Managed Care e-News
Jun. 4, 2013

Health plans in the new healthcare exchanges
By Dr. Jonathan Kaplan
If you've been keeping up with the healthcare debate, you'll notice Republicans are predicting the demise of "Obamacare" and Democrats are predicting the Affordable Care Act to be the "second coming." The debate is coming to a fever pitch again because the new healthcare exchanges are about to come to fruition. Starting Oct. 1, consumers will be able to go online and view these different plans. Now that the date is nearing, some state exchanges have released their plan options and their associated premiums from participating insurance companies on the exchange.More

CDC: 1 in 5 Americans report at least 1 ER visit last year
American College of Emergency Physicians via The Herald
One in five Americans reported visiting an emergency department at least once in the past year, according to new report on America's health from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's. The findings show America's increasing reliance on emergency care, according to Dr. Andy Sama, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. More

The price and the pricelessness of healthcare
The New York Times published its latest salvo on the outrageousness of healthcare prices. Elizabeth Rosenthal described how U.S. prices compare unfavorably with other countries. A hip replacement that costs on average $40,364 in the U.S. costs $7,731 in Spain. Switzerland charges $655 for a colonoscopy, compared with $1,185 in the U.S. — more than the cost of childbirth or an appendectomy in most other countries.More

FDA can't hold back stream of mobile health apps
It was bound to happen. As smartphones, tablets and all those wearable computer gizmos get more and more powerful — and just as important — become ever more constant in our lives, they will enable apps that no one anticipated. Not even the people of the Food and Drug Administration.More

Dispute flares within FDA over safety of popular blood pressure drugs
The Wall Street Journal via Fox News
The top-selling class of blood-pressure drugs is under attack from an unusual source: A senior regulator at the Food and Drug Administration. Bucking his bosses, Thomas A. Marciniak is seeking stronger warnings about the drugs known as angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARBs, according to internal documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. More

Study: Staying fit cuts cancer death risk in middle age
Bloomberg via Delmarva Now
Middle-aged men who stayed fit were less likely to die from three common cancers after being diagnosed than those who were out of shape, research found. In a study of 17,049 men, those with good respiratory and cardiovascular fitness were more likely to survive prostate, lung or colorectal cancer, and avoid developing lung or colorectal cancers. More

Newly discovered virus takes more lives, spreads
A new SARS-like virus recently found in humans continues to spread — with the worldwide total now at 49, the World Health Organization said. Of the 49 known infections with the MERS-CoV virus, 27 have resulted in death, the organization said.More

Drug shows promise against advanced melanoma
HealthDay News via WebMD
Nearly one-third of patients with advanced melanomas who received nivolumab, a new immune-based drug, experienced reductions in the size of their tumors, a preliminary study reveals. Since these types of drugs have typically shrunk tumors in only 5 percent to 10 percent of patients in prior studies, the new results are a boost for immunotherapy generally, the researchers noted.More

Gene therapy may protect against flu pandemics
HealthDay News via WebMD
Gene therapy that turns cells in the nose into factories that crank out super antibodies against the flu protected mice and ferrets against lethal doses of several pandemic strains of the virus. If the approach works in humans, it could offer several important advantages over flu vaccines, said study author Dr. James Wilson, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.More

FDA can't hold back stream of mobile health apps
It was bound to happen. As smartphones, tablets and all those wearable computer gizmos get more and more powerful — and just as important — become ever more constant in our lives, they will enable apps that no one anticipated. Not even the people of the Food and Drug Administration.More

Disability and discrimination at the doctor's office
The New York Times
It's been nearly 23 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act, a federal law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities, went into effect. Despite its unequivocal language, studies in recent years have revealed that disabled patients tend not only to be in poorer health, but also to receive inadequate preventive care and to experience worse outcomes.More

Who has the answers to reducing healthcare costs?
By Mike Wokasch
Not the government, not insurance companies, not hospital administrators. Nope. Frontline healthcare providers have more practical answers to reducing the cost of healthcare than any executive, agency, committee or consulting firm.More

Vinegar test may reduce cervical cancer deaths
MedPage Today
Vinegar has been used for everything from cleaning refrigerators to taming foot odors, and now this common kitchen staple may reduce cervical cancer deaths as well, researchers reported here. In a 12-year randomized study of 150,000 women in India, biennial visual inspection with vinegar reduced cervical cancer mortality by 31 percent, compared with no screening.More

New weapon in fight against cervical cancer
Scientists at the University of Leeds have found a way to target and destroy a key protein associated with the development of cervical and other cancers. The E7 protein is produced early in the lifecycle of the human papillomavirus and blocks the body's natural defences against the uncontrolled division of cells that can lead to cancer. Researchers at the University of Leeds' School of Molecular and Cellular Biology have synthesized a molecule, called an RNA aptamer, that latches onto the carcinogenic protein and targets it for destruction, significantly reducing its presence in cells in the laboratory derived from cervical cancers.More

Hundreds of studies back benefits of psychotherapy for depression
Public Library of Science via Psych Central
Treatments for depression that do not involve antidepressant drugs but rather focus on different forms of psychotherapy interventions are all beneficial. The techniques, also sometimes called talk therapy, can take various iterations with no one form of therapy being better than the others, according to a study by international researchers published in PLOS Medicine.More

When work stress yields depression, it's unbearable
Depression is a bear of a burden on its own, let alone in the workplace where the stigma attached to it is arguably just as bad as the consequences of remaining silent for the employee and the employer. That's the message from the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health which joined with Employers Health launching Right Direction to educate employers and employees about depression, reduce stigma and increase the chances of people asking for help. More

Adolescent smoking may increase adult anxiety
Smoking is a global problem and has long been associated with negative mental health. People with psychological problems are much more likely to smoke than those without. Few studies, however, have looked at how adolescent smoking impacts vulnerability to mental health problems. Because rates of smoking are extremely high among people with anxiety, Steven Moylan of the School of Medicine at Deakin University in Australia chose to study anxiety and smoking in a large sample of adolescents. More