Kaiser Health News — California hospitals lose ground in quality of care, report card shows
Nearly half of California hospitals received a grade of C or lower for patient safety on a national report card aimed at prodding medical centers to do more to prevent injuries and deaths. The Leapfrog Group, an employer-backed nonprofit group focused on health care quality, issued its latest scores last week. The report card is part of an effort to make consumers and employers aware of how their hospitals perform on key quality measures, so they can make better-informed health care decisions.
The Atlantic — Addicts who can’t get opioids are overdosing on a diarrhea drug
Opioid painkillers have an inconvenient, lesser-known side effect: terrible constipation. Perhaps then it’s no surprise that people addicted to opioids have considered the converse. If a drug that gets you high causes constipation, could a drug that causes constipation get you high? Yes, and that drug is another opioid called loperamide, better known by its brand name Imodium as an over-the-counter treatment for diarrhea. At extremely high doses—dozens or even hundreds of pills a day—it can produce a high or ease withdrawal symptoms. And in the middle of a national opioid epidemic, overdoses of loperamide are rising, too.
The New York Times — The cost of not taking your medicine
There is an out-of-control epidemic in the United States that costs more and affects more people than any disease Americans currently worry about. It’s called nonadherence to prescribed medications, and it is — potentially, at least — 100 percent preventable by the very individuals it afflicts. The numbers are staggering. “Studies have consistently shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled, and that approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed,” according to a review in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The Hill — Vulnerable Republican comes out against GOP health plan
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), a top Democratic target in next year’s midterm elections, is coming out against the GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Denham had not fully committed to a position before GOP leaders canceled a vote on the legislation last month. But he told a town hall meeting Monday night that he wouldn’t support the bill unless it kept provisions of ObamaCare like ensuring coverage for people with preexisting conditions and the Medicaid expansion.