Here are seven updates:
Officials extend deadline for health insurance
After heavy traffic of the HealthCare.gov website, federal officials extended the deadline for health insurance with a Jan. 1, 2016 start date by two days. Under the extension, shoppers have until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Dec. 17, 2015 or 1:59 a.m. Dec. 18, 2015 Central Time to sign up.
5th GOP debate addresses healthcare for 30 seconds
During the 5th GOP debate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush linked opioid addiction to immigration issues, and Donald Trump said healthcare in the United States isn't "winning." Click here to learn more about the debate.
University of Maryland Medical System plans $56M ambulatory care, surgery center
University of Maryland Medical System is planning to build a new, $56 million ambulatory care center in Baltimore. Administrators are currently finalizing the project details. The new facility will house a same-day surgery center.
CMS releases quality performance scores despite AMA's advice
For the first time, CMS released quality performance scores for individual physicians who opted to provide their data on its Physician Compare website. The American Medical Association claims the scores are incomplete and the CMS did little to help those physicians who did volunteer to submit their scores.
CT Senator urges UnitedHealth Group CEO to reassess leaving ACA exchanges
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote a letter to UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley asking the payer to reconsider pulling out of the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges. The senator referred to the decision as "shortsighted" and went on to say, "This insurer has ... an ethical duty to stay with the marketplace while it stabilizes and achieves even more enrollees in the very near future."
CDC issues voluntary guidelines for opioid use in outpatient settings
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued draft guidelines for prescribing opioids to chronic pain patients in outpatient settings. The guidelines feature scientific knowledge about the effectiveness and risks of long-term opioid therapy. In the guidelines, the CDC gives recommendations for initiating or continuing opioids and opioid selection, dosage, duration and follow-up.
Big data yields new insights for cataract surgery
The Intelligent Research in Sight Registry is looking through big data for cataract surgery outcomes. In 2013, the American Academy of Ophthalmology's IRIS Registry debuted as the country's first electronic health record-based comprehensive registry of eye disease and conditions. The registry now includes 17.6 million unique patients and 61 million patient visits recorder by 10,696 ophthalmologists.
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