APHA member examines relationship of college lifestyle and obesity; questions arise in Blue Cross Blue Shield MRI treatment; how the ‘Hatch Amendment’ would affect the Affordable Care Act; and are IUDs more preventative than birth control pills? These stories and more topping public health headlines today, Friday, May 25, 2012.

Kaiser Health NewsStates encounter obstacles moving elderly and disabled into community
A multi-billion dollar federal initiative to move low-income elderly and disabled people from long-term care facilities into the community has fallen far short of its goals, as many states have struggled to cobble together housing and other services. Launched in 2007 during the Bush administration, the states initially projected placing 35,380 Medicaid recipients in the first five years. As of March 31 at least 22,500 had made the transition, about 36 percent below the states’ target.

KTBSSkin cancer is most common in US
As summer quickly approaches, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has joined the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Park Service (NPS) to emphasize the dangers of skin cancer and has provided simple steps Americans can take to protect themselves. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designated the Friday before Memorial Day “Don’t Fry Day” as a way to highlight sun safety.

DOTmedMedical device tax repeal amendment added to Senate FDA user fee bill
Sen. Orrin Hatch said he would add an amendment to repeal an upcoming medical device excise tax into legislation to renew Food and Drug Administration user fees that the Senate is expected to tackle on Wednesday. The so-called Hatch Amendment would overturn the 2.3 percent excise tax, called for by the Affordable Care Act and expected to raise close to $30 billion over 10 years to help pay for the cost of health reform.

Southern Maryland OnlineCollege students’ weighty choices bring obesity to forefront
Control over their live choices is part of the college experience for students. But that authority is not without cost: Schedules are jammed and in-flux; exercise, homework and friends all compete for time. Parents aren’t around to clean up, nag about homework and grades, or cook nutritious meals. Faced with overwhelming choices, college students often end up gaining extra pounds. Moreover, at a time when obesity among Americans is a national epidemic, the college generation often is overlooked. “People don’t look at this age cohort as closely,” said Dr. Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting communities’ health and preventing disease.

Washington PostBlue Cross Blue Shield of Mass. Wants you to decide whether to pay $50 or $500 for an MRI
Let’s play a game. We’ll call it Health Care Choose Your Own Adventure: MRI Edition! Exciting, right? Right. You’re in your doctor’s office, and he’s got some bad news: You need an MRI. You now have a choice to make about where to go get it. There’s a large academic medical center, one of Boston’s best-known hospitals, where you will pay a $500 co-pay for the scan. About a mile down the street, there’s a community hospital. It’s not nearly as well known but when it comes to routine care, like MRIs, outcomes tend to be equally good. At that hospital, the MRI will cost you a $50 co-pay. So, what do you choose?

WebMDBirth control pill’s risk of failure is 20 times more than that of IUDs, implants
Women using birth control pills may have a 20 times greater risk of an unplanned pregnancy than women using longer-acting forms of birth control like an intrauterine device (IUD) or implant, new research shows. A major new study shows the failure rate of birth control pills and other short-term prescription contraceptives is much higher than previously thought, based on how women actually use them in real life. Researchers say the results call for a major shift in how women and health care providers think about birth control options.

BloombergReport: State tobacco prevention lacking funding
States have spent only about 3 percent of the billions they’ve received in tobacco taxes and legal settlements over the last decade to fund tobacco prevention programs. A report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says states have collected nearly $244 billion in taxes and settlement money since 1998. That compares with only $8 billion earmarked for state tobacco control efforts and is far less than the $29 billion minimum the CDC said should have been spent over that same period.

eNews Park ForestAffordable Care Act supports families of children with special health care needs
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday announced $4.9 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, primarily non-profit organizations run by and for families with children with special health care needs. “These centers provide the information that families need to make health care decisions that are right for their children,” Secretary Sebelius said. “Family-to-Family Health Information Centers are a good investment, and have a measurable and positive impact on families, and communities.”