Researchers create sensor for measuring secondhand smoke; IOM warns against geographic-based reimbursements;

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> Researchers from Dartmouth College have developed tools that can detect the presence of secondhand and third-hand smoke. The device, according to an announcement, uses polymer films to collect and measure nicotine in the air, and a sensor chip records that data on an SD memory card. Announcement

Provider News

> Basing Medicare reimbursements on a geographic value index would likely "reward low-value providers in high-value regions and punish high-value providers in low-value regions," suggests preliminary research by an Institute of Medicine (IOM) study group. A geographic value index would adjust payments to providers within a defined area based on aggregated spending and quality measures, but the preliminary IOM report found variations in healthcare spending and hospitals across both small and large regions. Article

> Treatment changes or delays stemming from cancer drug shortages lead to worse outcomes and higher costs, according to a national survey to be published in the April 1 issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. Researchers analyzed responses from 243 oncology pharmacists and other health professionals involved in managing cancer drug shortages for academic medical centers, community hospitals and other cancer treatment facilities. Article

Health Insurance News

> Maine is considering expanding Medicaid, but not without some special conditions. Republican Gov. Paul LePage wants the federal government to cover 100 percent of all expansion-related costs for at least 10 years--seven more years than allowed under the reform law. In a letter to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew asked the agency to completely fund the state's Medicaid expansion. Article

And Finally... That's a lot of whiskey. Article

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