Maryland grants providers access to state Rx drug monitoring program database; Computer algorithm could ID genes to help stop aging process;

News From Around the Web

> The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recently announced that providers now will have access to the state's prescription drug monitoring program database. According to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, the state has a goal to reduce overdose deaths by 20 percent statewide by the end of 2015. Announcement

> A computer algorithm developed by researchers at Tel Aviv University could be key to helping to stop the aging process, the school announced this week. The algorithm can predict which genes can be "turned off," thus creating the same anti-aging effect as calorie restriction. "Our algorithm is the first in our field to look for drug targets not to kill cells, but to transform them from a diseased state into a healthy one," Keren Yizhak, a doctoral student involved in the research, said in the announcement. Announcement

Provider News

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced 123 affordable care organizations have joined the Medicare Shared Savings Program for a three-year term that began Jan. 1. These new partnerships of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers--the largest in the program's history--brings the total of MSSP ACOs to 360. The new ACOs will offer access to high-quality, coordinated care to an additional 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the announcement. Article

> Becoming desensitized to the needs of dying patients is a major ethical concern among medical students, according to a new study conducted among third-year students at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Article

Health Insurance News

> Republican attorneys general from 11 states challenged the legality of reinstating canceled insurance plans without congressional approval and argued for tighter security around consumer data in the exchanges. Their remarks came in a Dec. 26 letter to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in response to invited comments on a proposed federal rule about Affordable Care Act implementation (CMS 9954-P). Article

And Finally... There's snow excuse for bothering the mayor's son like this. Article

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