Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., warns that exclusion of a legislative package aimed at stabilizing Affordable Care Act markets from the omnibus spending legislation due Friday could have a lasting effect on the debate over health care. Alexander said the provisions, which would fund cost-sharing reduction payments for three years and provide states $30 billion to create reinsurance programs, will not pass on their own and must be included in the spending legislation.
A clinical trial of stem cell therapy at Wabash Valley Animal Hospital in Terre Haute, Ind., had been scheduled to end last fall, but the trial has been extended because of promising results. The blinded, placebo-controlled study is testing the effects of stem cell injections in pet dogs' joints, and some owners say they have seen significant improvement.
Veterinarian Gregg Hanzlicek of Kansas State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory described what happens when an animal develops an Anaplasma marginale infection and encouraged cattle producers to test herds to identify carriers and to have a necropsy performed on adult animals that may have died from anaplasmosis. American dog ticks, winter ticks and moose ticks carry the bacterium; horseflies might also carry and spread it; and tattoo pliers and needles can transmit anaplasmosis within a herd, Dr. Hanzlicek said.
Type 2 diabetes patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease who added 10 mg of empagliflozin to their standard medical treatment experienced substantial liver fat reductions at 20 weeks, with a mean difference of 4% from the standard care only group, according to a study presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting. Indian researchers analyzed 50 patients from the E-LIFT trial and also found a significant difference in alanine aminotransferase and a nonsignificant difference in aspartate aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase between the groups.
The Alliance for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the ECRI Institute and The Pew Charitable Trusts will launch the National Health IT Safety Collaborative, a national health IT organization that aims to improve health IT use and safety. The organizations sent a letter to the ONC and the HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality asking for support and requesting the participation of agency representatives.
Officials from Primary Health Care in Iowa reported that a hacker accessed the email accounts of four employees on Feb. 28, 2017, and the center blocked access to the accounts after discovering the breach the next day. The compromised email accounts contained patient names, medical information, Medicaid identification numbers, provider information and some personal information.
Medical providers looking to implement EHRs in their organizations should be aware of potential problems caused by autopopulate features in the drop-down menus and prescription-filling functions of many systems, says Dr. Peter Papadakos, a professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Papadakos also urges providers to double-check the conversion of written health records and to use caution when copying and pasting patient notes.
Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has been appointed to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs' open application programming interface pledge, which aims to further EHR interoperability through the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standards framework. The group will begin work with a roundtable discussion next month.
Telemedicine allows providers to reach more diabetes patients at a reduced cost and could help in diabetes management and wound monitoring as well as offer education, support and lifestyle changes to patients, Dr. Ruth Weinstock of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University said at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting. She also reviewed what researchers should consider when conducting telemedicine studies.
Health insurance premiums are likely to increase again in 2019, and more insurers will leave the Affordable Care Act market, according to a report from the Urban Institute and Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Federal policies on cost-sharing reduction payments, the removal of the individual mandate and the sale of short-term and association health plans are contributing to uncertainty in the market, said a report author.
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