The unfortunate distinction of being the state with the highest number of obese adults goes to Mississippi. According to a study by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 35 percent of Mississippi’s adults are obese. “Obesity has contributed to a stunning rise in chronic disease rates and health care costs,” says Jeffrey Levy, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health. Colorado, at 21 percent, has the lowest obesity rate.... Electronic health record system vendors aren’t leaving behind a healthy ratio of satisfied to dissatisfied providers, according to the research company KLAS. “The replacement rate spiked over last year from 30 percent to 50 percent, especially in larger practices,” says the report “Ambulatory EMR Perception 2012.” The study uses data from 318 physician practices. Forty-four percent of practices that are replacing EMR systems are doing so because of product problems. Another 15 percent cite service problems.... Old women who receive radiation treatment after a lumpectomy are less likely to have to undergo a mastectomy later, according to a study published in the journal Cancer. The study, which looks at women age 70+, found that 10 years after a lumpectomy those who had follow-up radiation treatment had a 3.2 percent risk of mastectomy. Those who did not had a 6.7 percent risk. That’s a 67 percent reduction in the risk for mastectomy for the radiation group, the journal reports.... Hearing loss screenings for adults 50 and older should be done judiciously, says the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. A hearing test should be done only if the patient shows symptoms or complains to the doctor. “If you have a hearing problem, you should absolutely bring it up with your doctor,” Albert Siu, MD, the co-vice chairman of the task force, tells Reuters Health. Also, doctors should not hesitate to inquire.... Drug-releasing stents prevent more adverse cardiac events than bare metal stents do, according to a study in the August 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study looks at about 1,200 patients in Israel and Europe who had a STEMI (an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction).At the 1-year point, researchers found that 4.3 percent of patients with the newer model stents suffered adverse events, compared to the 8.7 percent of patients who used the older style stents. The study concludes that “Compared with a bare-metal stent, the use of biolimus-eluting stents with a biodegradable polymer resulted in a lower rate of the composite of major adverse cardiac events at 1 year among patients with STEMI undergoing primary PCI.”
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.
If millions of Americans lose Medicaid or private health insurance coverage because of the unACAing of American health care, telehealth may seem like a gimmicky sideshow rather than a good-faith effort to bring health care into the digital century.