delivering better care, and they continue to show promising results on cost savings. In 2014, they had a combined total net program savings of $411 million for 333 Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program) ACOs and 20 Pioneer ACOs. Based on 2014 quality and financial performance results for Shared Savings Program ACOs who started the program in 2012, 2013, and 2014, those that reported in both 2013 and 2014 improved on 27 of the 33 quality measures, including patients’ ratings of clinicians’ communication, beneficiaries’ rating of their doctors, screening for tobacco use and cessation, screening for high blood pressure, and Electronic Health Record use. Shared Savings Program ACOs also outperformed group practices reporting quality on 18 out of 22 measures.

CMS also announced today that providers and hospitals have signed up to join new types of ACOs, which in addition to being paid for positive patient outcomes will also receive penalties for negative ones. With new participants in the Shared Savings Program (SSP), the Next Generation ACO Model, Pioneer ACO Model, and the Comprehensive ESRD Care Model, there will now be:

  • Nearly 8.9 million beneficiaries served
  • A total of 477 ACOs across SSP, Pioneer ACO Model, Next Generation ACO Model, and Comprehensive ESRD Care Model
  • 64 ACOs are in a risk-bearing track including SSP, Pioneer ACO Model, Next Generation ACO Model , and Comprehensive ESRD Care Model

More information can be found by visiting the Next Generation ACO Model, Pioneer ACO Model, Comprehensive ESRD Care Model web pages.

New Guidance for EPs Reporting the Diabetes: Hemoglobin A1c (CMS122v3) Measure for Program Year 2015

Due to an error found in the logic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is providing guidance on measure CMS122 (Diabetes: Hemoglobin A1c Poor Control), which is included in the 2014 measure set for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program for eligible professionals (EPs). Version CMS122v3 of the measure was posted on the CMS website in May 2014. A subsequent posting of this measure in 2015 (CMS122v4) resolved this issue for the 2016 program year.


CMS122 measures the percentage of patients 18-75 years of age with diabetes who had hemoglobin A1c > 9.0% during the measurement year. A patient meets the numerator condition if any of the following are true:

  1. The most recent HbA1c reading is > 9.0%;
  2. The most recent HbA1c result is missing; or
  3. If there are no HbA1c tests performed and results documented during the measurement period.

CMS122 is an inverse measure, meaning that lower scores indicate better performance. In 2014, this measure was updated as CMS122v3 to include logic and specifications for numerator condition (2), where there is evidence of a laboratory test’s having been performed, but the result of the test was not recorded. This logic introduced an error, which results in patients with HbA1c laboratory results of less than 9.0% as being numerator compliant, artificially inflating the (inverse) performance score.

What should you do if you report this measure?

Version CMS122v3 affects the 2015 program year and 2017 payment year for several programs including the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, the Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM) and the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative. Guidance for each program is provided below.

  • PQRS
    Reporting CMS122v3 will count as one of the nine measures required to satisfactorily report for the PQRS program. For PQRS questions regarding CMS122v3, please contact the QualityNet Help Desk at or 1-866-288-8912, TTY: 1-877-715-6222.

  • EHR Incentive Programs

    Reporting CMS122v3 will count as one of the nine measures required to satisfactorily report for the EHR Incentive Programs. For questions regarding CMS122v3, please contact the EHR Incentive Programs Information Center at 1-888-734-6433 or TTY 1-888-734-6563.
  • Value Modifier (VM) Program
    Based on this logic error, CMS will not include CMS122v3 in the calculation of the Quality Composite for the CY 2017 Value Modifier. For VM questions regarding CMS122v3, please contact the Physician Value Help Desk at or 1-888-734-6433 (press option 3).
  • Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (CPC)
    All practices are required to report 9 measures from the 13 CPC eCQM measures. If a practice is unable to report on a different CPC eCQM, then they should report this measure to meet the 9 measure reporting requirement for the CPC program. For 2015 CPC Medicare shared savings, CMS will not include this measure in performance calculations for quality scoring purposes. Practices that report on CMS122v3 will still be eligible to receive any Medicare shared savings based on their other reported eCQMs. For CPC questions regarding CMS122v3, please contact the CPC Support at: or 1-800-381-4724.

For more information on eCQMs, visit the
eCQM Library

AHRQ-Sponsored Continuing Education Activities

AHRQ offers continuing education (CE) and continuing medical education (CME) videos and articles on a range of health care topics including patient safety and patient-centered outcomes research findings. The CE/CME activities summarize reviews of evidence on the effectiveness and safety of treatments and strategies for improving patient care. These resources provide health care providers with skills and information to support individual decision making and patient management.

The activities are available at no cost for CE/CME credit here

Management of Insomnia Disorder

The term insomnia is variously defined to describe a symptom and/or a disorder. It involves dissatisfaction with sleep quantity or quality and is associated with one or more of the following subjective reports: difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, or early morning waking with inability to return to sleep.

Read Full Article

NIH unveils FY2016–2020 Strategic Plan

Detailed plan sets course for advancing scientific discoveries and human health.

Read Full Article

2014-2015 NIH Alzheimer’s disease progress report available online

A new online report provides an easy-to-read overview of recent National Institutes of Health-funded research advances and initiatives in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Issued by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at NIH, the annual report — 2014-2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Advancing Research Toward a Cure — discusses research momentum under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, describes research opportunities, and summarizes scientific advances in several areas:

  • Understanding the biology of Alzheimer’s, related dementias, and the aging brain
  • Identifying genetic influences on risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s, the most common form
  • Detecting the earliest Alzheimer’s-related brain changes, including further development of biomarkers to track the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s
  • Understanding gender and racial differences in the impact of Alzheimer’s
  • Stepping up translational research enabling the design and testing of new drugs
  • Testing in clinical trials potential new therapies to prevent, delay or treat Alzheimer’s
  • Finding better ways to support caregivers

The report includes searchable tables of NIA-funded clinical trials that are testing promising interventions for Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, age-related cognitive decline, delirium and dementia-related psychiatric conditions and symptoms—agitation, apathy and depression.

Read More

CDC issues guidelines on opioid prescribing for chronic pain

The CDC has released draft guidelines on prescribing opioids for chronic pain days after the National Center for Health Statistics reported a 16.3% jump in opioid overdose-related deaths in 2014. The guidelines, which don’t apply to pain associated with serious diseases or end-of-life care, call for primary care providers to be more conservative when prescribing pain drugs, such as prioritizing physical therapy and other non-opioid treatments. When opioids are needed, prescribers should use the minimum effective dose and short-acting versions of the drugs.

Read Full Article

Rates of Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Rise, More Action Needed to Reverse Troubling Trends

By: Richard Frank, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS

New CDC data shows the overall number and rate of drug overdose deaths increased notably between 2013-2014, driven in large part by continued increases in heroin deaths and an emerging increase in deaths involving illicit synthetic opioids. These new data reaffirm that we have not seen the peak of the opioid abuse and overdose epidemic and highlights the need for continued action to prevent opioid misuse and dependence to save lives.

Drug overdose death rates have never been higher. Data shows 18,893 overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers in 2014, which is an increase of 16%, or 2,658 deaths, compared to 2013 data. Prescription opioid-related overdose deaths are increasing in part because deaths involving synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and tramadol, increased by 79% from 2013-2014, totaling 5,544 deaths in 2014. Heroin-related deaths have more than tripled since 2010. Heroin-related death rates increased 28% from 2013-2014, totaling 10,574 deaths in 2014. Heroin is often cut with fentanyl – with or without the user’s knowledge – in order to increase its effect.

The opioid epidemic touches all of us. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell’s home state of West Virginia, for example, has the highest drug overdose death rate of any state in the country. These statistics reflect what we’re seeing across America, in communities large and small and among people from all walks of life – a rising tide of opioid abuse and overdose.

USPSTF Releases Fifth Annual Report to Congress

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF or Task Force) has released its “Fifth Annual Report to Congress on High-Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services.”

In 2015, the USPSTF continued to fulfill its mission of improving the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screening tests, counseling about healthy behaviors, and preventive medications. These recommendations help primary care clinicians and patients to decide together whether a preventive service is right for each patient’s needs.

In this annual report, the USPSTF has prioritized evidence gaps related to women’s health. Research in these areas would generate much needed evidence for important new recommendations to improve the health and health care of women in the United States.

Read More

Chartbook on Effective Treatment: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report

Read More

NIH researchers link single gene variation to obesity

Variation in the BDNF gene may affect brain’s regulation of appetite, study suggests.

Read Full Article

Final Recommendation Statement: Screening for Abnormal Blood Glucose and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released today a final recommendation statement on screening for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes mellitus. To view the recommendation and the evidence on which it is based, please go to
. A fact sheet that explains the final recommendation in plain language is also available. The final recommendation statement can also be found in the October 27, 2015 online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Health care costs for dementia found greater than for any other disease

NIH-funded study examines medical, care costs in last five years of life.

Read More

Precision Medicine: A Personal Journey for Answers

By: Jamie Roberts, Gaithersburg, Maryland

I’m a nurse and a patient—and I’m tired of hearing from my doctors that although they know what’s wrong with me, they don’t have many ideas for how to fix it. I was having continuing problems with a gastrointestinal (GI) bleed, and when my doctors suggested a risky procedure as a Hail Mary, I finally asked: “What’s the evidence for it?”

That’s why I’m excited about the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), announced by President Obama earlier this year. The core of the initiative is a plan to recruit a 1 million national research group of people, known as a cohort, to provide genetic, environmental and lifestyle data. Researchers will be able to use the data collected to make diagnoses and develop treatments that target individuals’ personal conditions.

Whether or not a treatment for my condition is found, I’m excited about this journey.

Perspectives on Integrating Behavioral Counseling Interventions into Primary Care

The recommendations and opinions of health care professionals play an important role in motivating and encouraging behavior change by their patients. Behavioral counseling interventions (BCIs) to promote healthy behaviors can significantly reduce leading causes of disease and death in the United States such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and lung disease. Recommendations for delivery of these interventions in primary care have been and continue to be an important part of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) portfolio of clinical preventive services recommendations. However, research on effective BCIs can be more challenging to understand and integrate into recommendations for primary care than other clinical preventive services such as screening or use of preventive medications. Researching and evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral counseling interventions can also be challenging. AHRQ recently sponsored a special supplement to the September 2015 issue of the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM)
, titled Evidence-Based Behavioral Counseling Interventions as Clinical Preventive Services: Perspectives of Researchers, Funders, and Guideline Developers. The supplement addresses research design and reporting characteristics needed by BCI researchers, and present other perspectives on the evidence needed for integration of BCIs into primary care to include the feasibility dissemination and implementation.

For more information about AHRQ’s Practice Improvement efforts visit the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research at

More Patients Getting Effective Treatment, but Progress Lags for Managing Chronic Diseases

More patients are getting the right treatment at the right time for their health condition, but progress remains modest for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma, according to AHRQ’s recently released
Chartbook on Effective Treatment
. Overall, about half of the 46 measures of effective treatment showed improvement. Nine of those measures reached optimal performance, including two related to effective treatment for heart disease—providing percutaneous coronary intervention to heart attack patients within 90 minutes and prescribing certain classes of drugs to treat heart disease upon hospital discharge. Meanwhile, four measures worsened over time, including two measures related to effective management of diabetes and one measure of regular use of medications to prevent asthma attacks. Research summaries for clinicians on management of diabetes and management of heart and blood conditions are available from AHRQ’s Effective Health Care program.

HHS Secretary Burwell announces new members of Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services

HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell today announced six new members to serve on the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services. The Council was established in 2011 and convenes quarterly to continue development and progress on the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease by HHS, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation to address the disease. The new members will replace the members whose terms had expired and those that retired in September and will advise the secretary on federal programs that affect people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and they will serve overlapping four-year terms.

Read more about today's announcement.

American Board of Medical Specialties To Offer Maintenance of Certification Credits for Physicians Participating in AHRQ EvidenceNOW Initiative

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has announced that it will provide an extra incentive for physicians participating in AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care initiative. ABMS issued a press release on October 5 noting that physicians who are board certified by one of 20 of the 24 ABMS member boards may now receive maintenance of certification credit for participating in EvidenceNOW. The goal of EvidenceNOW is to help clinicians in small primary care practices systematically implement the latest evidence to help prevent heart attacks and stroke. Through seven regional cooperatives, EvidenceNOW will provide quality improvement services for approximately 1,750 practices with more than 5,000 primary care professionals serving approximately 8 million people.

For more information about AHRQ’s Practice Improvement efforts, visit the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research at

AHRQ Studies Provide Insights into Primary Care Transformation

Materials synthesizing valuable insights and lessons learned from three AHRQ-funded grant initiatives on the transformation of primary care practices into patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) are now available on the
AHRQ Web site:

These materials can be used by those considering primary care transformation and those who are interested in understand the primary care transformation process:

  • Transforming Primary Care Practice (TPC) grants evaluated the process that primary care practices undergo as they transform into PCMHs. Materials related to this grant initiative include short profiles summarizing each project, a
    journal supplement
    in the Annals of Family Medicine, an annotated bibliography of the more than 50 peer-reviewed articles resulting from this grant initiative, and a
    summary report
    synthesizing findings across the 14 grants.
  • Estimating the Costs of Supporting Primary Care Practice Transformation grants explored the costs of implementing and sustaining transformative primary care practice redesign, including the direct costs of primary care transformation, such as staff time and equipment, and indirect costs, such as overhead and forgone revenue. Many studies also estimated the costs of attaining and maintaining PCMH recognition. Materials developed for this grant initiative include
    short profiles
    summarizing each project and a
    practical guide
    for measuring the costs of primary care transformation.
  • Infrastructure for Maintaining Primary Care Transformation (IMPaCT) grants provided funding to State-level initiatives that provided a quality improvement infrastructure for primary care through primary care extension agents. Each of the four “model” IMPaCT States developed collaborations with three or four “partner” States to share the successful infrastructure they had developed. Materials developed for this grant initiative include
    short profiles
    summarizing key aspects of each project, success stories highlighting unique accomplishments of each grant in its partner States, and a
    summary report

For more information about AHRQs Practice Improvement efforts visit the National Center for Excellence in Primary Care Research at

HHS announces $685 million to support clinicians delivering high quality, patient-centered care

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell today announced $685 million in awards to 39 national and regional health care networks and supporting organizations to help equip more than 140,000 clinicians with the tools and support needed to improve quality of care, increase patients’ access to information, and reduce costs. The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative is one of the largest federal investments designed to support doctors and other clinicians in all 50 states through collaborative and peer-based learning networks.

Read more about today's announcement.

Let’s Refuse to Accept Medical Errors as the Standard of Care for Frail Elders

By Joanne Lynn

Marcy Houle’s father was once abruptly discharged from a hospital to a nursing home that lost him! He went without water for so long that he developed renal failure. Those are just a couple of the calamities that Marcy encountered in caring for her parents, as described in her book, The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents from the Perils of Modern Healthcare. Co-author and geriatrician Dr. Elizabeth Eckstrom spells out how family caregivers might limit the harms. What’s missing? Effective anger! What happened is intolerable. But we need useful strategies that mobilize political force to insist upon change!

The problems in the care of the elderly are not “errors” in the usual sense of mistakes. In fact, they are baked right into our current delivery system. It was not simply that a nurse or aide slipped up on some critical step. Instead, all the nurses and aides and everyone else are working in a system that is so dysfunctional that actions that cause pain or neglect are not even called out as errors. Consider the profound error of simply not knowing what matters most to patients and their loved ones. Consider that patients have to use the emergency room, because that’s all we offer when things go badly, not on-call physicians or substitute caregivers who can deal with problems at home. Consider that we don’t have home-delivered meals for many elderly persons in need in most of the country; the wait lists often take more than 6 months, because we have not chosen to fund the Older Americans Act adequately. This is unacceptable! How can we complain effectively? Each family somehow believes that its situation is just bad luck or “how things are.” People have no benchmark by which to set expectations, so they accept the errors, suffering, and impoverishment that so often come with disabilities in old age.

Let’s change that. Let’s start raising the issues everywhere that we can: in the newspapers, in the candidate debates, when your Congressional representatives are in town, and in social media. Let’s build some highly reliable, person-centered elder care systems in our communities and see what it really costs. Let’s figure out how family caregivers can become politically powerful.

We’ve started an initiative to get family caregiver issues on the party platforms in all the states that generate party platforms. You can join the Family Caregiver Platform Project effort. It takes very little time and gets leaders talking. Go to to sign up. Tell them your stories, and fire up the anger. What else can you think of? We need other leverage points that would focus the pent-up frustration of millions of family members who have already witnessed the misery of ordinary elder care. That is a story that we can all absorb and tell others, and then we can go out and insist that our care system change. If we are lucky, we will all grow old. So it’s our future, too, not just our parents’!

Read more about refusing to tolerate errors in eldercare in our blog at

Most Americans will be misdiagnosed at least once

A panel at the Institute of Medicine urges communication between clinicians and patients to help reduce diagnostic errors.

Read the full article here:
Most Americans will be misdiagnosed at least once

Final Recommendation Statement: Behavioral and Pharmacotherapy Interventions for Tobacco Smoking Cessation in Adults, Including Pregnant Women

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released today a final recommendation statement on behavioral and pharmacotherapy interventions for tobacco smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant women. To view the recommendation and the evidence on which it is based, please go to
. A fact sheet that explains the final recommendation in plain language is also available. The final recommendation statement can also be found in the September 22 online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

Apps and Wearables in Healthcare – What Works? [From Our Partner]

To succeed in patient engagement, healthcare providers must embrace mobile. But how to prioritize the various innovative trends in mobile technology? What works, and what does not? In this new whitepaper, we share the latest research and the most successful mobile use cases:

A comprehensive guide for healthcare executives on:

  • Hospital Apps and their Role in Patient Engagement.
  • The State of Wearables in Healthcare – Time to Make a Move?
  • 6 Proven Steps to Develop an Efficient Mobile Use Case.

Make informed decisions and build a successful mobile strategy for your organization!

The Deans’ Genes and Precision Medicine: A Journey of Discovery and Hope

By: Don Dean, Spartanburg, South Carolina

One tumor is a difficult thing to face. Imagine having nearly 100.

Like my father, aunt, uncle and other relatives, I have a very rare hereditary condition where a mutation in what is called the MET gene causes cancerous tumors to continuously grow in my kidneys. Since my first visit to the National Institutes of Health in 1992, I’ve had to have one kidney removed and nearly 100 tumors excised from the other.

I lost my father and other relatives to this disease, but thanks to new advances in medicine, that doesn’t have to be my fate.

What I did not know at the time was that I was to be part of cutting edge science and medical care that’s become known as Precision Medicine. Precision medicine refers to treatments, therapies, and care tailored to individual patients. By looking at people’s specific genes and lifestyles, doctors and scientists, like those at NIH, can get the right treatment to the right person.

Skip footer