Managed Care e-News
Apr. 28, 2015

Survey: Out-of-pocket costs for healthcare up 11 percent
Both healthcare consumers and providers felt the squeeze of rising healthcare costs in 2014 — with out-of-pocket costs for patients rising 11 percent — according to a TransUnion Healthcare report released. “Our latest report demonstrates that consumers continue to feel the pressure of rising healthcare costs,” said Gerry McCarthy, president of TransUnion Healthcare.More

What employers need to know about the hottest trend in health insurance
There are a number of industry trends employers should be aware of in preparation for open enrollment. Of those trends, there’s one that continues to rise in popularity: consumer-driven healthcare plans. In fact, last year, offerings of consumer-driven healthcare plans jumped from 39 percent to 48 percent among employers with 500 or more employees, according to Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans. More

Universal precautions: They truly are worth it
By Christina Thielst
When a Santa Barbara, California, patient tested positive for Hepatitis C recently, local public health officials investigated the cause. Their analysis included a visit to the patient's physician, where they discovered the medical office was performing injections without following standard/universal precautions to protect themselves and their patients from blood-borne viruses. This presents us with the opportunity for a teachable moment — for physicians, their staffs and the administrators charged with overseeing healthcare processes.More

No ACOs without coordination
Healthcare IT News
For providers considering how to assemble a viable accountable care organization, experts say the key is to first have a strong care coordination system in place. Without cohesion and collaboration among clinicians, an ACO has no chance of getting off the ground, says John Shankman, senior vice president of clinical innovation for New York-based AMC Health.More

ACO expansion: A costly but vital sustainability investment
RevCycle Intelligence
The number of accountable care organizations is on the rise, albeit a tad slowly, confirms new research from Niyum Ghandi, Partner at Oliver Wyman. There has been active ACO expansion activity with the healthcare indsutry. Ghandi’s findings specifically verify the establishment of an additional 159 ACOs, bringing the estimated total up to 585.More

FDA may crack down on junk homeopathic 'remedies'
The Verge
The FDA is asking for input on how to deal with homeopathic "remedies," concoctions with no proof they work that haven't faced the scrutiny of regular medicine. Homeopathy operates under the idea that heavily diluted substances in the body can trigger a response that fights disease, but most scientists have called the idea bunk.More

FDA considers new treatment for double chins
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering a new treatment meant to reduce the double chin using a drug, not surgery. “If it’s a simple injection and it’s painless, and it’s going to help me feel better about myself, yeah, I’d do it,” said one man.More

New breast cancer gene identified
Medical Xpress
A new breast cancer gene has been identified in a study led by Women's College Hospital researcher Dr. Mohammad Akbari, who is also an assistant professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of The study published in Nature Genetics describes how mutations in a gene called RECQL are strongly linked to the onset of breast cancer in two populations of Polish and French-Canadian women.More

How an RNA gene silences a whole chromosome
Researchers have discovered how an abundant class of RNA genes, called lncRNAs can regulate key genes. By studying an important lncRNA, called Xist, the scientists identified how this RNA gathers a group of proteins and ultimately prevents women from having an extra functional X-chromosome — a condition in female embryos that leads to death in early development. More

Chinese manipulation of human embryo genes draws rebuke
The Wall Street Journal
A team of Chinese scientists have reported using human embryos as subjects for an experiment in editing genes in a way that could be passed on permanently — a practice believed to be a first and also hotly opposed by most genetic researchers and ethicists internationally.More

Feds to lower fluoride levels in drinking water for the 1st time in more than 50 years
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
The government is lowering the recommended amount of fluoride added to drinking water for the first time in more than 50 years. Some people are getting too much fluoride because it is also now put in toothpaste, mouthwash and other products, health officials said in announcing the change.More

Air pollution may shrink the brain
Discovery News
Breathing polluted air every day may change a person’s brain in ways that end up leading to cognitive impairment, according to a new study. If there's one thing we know, it's that pollution is bad. Or is it? In the study, researchers examined 943 healthy adults who were at least 60 years old and lived the New England region.More

The future of cancer: Closer to a cure
The Wall Street Journal
Decades into the declared modern war on cancer, scientists and clinicians are excited by what we are learning. Yet patients and families are too often frustrated by the lack of progress in prevention and treatment. To understand this seeming paradox, we have to consider what has been learned about the biology of cancer and how we are putting this knowledge to use.More

New analysis finds that rates of health insurance coverage vary by demographics, cancer type
A new analysis has found that, among patients with cancer, rates of health insurance coverage vary by patient demographics and by cancer type. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings suggest that the expansion of coverage through the Affordable Care Act may disproportionally benefit certain patient populations.More

Bullying leads to depression and suicidal thoughts in teens
High school students subjected to bullying and other forms of harassment are more likely to report being seriously depressed, consider suicide and carry weapons to school, according to findings from a trio of studies.More

Mindfulness may be as good as meds for staving off depression
The Washington Post
Doctors generally prescribe antidepressants to help people avoid the recurrences that are common with chronic depression. Might mindfulness therapy, which helps people change the way they respond to feelings and experiences that trigger their bouts of depression, offer an alternative for those who do not want to take antidepressants long-term?More

Study: Mental health sufferers more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol
RT News
Patients suffering from mental health problems are up to 10 times more likely to use alcohol and drugs, according to a Norwegian study. The researchers also discovered young people in early stages of schizophrenia are acutely prone to substance abuse.More