Managed Care e-News
Jul. 1, 2014

Supreme Court supports religious freedom of businesses
By Jessica Taylor
A potentially landmark decision on religious liberty occurred in the U.S. Supreme Court — and religious freedom won. The court ruled in favor of business owners objects on religious grounds to a provision of the Affordable Care Act. Two companies — Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties — came together to sue the Obama administration because the Affordable Care Act requires each company to provide health insurance that includes contraception.More

When a health plan knows how you shop
The New York Times
There may be a link between your Internet use and how often you end up in the emergency room. At least that's one of the curious connections to emerge from a healthcare analysis project at the insurance division of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. UPMC is a $12 billion nonprofit enterprise that owns hospitals in western Pennsylvania as well as a health insurance plan with about 2.4 million members.More

Profits in health insurance under Obamacare
This year's Fortune 500 shows that health insurers as a group continue to post rather mediocre profit results for the sixth straight year in a row. Indeed, when return on revenue is used as the measure of profits, the biggest firms among health insurers/managed care companies used to reliably outperform those in the retail pharmacy and other services industry.More

Physicians lead most, best ACOs
HealthLeaders Media
The transition to value-based healthcare requires strong physician leaders. Physician engagement is the most critical factor for ACO success. But financing and working across the care continuum are challenges for physician-led ACOs. An accountable care organization in Palm Springs, Florida, could very well be a model for designing a successful physician-led ACO. More

Medicare ACO lessons for Medicaid
Health IT Outcomes
The successful deployment of Medicaid accountable care organizations will be dependent upon looking to the Medicare ACO programs underway for guidance, yet still need to be flexible in creating the new delivery systems, according to staff analysts from the Center for Strategic Health Studies.More

Inhaled medication Afrezza approved to treat diabetes
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
An inhaled medication, Afrezza, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with diabetes. The rapid-acting, inhaled insulin is designed to be used within 20 minutes of beginning a meal, the agency said. Diabetes affects an estimated 25.8 million people in the United States, including 7 million who haven't been diagnosed, the FDA said in a news release. Serious complications could include heart disease, blindness and damage to the nerves and kidneys.More

FDA: Acne products can cause severe allergic reactions
USA Today
Some popular over-the-counter acne treatments can occasionally cause serious, even life-threatening, allergic reactions, the Food and Drug Administration warned. The products contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid and are sold under brand names including Proactiv, Neutrogena, MaxClarity, Oxy, Ambi, Aveeno, and Clean & Clear, FDA says.More

FDA struggles to regulate fecal transplants
The Associated Press via CBS News
Imagine a low-cost treatment for a life-threatening infection that could cure up to 90 percent of patients with minimal side effects, often in a few days. It may sound like a miracle drug, but this cutting-edge treatment is profoundly simple — though somewhat icky: take the stool of healthy patients to cure those with hard-to-treat intestinal infections.More

Why your genes aren't a language
Over at Evolving Th0ughts, historian of science John Wilkins has an excellent series on the uses and abuses of metaphors in biology. Perhaps the most familiar to readers these days of course are discussions about genes as language, and genes as information.More

Older moms may have genes for longevity
The Washington Post
A silver lining for some older moms: The genes that allow some women to naturally have children later in life also make it likely these women will live a longer life. A study published found that women who are able to have children after age 33 — without using drugs or other infertility treatments–have a greater chance of living longer than women who had their last child before 30.More

Studies provide important new information on genetic risk of sudden cardiac death
Medical Xpress
Two international research studies, both led by investigators affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, have uncovered new information about genes that may increase the risk of serious cardiac arrhythmias. The studies recently received back-to-back advance online publication in Nature Genetics and Nature Methods.More

Students who send explicit texts more likely to be sexually active
Parents who catch their middle school-aged children sexting may be justified in suspecting something more, a new study suggests. Adolescents who sent or received sexually explicit photos or text messages were three to seven times more likely to be sexually active than their peers not involved in sexting, according to a survey of nearly 1,300 middle school students in Los Angeles.More

'Supercooling' technique may preserve transplant organs longer
Fox News
A new technique may help preserve transplantable organs for days, Nature World News reported. The "supercooling" method of preserving transplant organs was developed by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to help decrease the cost of organ transplants and increase the number of successful organ matches.More

Supreme Court supports religious freedom of businesses
By Jessica Taylor
A potentially landmark decision on religious liberty occurred in the U.S. Supreme Court — and religious freedom won.More

Making the case for state Medicaid expansion
By Maria Frisch
Medicaid is a joint federal- and state-funded program that provides healthcare for more than 60 million low-income Americans.More

Jumping through hoops for a better health plan
The New York Times
To get an idea of what your employer's health plan may look like in the near future, consider the options the government of Manatee County, Florida, offers to its workers.More

Couch potatoes pay attention! Sitting too much can cause cancer
The Washington Post
Nearly half of a U.S. Army infantry brigade back home from Afghanistan reported experiencing pain for at least the past 3 months, and 15 percent said they had used opioids in the past month — including some who indicated they were not in pain, researchers said. These numbers are much higher than reported in the civilian population and don't appear to correspond exclusively to combat injuries.More

Cancer therapy: Targeting in the field of metabolic rewiring
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
Of more than 100,000 carcinogen point mutations, 350 are known to influence cancer phenotype. However, 30 years of intensive research on cancer biology and large amounts of grant money invested have translated into few novel treatments. This raises many questions regarding the true value of development of multiple potential new therapeutics just to prove they cannot provide effective treatment for cancer. Perhaps we have missed the point. Metabolic reprograming of cancer cells could be yet another key to a more effective treatment for cancer. More

Mental disorder not factor in Pistorius shooting
The Associated Press via Bloomberg Businessweek
Oscar Pistorius was not suffering from a mental illness when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and was able to understand the wrongfulness of what he had done, according to psychiatric reports submitted at the Olympic athlete's murder trial.More

10 quick and easy ways to improve your mental health
We all know the importance of maintaining good physical health — we're bombarded daily with ads for exercise programs, diet plans and blog posts on what to eat and drink and what vitamin supplements to take or avoid. What's not as frequently addressed, however, is mental health — but it';s just as important.More