News From Around the Web
> Online stress management programs can lower stress levels, according to the results of a Cleveland Clinic study. Program participants, when compared to a control group, showed a "significant decrease in perceived stress" and "greatly improved emotional wellbeing," according to an announcement. The researchers found there to be a positive correlation between the volume of meditations completed per week and perceived stress reduction. Announcement
> Haptic devices--technologies that simulate the feel of an object--should be used by both children fitted with visual prosthetics and older congenitally blind and late-blind people, according to research published in the International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems. Such technology, researchers say, can provide tactile information to supplement electrical input received from a prosthetic and ultimately help the brain perceive the correlation between how an object looks and how it feels. Announcement
Health Insurance News
> Highmark can forge ahead with its planned purchase of West Penn Allegheny Health System, which it intends to use as the foundation of a new integrated health network to compete against rival UPMC. Although Highmark first announced its intended takeover of West Penn in June 2011, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department began reviewing the plans a few months later, providing approval of the affiliation on Monday. Article
> Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has reached a new value-based reimbursement model with Trinity Health-Michigan that aims to reduce premiums while coordinating care. Blue Cross and Trinity called the new model a first-of-its-kind arrangement that shifts reimbursements from fee-for-service payments to a focus on value, efficiency and improved population health. Article
> Patients undergoing eight commonly performed surgical procedures at critical access hospitals (CAH) are no more likely to die in the hospital than patients undergoing the same surgeries at non-CAHs, a study published online Wednesday in JAMA Surgery finds. In-hospital mortality for the general surgical, gynecologic and orthopedic procedures is "largely indistinguishable" between CAHs and larger, urban hospitals, the researchers concluded.
And Finally… I'd like a turkey on wheat and a $20,000 watch, please. Article