Clemson University in South Carolina will use $5.24 million from the Rural Health Care Program, backed by the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund, to provide health care facilities across the state with high-speed broadband. "A patient who just shows up -- even if they qualify -- frequently can't be seen because of delays in service. A stable connection changes all of that," said Paula Watt, director of Clemson's Joseph F. Sullivan Center, a campus health clinic.
Oral arguments in a case filed in a Texas court by 20 states questioning the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act will be held on Sept. 10, two months before the midterm elections and about six weeks before open enrollment begins on Nov. 1. Rather than defending the law, Justice Department attorneys also said the ACA is not constitutional and asked the court to strike down the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Preliminary CDC data showed US drug overdose mortality hit record levels last year, increasing to more than 72,000 deaths, driven mainly by the continued increase in fatalities involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids rose by more than 9,000 from the prior year, reaching almost 30,000 deaths in 2017, while fatalities from heroin, prescription opioids and methadone have dropped.
Adults who lived with a smoker in the home during childhood had 31% increased odds of dying of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, compared with those who did not live with a smoker as children, researchers reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The findings were based on data involving more than 70,000 adults who never smoked and were followed for 22 years.
A study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that patients with type 2 diabetes who did not have any risk factors -- smoking, albuminuria or abnormal HbA1C, blood pressure or LDL cholesterol -- did not have excess mortality risk or increased risk for acute myocardial infarction or stroke, but they were at a higher risk for heart failure, compared with those who did not have diabetes. Researchers studied more than 270,000 Swedish registry patients with diabetes and found that smoking was the top predictor for mortality, while HbA1C above the target range was the strongest predictor for acute MI and stroke.
Two EHR-integrated, web-based tools that use Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies on the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard are being launched by Geisinger Health System and Merck. The Family Caregiver app is designed to support communication between health care providers and caregivers, while the MedTrue app is meant to improve medication adherence and reconciliation by integrating medication data with clinical workflows.
HHS, in collaboration with the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded $125 million to community health centers across the US to help improve EHR use, health care quality, patient care delivery and clinical efficiency. Community health centers "have a track record of delivering quality care at significantly lower cost, and are vital partners in our movement toward a health system that delivers quality, affordable, value-based health care for all Americans," said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan.
Nevada said it will start operating its own Affordable Care Act exchange beginning in 2020, a move marketplace Executive Director Heather Korbulic said will save the state more than $18 million over the life of the contract. Nevada Health Link has partnered with GetInsured, which operates exchanges for seven other states.
Swedish researchers found that individuals with Parkinson's disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies had more than threefold higher mortality rates after 10 years, compared with the general population. The findings in PLOS ONE also showed worse survival among women, those who were younger at diagnosis, those with lower cognitive test scores, and those with DLB, but not PDD, who were positive for apolipoprotein E genotyping.
SNMMI sent a letter urging the FDA to ease the shortage of Eckert & Ziegler's GalliaPharm gallium-68 generators, which are used to manufacture Advanced Accelerator Applications' NetSpot, or Ga-68 DOTATATE, for PET scans and radionuclide therapy for individuals with neuroendocrine tumors. The agency should also allow the use of cyclotron-produced gallium chloride in making NetSpot kits to boost production and lessen the need for GalliaPharm generators in predominately academic sites, SNMMI wrote.