Managed Care e-News
Jan. 15, 2013

Rejecting Medicaid expansion adds new dimension to poverty line
American Medical News
Pennsylvania's apparent decision to delay Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act means "there is potentially a large cohort of people who will not have access to affordable insurance coverage" as authorized by the ACA starting in 2014, said Dennis Olmstead, vice president of practice economics and payer relations with the Pennsylvania Medical Society. Those at the poverty line or above might be able to obtain subsidized coverage through the health insurance exchange that the federal government will operate in the state. But for the poorest new eligibles who are shut out of Medicaid, there may be no subsidized coverage option available.More

Insurers' 2014 hikes already taking toll
If you work for a small business, your next health insurance premium may give you sticker shock. Many of the small-business and individual insurance policies are working the health reform law's 2014 fees into their 2013 bills, contributing to double-digit premium increases for some people.More

Huge opportunity for dual eligible cost savings
McKnight's Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living
Better coordination of care for individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid could result in savings of nearly $190 billion by 2022, according to a recent UnitedHealth Center report. Medicare and Medicaid spending on dual eligibles is estimated to reach $330 billion in 2013, according to the report. The long-term care sector will be significantly impacted by efforts to bring this number down in the future, as a majority of the $150 billion in Medicaid spent on dual eligibles is for long-term care services. More

FDA gives green light to remote monitoring in clinical trial
American Medical News
The Federal Drug Administration has approved a clinical drug trial that is unique for two reasons. It used crowdsourcing, including physicians, for the design of the trial. And it's using telemonitoring to track patient data.More

FDA panel votes to approve diabetes drug
The New York Times
A federal advisory panel voted to approve a diabetes drug that could be the first in a new class of drugs in the United States to treat the disease, although several members raised concerns about potential cardiovascular risks and its use in people whose kidneys are impaired. More

Call for contributors
In an effort to enhance the overall content of Managed Care e-News, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of NAMCP, your knowledge of the industry lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit and our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Colby Horton to discuss logistics and payment.More

Drugmakers report US shortages of flu vaccine, Tamiflu
This year's U.S. flu season has created shortages of the Tamiflu treatment for children and of the most widely used flu vaccine, their manufacturers said. Roche Holding said that it had a shortage of the liquid form of Tamiflu, given to children who already have the flu to slow or stop symptoms. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed that there have been supply interruptions in some locations.More

Vitamin D may not relieve arthritis pain
Taking daily vitamin D doesn't keep knee pain from getting worse or slow the loss of cartilage for people with osteoarthritis, according to a U.S. study. Previous research suggested that among people with the joint disorder, those with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood tended to have a slower progression of symptoms. But whether that meant taking more in supplement form would also have a protective effect was unclear.More

Fewer US patients getting weight counseling from doctors
HealthDay News
Despite the fact that an increasing number of Americans are overweight and obese, there's been a decrease in weight counseling offered by primary care doctors, according to a new study. Researchers examined national data and found that slightly more than 6 percent of patient visits with primary care providers in 2007 to 2008 included weight counseling, which is 46 percent lower than in 1995 to 1996.More

Simple, inexpensive method to cut DNA could transform genetic medicine
The Medical News
A simple, precise and inexpensive method for cutting DNA to insert genes into human cells could transform genetic medicine, making routine what now are expensive, complicated and rare procedures for replacing defective genes in order to fix genetic disease or even cure AIDS.More

Test aims to find cancer in a new way
USA Today
In a surprise finding, researchers discovered that cervical fluid, obtained during a Pap smear, may contain not only cells from cervical cancer, but from ovarian or endometrial cancer, as well. Doctors now are combining the Pap with the latest genomic research in an effort to detect cancer of the ovaries and the endometrium, or uterine lining. More

Cancer drug 'vacation' may extend patient survival
Medical News Today
New research on mice shows that drug-resistant melanoma tumors shrink when treatment is interrupted, or given a "vacation," suggesting that altering the dose pattern of cancer drug treatment in this manner could be a simple way to extend survival in human patients with late-stage disease. However, only human trials can verify if this is the case.More

Saliva gland may hold key to Parkinson's diagnosis
Med Page Today
An abnormal protein associated with Parkinson's disease appears to accumulate in the submandibular glands, opening the way for the first good lab test for the condition in living patients. In a pilot study, nine of 11 patients with established Parkinson's disease diagnoses had phosphorylated alpha-synuclein in biopsy samples taken from the submandibular gland.More

Speaking more than 1 language could prevent Alzheimer's
Not so long ago bilingualism was thought to be bad for your brain. But it looks more and more like speaking more than one language could help save you from Alzheimer's disease.More

Scientists use virus to deliver genetic material to slow children's illness
The News & Observer
Even if the patients hadn't been as young as 4 months old, the surgery would have been harrowing: six holes bored into the skull, six tiny tubes inserted directly into targeted parts of the brain, then a solution containing hundreds of millions of viruses pumped in. Canavan disease strikes infants, essentially making the brain attack itself with a toxic chemical, stopping and reversing development. It then kills, usually before age 10. The procedure used in the study though, slows Canavan’s progress and improves – and may even help extend – their lives, according to a study that appeared last month in the online journal Science Translational Medicine.More