Week In Review — Oct. 10

The Week In Review provides an overview of the past week's top healthcare content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news and upcoming events.


Income Inequality and Rising Health-Care Costs

A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey reports that health-insurance premiums rose by a “modest” 3% in 2013. Even more modest, however, was the 2.3% growth of workers’ earnings last year. These figures merely illustrate a long-term trend of rising health costs eating away at wages. The real story is even more dramatic: Government data show that health costs are the biggest driver of income inequality in America today. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Obama Ready to Ramp Up Ebola Airport Screening

The Obama administration is talking about ramping up screening of travelers who come from Ebola-infected countries. Many Americans are concerned that the virus may spread now that a patient has been diagnosed in Dallas. NBC News has learned that likely will mean adding CDC staffers at four airports: JFK in New York, Newark in New Jersey, Chicago and Washington Dulles. They'll question travelers about where they have been and take their temperatures. A fever can be one of the first symptoms of Ebola infection, although it's also a symptom of malaria, influenza and many other infections. Via NBC.

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Reform Update: Fewer Inpatients Means Design Changes for Hospitals

Declining hospital admissions, brought on by the increasing prevalence of high-deductible plans as well as other reform-linkedfactors, are leading to changes in the design and construction of healthcare facilities. “It's almost as if someone turned a spigot off on Oct. 1,” when admissions began to drop at his hospital, said Alan House, chief financial officer and vice president of finance at Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital. Pardee is a publicly owned hospital in Hendersonville, N.C., now managed by Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Healthcare. Via Modern Healthcare.

Medicare Fines Record Number Of Hospitals For Excessive Readmissions

Hospitals lately have been getting better at ensuring their patients don't relapse shortly after they walk out the door. Nonetheless, Medicare this week began docking a record number of hospitals for having too many readmissions. Over the next year, 2,610 hospitals will lose some of their payments for each Medicare patient they admit, Medicare records show. This is the third year the industry faces these penalties, which were created by the Affordable Care Act. This year potential fines are the highest: up to 3 percent of Medicare bills. Via NPR Health.

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Nobel Prize for Medicine Goes to Discoverers of Brain’s Internal GPS 

Anglo-American John O'Keefe and Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser won the 2014 Nobel Prize for medicine on Monday for discovering the brain's internal positioning system, helping humans find their way and giving clues to how strokes and Alzheimer's affect the brain. Via Reuters.

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Renovated Mayowood Opens Its Doors

The Mayowood mansion is reviving a grand flower show Sunday at the Rochester home of famed Mayo Clinic founder Dr. Charlie H. Mayo. Chuck Potter, president of the Friends of Mayowood, said that in 1924 or '25 there were 60,000 chrysanthemums in a long-ago mansion greenhouse and upon the surrounding grounds. Nearly 15,000 people ventured onto the mansion grounds to view them. Via Post-Bulletin.

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Rewriting the Genome: Even DNA Needs an Editor 

Now a new class of genome- and epigenome-editing tools is reshaping the landscape. From Arabidopsis to humans to zebrafish, researchers are finding that, generally speaking, when it comes to the genome, if they can dream it, they can build it…"This is a non-trivial nuance," explains Stephen Ekker, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, Minnesota. "There are many reviews that argue that what happens is that the guide RNA finds double-stranded DNA in an extended complex, like a PCR primer does, and then Cas9 comes in and cuts it. That's not how it works." Via Science Magazine.

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Hundreds of Doctors Meet at Mayo for Genome Conference

Doctors call it the future of medicine; genomics. It's the study of a person's DNA, and how it can help transform the way patients are treated. It's being done at Mayo Clinic's Individualized Medicine Center. Hundreds of doctors and healthcare professionals from around the world will be at Mayo Civic Center for three days for the Individualizing Medicine Conference, hosted by Mayo Clinic. Via KAAL.

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Project Pink: Tests Available to Assess Risk From Gene Mutation

However, it’s worth noting that because these gene mutations are rare, about 5 to 10 percent of cancer patients have a dominant gene mutation that affected their likelihood of cancer, said Stephanie Hines, chair of the division of consultative and diagnostic medicine for the Mayo Clinic…Ravin Williams, a certified genetic counselor at the Mayo Clinic, said most patients with a positive gene mutation are more worried about their children than themselves. She said doctors recommend waiting until children reach adult age to get them tested so they will be able to emotionally deal with the results. Via Florida Times-Union.


Mayo Clinic Named Most Social Media-Friendly Hospital in U.S.

Mayo Clinic is the most social media-friendly hospital in the U.S.,according to NurseJournal, Becker's Hospital Review's "Health IT & CIO Review" reports (Gregg, "Health IT & CIO Review," Becker's Hospital Review, 9/30). Via iHealthBeat.


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Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her new kitten, and exploring new foods.