News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
3/22/2019

A study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that 37.5% of 6,539 patients taking warfarin were also taking aspirin for no clear reason, putting them at greater risk for major bleeding events and other adverse outcomes. Senior author Dr. Geoffrey Barnes said aspirin use is often not documented in medical records, complicating efforts to ensure patients do not double up on anti-clotting drugs.

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HealthLeaders Media
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aspirin, warfarin
3/22/2019

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has called for stricter scrutiny of EHR systems in light of reports of patient deaths, injuries and close calls related to the conversion from paper to electronic records. The 21st Century Cures Act prevents the FDA from overseeing EHRs as medical devices, and Gottlieb said companies have avoided adding functionality that could improve the systems because of concern the changes would bring them under FDA oversight.

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Kaiser Health News
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Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, FDA
3/22/2019

A CDC report found the rate of fatal drug overdoses involving fentanyl increased doubled each year from 2013 to 2016, with the sharpest increase seen among men, those ages 15 to 34, and blacks. An analysis of death records across the US showed that over 36,000 Americans died with fentanyl in their systems during the period, and 18,335 of those deaths occurred in 2016.

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fentanyl, CDC
3/22/2019

A report from the Government Accountability Office found the price charged by air ambulance providers has risen over 60% in recent years, with the median price for a helicopter transport and fixed-wing ride now reaching more than $36,000 and almost $41,000, respectively, up from about $22,000 and $25,000 in 2012. Data also showed that 69% of 20,700 air ambulance trips taken in 2017 by patients with private insurance were out-of-network, which could put patients at financial risk.

3/22/2019

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., have asked the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate possible measures meant to protect patients against surprise medical bills. Options include having an arbitrator decide how much a health insurance provider should pay, setting payments based on a percentage of Medicare rates or requiring hospitals to send a single bill to the health insurer.

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The Hill
3/22/2019

Patients with metabolic syndrome who did high-intensity interval training had greater reductions in fat mass, percent total body fat, percent waist fat and waist circumference and had increased lean body mass compared with those who did moderate-intensity continuous training, researchers reported at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session. There were no significant differences in change in BMI and body mass between the groups.

3/22/2019

Researchers used a cohort of 400 people with diabetes, ages 25 to 65, and found that around 77% of them had distress, with 55% of women having moderate to high stress levels compared with 22% of men. The findings in the International Journal of Psychology and Counselling also found women had almost two times worse control of diabetes than men.

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The Times of India
3/22/2019

Mercy Hospital in Philadelphia gives out vouchers for food at its farmers markets to patients who indicate they experience food insecurity. Patients can use the vouchers at the farmers markets that rotate at all three Mercy Health System hospitals.

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KYW-AM (Philadelphia)
3/22/2019

United Parcel Service is preparing to launch a pilot program delivering nurses to vaccinate people in their homes, possibly in partnership with Merck. UPS hired GlaxoSmithKline executive Chris Cassidy last year to oversee global health care logistics strategy, purchased UK-based specialty logistics company Polar Speed in 2014 and has a clinical trial logistics unit called Marken.

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Reuters
3/22/2019

The FDA should not approve any new opioid drugs until the agency finishes an approval framework based on a report the FDA commissioned from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, according to a petition from Public Citizen and FDA Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee Chairman Dr. Raeford Brown Jr.