June 2015As hospitals increasingly promote community wellness, one important fact they need to make clear to the public is that while exercise is certainly a good thing, when it comes to reaching a healthy weight, “what you don’t eat is far, far more important.” Aaron E. Carroll notes in yesterday’s New York Times that to burn off 350 calories, you’d have to jog or swim laps for 30 minutes — and that can be a challenge whatever your weight. On the other hand, a person could kill that many calories by eliminating two 16-ounce sodas a day.

Ten new or emerging drugs that are expected to greatly improve treatment for conditions such as Hepatitis C and breast cancer will cost the federal government nearly $50 billion over the next 10 years, according to a report commissioned by AHIP, the insurance industry trade group. That includes $31.3 billion for Medicare, $15.8 billion in state and federal spending on Medicaid and $2.1 billion in subsidies provided to state exchanges. Insurers and Big Pharma have long battled over drug costs’ impact on overall health care spending, but these figures are eye-popping.

In a neat complement to H&HN’s June cover story on “The New Health Care CEO,” a white paper from executive recruiter B. E. Smith points out that health care organizations have implemented “a bewildering array” of new or highly altered executive roles, and that some “have even jettisoned the CEO title.” Examples of new titles: chief integration officer, chief clinical transformation officer, chief experience officer and chief patient rights officer. Like our cover piece, the white paper looks at the sometimes startling changes taking place in C-suites, thanks to the rapidly evolving health care environment.

The risk of a suicide attempt or death is highest within the first 30 days of discharge from an emergency department or inpatient psychiatric unit, studies show. On Wednesday, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center released a guide for ED staff on decision support, initial interventions and discharge planning for adults at risk of suicide. “Emergency departments are prime sites for suicide prevention activities in the U.S.,” notes Pamela S. Hyde, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which funds SPRC. “This consensus guide is a critical step forward in advancing practice, saving lives and guiding at-risk patients toward recovery.”

Oh, and about that photo at the top of my blog. Everybody knows that happy people are healthier people, and the Chicagoans among us have been very happy since Monday when our Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the third time in six seasons. Millions of fans lined the city’s streets on Thursday for a parade that took the National Hockey League champs to a celebration rally in filled-to-the-brim Soldier Field. The photo was taken by my colleague Paul Barr.