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Do you have questions about reproductive issues and infertility? On Friday, April 4, we will be chatting at noon with Dr. Kim Thornton, a reproductive endocrinologist at Boston IVF.
Massachusetts is dumping the contractor that created the state’s dysfunctional online health insurance marketplace and will likely hire a new company to fix the Health Connector website, a top state official said Monday.
There’s another kind of madness going on this March. More than 17,000 medical students anxiously await their fates on Match Day 2014. To mark the occasion, some Boston physicians shared memories from their own Match Days.
Dr. Gregory W. Randolph at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary answers seven of the most common questions about thyroid cancer.
At the TED2014 conference in Vancouver today, Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost the part of her left leg in last year’s bombing, danced onstage for the first time with a prosthetic built by an MIT engineer.
Personal finance website NerdWallet’s health care comparison shopping tool ranks the most affordable hospitals in Massachusetts based on federal cost, quality, and patient satisfaction data. Surprisingly, some of the best surgery deals are outside of Boston.
The juvenile court judge in the long-running custody case of Justina Pelletier said in court Monday that he will rule by the end of the week on a proposal by lawyers for the Connecticut teenager and her parents to return the girl home with certain conditions.
Massachusetts child protection officials are actively working to return 15-year-old Justina Pelletier, the teenager involved in a year-long custody fight that’s drawn national attention, to her home state of Connecticut, a spokesman for the state Department of Children and Families said Friday in the agency’s first public comment on the case.
The consultant brought in to help fix the state’s troubled health insurance marketplace acknowledged Thursday that its website may not be fully functioning by the end of June, and that one option under consideration is to scrap the multi-million-dollar site and start over.
A Connecticut teenager in the middle of a year-long custody fight between her parents and the Massachusetts child-protection agency is likely to remain for now at a Framingham residential facility where she’s been for the past month, and not move to a North Shore foster care placement that was discussed in juvenile court Monday, according to two sources briefed on the case.
A non-profit company led by former Massachusetts Congressman William D. Delahunt, which received three coveted state licenses last month for medical marijuana dispensaries, intends to give 50 percent of the company’s revenue to a management firm that is controlled by Delahunt and his business partners in the marijuana dispensary.
In the first ranking of its kind, US News & World Report published a list of the top residencies, including two right here in Boston. Medical students wringing their hands about their futures might use this list to inform their selection process, but they probably shouldn’t.
Officials running the state’s troubled insurance marketplace reported progress on Friday toward addressing its most immediate problem—a massive backlog in processing and entering applications into its system.
Dr. Victor J. Dzau, the current president and CEO of Duke University Health System and chancellor for health affairs at Duke University, has been appointed to a six-year term as the next president of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), effective July 1, 2014. Dr. Dzau will take over the lead role from Dr. Harvey Fineberg, who served in the position for twelve years.
The potential deal among Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health of Burlington, and the Atrius Health confederation of doctors groups would have created a health care system rivaling Partners Health Care System, the parent of Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals.
The head of the state’s beleaguered health insurance marketplace, which was once a national model, broke down in tears Thursday, as she described how demoralizing it has been for her staff to struggle with a broken website that has left an unknown number of people without coverage.
Nearly two years after Massachusetts lawmakers approved legislation mandating minimum standards for dementia special care units, state regulators Wednesday finalized new rules that will require at least eight hours of initial training for workers in such units, and four additional hours annually.
The Massachusetts Health Connector, which runs the state’s failed health insurance website, is hiring technology firm Optum to a 30-day, $9.8 million contract to fast-track repairs, Governor Deval Patrick announced Thursday at a Beacon Hill news conference.
Health officials Friday revealed the names of the companies that will receive the first 20 licenses to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts. But what does this mean for residents, patients, and the medical community? Get your answers from Karen van Unen, the executive director of the medical marijuana program at the Mass. Department of Public Health.
After much anticipation, state health officials Friday revealed the names of the companies that will receive the first 20 licenses to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts, although it will likely be summertime before any open their doors for business.
Hannah Orestis has no health coverage, despite her best efforts. The 27-year-old nurse from Marlborough selected a plan that was supposed to start in January through the Massachusetts Health Connector Authority, which runs the state’s insurance marketplace. She mailed a check on Dec. 24, but it was never cashed.
Dr. Arnold “Bud” Relman’s frequent writing about medicine has made him a notable voice among physicians. But, for a piece published in the latest edition of the New York Review of Books, Relman takes on an entirely new role for himself: helpless patient.
Nine public health organizations and their partners will receive up to $4.75 million over the next three years from the state’s Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, created under the 2012 health cost control law.
Massachusetts officials knew in July, three months before the launch of the state’s ill-fated health insurance website, that the technology company in charge was far behind on building the site and that there was “a substantial and likely risk” it would not be ready, according to a state official’s memo.
The recent State of the State address by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin sounded the alarm on the rampant opiate problem in his state. A crime and addiction researcher shares her thoughts on the status of opiate drug abuse today and what we can do to combat this problem.
The state public health department is conducting an outside review into the deaths of two women soon after giving birth at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, agency spokeswoman Anne Roche said Tuesday. She said she could not provide details because the inquiry is ongoing.
Representative Steven Walsh, a Democrat from Lynn who helped to draft the state’s first-in-the-nation health care cost control legislation in 2012, has been named executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals. Walsh will start the new role in March, when he is expected to resign the House seat he has held since 2002.
Karen van Unen, a long-time health administrator, was named Monday as executive director of the state’s nascent medical marijuana program, an appointment that comes with ultimate authority to decide which companies are granted licenses to open dispensaries where the drug will be sold.
An independent technology firm will review Massachusetts’ failed health insurance website and make recommendations about how to move forward in rebuilding a system that allows people to easily shop for and buy coverage online.
Cherif Kamel had been struggling for weeks to secure health insurance coverage through the state’s online health insurance marketplace. He thought he had done it at the end of December. He chose a plan and paid his first premium, only to find out days later that the Massachusetts Health Connector, which runs the marketplace, had no record of his final enrollment.
A water pipe began leaking Tuesday morning at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, causing flooding and requiring the hospital to cancel elective surgeries and move about 30 patients.
The VA New England Healthcare System said Tuesday that it has dropped plans to make the Bedford VA Medical Center part of the Boston system.
Minuteman Health launched just as the state’s new insurance website went live this fall, knowing that many people would be shopping for new insurance to comply with the Affordable Care Act. Chief executive Tom Policelli talks about how the company has been affected by problems at the Massachusetts Health Connector.
People newly enrolled in a health insurance program for the poor were more likely to visit the emergency department for care than people who remained uninsured, Boston-area researchers have found, providing the best evidence to date that the national Medicaid expansion that began this week is unlikely to lead to a decline in costly emergency services.
A Brookline psychiatric hospital is again accepting patients, but on a limited basis, after the state gave preliminary approval to its plan for correcting serious safety and human rights violations found by inspectors, including the forcible strip-search of a patient.
The Massachusetts Health Connector website was taken down for scheduled maintenance Wednesday, with about two weeks remaining for those who need it to secure coverage by January.
The range of health care services children can receive at store-based medical clinics in Massachusetts was significantly expanded by state regulators Wednesday, a change that will allow toddlers as young as 18 months old to receive immunizations at MinuteClinics
Boston psychologist Dr. Monica O’Neal shares her tips with readers about treating and understanding depression.
Beth Healy and Megan Woolhouse report in today’s Globe about the dominant role that Deloitte Consulting plays in state contracting, including at the Massachusetts Health Connector.
With three weeks left in the year, not one person has been fully enrolled in a health insurance plan through the beleaguered Massachusetts insurance marketplace after it was revamped Oct. 1 to comply with the national Affordable Care Act.
The state’s largest hospital and physician organization will consolidate administrative operations from 14 sites and move 4,500 non-hospital employees into a new office building to open in late 2016.
It will take 10 years to fully phase in a new law intended to better protect consumers from counterfeit, stolen, contaminated or otherwise harmful prescription drugs, like the tainted pain medications from a Massachusetts pharmacy that killed 64 people in a national fungal meningitis outbreak, federal regulators said Monday.
NH hospital technician sentenced to 39 years after stealing drugs, infecting patients with hepatitis
CONCORD, N.H. -- Concluding one of the most egregious cases of misconduct by a hospital technician, a federal judge in New Hampshire on Monday sentenced a former Exeter Hospital employee to 39 years in prison after he plead guilty to an elaborate drug-stealing scheme that infected 45 patients nationwide with hepatitis C.
It happens two or three times a day in hospitals: Doctors hand off their patients to the next shift, sometimes standing in the hallway with their pagers ringing and the frenzy of the hospital swirling around them. Important information about a patient’s condition and treatment needs can get lost in the shuffle, a known cause of medical errors.
Massachusetts General Hospital is preparing to send as many as two dozen volunteers to the Philippines to provide health care on the island of Panay, which took a direct hit earlier this month from Typhoon Haiyan.
Boston health officials are investigating several reports of severe infections in patients who traveled to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery.
A music video featuring pediatric patients and staff at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock singing Katy Perry’s song “Roar” has gone viral on YouTube, reaching 3 million views last week.
Federal and state prosecutors said Monday they are making progress in their investigations of last year’s deadly fungal meningitis outbreak traced to a defunct Massachusetts speciality pharmacy, but are not ready to bring criminal charges.
Massachusetts General Hospital shared a dispatch from Dr. Miriam Aschkenasy, working with the International Medical Corps. in the Philippines.
Worcester trumps Boston for the most popular place in Massachusetts to open a medical marijuana dispensary, according to a list released Friday by state regulators of the 100 applicants vying for a license.
The 2013 Mayoral Prize for Innovations in Primary Care recognized projects at Boston Medical Center, Healthworks Community Fitness, and Bowdoin Street Health Center.
Four Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center physicians trained in disaster relief treated nearly 800 patients on Wednesday and Thursday from a tented clinic near the site of a badly damaged hospital in the storm-shattered Philippine city of Tacloban.
The list of companies vying to open Massachusetts’ first medical marijuana dispensaries has been pared down significantly, according to the latest numbers released Thursday by state regulators.
Elder advocates say the Massachusetts Department of Public Health appears to be dragging its feet in finalizing long-awaited rules for Alzheimer’s and dementia care units in nursing homes.
Seven people from Massachusetts General Hospital working with the International Medical Corps. arrived in the Philippines Monday. On Thursday, the group flies to the Western Visayas region, to start their work in hard-hit coastal communities east of Roxas City.
Boston’s teaching hospitals have been so widely praised for saving dozens of Marathon bombing victims that trauma surgeons worry the state will grow complacent. They met with legislators Tuesday to remind them that luck and timing played a role on Patriot’s Day, and that the trauma system still has gaps that require attention.
Roughly 1,800 elderly and disabled Massachusetts residents will receive help moving back to their homes and communities from nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, through new contracts announced Tuesday by the Patrick administration.
Jessica Kensky, an oncology nurse who was seriously injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, worked at Massachusetts General Hospital only about 18 months when she was injured. Hospital employees stepped forward with more than 7,000 hours of donated vacation, holiday, and sick time.
President Obama will nominate Dr. Vivek Murthy of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital as surgeon general of the United States, the White House announced Thursday night.
More than half of people hospitalized for medical reasons are given highly addictive prescription painkillers, according to Boston researchers who examined non-surgical treatment at 286 hospitals.
Universal Health Services, the largest operator of freestanding psychiatric centers in the country, has a history of staffing problems at its hospitals around the country, but this record has rarely factored into reviews by state regulators — including in Massachusetts.
Jon Kingsdale was key to launching the 2006 state health care law. In 2010, he turned down the Obama administration’s offer to help implement the Affordable Care Act. I asked him why.
Sunday’s Washington Post story about the breakdown in the White House’s management of the Affordable Care Act is a must-read.
Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay the state of Massachusetts $62.5 million to settle allegations that it improperly marketed two antipsychotic drugs for people who had dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and offered kickbacks to a pharmacy company to increase prescribing of the drugs for those conditions.
The state Senate passed a bill Wednesday requiring compounding pharmacies that custom-mix sterile drugs to obtain a special license from the state pharmacy board, submit to annual inspections, and report more information about their operations. But, unlike the plan approved last month by the House, it temporarily exempts a large segment of the industry: hospital pharmacies.
President Obama is headed to Boston today to try to bolster public support for the national health care law, beset by technological woes and claims that the program is not as advertised. Here’s a look at some of the news coverage in the lead-up to his visit.
Insurance enrollment was slow to start in Massachusetts, too, but state had time and favor on its side
President Obama visited Boston on Wednesday to speak about the Affordable Care Act, pointing once again to Massachusetts as evidence the law will work.
Progress made on global health problems in this millennium, in particular through partnerships forged by groups such as the Harvard School of Public Health and his family’s foundation, serves as a model for addressing the world’s wider troubles, President Clinton said during a visit to Boston Thursday.
Massachusetts regulators proposed new rules that would require physicians and other staffers to provide information about advanced and palliative care choices for the terminally ill.
Public health officials voted Wednesday to scrap controversial letters that Massachusetts public schools send parents about their children’s weight, following widespread criticism that the practice led to bullying and excessive costs for schools.
A week after the state’s updated health insurance shopping website began the process of enrolling people in coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act, business seems to be moving along steadily though not without some website glitches.
Patients would be able to go online to check the safety record of Massachusetts compounding pharmacies that custom-mix medications and the businesses would be subject to surprise inspections under legislation unanimously approved by the House Wednesday and aimed at preventing a repeat of the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak blamed on steroid injections made by a Framingham speciality pharmacy.
A federal court has ruled that Boston University can proceed with its decade-long push to study some of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases in a South End laboratory, a decision that leaves the university needing only permission from local health officials before the controversial research can begin.
The weather may be cooling off but state public health officials are warning that mosquito-borne illnesses are still a threat, after two more Massachusetts residents have been diagnosed with West Nile virus, bringing this season’s total to six
Earlier this year, I wrote a story about Gary Votour’s legal battle with neurosurgeon Dr. Sagun Tuli. Votour’s wife, Lyn, died of complications from bone cancer and soon after, he blogged about his dissatisfaction with the medical care Tuli had given her.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has joined the growing list of consumer and health advocates who are urging federal regulators to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and to clamp down on youth-oriented advertising of the increasingly popular product.
The vast majority of the 181 applications competing to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Massachusetts were approved Monday to continue on to the second and final round, when the number will be whittled to just 35 licenses.
Eric Beyer resigned Thursday after only two years as chief executive of Tufts Medical Center, effective immediately.
Dr. Gene Lindsey will no longer be leader of Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and Atrius Health, the health care groups announced in a press release Tuesday.
There’s a yawning gap between what people say is important to discuss about death and dying, and what actually happens, a new survey finds.
Under its agreement with state regulators, Cerberus Capital Management soon will be free to sell its 11-hospital Steward Health Care System, fueling speculation about the company’s plans. The talk among hospital executives intensified this month when Steward Chief Executive Dr. Ralph de la Torre put his seven-bedroom West Newton Hill home up for sale. But his spokesman said the former cardiac surgeon is committed to staying in Boston and does not plan on a career change.
A Suffolk County woman is the third Massachusetts person this year diagnosed with the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, the state Department of Public Health announced Friday.
Public health officials on Wednesday approved Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s proposed $450 million research and outpatient center, deciding that the project will allow the hospital to better care for patients.
Thousands of older Massachusetts residents, many with dementia, receive health care and participate in social activities in adult day programs that are not licensed and routinely inspected, but proposed rules unveiled by state regulators Wednesday would change that.
Former President Bill Clinton, and his daughter, Chelsea, will be among the dignitaries honored next month at the Harvard School of Public Health as the institution celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Connecticut health officials said Friday that two patients treated at a VA hospital in West Haven may have been exposed to a rare, deadly brain disease from potentially contaminated surgical equipment that was also used in New Hampshire and in Massachusetts.
More and more hospitals are using data to monitor physician performance and pay them based on these measurements. Big data is helping us make gains in quality. It should not, however, become our philosophy along the way.
Five patients at Cape Cod Hospital may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease as a result of spinal surgery performed with a potentially contaminated specialized instrument that also exposed patients at a New Hampshire hospital.
As many as eight patients at a New Hampshire hospital may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease from surgery equipment that previously was used on a patient who likely had the incurable disease, state health officials said Wednesday.
State health officials Wednesday said residents of in the Merrimack Valley community of Tyngsborough face a critical risk of being infected with Eastern equine encephalitis, an often lethal mosquito-borne disease, after discovering a horse there infected with the virus.
Joseph Carey Merrick, better known to the world as the Elephant Man, died more than a century ago, but his life might hold lessons for the U.S. health care system today. The New Repertory Theatre, which begins performances of “The Elephant Man” on Saturday, will host a symposium on how the play reflects on the modern-day role of medicine in human rights.
Hundreds of Massachusetts residents may have been inadvertently exposed to measles, a highly contagious disease, while visiting two hospitals in Greater Boston last month, state health officials said Tuesday evening.
Former Medicare chief Dr. Donald Berwick said Obama administration officials should abandon a rule that is leaving many older Americans without coverage for expensive rehabilitation care after they leave the hospital.
In Massachusetts, more than 18,000 doctors care for nearly 700,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield members under an alternative way of paying for medical treatment that is meant to control costs and reward physician groups that keep patients healthier. These physicians may be changing how they treat their other patients as well, a new study suggests.
A national effort to push nursing homes to stop using powerful antipsychotic drugs to control patients who should not be receiving the drugs appears to be working, according to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
A Plymouth County man in his 70s has become the first person in the state this year to be diagnosed with West Nile virus. The man was hospitalized but recovering, the Department of Public Health announced Monday.
As the state begins vetting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries, the Boston Public Health Commission is asking for authority to permit and inspect the shops to be opened in the city.
More than 100 applicants on Thursday filed requests for a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Massachusetts, but nearly two-thirds may ultimately be turned away. Under the state law approved by voters last November, the state may license only 35 dispensaries this year.
A Norfolk county woman in her 80s has died of Eastern equine encephalitis. She was the first Massachusetts resident this season to be infected with the often lethal mosquito-borne illness, state public health officials announced Tuesday.
Compounding pharmacies in Quincy and Norwood have been shut down after a surprise state inspection found several alleged violations.
My patient’s son started by expressing his appreciation for the medical team’s work. But, he explained, in his quest to help his mother, he’d also heard of a new online crowdsourcing service that he thought might help come up with a diagnosis.
A new state report describing the Massachusetts health care market provides an interesting snapshot of where patients go for medical care and the cost. I hit on some highlights in Wednesday’s Globe, including the dominance of Partners HealthCare compared to other provider groups.
Massachusetts nursing homes that advertise specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care units will be required to provide workers with at least eight hours of initial training to care for such residents, and four additional hours annually, under proposed rules unveiled Wednesday by state regulators.
A plea deal with a former New Hampshire hospital employee accused of infecting patients with hepatitis C shows for the first time the extent of his drug-stealing scheme, and how little hospitals communicated with each other to stop this troubled employee from harming patients elsewhere.
Twenty-three Massachusetts hospitals will pay larger penalties to the federal government this year under a Medicare program meant to improve care for some of the sickest seniors, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News. Another 32 hospitals will see penalties decline.
The Massachusetts Medical Society released a public opinion poll about how people feel about health care in the state, seven years after the passage of Romneycare. The overall message: People are fairly happy with their care, though they wish it were cheaper.
If you’re interested in knowing how much money your local hospital or HMO spent on community benefits and the programs it supported, the latest reports are here.
We reported last month that Atrius Health was the only “pioneer’’ accountable care organization in Massachusetts that came in 2.1 percent over budget in caring for Medicare patients, and would have to pay back the government to make up for some of those losses.
Dialysis patients at Boston Medical Center were exposed to hepatitis B in March because nurses lacked access to computerized medical records that would have told them one patient was infected, a state health department investigation concluded.
Consumer Reports released a new hospital rating report today, using Medicare data to show significant differences in how hospitals perform on 27 kinds of elective surgery, and unleashed a familiar debate.
State health officials say a horse in Belchertown, near Amherst, is the first this season in Massachusetts to be diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis, a potentially lethal mosquito-borne disease that infected seven residents last year
This season’s first batch of mosquitoes detected with Eastern equine encephalitis, a potentially lethal infection, have been detected in Amherst, an area of Massachusetts that has not typically been plagued by the virus, state health officials said Tuesday.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center paid $5.3 million on Monday to settle allegations by the federal government that it overcharged Medicare by admitting patients to the hospital who should have been treated less expensively as outpatients.
A note on the Globe’s stories Sunday about the Boston Marathon bombing. The Aurora, CO, cinema shooting last July, which killed 12 people and injured 58 others, played a key role in preparing Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston to treat the onslaught of victims injured in the explosions at the Marathon finish line on April 15.
In Sunday’s Globe, I wrote about the response of Boston hospitals to the Marathon bombing and lessons learned in caring for dozens of unidentified patients. Here is a fascinating account of remarkably similar issues that Massachusetts General Hospital encountered during the tragic 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire that killed 492 people.
Massachusetts public health officials, concerned about potential rabies cases, are asking anyone who may have touched a young black and white calf in a pasture adjacent to Gray’s Ice Cream in Tiverton, RI to contact them as soon as possible.
With the final rule implementing a national law on mental health parity expected to be released this fall, former congressman Patrick Kennedy launches new initiative focused in part on how best to implement it.
Using Florida data and specific physician practices as examples, reporters Peter Whoriskey and Dan Keating explain how a secretive committee routinely overestimates payments for physician labor.
A second former employee of Arbour Health System has signed an agreement with the state admitting that he falsely represented his clinical qualifications while working for the for-profit company, a major provider of mental health services in Massachusetts.
Early results of a key program of the Affordable Care Act, designed to reduce the cost of caring for Medicare patients, are somewhat promising.
Johns Hopkins Hospital reclaimed the top spot on the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals honor roll, displacing Massachusetts General Hospital.
New health care subsidies created under the Affordable Care Act could prompt about 900,000 people to leave their jobs because they are no longer wedded to the insurance plan offered by their employer, Marketplace reporter Dan Gorenstein reports.
Patrick Muldoon has been named chief executive of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, the first permanent appointment to that post since the retirement of Dr. Walter Ettinger in January 2012.
They are both miserable diseases, but a sweeping study from Boston scientists finds that people who develop cancer appear to have a significantly reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease -- especially those treated with chemotherapy.
Vincent Ng, who has been serving as acting director of the VA Boston Healthcare System, will assume that role permanently, replacing long-time leader Michael Lawson, who retired.
Governor Deval Patrick said Thursday that he will not block repeal of a state mandate for employers to provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty.
Starting as soon as next month, patients who arrive with a traumatic brain injury at two Boston emergency departments could be enrolled in a medical study, possibly without their consent.
Massachusetts pharmacists who specially mix injectable and other sterile medications would be required to take continuing education classes, and their pharmacies would have to provide patients with the number of a staffed hotline to report problems, under legislation approved Tuesday by the Joint Committee on Public Health and aimed at preventing a repeat of the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak blamed on a Framingham speciality pharmacy.
Massachusetts hospitals last year reported more serious errors during surgery and other invasive procedures than they had in 2011, Liz Kowalczyk reported in Sunday’s Globe.
In the Monday sports section of the New York Times, Tim Rohan explained some of what has happened to Marathon survivor Jeff Bauman since the blast destroyed his lower legs.
Massachusetts employers, which are required to pay a penalty if they fail to provide health insurance for their workers, are likely to get an 18-month reprieve from the mandate, a central piece of the state’s first-in-the nation health care law.
Pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities are likely to face greater scrutiny under the $34 billion budget approved by lawmakers this week. The spending plan, which was sent to Governor Deval Patrick for his approval, includes an additional $1.3 million for pharmacy inspections and an extra $1.2 million for review and inspections of hospitals and other health care facilities.
Recently, during one of my last shifts as a resident, I was supervising my intern as we admitted a middle-aged man, Mr. S, who had been transferred from another hospital. His history was complex, the diagnosis unclear. His wife handed us a thick stack of radiology reports, lab test results, and physician notes. For the moment, Mr. S appeared stable, breathing comfortably on supplemental oxygen from a mask. We had time to examine him, go through the records, and think about his symptoms.
The state medical board’s general counsel has resigned, and its spokesman was fired on Monday, building on two years of turnover at the agency. Special Assistant Russell Aims was let go after about nine years with the Board of Registration in Medicine, charged with licensing and disciplining doctors. General Counsel Brenda Beaton had started in the role in 2006.
Dr. Terrie E. Inder will be chairwoman of the newly named Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Can a four-minute video on empathy prompt a change in the culture on a unit where staff members have demonstrated apathy to patient needs?
State inspectors found filthy conditions and patients left unattended on Quincy Medical Center’s psychiatric ward for seniors, prompting regulators to temporarily prohibit admissions to the unit last month while the hospital fired at least two managers.
Cheryl Bartlett, a nurse and longtime community health leader, was tapped Wednesday to be Massachusetts’ new public health commissioner. Bartlett, a Hyannis resident, has been the state’s acting health commissioner since May, following the departure of acting commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith
A study published Monday found that, among some of the most expensive patients, a large majority of hospital costs may be unavoidable.
The move is the latest example of a community hospital seeking to join a larger health care network as the medical market consolidates.
Dr. Robert Gabbay has led various projects investigating new models in health care in Pennsylvania, where he is director of the Penn State Institute for Diabetes and Obesity.
Dr. Robert Sege, is director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center and professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. He helped to write the American Academy of Pediatrics policy on firearms and was invited to the White House last week for a briefing on firearms safety.
I wrote in today’s Globe about a chain of for-profit mental health clinics in Massachusetts that repeatedly have been cited for allowing unlicensed or unsupervised counselors to treat patients. Several readers have commented on the role of for-profit companies in mental health care and, more broadly, the generally low payments for mental health services.
Several groups vying to open dispensaries that sell marijuana for medical use are urging Massachusetts regulators to require prospective purveyors to provide substantial proof, including sworn affidavits, that they have raised the mandated $500,000 application fee.
Boston Children’s Hospital announced today that it plans to open the first-ever hand transplant program for children and teens, Liz Kowalczyk wrote in today’s Boston Globe. The hospital ethics board has required that the child -- and not just the parents -- agree to the procedure, a requirement that is typical in research involving children.
Health officials are investigating an outbreak in Wellesley of E. coli, a bacterial infection that causes stomach distress and can be serious.
McLean Hospital won state approval Wednesday for a $12.5 million expansion of its Belmont campus. The project features a three-story addition to its existing admissions building and 31 new beds for psychiatric patients. The Public Health Council approved the project, which the hospital said is needed because of increasing demand for psychiatric treatment, particularly in its short-term care and psychotic disorders units.
Understanding how health insurance works is difficult enough. But Tara Siegel Bernard of the New York Times writes today about just how much some seniors and their caregivers are struggling with long-term care insurance.
State: Morton Hospital pediatric unit, slated to be closed, provides critical care Mass. presses Morton Hospital to reconsider closing pediatric unit
Morton Hospital’s pediatric unit, slated to close next month, provides critical access to health care for children in the Taunton region, according to a strongly worded state finding that, though not binding, is meant to pressure the hospital to reconsider.
There was some strong debate on Boston.com over the weekend about the idea of enrolling people in a study without consent. Reader “keithdouglas” wrote, “It is unethical. End of discussion.” Others took a less hard-line approach.
Due to a glitch in the law and the deep partisan divide in Congress, nearly 4 million people may be ineligible for federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, Tracy Jan writes in today’s Globe.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which has been rapidly expanding its ties with community hospitals, said Thursday that it has signed a clinical affiliation agreement with Signature Healthcare Corporation.
Meet Padi. The 2,500-year-old mummy that resides at Massachusetts General Hospital is undergoing some restoration work on Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A former top official at the Massachusetts Medicaid office has been fined $25,000 for repeatedly violating the state’s conflict of interest laws by seeking a lucrative job at an international technology company while he was in charge of awarding a no-bid contract to the firm on the state’s behalf.
After just three years at Harvard Medical School, Dr. William W. Chin, executive dean for research announced on Monday that he would leave next month for a job with a pharmaceutical trade group in Washington, D.C.
Boston Medical Center is considering closing a portion of its campus and eliminating 85 beds to save money in the face of state and federal budget cuts and to shift more resources to outpatient services, Robert Weisman writes in today’s Boston Globe.
‘I’m living, and you’re learning’: An interview with the woman who studied one of the world’s most famous research subjects
Suzanne Corkin, emeritus professor of neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has just released a book about Henry Gustave Molaison, an amnesic long known to the world as H.M.
This isn’t deja vu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out a press release today about a “multistate outbreak of infections following steroid injections,” and it’s not about New England Compounding Center.
Cambridge Health Alliance officials said Wednesday they will not shrink services to children and teens with acute mental illness this year, as they had planned. The hospital system backed off a proposal to consolidate psychiatry units serving children and teens and to cut the total number of beds from 27 to 16, a week after the state Department of Public Health issued a letter saying those services were critical to eastern Massachusetts.
I write in today’s Globe about Muji Karim’s recovery after a fiery car wreck in 2011 and how he is using his experience to help Marathon victims and other trauma survivors to picture their lives after injury. Karim’s care was so complicated that it took him awhile to understand all that doctors had done in treating him. Some details he prefers not to know. But in March 2012, seven months after the crash, the 30-year-old from Quincy went in for a check-up with Dr. Simon Talbot, a surgeon, with questions ready.
A warning to parents and health care providers in Massachusetts from a poison control specialist in Colorado: As the use of medical marijuana becomes more prevalent, so too do reports of young children inadvertently ingesting the drug and ending up in the hospital.
Psychiatry beds that Cambridge Health Alliance plans to eliminate in budget-cutting efforts are critical to “preserving access and health status” for children and teens throughout eastern Massachusetts, a state health official has determined.
In an eerie echo of last year’s national fungal meningitis outbreak, the US Food and Drug Administration warned Friday that an injectable steroid produced by a compounding pharmacy in Tennessee has caused problems for at least seven people.
Dispensaries granted a license to sell marijuana for medical use in Massachusetts will be required to pay a $50,000 annual fee under proposed regulations unveiled Friday. The regulations also include a $50 annual registration fee for patients.
A $250 million Medicare windfall for Massachusetts hospitals appears to be on the brink of expiring. The state’s congressional delegation is pushing to preserve what critics have dubbed the “Bay State boondoggle,” Tracy Jan writes in today’s Globe.
The state’s new Health Policy Commission is moving forward with a cost and market impact review of Partners HealthCare System’s plan to acquire South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, the first test of its ability to influence the ongoing hospital consolidation trend in Massachusetts. A statement issued by the commission staff Wednesday afternoon said executives at South Shore and Boston-based Partners, which owns Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s hospitals, were notified that the commission will examine how the proposed merger of the two highly paid health care providers is likely to affect costs and the state’s health care market. The commission was created by last year’s state health cost containment law as a watchdog to monitor changes in the health care market.
Christina Severin will assume the posts of president and chief executive of the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization in late June. In January, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center launched the organization, known as BIDCO, with doctors and other hospitals as it looked to adapt to a national movement toward payment systems that provide a single, set fee to care for each patient’s health. BIDCO, formed with the medical center’s physician group and partner hospitals, aims to improve care by emphasizing wellness over treatment. Since 2006, Severin has served as president of Network Health, a Tufts Health Plan subsidiary. She has also taught classes in health care administration and management at Boston University, Northeastern University, and Harvard University.
After failures at a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy caused hundreds of people to be sickened by tainted drugs, state officials called for better oversight of the industry and Governor Deval Patrick pledged an additional $1 million to help the Department of Public Health conduct routine inspections. But that money has been cut from the Senate’s proposed budget, prompting Rachel Zimmerman, of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog to ask, “Really?”
I wrote in Sunday’s Globe about nine trauma nurses at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center who played a very private but critical role in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing: They cared for gravely wounded suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a heavily-guarded ICU, nursing him back to health. E-mails from readers across the country, commending and thanking them, have been pouring in.
Two brothers who grew up in Stoneham, each of whom lost a leg in the Marathon bombing last month, engaged in playful competitive banter during a news conference Monday at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.
Audrey Shelto of Newton will be the next president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.
It was the first day of a new rotation. I was getting to know my patients, trying to match faces and diagnoses with names on my list. A frail man with end-stage heart failure, Mr. T was too weak to walk and spent most of his time in a reclining chair. He had been in the hospital for weeks with pneumonia, kidney failure, and several other complications. He was quiet, unlike most of my other patients. No one came to visit him.
Norwell cardiologist Dr. Ronald Dunlap has been elected to a one-year term as president of the Massachusetts Medical Society.
US hospitals charge Medicare widely varying amounts for the same medical procedure, even when those hospitals are in the same city or right across the street from each other, according to data released Wednesday by the federal government. The data are attracting lots of attention from the media, but the findings probably won’t surprise Massachusetts consumers.
Companies hoping to sell marijuana for medical use in Massachusetts will be required to hire an independent lab to test their products for contaminants, such as heavy metals and pesticides, under final rules that regulators approved by unanimous vote Wednesday morning.
State Attorney General Martha Coakley warned insurance trade group that she will continue scrutinizing health plans to be sure they comply with state law on coverage for people with mental illness.
About 500 children each year arrive at the Boston Children’s Hospital emergency room with chest pain, a symptom that is rarely serious. In the past, many of them received tests they did not need, including EKGs, echocardiograms, stress tests, and around-the-clock monitoring using electrodes attached to a portable device.
The announcement by the two hospitals comes amid a swell of consolidation in the health care market, in Massachusetts and nationally.
A new analysis of Oregon Medicaid recipients found that, while coverage lowered depression, it did not improve key health measures, such as blood pressure or blood sugar levels.
Dr. Emil “Tom” Frei III, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute doctor who developed treatment that cured childhood leukemia, died on April 30 at age 89.
An analysis of Massachusetts data published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine found that specialists were more likely than primary care doctors to receive payments from device makers and drug companies. More than half of urologists, gastroenterologists, and rheumatologists received a payment over two and a half years.
After successful surgery, face transplant recipient Carmen Blandin Tarleton said she is ready for the next chapter in her life.
Jarrod Clowery, a 35-year-old carpenter injured in the Marathon bombings, said he is drawing strength from his friends, also victims, who are “tough as nails.”
Emergency doctor: Training and bravery were most critical in saving lives, but timing of Marathon attack was ‘opportune’
Three people died at the scene, after the bombing of the Boston Marathon. But every person transferred to a hospital survived, the chief of emergency services at Mass. General writes in a perspective piece.
Partners HealthCare’s top physician, Dr. Thomas Lee, is leaving that job to become chief medical officer for consulting group Press Ganey Associates.
It wasn’t a decision Heather Abbott ever expected she would have to make. But, after doctors had tried for nearly a week to save her foot, injured in the blasts on Marathon Monday, she gave the go-ahead to amputate.
Dr. Saul N. Weingart, a prominent health care quality expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has been recruited by Tufts Medical Center to be the hospital’s chief medical officer.
The decision by insurers and hospitals to help bombing victims with their medical bills was an act of generosity. But should similar assistance be offered to other victims of violence or accidents?
Consolidations and new partnerships between hospitals and doctors could be a driver of health cost increases, a report by the Massachusetts attorney general said.
The devastation was incredible. About 2,000 people were killed and thousands more injured when a munitions ship exploded in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia. That was 96 years ago. Boston responded then, sending doctors and others to help the devastated city. In thanks, each year, Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to stand in the Boston Common. After Boston was rocked by double blasts at the Marathon last week, the province sent $50,000 to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Boston again drew the most National Institutes of Health funding of any city in the nation in 2012, receiving total grants of $1.78 billion. The city’s hospitals, universities, and research institutions attracted 3,700 awards from the NIH last year, about 72 percent of NIH funding in Massachusetts and 8 percent of the agency’s funding nationally. It was the 18th consecutive year that Boston topped the nation in NIH funding.
First Lady Michelle Obama visited patients and families, along with hospital staffs, at Brigham and Women’s and Boston Children’s hospitals on Thursday afternoon, according to a press pool report. Meanwhile, President Obama visited Massachusetts General Hospital, after offering words of encouragement to Boston Marathon volunteers.
In a sign of how jittery the marathon bombings have left Boston, a portion of Brigham and Women’s Hospital was evacuated at about 3 p.m. Wednesday after a person pulled up to the valet entrance at 45 Francis St. and left the car. Valets noticed gas cans inside and security ordered an evacuation of the building out of an abundance of caution “because it’s post-marathon,” hospital spokeswoman Erin McDonough said. After a few minutes, people were allowed to return inside.
The Department of Public Health will hold a hearing May 8 on Cambridge Health Alliance’s plans to eliminate 11 of 27 beds for treating children and teens with acute mental illness. Hospital officials said early this month that they planned to consolidate child and adolescent units. A separate hearing on Friday will review a plan by Steward Health Care to close a 13-bed unit for treating children with acute medical needs at Morton Hospital in Taunton.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund regularly represent one of the largest contingencies of runners and fund-raisers at the Boston Marathon. This year was no different. On Tuesday afternoon, the hospital sent this note to team members and supporters: “At this time we are fortunate to report we are not aware of any significant harm to any Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runner, volunteer, or staffer. Sadly, though, we have confirmed a report of serious injury to two family members of a runner.”
One of the 19 patients admitted to Tufts Medical Center after the double bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon Monday is looking for the man who helped her, hospital spokeswoman Brooke Tyson Hynes said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. The woman, “believes he did indeed save her life,” Hynes said. The unidentified patient, who suffered severe injuries to her leg, remembers the man telling her his same was Sgt. Tyler and that he is a former Marine.
Each doctor who has spoken before TV cameras and reporters this morning has described similar things: Pellets, small BBs, headless nails -- projectiles they believe were packed with the bombs, removed from some patients by the dozens. “My opinion is that most of them were in the bomb,” said Dr. George Velmahos, trauma chief at Massachusetts General Hospital. “I think it’s unlikely they would be so consistent if they were pulled out from the environment.”
The victims of the Boston Marathon bombings include a 9-year-old girl who lost a leg and a 10-year-old boy who suffered deep shrapnel wounds to his legs, according to the director of the trauma program at Boston Children’s Hospital. The most seriously injured children had BBs and nails embedded in their bodies, said Dr. David P. Mooney -- objects that were apparently packed into the explosive devices. The 9- and 10-year-olds are in critical condition but are expected to survive.
Physicians took a moment Monday night to speak to the press about a day of trauma, where their training for the worst was put to work. Dr. Ron Walls, chief of emergency medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said that while he had hoped not to need the emergency preparedness skills, “this is what we prepared for.”
Boston Medical Mysteries blogger, Dr. Sushrut Jangi, was working in the medical tent when bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. He writes: “A few minutes later, physicians, nurses, and coordinators were called to the site of the explosion; EMS ran to the scene and returned with stories about dismembered limbs and pools of blood. Immediately, the medical tent was transformed into a trauma unit.”
Use secure e-mail systems. “Pause before posting” items to a personal or professional blog, to consider the implications for patient protection. And above all, a new policy paper issued Thursday by the American College of Physicians and the Federation of State Medical Boards suggests, doctors should remember that the boundaries of the physician-patient relationship apply online as much as they do in an exam room.
Nurses holding signs and decked in blue coats marched in front of Quincy Medical Center on Thursday morning, shouting demands for increased staffing and chanting in unison about allegedly unsafe patient conditions. A hospital spokesman said the union’s campaign was “based on misinformation and lies.”
Medical schools traditionally have accepted students with the highest test scores and best science grades. But in an article published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Robert Witzburg of Boston University School of Medicine writes about what he considers a better approach to choosing future physicians: holistic review. Medical schools that use this method give potential students points for overcoming adversity, showing resilience, and being empathetic -- as well as for academic achievement.
Massachusetts regulators plan to require medical marijuana dispensaries to test their products for contamination but specialists say it is easier to mandate testing than to do it reliably. Few credible labs will test marijuana products for fear of losing federal government contracts. Interim state health commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith told the Public Health Council Wednesday morning that her agency is talking with another state in the region that is “taking on testing” of marijuana -- to learn about its plans.
David Goldhill isn’t your typical policy expert. He is the chief executive officer of GSN. That’s right, the Game Show Network. What does he know about health care? Quite a bit, it turns out. In addition to making insurance coverage decisions at his company, Goldhill is a board member of the Leapfrog Group, which regularly scores hospitals. Now, he has written a book, called “Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father -- and How We Can Fix It.”
The Boston Globe’s request for e-mails exchanged by the former state medical board director, filed more than two months ago and still unanswered, has been handed over to the Executive Office of Health and Human Services for processing. Spokesman Alec Loftus said Thursday that Dr. Stancel Riley’s e-mails, which were found in archived folders on a state server after being reported missing by board staff, must be reviewed by attorneys in the executive office “page by page,” before they can be released.
A decision by the federal government to give Massachusetts a three-year grace period -- rather than an indefinite waiver -- to roll out certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act has riled some business and insurance leaders who say the change will lead to premium increases, Robert Weisman reports in today’s Globe.
Dr. Lauren Smith, appointed Massachusetts interim public health commissioner last fall in the wake of two scandals that rocked the agency, said Friday she will step down from the position next month after finalizing the state’s first rules to regulate the use of medical marijuana. Smith, who served as the department’s medical director since 2007, told staffers that the “last several months have been difficult” for the department and for “those of us that care deeply about this agency’s work in public health.”
A federal judge in New York has reversed a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration that restricted the sale of the morning-after pill to girls age 16 and under without a doctor’s prescription. Judge Edward R. Korman’s decision included some strong words for the government’s process in reviewing the matter and denied a request by the agency to take the issue through a rule-making process.
The elderly gentleman had a long cardiac history; his hospital stay had been complicated and he was quite sick. However, when I gently approached him about participating in a teaching exercise designed to help medical students improve their physical exam skills, he responded with a smile, “Anything to help the next generation.” Although patients come to our hospital seeking medical care and treatment, whether they realize it or not, they also serve an invaluable role -- as our greatest teachers.
The presidents of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Clinic told employees and affiliates Wednesday they are in preliminary talks with each other and three doctors groups about an alliance that could rival Partners HealthCare in scale and reach. In an e-mail to vice presidents, physicians, and managers that was obtained by the Globe, Beth Israel Deaconess president Kevin Tabb said the hospital is “exploring new possibilities to benefit our patients and the communities we serve.”
A recall and production shutdown at a Woburn compounding pharmacy last month left about 100 patients treated for bladder conditions at Boston Children’s Hospital without a product they need to keep catheters clear of infection. Speaking at a legislative hearing Tuesday, Children’s Hospital pharmacy director Al Patterson said Pallimed Solutions, Inc., made an antibiotic solution that these patients need to flush their catheters regularly.
Fewer Massachusetts teenagers are having children, pushing the state’s teen birth rate to 50 percent below the national average and its lowest level in the 25 years public health officials have been reporting on birth rates, the state announced Monday. Teenagers typically are not as likely as older women to receive adequate prenatal care, which can jeopardize the health of their babies. The report also shows the lowest rate of smoking for pregnant women on record in 2010.
Fewer Massachusetts teenagers are having children, pushing the state’s teen birth rate to 50 percent below the national average and its lowest level in the 25 years public health officials have been reporting on birth rates, the state announced Monday. Teenagers typically are not as likely as older women to receive adequate prenatal care, which can jeopardize the health of their babies. The report also shows the lowest rate of smoking for pregnant women on record in 2010.
A story in Sunday’s Boston Globe about Gary Votour, who wrote a blog post about his frustration with the care provided to his wife following a surgery during which she suffered a stroke, has prompted some strong debate among readers. Liz Kowalczyk of the Globe staff wrote about how Votour issued an “open letter” online to the surgeon, after the doctor declined a request to meet with him. Dozens of readers have commented on the story, mostly about how the Votour’s actions reflect on the health care system.
Draft rules for medical use of marijuana in Massachusetts, issued Friday by the state Department of Public Health, largely leave it up to doctors to decide which patients will qualify for treatment with the drug.
A recall by a Woburn compounding pharmacy where inspectors found visible contaminants in drug vials is more expansive than originally reported by the company, applying to 25 products distributed to patients and doctors in 21 states. A Pallimed Solutions spokesman told the Globe that the more complete company press release issued late Tuesday was not an indication of an expanded recall. But, the list of recalled products includes several drugs not part of the announcement that Pallimed made independent of regulators on Monday.
Robot-assisted surgeries are being linked increasingly to complications for patients, according to an advisory letter sent by state health officials to hospitals in Massachusetts last week. Liz Kowalczyk of the Globe staff reports in today’s Globe that the Quality and Patient Safety Division of the agency the regulates Massachusetts doctors asked hospitals to make sure surgeons were proficient in the technology before using the robots on patients and to closely monitor results.
Massachusetts lawmakers have introduced two bills in Congress during the past week aimed at an curbing high rates of prescription drug abuse. Representative Edward Markey is co-sponsoring legislation that would require tighter control of drugs that include hydrocodone, an opioid in Vicodin and dozens of other brand-name products. On Friday, Representative William Keating announced legislation that would require more prescription painkillers to be sold in tamper-proof forms.
Members of the board that licenses and disciplines doctors asked state officials to determine whether its former executive director violated public records law, after they found e-mails he wrote over several years were missing.
Recent news reports have called Dr. Don Berwick the new patient safety czar for the United Kingdom. But he won’t be taking up permanent residence across the pond any time soon.
Nurses union authorizes one-day strike at Quincy Medical Center after hospital closes medical surgical unit and lays off 30 nurses Quincy Medical Center strike authorized by nurses union
Long-simmering tensions between Steward Health Care System and the union representing most of its nurses boiled over Tuesday as the union said its members authorized a one-day strike at Quincy Medical Center after the Steward-owned hospital closed a 40-bed medical surgical floor.
A Canton manufacturer of padded hip guards failed to prove that a Harvard researcher who published a study in 2007, saying such garments may not protect people from fractures, caused the company to lose business, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Wednesday.
A long list of health industry leaders, many familiar faces and a few new ones, have been enlisted by David Seltz, executive director of the state Health Policy Commission, to serve on an advisory council that will guide the commission’s implementation of the new health care cost control law.
Welcome to Twitter, @Sebelius! Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius launched her account this afternoon.
The Massachusetts Medical Society sent a letter last fall to the US Drug Enforcement Administration urging it to reclassify marijuana to make the drug easier to study. When the agency responded by saying the status quo poses no obstacle to researchers -- something some who study marijuana would dispute -- the society said the letter had satisfied the group’s concern.