Managed Care e-News
Feb. 28, 2012

Healthcare reform: The unintended impact on children
When healthcare reform was passed in 2010, many applauded the provision that children could no longer be denied health insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions, but there's decidedly less clapping now. "As an unintended consequence of health reform, a lot of insurers stopped offering individual coverage for children. That put parents in a bind, and children in danger."More

Healthcare: 5 patients, 5 ways to be billed
Los Angeles Times
To appreciate the complexity of the U.S. healthcare system, consider the case of five hypothetical patients in the same hospital, all with the same illness, all receiving the same treatment from doctors and nurses. Their bills could be paid in so many ways.More

A shift from nursing homes to managed care at home
The New York Times
Faced with soaring healthcare costs and shrinking Medicare and Medicaid financing, nursing home operators are closing some facilities and embracing an emerging model of care that allows many elderly patients to remain in their homes and still receive the medical and social services available in institutions. The rapid expansion of this new type of care comes at a time when healthcare experts argue that for many aged patients, the nursing home model is no longer financially viable or medically justified. More

FDA panel recommends approval of Chelsea's Northera treatment
The Wall Street Journal
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has recommended the approval of Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd.'s drug Northera for the treatment of symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension in patients with primary autonomic failure, such as Parkinson's disease. Shares surged 69 percent to $4.08 in recent after-hours trading as Chelsea said the FDA's cardiovascular and renal drugs advisory committee voted 7 to 4, with one abstention and one non-vote, to recommend Northera's approval. More

FDA: New suppliers to increase supply of cancer drugs
The Washington Post
VideoBriefFederal regulators have approved new suppliers for two crucial cancer drugs, easing critical shortages that had been ratcheting up fears that patients, particularly children with leukemia, would miss lifesaving treatments.More

Study: New melanoma drug doubles survival time
CBS News
Advanced melanoma is often considered a death sentence, since patients will live only 6 to 10 months by the time it's diagnosed. A new study of a recently approved drug called vemurafenib offers hope, because it nearly doubled life expectancy of patients with metastatic melanoma to 16 months.More

Endometriosis increases risk of certain ovarian cancers
ABC News
VideoBrief Women with a history of endometriosis are at a significantly increased risk of developing several types of ovarian cancers, according to a new study. Endometriosis occurs when the cells from the lining of the uterus grow in other areas of the body, according to the National Institutes of Health. About 10 percent of women in their childbearing years experience it.More

Nutrition: Dessert at breakfast may help dieters
The New York Times
As improbable as it sounds, researchers have found that a low-calorie meal plan that includes dessert with breakfast may help dieters. Scientists randomized 144 obese people, ages 20 to 65, to two low-carbohydrate diets providing 1,400 daily calories for women and 1,600 for men. The diets were identical except that one included a high-carbohydrate, protein-enriched breakfast with a choice of cookies, chocolate, cake or ice cream for dessert.More

Colonoscopies cut cancer deaths
The Associated Press via
Millions of people have endured a colonoscopy, believing the dreaded exam may help keep them from dying of colon cancer. For the first time, a major study offers clear evidence that it does. Removing precancerous growths spotted during the test can cut the risk of dying from colon cancer in half, the study suggests. Doctors have long assumed a benefit, but research hasn't shown before that removing polyps would improve survival — the key measure of any cancer screening's worth.More

Medical tattoos offer important health information
The Associated Press via ABC News
Tattoos have long served as fashion statements, but a small number of Americans are now relying on them for a more practical, potentially lifesaving purpose: To warn first responders about important medical conditions. Some medical tattoos are being used to take the place of bracelets that commonly list a person's allergies, chronic diseases or even end-of-life wishes.More

Are you heart smart?
USA Today
While consumers have access to more information about heart disease than ever before, much of it is incorrect or even dangerous, say cardiology experts Marc Gillinov and Steven Nissen, authors of the new "Heart 411: The Only Guide to Heart Health You'll Ever Need." USA TODAY's Liz Szabo asked them how people can make smarter choices about their health.More

Study: Meds for autism not well understood
HealthDay News via MSN
Children with autism may benefit from medications to treat children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other related disorders, but clearer guidelines are needed, a new study shows. Researchers analyzed data from more than 1,000 U.S. teens enrolled in special education programs, to assess the use of psychiatric medications in those with autism, ADHD and both conditions.More

Study: Hepatitis C-related deaths outpace HIV deaths
Los Angeles Times via Boston Herald
Hepatitis C mortality rates surpassed HIV mortality rates in the United States in 2007, researchers said. In a study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers analyzed causes of death on more than 21.8 million U.S. death certificates filed between 1999 and 2007. Rates of death related to hepatitis C, a viral infection that causes chronic liver disease, rose at an average rate of .18 deaths per 100,000 persons per year.More

Computers boost brain power in MS, mental illness
MedPage Today
Computer training is showing promise in improving cognitive abilities in patients with conditions as disparate as schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, researchers reported. After 16 weeks of intensive targeted treatment, patients with schizophrenia were significantly better able to identify words they had generated themselves from those supplied by others, according to Karuna Subramaniam, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of California San Francisco.More