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7/29/2015

The CMS Office of the Actuary estimates that health care spending in the U.S. will rise an average of 5.8% each year from 2014 through 2024. The figure is higher than the projection of 5.7% made a year ago. Projected health care spending will increase to 6.2% per year on average from 2019 to 2024, while medical prices are projected to increase over 2% annually from 2016. The aging population, drug costs and rising costs for medical care are among the factors influencing cost growth.

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Reuters
7/29/2015

The FDA approved Reshape Medical's inflatable stomach-filling balloon to aid weight loss in obese adults with at least one comorbidity who have been unsuccessful using diet and exercise alone. Data from the company's clinical trials showed people who got the balloon lost about 7% of their total body weight over six months but more than two-thirds gained it back after the device was removed.

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FDA, ReShape Medical
7/29/2015

Merck will purchase cCAM Biotherapeutics in a deal worth $605 million. The deal boosts Merck's immunotherapy pipeline, giving it access to cCAM's monoclonal antibody, CM-24, which is in an early-stage trial as a treatment for advanced or recurrent cancers. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck will purchase all outstanding cCAM stock in exchange for a $95 million upfront cash payment, and shareholders of cCAM will receive up to $510 million in potential milestone fees.

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Merck, cCAM Biotherapeutics
7/29/2015

Personalized or targeted medicine might save Medicare money in the long run by reducing the use of unneeded or ineffective treatments, but the program will struggle to cover the costs of expensive care in the short term, experts say. The CMS is already testing new ways to pay for care, such as bundled and value-based models, and drugs may eventually be reimbursed based on outcomes, says Dana Goldman, a health policy and economics expert at the University of Southern California. Wearable biometric devices and smartphone technology will also drive down costs, says Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer Eric Topol.

7/29/2015

Mortality rates dropped 16% among Medicare patients from 1999 to 2013, and among fee-for-service beneficiaries, hospitalizations decreased 24% and costs for those who were hospitalized declined 15%, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Data were not available for managed care. Lead author Dr. Harlan Krumholz of the Yale School of Medicine credited the recent focus on hospital safety and more effective and timely care.

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USA Today
7/29/2015

A study in Alzheimer's and Dementia found Medicare patients who are misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's disease accrue an additional $9,500 to $14,000 in annual care costs. Patients who were mistakenly told they had Alzheimer's instead of vascular dementia or Parkinson's disease used more skilled nursing and home health care and had more hospital and physician visits, as well as additional claims for durable medical equipment.

7/29/2015

Cancerlike phenomena occur in organisms of all types as cells dance between competition and cooperation, according to research reported in Philosophical Transactions B. Rogue cells abandon their scripted roles in a given tissue type, undergoing "dedifferentiation," and those that develop into cancer escape biological protections designed to stop such proliferation. These cells behave pathologically to establish their own ecosystems, ultimately at their own expense. The team characterized growths in corals, mushrooms and cacti as cancerlike.

7/29/2015

Cattle producers should understand the nature of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship, which is created when the veterinarian and client agree that the veterinarian will collect and manage medical information about the animals and the client will follow the veterinarian's advice. The veterinarian will have direct and regular contact with the animals, and information will be stored in a medical record. Flooding is one time that this relationship is particularly important, and this article explains some medical concerns that arise when floodwaters flow, including parasites and bacterial infections.

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CattleNetwork.com
7/29/2015

The U.S. will likely pay nearly $200 million to poultry farmers to help cover losses suffered during what some have called the country's worst outbreak of animal disease. Forty-eight million birds in 15 states died during the outbreak. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the government should implement a disaster program for poultry farmers that resembles the one for livestock producers.

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Tom Vilsack, USDA
7/29/2015

Senate health committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said a bipartisan group is working with HHS to see what can be done to improve the EHR meaningful use program through executive orders. If needed, he said, Congress could develop legislation to address problems including the need for greater interoperability. Alexander said "precision medicine won't work very well if doctors can't easily use the information from your genome as they make their diagnosis or they transmit information."

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