PCMA tweet: Requiring electronic prescribing of controlled substances saves lives and reduces costs.
Surgeon and author Dr. Atul Gawande has been named CEO of the health care venture being launched by Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway. The venture, which has not been named, will be tasked with the mission of lowering health care costs for the companies and their workers, and Gawande will continue writing and remain in his positions at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
House Republicans unveiled a budget proposal Tuesday that would slash Medicare spending by $537 billion and funding for Medicaid and other health care programs by $1.5 trillion. The proposal would also fast-track a reconciliation process that would allow Senate lawmakers to repeal the Affordable Care Act with only 50 votes.
The Labor Department issued a final rule that will make it easier for small businesses and self-employed individuals to join together to purchase cheaper association health plans that skirt some Affordable Care Act requirements. Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta said the new plans "will offer more health care coverage options at a better price," but a recent Avalere Health analysis showed expansion of association health plans would cause 3.2 million people to leave the ACA markets by 2022 and raise premiums for those still in the individual market by 3.5%.
A total of 161 data breaches in the health care sector were added to the HHS Office for Civil Rights' reporting website, affecting more than 2.8 million people so far this year. The most common type of incidents were unauthorized access/disclosure breaches, which compromised the information of nearly 558,000 people, followed by hacking incidents, which affected more than 1.6 million individuals, and thefts or losses, which affected nearly 660,000 people.
Researchers found that 17.8% and 5.8% of children and teens ages 2 to 19 in the US were obese and severely obese, respectively, between 2013 and 2016. The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association also showed that severe obesity was significantly more common among youths in nonmetropolitan statistical areas, and both obesity and severe obesity were significantly more prevalent among blacks and Hispanics.
Employers are paying more attention to employee retention, and experts say the first step is to ensure a streamlined, engaging onboarding process. Other engagement and retention tools include personalized employee development plans, regular reviews that highlight progress and examine goals, and flexible work options that can boost productivity and employee satisfaction.
Wellness programs that offer a financial reward to quit smoking may be more effective than programs that offer only smoking-cessation aids such as nicotine patches and gum. However, the "communication strategy around incentives is important in helping to find that motivation regardless, of the dollar amount," said Christine Brophy, director of research and development for Vitality Group.
Cancer patients who took part in an exercise therapy program doubled their peak oxygen consumption, compared with no change in the cohort that did not exercise, suggesting that exercise therapy can help cancer patients improve or recover cardiorespiratory fitness, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. More research is needed to determine optimal timing and duration of exercise therapy, the researchers said.
Researchers found that individuals with recent-onset diabetes were at a more than twofold higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to those with long-term diabetes across all ages. The findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, based on 48,995 individuals from the Multiethnic Cohort, revealed that the hazard ratio for recent-onset diabetes was 3.38 in African-Americans and 4.08 in Latinos at age 75.