Managed Care e-News
Jan. 28, 2014

Know the health insurance deadline? Most don't
The Atlantic
In a survey out this morning, only 45 percent of Americans correctly identified March 31 as the deadline to purchase health insurance as required under the Affordable Care Act. The rate of correct responses was lowest among the 18 to 29 age group, those who make less than $30,000, and those without college degrees. Sixty-two percent said they assumed that the deadline would be pushed back.More

3 million people have signed up for private health insurance through marketplaces
The Washington Post
Three million people have signed up for private insurance coverage through the healthcare law's marketplaces, the Obama administration announced Friday. That lags behind its initial projections for overall enrollment — but it's closer to hitting the monthly sign-up expectations the administration set in September.More

Stage 2 meaningful use readiness a growing concern
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
A survey recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found there has been tremendous growth in electronic health record use in the U.S. over the past several years, thanks in part to the meaningful use incentive program. But there may be a speed bump in the road to a connected healthcare system as the meaningful use program enters its second stage. The survey found the number of office-based physicians with some type of EHR system grew from 18 percent in 2001 to 78 percent in 2013. But just 13 percent had systems capable of meeting at least 14 of the 17 core objectives required for Stage 2 of the three-stage program. More

Clinical performance measures and the locum tenens physician
By Di Hall
The Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, is not only changing how the American public accesses health insurance, but also how healthcare services are reimbursed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has responsibility under the law to lower Medicare reimbursement to hospitals based on quality measures — moving from "fee-for-service" to "pay-for-quality." So what does this mean for locum tenens physicians? More

FDA grants fast track designation to BioAlliance's cancer drug Validive
Pharmaceutical Business Review
BioAlliance Pharma, an innovative company dedicated to the development of orphan oncology, announced that Validive received a fast track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention and treatment of oral mucositis induced by radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy in cancer patients.More

The impact of FDA's social media guidance for pharmaceutical companies
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
The Food and Drug Administration took a significant step forward in clarifying the responsibilities pharmaceutical companies have concerning social media activity in the recent release of a draft guidance document. As uncertainties still remain, the impact this guidance will have on pharmaceutical companies embracing this new venue of communication is unclear. The guidance gives pharmaceutical companies reassurance that they would not be held responsible for comments left by third parties on social media sites. But, as one expert points out, this should not be considered a reason to ignore the opportunities social media presents to engage with patients.More

Study: Clinical evidence in FDA drug approvals varies widely
Modern Healthcare
Not every new drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has undergone the rigorous clinical testing that physicians and their patients might expect, according to new research. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that the FDA has "flexible standards" for approving of new therapies. More

Study: Jet lag, late nights and naps disrupt gene function
Business travelers, shift workers, college students and overworked tech workers, beware. Unusual sleep patterns, particularly sleeping during the day and staying up late at night, wreak havoc with the activity of your genes, new research shows. Researchers at the Sleep Research Center at the University of Surrey in the U.K. interrupted study participants' sleep at regular intervals over three days, taking blood samples to monitor gene function. More

DNA study: Light skin genes evolved more recently than previously thought
The Huffington Post
An ancient European hunter-gatherer man had dark skin and blue eyes, a new genetic analysis has revealed. The analysis of the man, who lived in modern-day Spain only about 7,000 years ago, shows light-skin genes in Europeans evolved much more recently than previously thought.More

De novo gene mutations linked to schizophrenia
De novo genetic mutations in individuals with schizophrenia cluster in specific proteins that play a key role in brain function and overlap with mutations seen in autism, an international team of scientists report. Although inherited genetic mutations account for most of the genetic risk for schizophrenia, emerging evidence shows that uninherited (de novo) mutations also are involved.More

When good cholesterol goes bad
The battle of good vs. bad cholesterol might not be so simple anymore. HDL, the so-called good cholesterol associated with foods like avocados, olive oil, beans and oily fish, was shown to be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the BBC reports.More

Study: Firearms hospitalize about 20 US kids a day
CBS News
Firearm injuries send about 20 U.S. children to the hospital each day, a new study reveals. The research, which was published on Jan. 27 in Pediatrics, looked at a nationally-representative sample of hospitalizations at more than 4,000 medical centers that occurred in 2009 for children and adolescents under 20 years of age.More

Review: Hand washing, zinc may ward off colds
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
The cold season is in full swing, with everyone swearing by their own methods for avoiding infection or treating themselves should they get sick. Now, a new review finds that some methods seem to work better than others, namely hand washing and zinc supplements for prevention of a cold, and decongestants and pain relievers for treatment.More

Know the health insurance deadline? Most don't
The Atlantic
In a survey out this morning, only 45 percent of Americans correctly identified March 31 as the deadline to purchase health insurance as required under the Affordable Care Act.More

With genetic testing, patients can see the future
Star Tribune
Denis Keegan was out of answers. The 30-year-old was suffering from kidney disease, but his doctors were struggling to pinpoint the cause.More

Co-ops the underdog in health insurance marketplace
USA Today
Consumer-run health insurance cooperatives, which were included in the Affordable Care Act to stimulate competition and lower prices, have been stymied by the insurance industry and a lack of publicity, industry and healthcare experts say.More

Study: Music therapy helps young cancer patients
Mother Nature Network
Cancer is dreadful — there's no way around that. But for adolescents and young adults who have yet to build an arsenal of coping tools it can be even rougher, especially given that few interventions are designed around the unique needs of younger patients. More

Geron shares fall after cancer drug study update
Shares of Geron Corp. fell as much as 20 percent after the company said that enrollment had ceased in an early stage trial of its blood cancer drug and that about 20 of 79 patients enrolled in the study had dropped out. Geron did not say why the patients had dropped out of the trial or if the sponsor, the Mayo Clinic, had stopped the study prematurely.More

Impulsive personality tied to food 'addiction'
Psych Central
According to new research, people with impulsive personalities are more likely to develop an addiction to food. Investigators from the University of Georgia determined the same kinds of impulsive behavior that can lead some people to abuse alcohol and other drugs may also lead to an unhealthy relationship with food.More

A long day's night: Winter can affect the body's natural sleep habits
By Denise A. Valenti
We are deep into winter and past the longest nights of the season. With long nights come short days, and seemingly endless nights for some. Despite the lack of sunlight, humans do not require additional hours of sleep to correspond to the additional hours in the night during the winter. But it is normal for the changes in weather and season to slightly influence activities and sleep habits. For some, the changes can be enough to cause disruptions in the circadian timing of body rhythms, which can contribute to depression and seasonal affective disorders. More