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Study: Insured get the follow-up care

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Chicago It’s not how sick you are but whether you have health insurance that often determines how quickly you can get urgently needed follow-up care after emergency room treatment, a study has found.

Private insurance gives patients a far better chance of getting appointments within a week of treatment than does Medicaid or no insurance, according to the study of 430 clinics in nine U.S. cities.

The study, appearing in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association, comes amid growing pressure to avoid hospitalizing all but the sickest patients treated in emergency rooms — a strategy that depends on timely access to follow-up care, the researchers said.

The researchers had graduate students pose as patients treated in emergency rooms for pneumonia, rising high blood pressure, or suspected tubal pregnancies.

Students called clinics saying they’d been treated the previous night and had been urged to obtain follow-up care as soon as possible. Each student posed once as a patient with private insurance and secondly as someone with Medicaid or no insurance.

“Privately insured” callers were much more likely to get timely appointments than were those posing as Medicaid patients — nearly 64 percent versus 34 percent — and than those posing as uninsured patients — 65 percent vs. 25 percent.

Ferrer leading in NYC mayoral primary

New York Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer teetered on the edge of victory Tuesday over three other Democrats competing in their party’s primary for the chance to wage an underdog campaign against Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire Republican who enjoys broad support in this overwhelmingly Democratic city.

With all precincts reporting, Ferrer was just a few votes shy of 40 percent, ahead of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s 29 percent. Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields had 16 percent, and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller finished with 10 percent.

Ferrer was only hundredths of a percentage point short of the 40 percent he needed to avoid a runoff with Weiner. The outcome might not be known for several days until every vote is counted, including more than 25,000 absentees and other untallied ballots.

The winner goes into the general election on Nov. 8.

Three charged in Afghan prison case

Fort Bliss, Texas

An Army officer and two of his soldiers from a reserve unit have been charged in a prisoner abuse investigation in Afghanistan, the Army announced Tuesday.

Capt. Christopher M. Beiring, who led the Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Company, was charged with dereliction of duty and making a false official statement. He is the first officer to be charged in the investigation.

Investigators claim Beiring did not properly train or supervise soldiers under his command in legal uses of force, according to documents released by the Army.

Also charged were Staff Sgt. Brian L. Doyle and Sgt. Duane M. Grubb, both from the same reserve unit Beiring commanded.

Doyle faces charges of dereliction of duty and maltreatment. Grubb is accused of assault, maltreatment and making a false official statement for allegedly hitting a detainee known as Zarif Khan at least once in the leg and later lying about it.

Talks resuming on North Korea’s weapons

Beijing

North Korea insisted Tuesday it will not give up its right to civilian nuclear programs, raising questions about the possibility of a breakthrough as six-nation talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to abandon its atomic weapons resumed after a five-week recess.

Envoys from China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the two Koreas clasped hands together at a state guesthouse in Beijing before continuing the fourth round of talks since 2003 that have so far failed to resolve the standoff.

Chief North Korean negotiator Kim Kye Gwan said before he left for Beijing that his country will not tolerate any obstruction to its right to a peaceful nuclear program, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported.

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