This probably does not come as a surprise to clinician executives, but there seems to be a link between level of education and overall health. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked the relative health of people in more than 3,000 counties in the United States. The counties with more college-educated residents tended to do better, with fewer premature deaths. People smoked less, exercised more, and had fewer preventable hospital stays.... Gastroenteritis continues to be a growing problem, and not just in the developing world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that deaths in the United States caused by gastroenteritis rose from 7,000 to 17,000 between 1999 and 2007. Researchers say that most of the deaths are attributable to two types of bacteria: Clostridium difficile and norovirus.... Melanoma’s on the rise as well, according to the Mayo Clinic. Looking at decades of diagnoses in Olmsted County, Minn. (part of the Rochester Epidemiology Project), Mayo researchers found an 800 percent increase in incidences of melanoma in young women and 400 percent in young men. Researchers looked at first-time diagnoses in people 18–39 from 1970 to 2009.... Eat less if you want to lose weight. That’s timeless and good advice, but patients years ago did not have the distractions of fad diets, pre-made meals, and pills. Researchers at the Beth Deaconess Medical Center in Boston found that the obvious approach worked best and that fad diets showed “no association with successful weight loss.” This was reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.... Doctors are breathing a sigh of relief with last month’s announcement of the new deadline for converting to the ICD-10 code system. The old deadline had been Oct. 1, 2013. The new one is exactly one year later. Vitera, a practice management software vendor, recently surveyed 394 physicians and medical office staff members and found that 85 percent of respondents ranked the transition to ICD-10 one of the top concerns facing their practices.
House Republicans come out with their ACA alternative. A continuous coverage surcharge replaces the individual mandate. But where’s the CBO score?
The biosimilar segment of the pharmaceutical industry is on fire. Some 700 biosimilars are at some stage of development, and more than 660 companies are involved in some way in the biosimilars land rush. Still, only a handful may get on the market in the next few years.
No one knows how much of an effect biosimilars will have on oncology expenditures. Pricing and market share are in a large, opaque “to be determined” cloud. But there’s certainly potential for a major impact that could lower oncology expenditures by millions, if not billions.
The future of biosimilars in this country is nothing if not uncertain. Most immediately, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case that will determine the timing of the 180-day waiting period before a biosimilar can go on the market. But there are larger and longer-term issues at play as well.
While coupons help individual consumers, they are also having a major impact on the insurance industry and anyone responsible for paying health care bills. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers complain that they foil formularies and other pricing strategies designed to steer consumers to less-expensive drugs.
The hard truth is that telehealth’s future—its size, its contours—will depend a lot on what payers will be willing to pay for. Currently, commercial plans cover only a limited number of services. In addition, research suggests that there may be quality and utilization problems.
Insurers should consider covering new drug-delivery devices that can improve outcomes while lowering disease-specific pharmacy and long-term overall health care costs. Managing these devices in the pharmacy benefit will consolidate volume-based purchasing and capitalize on PBM strategies for improving adherence.
Basaglar is coming on the scene during tumultuous times for insulin products. Manufacturers are under attack for price hikes. There are allegations of backroom rebate deals. And a class-action lawsuit has been brought on behalf of uninsured patients, charging insulin makers with setting artificially high prices.
Evaluating the quality of telemedicine care is about as easy as evaluating the quality of health care, period, and researchers are still ironing out the methodological kinks. That may be one reason research results are all over the place. This article involved reviewing nine such studies, and the findings are a mixed bag.
The results can be tragic. Patients with addictions are unlikely to wait the hours or days it takes health insurers to approve the medications they need. Insurers are changing their practices, but not without some outside pressure.