Health Highlights: June 1, 2010

By on June 1, 2010

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

PediaCare Products Recalled

Four PediaCare-brand children’s cold products have been recalled as a precautionary measure, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The voluntary recall by Blacksmith Brands Inc. of Tarrytown, N.Y., includes PediaCare Multi-Symptom Cold, PediaCare Long Acting Cough, PediaCare Decongestant and PediaCare Allergy and Cold, United Press International reported.

According to Blacksmith Brands, the recalled products were manufactured for it by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson, at its Fort Washington, Pa., plant. A recent FDA inspection of the facility found tiny particles in some non-PediaCare products made at the same plant.

For more information, consumers can contact Blacksmith Brands at 888-474-3099, UPI reported.

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Congress Misses Deadline to Delay Medicare Payment Cut

It may be more difficult for the 44 million Medicare patients in the United States to find a doctor after Congress missed a deadline to eliminate a physician pay cut for treating them.

The new cut took effect today and means that doctors may soon be paid 21.3 percent less to treat Medicare patients, ABC News reported. The deadline was missed because the Senate didn’t deal with the issue before adjourning for the Memorial Day break. The Senate returns on June 7.

“The Senate has turned its back on seniors,” Dr. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement released Friday. “Senators are more interested in heading home for the holiday than in preventing a Medicare meltdown for seniors… Already, about one in four Medicare patients looking for a new primary care physician have trouble finding one, and Congressional inaction will make it much worse.”

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that included a freeze on the Medicare payment cuts until December 2011, but the action came too late for the Senate to pass the legislation, ABC News reported.

Over the past eight years, Congress has delayed Medicare payment cuts nine times.

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Public Favors Shorter Shifts for Resident Physicians: Poll

Only 1 percent of Americans support the widespread practice of having resident physicians work shifts that are longer than 24 hours, finds a national telephone survey of 1,200 adults.

Under current rules, resident physicians can be made to work 30-hour shifts twice weekly.

The survey also found that the majority of respondents believe that resident physicians work shifts of fewer than 12 hours. Among the other findings:

  • 81 percent of respondents believe reducing resident physician work hours would be very or somewhat effective in reducing medical errors.
  • 81 percent of respondents believe patients should be informed if a treating resident physician has been working for more than 24 hours. Eighty percent said they would then want a different doctor.
  • Four out of five respondents support Institute of Medicine recommendations to limit the duration of individual work shifts of resident physicians to 16 hours, cap weekly work hours at a maximum of 80 hours, and ensure that residents have at least one day off a week.

The study, published in the online journal BMC Medicine, was funded by the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU and
Public Citizen, a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

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U.S. East Coast Faces Mosquito Woes

A wet spring followed by warm temperatures could mean a summer of mosquito misery for East Coast residents of the United States, according to experts.

The spring conditions provided perfect breeding conditions for the bloodsuckers.

“As of right now, it’s really ramping up in a big way in the Northeast, as it is down here in the Southeast where I am in Florida,” Joe Conlon, technical adviser with the American Mosquito Control Association, told FoxNews.com.

“The whole mosquito cycle has been pushed ahead,” David Henley, superintendent of the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project in Massachusetts, told the Boston Globe. “And they’re actively biting people because we’ve had so many warm nights.”

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Debt Stress Common Among Americans: Poll

About 46 percent of Americans are suffering debt-related stress, while about 53 percent have little or no such stress, according to a new survey.

Half of those who said they were experiencing debt-related stress said they had a “great deal” or “quite a bit” of stress, the Associated Press-GfK poll of 1,002 adults found.

Women, married couples, people ages 30 to 44, and those in households with an annual income of less than $20,000 had the most stress from debt. Men, retired people, those 60 and older, and those in households with an annual income of more than $100,000 had the least stress from debt, the survey found.

Democrats reported higher debt stress levels than Republicans, according to the new poll. Last year, Democrats felt better about their finances than Republicans, the AP reported.

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