KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Hospitals Try New Tactics To Reduce Hospital Falls

The nation's medical workforce grapples with preventing falls in the hospital to improve patient safety. In the meantime, seniors in some places of the country are more likely to fill prescriptions for high-risk drugs, and Miami's seniors lead the nation in filling Medicare prescriptions.

NPR: To Reduce Patient Falls, Hospitals Try Alarms, More Nurses
A bad fall in the hospital can turn a short visit into a long stay. Such falls featured in congressional discussions about patient safety, and in a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety about medical errors. Falls are one part of a multistate clash between nurses and hospitals over how to improve the safety of hospitalized patients. In Washington state, hospitals are required to report falls that happen on their watch to the state health department (Ryan, 10/16).

The Associated Press: Geography Affects What Drugs Seniors Prescribed
Where seniors live makes a difference not only in how much health care they receive but also the medications they're prescribed - as some miss out on key treatments while others get risky ones, new research shows. More than 1 in 4 patients on Medicare's prescription drug plan filled at least one prescription for medications long deemed high-risk for seniors, according to the study released Tuesday by the Dartmouth Atlas Project (Neergaard, 10/16).

The Miami Herald/Kaiser Health News: Miami Leads Nation In Medicare Drug Spending
Elderly Miami residents on Medicare filled more prescriptions for drugs in 2010 than seniors elsewhere in the country, and they were more than twice as likely as residents in Rochester, Minn., to fill at least one prescription for medications that have been identified as high-risk for patients over age 65, such as skeletal muscle relaxants, long-acting benzodiazepines, and highly sedating antihistamines (Chang, 10/16).

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