Warn Your Grown Kids: Flu Killing Young Adults

Normally it’s those 65 and older who get hit hardest by the flu, but this flu season has been particularly deadly for young and middle-aged adults, causing many more deaths and dramatically higher hospitalization rates than the previous three seasons. The reason is a return of the dangerous H1N1 virus, or swine flu, that caused the 2009-10 pandemic. This particular strain of flu makes people “very sick, very fast, and it kills,” said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Tom …

Here’s What You Don’t Know About the Flu

The last flu season was a record-setter – and not in a good way. The season started early and hit hard. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the hospitalization rate for those age 65 and up was three to seven times higher than the previous three seasons, and more children died from the flu during 2012-2013 than in the past eight years. Yet even with the severity of last season’s flu, the CDC …

Attack of the Killer Sepsis

Science is once more reminding us that there are predators stalking the land no larger than a speck of dust but with the killing power of a herd of hippos. They are so small you can’t see them but you only have about a 50-50 chance of surviving their attack. They are called bacteria and the sepsis or blood poisoning they engender is killing 250,000 Americans a year. I was almost one of them. I am alerted to the danger …

How to Cut $200 Billion in Health Care Costs

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News The U.S. spends $200 billion each year – about 8 percent of the nation’s health care tab – on medical care stemming from improper or unnecessary use of prescription drugs, a new report out Wednesday says. Much of those costs result from unneeded hospitalizations or doctor visits, according to the study by the IMS Health’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which provides data and other consulting services to the health care industry. Medical costs are driven …

Caregivers: Program to Target At-Home Care to Cut Back on Repeat Hospitalizations

It’s hard to find a more stunning statistic: Nearly 45 percent of hospitalizations among nursing home residents enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid are avoidable. Because of their complex and chronic health care needs, annual spending for their care is more than $300 billion. The total 2011 costs for avoidable hospitalizations for this group are $7 billion to $8 billion. Now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a plan to stanch the hemorrhaging of money and unnecessary hospital …