Managed Care e-News
Jul. 14, 2015

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Register today for the 2015 Fall Forum being held November 12-13, 2015 at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. Click here to visit the conference website.More

US regulators are lining up to put Aetna's multibillion Humana deal under the microscope
Reuters via Business Insider
U.S. insurance regulators and state attorneys general are lining up to scrutinize Aetna's proposed $33 billion takeover of rival Humana for potential harm to consumers, complicating what is already expected to be a tough and lengthy review by federal antitrust authorities.More

The unaffordable care act
The Wall Street Journal
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make insurance, well, more affordable. But now hard results are starting to emerge: premium surges that often average 10 percent to 20 percent and spikes that sometimes run as high as 50 percent or 60 percent or more from coast to coast. Welcome to the new abnormal of Obamacare. More

Federal audits of Medicare advantage reveal widespread overcharges
Government audits just released as the result of a lawsuit detail widespread billing errors in private Medicare Advantage health plans going back years, including overpayments of thousands of dollars a year for some patients. Since 2004, private insurers that run Medicare Advantage plans, an increasingly popular alternative to traditional Medicare, have been paid using a risk score calculated for each patient who joins.More

Expert: Bundled payments a better model than accountable care organizations
Healthcare Finance News
A former advisor to President Barack Obama is warning healthcare providers to embrace bundled payments as accountable care organizations fall behind in reaping savings from value-based payment models. According to Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D., and Topher Spiro, accountable care organizations, the much-hoped-for drivers of delivery and payment transformation, aren’t working so well.More

Health systems sign private-sector ACO deals that may lead to capitation
Modern Healthcare
On a wooded campus in Falls Church, Virginia, Inova Health System has executives in its integrated provider network and its insurance joint venture with Aetna working alongside each other on one floor of a building. It's part of the system's $27 million investment in establishing an insurance arm and an accountable care program.More

Reflections of a pharmacist: The new FDA NSAID warning
By Jason Poquette
The FDA recently published a new drug safety warning indicating there is a greater risk of heart attack or stroke related to the use of nonaspirin NSAIDs than previously believed. This warning soon spread to all the national and local media, and the questions started pouring in. Is ibuprofen safe any longer? Will naproxen cause a heart attack? Should I stop taking my diclofenac for pain? As a pharmacist, I took a significant personal interest in this matter.More

US FDA approves new drug for schizophrenia, major depression
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
A new drug to treat schizophrenia and depression has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Rexulti tablets can be used to treat adults with schizophrenia. The new drug can also be used as an add-on therapy to antidepressant drugs for adults with major depression. "Schizophrenia and major depressive disorder can be disabling and can greatly disrupt day-to-day activities," Dr. Mitchell Mathis, director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release.More

FDA approves AstraZeneca's lung cancer drug as 1st-line treatment
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved AstraZeneca Plc's drug, Iressa, as a first-line treatment for a common form of lung cancer. The drug was previously approved for use in non-small cell lung cancer patients only after they did not respond to chemotherapy. The FDA said the approval was based on results from a trial of 106 patients with previously untreated non-small cell lung cancer.More

Scientists uncover new genes that affect development and maintenance of blood stem cell
Even though the transplantation of blood stem cells, also known as bone marrow, has saved many lives over many decades, the genes that control the number or function of blood stem cells are not fully understood. In a study published in Stem Cell Reports, the USC Stem Cell labs of Hooman Allayee and Gregor Adams uncovered new genes that affect blood stem cell development and maintenance.More

Early lead exposure affects gene expression throughout life
Medical Xpress
A team of researchers led by North Carolina State University biologists Cathrine Hoyo and Randy Jirtle have found links between lead exposure in children and epigenetic alterations in regulatory regions of genes that are imprinted and known to be critical in growth regulation and brain development. These alterations seem to persist into adulthood, with more profound effects in males. More

FDA extends deadlines for chain restaurant to add calorie counts to menus
Restaurants across America just got a yearlong extension on when they are required to start counting calories. Last week, the FDA announced it would give chain restaurants, grocery stores and other outlets that sell prepared foods an extra year to add calorie counts to the menu, pushing the deadline from December 2015 to December 2016.More

Worries about HPV vaccine: European Union medicines agency investigating reports of rare but severe reactions
The Washington Post
The European Medicines Agency announced that it has launched a safety review of the three vaccines for human papillomavirus after receiving reports of serious adverse reactions in some young women. EMA officials said the incidents were rare, but that they were "concerned" by the severity of two types of conditions that had come to their attention. More

Beyond tech: The human side of remote monitoring and health call centers
By Karen R. Thomas
What comes to mind when you think about remote patient monitoring? The first thing most people think of are the various technologies that make this transfer of health data possible. They envision the remote monitoring devices that collect data such as weight, pulse, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, blood glucose readings and so on, and transmit that data back to a technology hub. What isn't often discussed, however, is the human element that is the real power behind this type of telehealth.More

Breast cancer warning to older women
BBC News
Many older women are unaware of some of the early warning signs of breast cancer, according to a survey. Fewer than half of the women over 70 who were questioned could name a symptom, apart from a lump.More

What finger length may say about your mental health
Everyday Health via Yahoo News
If your eyes are the windows to your soul, can your hands offer a peek into your mind? Possibly so, according to a recent study. Scientists in Turkey found that the length of a man’s finger — particularly the ratio between his index and ring fingers — may predict his risk for schizophrenia, a chronic, debilitating mental disorder characterized by hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking and behavior.More

The reason why mental health disorders emerge in your early 20s
Mental health has become increasingly important among young adults. In fact, some gyms are even providing mental health counseling now. Between moving out of the house, going to college, starting your first job and ultimately starting a new chapter of your life, the path to becoming an adult is not an easy one.More