Mary V. Mason, MD, MBA
Senior vice president and chief medical officer, Centene Corp., and clinical assistant professor of medicine, Washington University School of Medicine
Kara M. House, MBA
Director of process optimization, Centene Corp.
Janice Linehan, PA-C, MHP
Medical affairs project specialist, Centene Corp.
Carol A. Speers, RN
Vice president for medical management, Centene Corp.
Lisa M. Joseph, RN, MBA
Director of special product development, Centene Corp.
Ray Littlejohn
Statistician, consultant, and president of the Quest Alliance Inc.
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Objective: To evaluate the effect of 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) on reducing the rate of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions and premature births in a managed Medicaid population that has a history of preterm delivery. Specifically, to measure the effect of initiating 17P treatment during the recommended time frame of 16–21 weeks gestation versus after 21 weeks gestation.

Design: A 2004–2007 observational, causal comparative study reviewed birth outcomes in 104 pregnant women with a confirmed history of preterm delivery. Women whose 17P treatment was initiated during the recommended time frame of 16–21 weeks gestation were compared to those whose treatment was initiated after 21 weeks gestation.

Methodology: Intervention included offering 17P as a benefit to pregnant women who had a history of preterm delivery and who were deemed to be appropriate candidates for this treatment by their physician.

Results: No significant changes in birth outcomes were noted when comparing those members whose treatment was initiated during the recommended time frame of 16–21 weeks versus those whose treatment began after 21 weeks gestation. Members who received therapy of at least five injections of 17P, as opposed to those receiving fewer than five injections, experienced a statistically significant reduction in NICU admissions and in preterm birth at fewer than 37 weeks and at fewer than 32 weeks.

Conclusion: The number of injections and not the time frame, which had been indicated by previous research, the initiation of 17P therapy is the factor in reducing preterm birth and decreasing NICU admissions for pregnant women with a history of preterm birth in a managed Medicaid population.

Key Words: Managed Medicaid, preterm birth, 17P, NICU

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.