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A law went into effect earlier this week that makes Colorado the 16th state in the nation to support breastfeeding in the workplace.
The law requires employers to provide reasonable break time and make efforts to provide suitable, private space for mothers to express breast milk at work. It also prohibits discrimination against women who need extra accommodations for breastfeeding at work. Continue Reading Employers now required to provide breastfeeding support

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The Colorado Rural Health Care Grant Council has awarded more than $1.9 million in grants to strengthen health care delivery in rural communities.
The council awarded 52 grants, ranging from $1,600 to $50,000, to physical, mental and oral health care providers in 34 Colorado counties for infrastructure projects. Continue Reading Colorado’s rural communities receive $1.9M in grants

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Electronic health initiatives could save money and enhance safety, according to a report from the American Electronics Association.
The “eHealth 301: Electronic Prescriptions” report shows that electronic prescriptions also are more convenient and more reliable than paper documents. Continue Reading Electronic health initiatives could lower federal costs

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The Colorado Health Foundation has launched a $2 million program to help primary physicians in underserved urban and rural communities repay education loans.
The Physician Loan Repayment Program will provide 18 doctors with up to $150,000 over three years while they practice in Federally Qualified Health Centers, rural health centers and ClinicNet facilities. Continue Reading Health Foundation provides loans for rural doctors

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More than half the nation’s programs programs for the elderly have cut services because of higher fuel and food prices — and about 90 percent will be forced to make more cuts next year.
Caregivers for the nation’s elderly also report an increase in the time that recipients wait for services — including transportation, home-delivered meals, cleaning and homecare. Continue Reading Energy crisis taking toll on programs for seniors

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Private insurers participating in the Medicare Advantage program during 2005 spent less on services for beneficiaries and recorded larger profits than projected, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
The 120 forms reviewed by GAO represented 78 percent of plan enrollment. According to the report, the plans projected spending 90.2 percent of total revenue on medical services but only spent 85.7 percent. Continue Reading Medicare Advantage program makes $1 billion more than anticipated (20097)

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Cost continues to be the most significant barrier for small businesses when deciding whether to offer health insurance.
The National Association of the Self-Employed surveyed 4,000 micro-businesses — businesses with five or fewer employees — to measure the impact of rising costs.
There are more than 24 million micro-businesses in the United States, creating more than one-third of all new jobs. Continue Reading Fewer companies offering insurance for employees

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New rules issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will allow medical researchers access to millions of Medicare prescription drug benefit claims.
The rules limit studies to the commercial parts of the program, but will allow researchers to study the safety and effectiveness of medications among the elderly and disabled. Clinical trials often exclude the very old, patients with multiple chronic conditions and those taking multiple medications. Continue Reading CMS provides researchers with access to drug data

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The move toward online health records has taken a big step forward.
Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente plan to test a program that will provide information transfers from Kaiser’s health manager to Microsoft’s consumer health platform.
The pilot program is expected to create strategies for expanding consumer access to online health information and management tools. Continue Reading Kaiser, Microsoft testing online records program

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Health insurance premiums in Colorado grew nearly 60 percent between 2000 and 2006, and the cost of coverage is eating away at an increasing share of business expenses and employees’ wages.
The Colorado Business Health Forum says that employee contributions to family premiums grew 85 percent between 2000 and 2005, from an average of $1,536 to $2,845. During the same period, average wage growth was 12 percent. Continue Reading Rising health care costs hammer Colorado businesses, workers

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