Managed Care e-News
Apr. 21, 2015

2015 Spring Managed Care Forum: See you in Orlando!

Register today for the 2015 Spring Forum being held April 23-24, 2015 at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club. Click here to visit the conference website.More

Health insurance shoppers look to limited networks to save money
The New York Times
In all the turmoil in healthcare, one surprising truth is emerging: Consumers seem increasingly comfortable trading a greater choice of hospitals or doctors for a health plan that costs significantly less money. “Are they willing to trade choice and access for price? There’s no question about that,” said Mark Newton, the chief executive of Swedish Covenant Hospital, a Chicago hospital that recently teamed with an Illinois insurer, Land of Lincoln Health, to offer a health plan.More

Many unaware of required tax-time insurance reporting
USA Today
The special health insurance enrollment period set up for people surprised by their tax penalties hasn't appeared to increase either awareness or enrollment by much, new research shows. People who live in the 34 states that use and didn't know about the requirement to have health insurance can sign up through April 30 for 2015 coverage.More

How to talk to patients about advanced directives
By Joan Spitrey
April 16 has been designated as National Healthcare Decision Day. This movement came out of the passion and frustration of founder Nathan Kottkamp. As a member of several hospital ethics committees, he was repeatedly challenged with trying to interpret healthcare decisions for people who had no advanced directives. Anyone working in a hospital — especially a critical care area — can certainly relate. Although most healthcare providers would agree that all patients should have an advanced directive, they often shy away from having the conversation with their patients.More

Do data exchange roadblocks affect ACO development?
EHR Intelligence
Health information exchange or medical data sharing among providers, payers, public health agencies and the federal government remains a major goal for the healthcare industry as a whole. Medical data exchange roadblocks are impeding progress in the healthcare sector necessary to improve patient care, lower costs, and boost population health outcomes.More

ACOs show modest cuts in Medicare spending after 1 year
One year after 32 organizations entered into the Pioneer accountable care organization, under which providers share savings with Medicare if spending falls below a set benchmark or incur losses if spending exceeds the benchmark, results showed modest reductions in Medicare spending.More

Merck's Keytruda shrinks lung cancer tumors, FDA approval sought
Reuters via Fox News
Merck & Co Inc's Keytruda, approved for treating melanoma, was shown in a trial to shrink tumors in nearly half of advanced lung cancer patients with high levels of a protein used by tumors to evade the body's own disease-fighting cells. The company said it has filed for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug as a treatment for patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose disease has worsened despite previous treatment.More

1st generic drug for multiple sclerosis approved
The Boston Globe
Federal regulators approved the first generic multiple sclerosis therapy, a development that could drop the price of the drug for consumers and boost the business of Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc., which produced the injectable treatment. The generic version of the MS drug Copaxone will be sold under the brand name Glatopa by the Sandoz division of Switzerland’s Novartis AG, which signed an agreement with Cambridge-based Momenta to market the generic.More

Is the placebo effect in some people's genes?
Some people may be genetically programmed to feel better after taking placebo pills, while others may only heal with real drugs, suggests a new review of existing research. The study team looked at evidence that some people’s genes may make them more prone to experience the placebo effect. If true, and a genetic profile of such “placebo responders” could be identified, it might change the way medications are prescribed and the way clinical trials are designed, the authors say.More

10 super-genes that scientists could someday program into your body
Business Insider
One of the leading genetics researchers in the world, George Church, thinks we're not far from being able to use a new gene editing technology — called the "biggest biotech discovery of the century" by the MIT Tech Review — to give ourselves powerful versions of genes that will keep us healthy and strong well into old age. More

Workers seeking productivity in a pill are abusing ADHD drugs
The New York Times
Fading fast at 11 p.m., Elizabeth texted her dealer and waited just 30 minutes for him to reach her third-floor New York apartment. She handed him a wad of twenties and fifties, received a tattered envelope of pills, and returned to her computer. Her PowerPoint needed another four hours.More

Pets can transmit infections to people
Discovery News
Illnesses that spread from pets to humans are more common than previously thought, finds a paper published this week that offers a new set of guidelines for reducing the health risks. Young children, pregnant women, seniors and anyone with a weakened immune system, such as those undergoing chemotherapy, should be especially careful when around pets, according to the authors of the paper, which is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.More

Cancer gene unintentionally ends the life of cancer cells, turns off life supporting genes
Medical Xpress
Myc cancer gene empowers tumor cells to relentlessly divide but simultaneously, provokes a cell suicide process called apoptosis. Myc controls cells by commanding the expression of every tenth of the genes in the nucleus of a tumor cell. However, in spite of more than two decades of intense research, no Myc motivated killer genes have been found.More

Stimulating brain waves may boost creativity and ease depression
The Huffington Post
The secret to stimulating creativity may be to literally stimulate the brain. In a new study, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were able to measurably increase creativity by altering electrical activity in the brain — a finding that may have significant implications for the treatment of depression.More

Mental health treatment for defendants dogged by delays
The Wall Street Journal
Marilyn Roberts’s son was arrested last year on assault charges after he allegedly flicked a cigarette at a police officer in Olympia, Washington, hitting the rim of his hat. He spent 97 days in a county jail, most of them alone in a cell 23 hours a day. He quickly deteriorated. More