Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Head of Veterans Affairs Resigns Amid Scandal
Eric Shinseki, the embattled secretary of the Veterans Affairs
Department, resigned Friday morning after a meeting with President
Shinseki's resignation followed increasing evidence of
widespread misconduct and mismanagement at the agency's nationwide
network of hospitals and medical facilities,
The New York Timesreported.
Recent revelations found that department hospitals had
manipulated waiting lists to hide the fact that thousands of
veterans had experienced long delays in scheduling appointments,
Obama said he regretted accepting Shinseki's resignation, but
added that "the VA needs new leadership" and Shinseki had become a
"We don't have time for distractions," Obama said. "We need to fix the problem."
Obama said Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson will temporarily head
up the department, and he plans to nominate a new permanent
Sex-Change Surgery Coverage Ban Lifted by Medicare
Medicare will no longer automatically deny coverage for
sex-change surgery for transgender people.
In a ruling Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Services
review board said sex-change surgery is a medically necessary and
effective treatment for people who do not identify with their
biological sex, the
The board made its ruling in an appeal brought by a 74-year-old
Army veteran whose request to have Medicare pay for her genital
reconstruction was denied two years ago.
The decision does not mean Medicare recipients are necessarily
entitled to coverage for sex-change surgery, Jennifer Levi, a
lawyer who directs the Transgender Rights Project of Gay &
Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in Boston, told the
But she said the ruling does mean that transgender people stand
a better chance of having their surgery paid for by Medicare if
they have documentation from a physician and mental health
providers that the surgery is medically necessary.
It's unclear how many people might be affected by Friday's
decision. About 0.3 percent of the U.S. adult population
self-identity as transgender, Gary Gates, a demographer with The
Williams Institute, a think tank on LGBT issues based at the
University of California, Los Angeles, told the
AP. More than 49 million people are enrolled in
House Supports State Medical Marijuana Laws
In a surprise move, the Republican-controlled House voted in
favor of preventing the federal government from interfering with
states that allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons. Medical
marijuana is legal in nearly half the states.
The 219-189 vote early Friday was on a measure introduced by
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, the first state to legalize
medical marijuana, the
"Public opinion is shifting," Rohrabacher said. "Despite this overwhelming shift of public opinion, the federal government continues its hard line of oppression against medical marijuana."
He pointed out that a recent Pew Research Center that found 61
percent of Republicans support medical marijuana. Support is even
higher among Democrats and independents, the
The measure now goes to the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Sex-Change Surgery Ban Lifted by Medicare
In a ruling Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services review board said sex-change surgery is a medically
necessary and effective treatment for people who do not identify
with their biological sex, the
Obama Calls for More Youth Concussion Research
More research into youth sports concussion is needed in order to
better understand he scope of the issue and the long-term impacts
of this type of injury, President Barack Obama said Thursday at a
day-long summit on the topic at the White House.
"We want our kids participating in sports," Obama said as he opened the event. "As parents though, we want to keep them safe and that means we have to have better information."
The summit included medical experts, young athletes, parents,
coaches, professional sports league representatives and others,
CBS News/Associated Pressreported.
Additional research into youth concussions needs to be combined
with a wider recognition of the need to take the issue seriously,
the president noted.
"We have to change a culture that says, 'suck it up,' " Obama said.
He highlighted commitments from the National Institutes of
Health, the National Football League and others to conduct research
that could improve understanding and athlete safety,
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