Health Highlights: July 25, 2007

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007; 12:00 AM

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments,compiled by editors ofHealthDay:

Presidential Panel Urges Better Care for Veterans

A hike in benefits for family members caring for wounded soldiers was among a sweeping series of changes recommended Wednesday by a presidential commission appointed to suggest better ways to care for the nation's veterans.

The nine-member panel, led by former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and former Health and Human Services secretary Donna Shalala, also recommended:

Establishing a Web site for easy access to veterans' medical records.Overhauling the way disability pay is awarded.Working with the private sector to improve treatment programs for combat-related disorders, including traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The commission's 29-page report was presented to President Bush in the Oval Office, theAssociated Pressreported. Bush hand-picked the panel in March, following revelations of substandard care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center near the nation's capital.

The report did not directly criticize nor attribute blame for the Walter Reed revelations, although it cited the need to move forward and improve care for all veterans, theAPreported.

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Drug-Resistant Infections Spur Jump in Hospital Stays

Hospital stays for a type of antibiotic-resistant staph infection known as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) jumped nearly 10-fold in the decade since 1995, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality said Wednesday.

There were 368,800 hospitals stays among MRSA-infected patients in 2005, up from 38,100 in 1995, the agency said.

MRSA is resistant to frequently used antibiotics, including amoxicillin and penicillin, the AHRQ said in a statement. It's often acquired by hospitalized patients who have had surgery or have weakened immune systems, but the agency noted a significant increase in the infection's incidence among otherwise healthy people.


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