Managed Care e-News
Aug. 7, 2012

Remember managed care? It's quietly coming back
The Wall Street Journal
Under pressure to squeeze out costs, some of the United States' biggest health insurers are quietly erecting more hurdles for patients seeking medical care. The companies are in many cases reaching back to the 1990s and boosting the use of techniques that antagonized patients and doctors alike. Today's approaches are tweaked, but may feel familiar to many: Insurers are rolling out plans with more restricted choices of doctors and hospitals, and weighing new requirements for referrals before patients can see specialists. More

Dual-eligible demonstrations push forward after Supreme Court ruling
While they haven't attracted the amount of press, or federal dollars, as the Medicaid expansion or state health insurance exchanges, the dual-eligible demonstration projects under the Affordable Care Act also hung in the balance while the law's constitutionality remained uncertain. With the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal healthcare reform law, states that have gotten a head start on the projects know that a year-plus of planning will not go to waste.More

Health insurers owe nearly $74 million in rebates to Californians
Los Angeles Times
Nearly 2 million Californians will receive $73.9 million in rebates from health insurers as part of the federal healthcare law, according to state officials. Insurers notified government regulators of how much they owed customers in rebates or premium credits because they didn't spend at least 80 percent or more of 2011 premiums on medical care. More

FDA approves ingestible sensor that transmits patient data to doctors
CBS News
Take these with water: Digestible sensors that can report medication adherence and vital signs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Proteus Digital Health announced that the FDA has approved their product, the Ingestion Event Marker. The ingestible sensor, which was already been approved for use in Europe in 2011, can transmit information about the patient to medical professionals and help them customize care.More

FDA approves colon cancer drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it had approved the drug Zaltrap for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer whose tumors have failed to respond to earlier treatment with chemotherapy. The infused medicine, to be taken in combination with standard chemotherapy, will compete with Roche Holding AG's Avastin and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Erbitux.More

Could compact fluorescent bulbs pose skin cancer risk?
HealthDay News
Research now points to a new and ubiquitous indoor source of these harmful rays: eco-friendly compact fluorescent light bulbs. Scientists say they found widespread chipping or cracking in the phosphor surface coating of nearly all the compact fluorescent bulbs they examined, allowing UV rays to escapeMore

CDC: Cigarette use down, other tobacco up
The Baltimore Sun
Cigarette consumption has gone down since 2008, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But other tobacco use has gone up. That includes use of pipe tobacco for roll-you-own cigarettes and cigarette-like cigars, the agency says. And that is putting a crimp in a dramatic 11-year decline in smoking.More

People with intellectual disabilities prone to poor dental health
The Washington Post
Research sheds light on the dental health of people whose intellectual or developmental disabilities may interfere with their care. Researchers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston examined a year's worth of electronic dental records for 4,732 adults with IDDs.More

Company wants FDA approval for personal DNA testing
The personal gene-testing company 23andMe recently announced that it's seeking the blessing of the Food and Drug Administration for its DNA tests that allow people to peer into their genetic makeup. If the FDA grants approval, it would be a major step forward for the growing industry springing up around genetic testing. Every day, it seems, scientists are reporting new gene-based discoveries that allow them to better pinpoint the causes of disease.More

Study: Genes are the answer to why women live longer
Medical Xpress
Scientists are beginning to understand one of life's enduring mysteries — why women live, on average, longer than men. New research describes how mutations to the DNA of the mitochondria can account for differences in the life expectancy of males and females. Mitochondria, which exist in almost all animal cells, are vital for life because they convert our food into the energy that powers the body.More

Gene mutations vary in familial polyposis
MedPage Today
The prevalence of two gene mutations in patients with colorectal polyps varied widely according to the number of adenomas present, a cross-sectional study indicated. Among 119 patients who had the highest number of adenomas — 1,000 or more — 80 percent had a mutation in the APC gene while only 2 percent had mutations in the MUTYH gene, researchers said.More

Exercise may ease depression tied to heart failure
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Exercise can help ease depression symptoms in people with chronic heart failure, according to a new study. Researchers randomly assigned more than 2,300 heart failure patients to receive either education and usual care or supervised aerobic exercise for 90 minutes a week for the first three months followed by at-home aerobic exercise 120 minutes a week for the next nine months.More

Fake butter linked to Alzheimer's
Laboratory Equipment
A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products. It found evidence that the ingredient, diacetyl, intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer's disease.More