Florida Doctors Struggle To Meet New Standards For Electronic Records; Arizona Faces Sharp Cuts In Residency-Training Programs

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "New federal standards unveiled last month require doctors to start using electronic medical records routinely, including logging patients' diagnoses and visits, ordering prescriptions, monitoring for drug interactions and making records accessible to other medical providers. ... Only about 20 percent of South Florida medical providers use electronic records now, experts said, and while many doctors are already making the change, some fear that older family physicians may one day close their practices rather than spend the money and time to go digital" (Cevallos and LaMendola, 8/16). 

Contra Costa (Calif.) Times: "The amount of money Los Angeles County paid to settle medical malpractice lawsuits shot up by 50 percent in two years, even though the number of total cases has dropped significantly, according to a report released last week. The county paid $8 million to settle those cases in 2005 and $12 million in 2007, according to the study from the Abaris Group, a Walnut Creek-based health care consulting firm. The 60-page report was commissioned by the Board of Supervisors to review the health department's efforts to prevent medical malpractice and improve patient safety" (Anderson, 8/16).

The Arizona Republic: "At a time when colleges are producing more student doctors in Arizona, sharp cuts in residency-training programs ultimately could worsen the area's shortage of primary-care physicians. State funding cuts are prompting several teaching hospitals in the Phoenix area to consider reductions or limits to training opportunities for young doctors" (Alltucker, 8/16).

The Denver Post: "While several Colorado cities and towns have already banned or restricted medical-marijuana businesses, others will ask voters in November if they want pot dispensaries in their communities. It's the type of do-or-die situation Tom Wilczynski has craved. … Wilczynski and the owners of 12 other dispensaries in Loveland have until Nov. 2 to persuade voters not to shut them down. At least three other municipalities in Colorado have placed the same question on their November ballot, including Granby, where voters will face two medical-marijuana decisions on the same ballot" (Whaley, 8/16).

The Southern Illinoisan: "Nursing home reform legislation signed into law a few weeks earlier by Gov. Pat Quinn that will require more staff members to care for residents is being hailed by many health care providers as a step in the right direction to improve the quality of care. But for many in the nursing home business, it's looking like a catch-22 because essential state money needed to help pay for the extra help isn't there because of the state budget crises that include Medicaid reimbursement delays" (Fitzgerald, 8/16).

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