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Last 50 News Postings

 (Click on title to be directed to posting, most recent listed first)

Determining if Drug Price Increases are Justified
Court Overturns CMS' Site-Neutral Payment Policy
Pulmonary Disease Linked to Vaping
CEO Compensation-One Reason Healthcare Costs So Much
Doctor or Money Shortage in California?
FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Resigns
Physicians Generate an Average $2.4 Million a Year Per Hospital
Drug Prices Continue to Rise
New Center for Physician Rights
CMS Decreases Clinic Visit Payments to Hospital-Employed Physicians
   and Expands Decreases in Drug Payments 340B Cuts
Big Pharma Gives Millions to Congress
Gilbert Hospital and Florence Hospital at Anthem Closed
CMS’ Star Ratings Miscalculated
VA Announces Aggressive New Approach to Produce Rapid Improvements
   in VA Medical Centers
Healthcare Payments Under the Budget Deal: Mostly Good News
   for Physicians
Hospitals Plan to Start Their Own Generic Drug Company
Flu Season and Trehalose
MedPAC Votes to Scrap MIPS
CMS Announces New Payment Model
Varenicline (Chantix®) Associated with Increased Cardiovascular Events
Tax Cuts Could Threaten Physicians
Trump Nominates Former Pharmaceutical Executive as HHS Secretary
Arizona Averages Over 25 Opioid Overdoses Per Day
Maryvale Hospital to Close
California Enacts Drug Pricing Transparency Bill
Senate Health Bill Lacks 50 Votes Needed to Proceed
Medi-Cal Blamed for Poor Care in Lawsuit
Senate Republican Leadership Releases Revised ACA Repeal and Replace Bill
Mortality Rate Will Likely Increase Under Senate Healthcare Bill
University of Arizona-Phoenix Receives Full Accreditation
Limited Choice of Obamacare Insurers in Some Parts of the Southwest
Gottlieb, the FDA and Dumbing Down Medicine
Salary Surveys Report Declines in Pulmonologist, Allergist and Nurse 
CDC Releases Ventilator-Associated Events Criteria
Medicare Bundled Payment Initiative Did Not Reduce COPD Readmissions
Younger Smokers Continue to Smoke as Adults: Implications for Raising the
   Smoking Age to 21
Most Drug Overdose Deaths from Nonprescription Opioids
Lawsuits Allege Price Fixing by Generic Drug Makers
Knox Named Phoenix Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs
Rating the VA Hospitals
Garcia Resigns as Arizona University VP
Combination Influenza Therapy with Clarithromycin-Naproxen-Oseltamivir
   Superior to Oseltamivir Alone
VAP Rates Unchanged
ABIM Overhauling MOC
Substitution of Assistants for Nurses Increases Mortality, Decreases Quality
CMS Releases Data on Drug Spending
Trump Proposes Initial Healthcare Agenda
Election Results of Southwest Ballot Measures Affecting Healthcare
Southwest Ballot Measures Affecting Healthcare
ACGME Proposes Dropping the 16 Hour Resident Shift Limit


For an excel file with complete news listings click here.

A report from Heartwire described a letter written by Peter Wilmshurst to the AHA asking for full disclosure of conflicts of interest in the MIST trial. Wilmshurst was portrayed in SWJPCC on April 27, 2012 in our Profiles of Medical Courage series. We felt the report of the letter might be of interest to the readership of SWJPCC but there was no good section to pass along the Heartwire article. For this reason, a new Section entitled “News” has been started to report developments outside the usual medical journal purview or from other sources which might interest our readers. We encourage bringing news-worthy articles to our attention and would welcome submission of written reports of such articles.


Entries in oxygen (1)


CDC Releases Ventilator-Associated Events Criteria

A new term has been coined by the CDC, ventilator-associated events (VAEs) (1). In 2011, the CDC convened a working group composed of members of several stakeholder organizations to address the limitations of the definition of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) definition (2). The organizations represented in the Working Group include: the Critical Care Societies Collaborative (the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society, and the Society for Critical Care Medicine); the American Association for Respiratory Care; the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology; the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists; the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee’s Surveillance Working Group; the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

VAEs are defined by an increase oxygen (>0.2 in FiO2) or positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) (≥3 cm H2O), after a previous stable baseline of at least 2 days. There are three definition tiers within the VAE algorithm: 1) Ventilator-Associated Condition (VAC); 2) Infection-related Ventilator-Associated Complication (IVAC); and 3) Possible VAP (PVAP) (2). There are also many other criteria to classify a VAE into the CDC’s tiers which are omitted for brevity. These definitions have been implemented in the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) and according to the CDC are easily implemented, can make use of electronic health record systems to automate event detection, and identify events that are clinically important and associated with outcomes such as ICU and hospital length of stay and mortality. According to the CDC most VACs are due to pneumonia, ARDS, atelectasis, and pulmonary edema which “are significant clinical conditions that may be preventable”.

The CDC says "the VAE definition algorithm is for use in surveillance; it is not a clinical definition algorithm and is not intended for use in the clinical management of patients”. Based on the experience with the hospital acquired infections program this seems unlikely. What seems more likely is that hospitals will be measured on VAE rates with financial or public relations consequences shortly to follow.

The best evidence suggests that the VAE concept is not useful for guiding clinical decisions in the moment (1). Its performance characteristics as a screening test appear to be terrible, with poor sensitivity (~32%) for detecting VAP in the one of the only prospective studies. This is because clinically insignificant fluctuations in oxygenation/PEEP status are often recorded as VAEs, diluting signal with noise. Numerous retrospective reviews supporting the VAE concept listed on CDC's website strongly link VAEs with morbidity and mortality. However, these observations could be true of many events and may be very different from showing that a prospective (intervention-based) approach is helpful. Pulmonologist Dr. Richard Wunderink from Northwestern commented that “the central hypothesis of the VAE criteria—that VAP and other potentially preventable complications of mechanical ventilation can consistently be detected by worsening gas exchange—is clearly not true”.

The problems with VAE appear much the same as the problems with VAP. Neither is strongly evidence-based and neither has been shown to be helpful in patient care. Furthermore, it might be possible to “game” the numbers by adjusting PEEP, expiratory time, and FiO2 within the defined limits.

Richard A. Robbins, MD

Editor, SWJPCC


  1. Pulm/CCM. What are ventilator-associated events (and why should you care)? Available at: (accessed 1/24/17).
  2. CDC. Ventilator-associated event (VAE). January 2017. Available at: (accessed 1/24/17).

Cite as: Robbins RA. CDC releases ventilator-associated events criteria. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2017:14(1):40-1. doi: PDF