Daily Rounds: Cost Control Shift; Mother’s New Little Helper; Casino Bill Medicine; Surgery For Silenced Singers

Industry trains its sights on controlling costs (Worcester Business Journal) – “Timothy Gens, executive vice president of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, said perhaps the best role for government is to set goals for health care cost control measures and hold everyone in the industry accountable for achieving them. But he stopped short of supporting too much intervention. He warned that getting too much into the details of specific reforms could hurt the industry. “Taking too many steps to control costs too much, to micromanage, is taking the issue too far,” he said. “There are some areas where the government just doesn’t have the expertise of those who are involved in this industry 24/7.” (Worcester Business Journal)

Sleep medication: Mother’s new little helper (nytimes.com) – “Mother’s little helper of the new millennium may in fact be the sleeping pill — a prescription not likely to inspire a jaunty pop song anytime soon. Nearly 3 in 10 American women fess up to using some kind of sleep aid at least a few nights a week, according to “Women and Sleep,” a 2007 study by the National Sleep Foundation, a nonprofit research group.” (The New York Times)

Casino bill would speed electronic medical records (boston.com) – “A section of a casino bill approved by both the House and Senate divvies up how the state will spend the tens of millions of dollars it hopes to rake in from the licensing fees for the bill’s three casinos and one slots parlor.
The largest slice of that pie, 23 percent of all licensing fees, would go to a fund designed in part to help the state switch to an electronic medical records-keeping system.” (The Boston Globe)

The surgery that saves silenced singers (NPR) – The biggest-selling pop artist of the year has gone silent. The British pop/soul singer Adele was forced to cancel the rest of her 2011 tour. Earlier this year, she suffered two vocal hemorrhages and will need to undergo surgery. Singers are in a high-risk business. Many famous singers have needed similar treatment. “Essentially, people who sing are vocal athletes,” says Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Voice Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. “So you can look at this as a not unusual scenario as an athlete getting an injury in that area.” (NPR)

How Willpower Works (boston.com) – “In dozens of studies conducted over the past 25 years, Baumeister has found that taking on specific habits – like brushing your teeth with the opposite hand you’d normally use – can increase levels of self-control. In a phone interview, he likened willpower to a muscle: “If you exercise it, you can make it stronger. There’s nothing magical about it.’’ He and others have also identified a host of things that can drain our willpower, including hunger and fatigue, while neuroscientists are struggling to understand exactly how the brain’s higher reasoning center – the prefrontal cortex – manages conflicting wants and needs to help us make the right decisions. The reason for all this interest? Willpower, it turns out, is one of the most important predictors of success in life.” (The Boston Globe)

Meet big soda — as bad as big tobacco (Time) — “The beverage industry, dominated by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, and represented by the American Beverage Association, has exercised its might against this public health initiative in ways reminiscent of the tobacco industry when it came under attack in the 1950s. The beverage industry argues that such taxes are “discriminatory” in singling out one category of food, that taxes would not work, and that government should not tell people what to eat. The tobacco industry said taxes would not work (they did work — tremendously well) and that government should stay out of people’s choice to smoke. (Time)

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