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Florida scores well in home health care data

Florida met or exceeded the national average in all 11 categories in a government database that allows consumers to gauge the quality of home health care.

The information comes from Medicare-certified facilities that provide short-term help with essential daily activities to older and disabled Americans. It will be posted today on the government's Medicare Web site,, and on the toll-free Medicare telephone help line, 1-800-633-4227.

Home health care typically has a goal of rehabilitation or a return to self-sufficiency, often after surgery, illness or injury. The database also includes measures of how frequently home health patients took medicines correctly, became confused, needed emergency care and needed hospitalization.

Call poison control instead of using ipecac to vomit

CHICAGO _ Parents should avoid the old poison remedy of ipecac syrup and instead call poison control centers when children ingest toxic substances, the American Academy of Pediatrics says, reversing a long-standing position.

For decades, doctors have recommended that parents keep a bottle of ipecac, made from roots of the tropical ipecac plant, on hand to induce vomiting when children ingest something poisonous.

But recommendations for using it have been based more on intuition rather on than hard evidence, said Dr. Milton Tenenbein, director of the Manitoba, Canada, poison control center and lead author of the new guidelines, which appear in December's issue of Pediatrics, being published today.

To reach the Poison Information Center, call toll-free 1-800-222-1222.