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Lack of specialty care, particularly for minority patients, is a contributing factor to the continued increase in mortality for people with diabetes, according to the American Association for Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) in Jacksonville, FL.
"Patients with diabetes have special health needs, which they and their physicians need to address. Studies have shown that patients who receive care from endocrinologists have better health outcomes. It is a critical component for managing this chronic condition," says Rhoda H. Cobin, MD, president of AACE.
She cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that show deaths from diabetes and its complications continue to increase.
Many patients are not even aware that there are diabetes specialists, Cobin says. "Minority patients — who are disproportionately impacted by diabetes — are the least likely to seek or have access to specialty care," she adds.
The current education and treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) does not adequately reflect the seriousness of the disease as a national public health concern, according to a new study.
The disease remains a threat, particularly in areas that are heavily populated by immigrants, the elderly, and people with immune system problems, researchers reported in the August issue of CHEST, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
MDR TB is a deadly form of tuberculosis that is resistant to two or more of the primary drugs used to treat the disease. It is transmitted through the air and can develop because of a lack of treatment, improper treatment, or noncompliance with drug therapy in patients with active TB.
"With expert care, we have the tools to diagnose and the means to cure TB and MDR strains, yet this disease continues to kill people in the U.S. and around the world," says David Ashkin, MD, FCCP, medical executive director at A.G. Holley State Tuberculosis Hospital in Lantana, FL, author of the study.
In the study, Ashkin examined the outcomes of Florida patients treated at least partially in a specialty treatment center and those treated only in outpatient community care.
Of the 81 patients with MDR TB (out of 5,516 cases of active TB), 45% of patients who received outpatient care died compared with 18% of patients treated in the inpatient specialty treatment facility.
During the first half of this year, 24 hospitals with 4,088 staffed beds have either closed their doors — partially or entirely — or announced plans to do so, compared with 20 for the same six months last year, according to an Ohio health care consulting firm.
Dynamis Healthcare Advisors of Cleveland said the closure trends this year are similar to those exhibited in 2000.
Five of the 2001 closures have been in rural communities, and 19 were urban hospitals. Seven of this year’s closures were for-profit and 17 were not-for-profit facilities.
Geographically, most of this year’s closures were in the Midwest, followed by the East Coast. Ohio led the list of closures with four closures or announcements.
At the same time last year, Ohio also led the list with five. Closures to date in 2001, according to the report, have affected 4,203 staffed beds and approximately 13,000 employees.