Managed Care e-News
Apr. 15, 2014

In surprise move, CMS announces Medicare Advantage pay increase
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
After proposing in February a 1.9 percent cut in reimbursement to insurers in the Medicare Advantage program, Medicare made a surprise announcement and said there would, instead, be a 0.4 percent increase. This is the second year Medicare has reversed proposed cuts despite a provision in the Affordable Care Act to bring pay parity between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. The decision came as a surprise, especially to insurance industry leaders who were pushing for rates to remain unchanged. More

Tax preparers' new role: Health coverage advisers
The New York Times
Iris I. Burnell, an adviser at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, has prepared scores of returns in the last few months, as she does every year ahead of the April 15 filing deadline. But many of her consultations this year have also included educating clients about the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act.More

Overcoming communication challenges of EHRs
By Jessica Taylor
The transition to electronic health records can bring some concerns for healthcare providers, including workflow, training, privacy and security. But one of the most important issues is communication, and many clinicians are concerned that using a computer with a patient will hinder communication. To overcome these challenges and make sure your patient has your undivided attention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided five communication behaviors for the integration of EHRs into your practice. More

FDA approves Otezla, a new pill for psoriatic arthritis
In giving a nod to Celgene's Otezla, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is offering active psoriatic arthritis patients a new treatment option that is taken orally, in pill form. Injected corticosteroids, tumor necrosis factor blockers, and interleukin-12/interleukin-23 inhibitors are among the treatments currently available.More

Allergy shot or allergy pill? FDA approves new option
Mother Nature Network
If you enjoy going to the doctor's office to get allergy shots for months on end, then more power to you. For the other 99.99 percent of allergy sufferers, relief may be headed your way in the form of a pill developed to replace shots for those who are allergic to pollen. Oralair, from the French company Stallergenes, has been approved for people ages 10 to 65 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.More

Study: Gene panels may be useful, cheaper alternative to whole-genome sequencing
Medical Xpress
As many as 10 percent of women with a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer have at least one genetic mutation that, if known, would prompt their doctors to recommend changes in their care, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.More

Virus-fighting genes linked to mutations in cancer
Bioscience Technology
Researchers have found a major piece of genetic evidence that confirms the role of a group of virus-fighting genes in cancer development. Our understanding of the biological processes that cause cancer is limited. UV light and smoking are two well-understood cancer-causing processes.More

Researchers create roadmap for gene expression
R&D Magazine
In a new study, researchers from North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill and other institutions have taken the first steps toward creating a road map that may help scientists narrow down the genetic cause of numerous diseases. Their work also sheds new light on how heredity and environment can affect gene expression.More

Hungry spouses lash out as low blood sugar spurs anger
Serious discussions between spouses shouldn't take place on an empty stomach, a study suggests. Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.More

Lawmakers: E-cigarettes target youth with festivals
Bloomberg Businessweek
E-cigarette makers aim to hook youth on their products using music festivals, free samples and candy-flavored versions, U.S. Democratic lawmakers said. The findings, in a survey released by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.More

In surprise move, CMS announces Medicare Advantage pay increase
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
After proposing in February a 1.9 percent cut in reimbursement to insurers in the Medicare Advantage program, Medicare made a surprise announcement and said there would, instead, be a 0.4 percent increase.More

Procrastination is in your genes
Everybody has put off today what can be done tomorrow. And that might be because procrastination is in your genes, a new study published in the journal Psychological Science suggests. More

Exchange enrollment exceeds expectations, but too early to determine impact
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
The Obama administration's last-ditch efforts to get people to sign up for insurance through the insurance exchanges paid off as the total enrollment numbers exceeded 7 million by the March 31 open enrollment deadline.More

Men with blood type O have lower recurrence of prostate cancer
Medical News Today
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and in 2010, it was responsible for over 28,000 deaths in the U.S. Now, a new study presented at the European Association of Urology congress in Sweden suggests men with blood type O have a significantly lower chance of the cancer recurring.More

Genetic marker could raise breast cancer risk in obese women
LiveScience via The Huffington Post
Women who have a certain genetic marker may be at increased risk for breast cancer, especially if they are overweight or obese, a new study suggests. In the study, white women with the genetic marker were nearly 70 percent more likely to have breast cancer compared to those without the marker. And if women were overweight or obese and had the marker, their risk of breast cancer increased by 210 percent, compared with those who did not have the marker, the study found. More

Fiber's cancer-fighting effect depends on gut bacteria
LiveScience via Fox News
A high-fiber diet may protect against colon cancer, but only if you have the right gut bacteria, a new study in mice suggests. In the study, mice were fed either a low- or high-fiber diet, and some had a type of bacteria in their gut that ferments fiber into a chemical called butyrate, while others did not. All of the mice were then given a cancer-causing chemical so that they would develop colon tumors.More

Too much TV time linked to poorer sleep in kids
For all the parents who've ever banged their heads against the wall wondering why their kids won't sleep, a new study offers at least some partial clues. The research, out in the journal Pediatrics, finds that the more TV kids watch, the less they tend to sleep. The connection is fairly intuitive — even adults can get wired staring at screens for too long.More

Are young fathers at increased risk of depression?
Science World Report
Becoming a parent can be a difficult issue, particularly for first-time fathers. A recent study shows that fathers at a young age may be at a higher risk of depression during the first few years of their fatherhood. In fact, researchers found that symptoms of postpartum depression increased by an average of 68 percent over the first five years of fatherhood, particularly for fathers around 25.More