Managed Care e-News
Jun. 11, 2013

Healthcare pricing transparency gains momentum
Two of the hottest topics in healthcare right now are pricing transparency and data interoperability. Both are squarely aimed at dramatically reducing healthcare costs and increasing patient safety/health outcomes. In a fairly rapid sequence of events, pricing transparency is gaining momentum on it's new trajectory. While we can't tie this progress to the Affordable Care Act directly — it is welcome and important progress nonetheless.More

The culprit behind high US healthcare prices
The New York Times
Elizabeth Rosenthal's eye-opening article about healthcare costs in The New York Times was a reminder of how much more Americans pay for given procedures than citizens in health systems abroad. What was probably more surprising to most readers was the huge price differentials for identical procedures &mdahs; not only across the United States, but even within American cities, where prices for a given procedure can vary tenfold.More

Medicare rate decision seen by hundreds of US employees
The Medicare rate decision that sent Humana Inc.'s stock soaring in April was distributed to at least 436 government employees at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department before the agency's official announcement. Senator Charles Grassley's staff obtained more than 1,000 pages of emails from HHS that mentioned the decision in the two weeks before April 1, according to Jill Gerber, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Republican. More

FDA approves 4-strain Sanofi influenza vaccine
French drugmaker Sanofi SA said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its four-strain influenza vaccine, which is meant to provide better protection from infection than traditional three-strain flu vaccines. The Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine is licensed for adults, adolescents and children 6 months and older, and will be available in the upcoming 2013-2014 flu season, the company said.More

The best vitamins and minerals for seniors
U.S. News & World Report
It is important to remember that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet of nutritious foods. As you get older, however, you can become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, and the nutrients you get from diet alone may not be enough. In these cases, you should not treat yourself with over-the-counter supplements without first talking to your doctor. More

A 20-minute bout of yoga stimulates brain function immediately after
Researchers report that a single, 20-minute session of Hatha yoga significantly improved participants' speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control, two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus and take in, retain and use new information. Participants performed significantly better immediately after the yoga practice than after moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for the same amount of time. More

How young genes gain a toehold on becoming indispensable
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientists have, for the first time, mapped a young gene's short, dramatic evolutionary journey to becoming essential, or indispensable. In a study published online in Science, the researchers detail one gene's rapid switch to a new and essential function in the fruit fly, challenging the long-held belief that only ancient genes are important.More

Top 10 experimental cancer drugs of 2013
With the help of open-minded regulators, pharma companies have ditched the traditional march through three phases of clinical trials for some cancer drugs. Trials of targeted drugs offer rapid proof of efficacy against molecularly defined malignancies, giving the authorities a basis for approvals before late-stage studies to prove that therapies prolong the lives of patients. More

Genetic component of tanning bed addiction to be explored
A tanning bed addiction study by a professor at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center will look at behavioral and possible genetic aspects of the problem. Darren Mays, assistant professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi, says some studies have suggested that as many as one in five women between the ages of 18 and 30 who have used an indoor tanning bed are addicted to tanning. More

Healthcare pricing transparency gains momentum
Two of the hottest topics in healthcare right now are pricing transparency and data interoperability. Both are squarely aimed at dramatically reducing healthcare costs and increasing patient safety/health outcomes.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

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." More

New nontoxic cancer treatment: Fatty diet and oxygen inhalation boost survival by 78 percent
Medical Daily
While risk of developing cancer varies depending on personal risk factors, the progression of cancers to metastasis causes 90 percent of cancer-related deaths. A new study has found that a twofold treatment, altering diet and undergoing oxygen treatment, can naturally prevent the growth of cancer cells and their metastasis. More

Common solvent linked to 3 kinds of cancer
Scandinavian workers exposed to a common industrial cleaning fluid showed higher risk for developing cancers of the liver, kidneys and cervix in a large new study. Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a chemical solvent that has already been shown to cause cancer in animals when inhaled or absorbed through the skin in large amounts. The World Health Organization designated TCE a human carcinogen in October 2012, but the chemical is still used widely in industry to clean machinery and in some etching processes, at levels believed to be too low to harm people.More

Treatments of physical and mental health are coming together
Los Angeles Times
Many days, the sheer weight of Iszurette Hunter's clinical depression becomes more than she can lift. She clings to her bed in her South Los Angeles home. Important obligations slide away, including keeping appointments with doctors who are trying to control her asthma and high blood pressure. As the nation seeks to extend healthcare coverage to millions of new and in many cases chronically ill patients, one of the great parallel challenges to controlling costs and improving delivery of care will be managing the mental health problems of people like Hunter.More

Aromatherapy: The good smells that can make you and your clients happy
Psych Central
Many people take the power of scent too lightly. To surround self or surroundings with scent, even demurely, has tremendous potential. Aromatherapy can play a part in wellness, but its applications go way beyond the massage room at the spa. If you counsel or coach, bring scent into your office space with essential oil drops on the breeze of a blowing curtain. Read on for additional ways to incorporate the transformative powers of aromatherapy. More