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NHPCO reports one-year stay secured on benefits cut
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) reported that the nation's hospice community "claimed a significant victory" when President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The law, according to NHPCO, includes a one-year moratorium on cuts in Medicare funding for the more than 4,700 hospice programs in the United States, a move that had been made by the Bush administration last year
NHPCO said the phased funding cut would have taken $135 million away from hospices in FY2009, threatening quality end-of-life care for patients and eliminating about 3,000 jobs.
NCSL to conduct Health Disparities Project in U.S.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) in Denver announced in early March that it has launched the Health Disparities Project in an effort to not only identify possible disparities in health care for minorities in the United States, but also to inform policy makers to reduce any disparities.
"The short-term goal of the project is to provide resources and databases for state legislators to assess how state policy — either in place or under consideration — will impact health care quality and access for racial and ethnic minorities," said Melissa Hansen, a health policy associate at NCSL.
The NCSL said in a news release that, for example, American Indian women are almost two times as likely to die from cervical cancer than white women. African-American men, it said, are diagnosed with heart disease less often, but are 30% more likely to die from it than white men.
"This does not take into account those who remain undiagnosed, due to disparities in access to preventive care," the NCSL said.
The best practices and policy options discovered through the Health Disparities Project are expected to provide state legislators with access to various state models that work to reduce health disaparities.
NCSL said it will work with lawmakers to help them understand how specific policies either narrow or widen disparities in health care for racial and ethnic minorities.
The project is being conducted with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.
Hastings Center, Yale establish program in ethics
The Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institution, and Yale University have announced the establishment of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy.
Hastings Center cofounder, Daniel Callahan, and David H. Smith, director of Yale's Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, formalized what the two entities called long-standing ties between the two institutions at a signing ceremony at Yale in January.
"At a time when bioethics has more relevance than ever, The Hastings Center welcomes the opportunity to work closely with our colleagues at Yale to develop new knowledge and new insights," said Thomas H. Murray, president of the Center in a statement.
One aspect of the new collaboration is the inclusion of Yale faculty on Hastings Center projects, and Hastings scholars on Yale projects, as well as the development of new joint projects.
At the center, current projects include research into the role of medical technology in rising health care costs, values in health care reform, ethical guidelines for end-of-life care, the use of psychiatric medication in children, sports enhancement, and synthetic biology.