Well put together

Your article on comparative effectiveness in the November issue was well put together.

Steven Brint, MD
Medical Director
Central Florida Surgical

Home again

Re: “How Patient-Centered Medical Homes May Change U.S. Medicine,” November 2009. Primary care physicians must lead the charge!

Ju Hwan Lee, MD
Bakersfield, Calif.

Behavioral modification needed

Re: “Will the New Fat-Fighter Drugs Be More Worthy of Coverage?” November 2009. While great interest is placed on drugs and understanding the physiological mechanism of “feeling hungry” and “why people overeat,” very little is done in creating the motivation to promote the only single important point in epidemic obesity: behavioral modification.

Lorenzo Galante, MD
Guilford, Conn.

Regional influence

Re: “Docs and Insurers Work to Advance Health Literacy,” October 2009. Regional ethnicity affects understanding follow-through with orders. Frequently at office visits, bringing meds to an office also plays a role.

Robert K. Allen, MD
Decatur, Ala.

Domestic tourism

We can testify that Mr. Richard Mark Kirkner has written quite a thorough article [“Liability Concern Balances Tourism’s Cost Appeal,” June 2009]. However, we would like to bring your attention to the fact that medical tourism is no longer limited to people seeking care across the international borders. Today, owing to the competition offered by overseas providers, U.S. providers have also jumped into this business, giving rise to what is termed domestic medical tourism.

Mumtaz Pachisa
Healthbase Online
Newton, Mass.

Managed Care’s Top Ten Articles of 2016

There’s a lot more going on in health care than mergers (Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna) creating huge players. Hundreds of insurers operate in 50 different states. Self-insured employers, ACA public exchanges, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care plans crowd an increasingly complex market.

Major health care players are determined to make health information exchanges (HIEs) work. The push toward value-based payment alone almost guarantees that HIEs will be tweaked, poked, prodded, and overhauled until they deliver on their promise. The goal: straight talk from and among tech systems.

They bring a different mindset. They’re willing to work in teams and focus on the sort of evidence-based medicine that can guide health care’s transformation into a system based on value. One question: How well will this new generation of data-driven MDs deal with patients?

The surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. There’s hope for sufferers of a different form of MS. By homing in on CD20-positive B cells, ocrelizumab is able to knock them out and other aberrant B cells circulating in the bloodstream.

A flood of tests have insurers ramping up prior authorization and utilization review. Information overload is a problem. As doctors struggle to keep up, health plans need to get ahead of the development of the technology in order to successfully manage genetic testing appropriately.

Having the data is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. Applying its computational power to the data, a company called RowdMap puts providers into high-, medium-, and low-value buckets compared with peers in their markets, using specific benchmarks to show why outliers differ from the norm.
Competition among manufacturers, industry consolidation, and capitalization on me-too drugs are cranking up generic and branded drug prices. This increase has compelled PBMs, health plan sponsors, and retail pharmacies to find novel ways to turn a profit, often at the expense of the consumer.
The development of recombinant DNA and other technologies has added a new dimension to care. These medications have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and many of the other 80 or so autoimmune diseases. But they can be budget busters and have a tricky side effect profile.

Shelley Slade
Vogel, Slade & Goldstein

Hub programs have emerged as a profitable new line of business in the sales and distribution side of the pharmaceutical industry that has got more than its fair share of wheeling and dealing. But they spell trouble if they spark collusion, threaten patients, or waste federal dollars.

More companies are self-insuring—and it’s not just large employers that are striking out on their own. The percentage of employers who fully self-insure increased by 44% in 1999 to 63% in 2015. Self-insurance may give employers more control over benefit packages, and stop-loss protects them against uncapped liability.