News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
4/20/2018

A study in Stroke found male smokers under age 50 had an 88% higher risk of stroke than men who never smoked, with risk increasing the more they smoked. The findings, based on data from 615 men ages 15 to 49 with a history of stroke and 530 healthy men of similar age, showed smoking fewer than 11 cigarettes each day was associated with a 46% greater risk of stroke, while smoking at least two packs of cigarettes daily was linked to almost fivefold risk of stroke.

Full Story:
HealthDay News
More Summaries:
stroke
4/20/2018

The US in 2017 experienced a 12% drop in prescription opioid dosage volume, the steepest annual decline in 25 years, a report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science showed. The report, which was based on data from insurance companies, clinical settings and pharmacies, showed opioid prescribing began dropping after 2011 as prescribing guidelines, reimbursement, and regulatory and legislative oversight were tightened.

4/20/2018

A bill that would provide states, local governments and organizations with $100 billion in total funding over 10 years to combat the opioid abuse crisis was introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. The legislation would provide $4 billion annually to states, territories and tribal governments, with $2 billion distributed among those with the highest overdose rates, and $2.7 billion would be allocated to the counties and cities that have been affected the most by the epidemic.

Full Story:
The Hill
4/20/2018

Researchers from the Duke University School of Medicine developed a single-page questionnaire called the Clinic Satisfaction Tool that asks patients what they want to discuss during appointments, whether their concerns were addressed and if they were satisfied with the experience. Testing at Duke's specialty clinics indicated that the tool is useful for enhancing the patient experiences.

4/20/2018

Doctors should maintain as much eye contact with patients as possible to improve their relationship with patients and their "computer-side manner," Dr. Wei Wei Lee said during a presentation at the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine meeting. She said computers can be a distraction during appointments, but doctors can mitigate the issue by reviewing a patient's chart before entering the examination room, taking the first minute to focus on the patient exclusively and other measures.

4/20/2018

Researchers found a higher prevalence of type 1 diabetes among both adults and children in areas in New York with more fast food restaurants, and higher type 2 diabetes rates among adults in areas with a high prevalence of junk food. The findings in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, based on data on diabetes patients who visited an emergency hospital ward in New York between 2009 and 2013, revealed that young individuals were at an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes if they reside in predominately black communities.

Full Story:
Diabetes (UK)
More Summaries:
New York
4/20/2018

An application has been released by data analytics startup Trayt for use in monitoring behavioral and nonbehavioral symptoms in patients with neurodevelopmental and brain disorders, including autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The app, which uses a comorbid rating scale, measures effectiveness of treatments and delivers progress reports and actionable insights.

Full Story:
MobiHealthNews
More Summaries:
Trayt
4/20/2018

Dynavax Technologies' hepatitis B vaccine Heplisav-B was recommended by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for use by patients aged 18 years and older. The recommendation was published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

4/20/2018

HHS Secretary Alex Azar appointed former MDWise CEO James Parker to serve as senior adviser to the secretary of health reform and director of the Office of Health Reform. Parker, who also worked at Anthem, will oversee issues related to costs and access to health insurance, and Azar said Parker's "knowledge and expertise will be vital to our work at HHS to ensure that Americans have access to insurance that meets their needs."

Full Story:
Healthcare Finance
4/20/2018

Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said during a committee hearing Thursday that drugmakers played a significant role in fueling the current opioid abuse epidemic through practices such as "twisted research, deceptive marketing and bought-and-paid-for advocacy work." Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., also criticized the CMS' "hands-off approach" to drugmakers' alleged involvement in the opioid crisis, and she urged the agency to act quickly in writing a rule to require Medicare Part D plans to submit reports if they discover any potential fraud or abuse.