Managed Care e-News
May. 29, 2012

Hospitals and insurers join to cut healthcare costs
The New York Times
After years of self-acknowledged profligacy, hospitals, doctors and health insurers say there is a strong effort under way to bring medical costs under control. Their goal is to slash the rate of growth in the nation's $2.7 trillion healthcare bill by roughly half to keep it more in line with overall inflation.More

Legislation may enable states to offer universal healthcare
Los Angeles Times
Universal coverage, Medicare for all, single payer — call it what you will. It's clear that conservative forces are determined to prevent such a system from ever being introduced at the national level. So it's up to the states. The catch is that to make universal coverage work at the state level, you'd need some way to channel Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare funds into the system. At the moment, that's difficult if not impossible.More

OIG probes physician Medicare billing for office visits
American Medical News
Physicians are billing Medicare for far more intensive evaluation and management services than they did a decade ago, according to a recently released Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General report.More

FDA committee recommends against ACS for rivaroxaban
The Food and Drug Administration's Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted against adding an indication for acute coronary syndromes to the label of the anticoagulant rivaroxaban. The advisory panel spent most of the day trying to reconcile diametrically opposed views of the pivotal ATLAS ACS 2-TIMI 51 trial. More

FDA bill: Changes to FDA drug and device oversight
The Associated Press via Bloomberg Businessweek
The Senate recently passed a mammoth bill that would reshape how the Food and Drug Administration assures the safety of the drug supply, particularly medicines imported from overseas. The underlying bill is a must-pass piece of legislation because it extends the 20-year program which helps fund the FDA's budget for reviewing new drugs and medical implants. More

Small weight loss effectively reduces breast cancer-linked hormones
Fox News
A new study out of the Hutchinson Cancer Researcher Center has revealed even a small amount of weight loss effectively reduces the amount of circulating estrogens in the body — which are hormones that have been found to increase the risk of breast cancer in women. The study is the first clinical trial to examine the link between weight loss and the reduction of sex hormones in overweight and obese postmenopausal women, a major group at risk for breast cancer.More

Stage IV cancer often not treated
MedPage Today
One patient in five who presents with a stage IV solid-tumor cancer does not receive treatment directed at the cancer, researchers found. Anti-cancer treatment for newly diagnosed metastatic disease varied significantly according to factors that may not be related to informed preferences for treatment, according to Matthew Galsky, MD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues.More

Long-term contraception more effective than pills
A large real-life test of birth control methods found more U.S. women got pregnant while using short-acting methods such as pills, patches and vaginal rings — and the failure rate was highest when they were used by women under age 21. Previous research had suggested more women have unintended pregnancies when they use contraception that requires daily or weekly use.More

Diabetes rates among overweight teens could lead to heart problems
The Associated Press via CBS News
Half the nation's overweight teens risk heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems because they have unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels, a new government study finds. And an even larger proportion of obese adolescents have such a risk, according to the alarming new statistics.More

Knowing genome may not do much to improve disease predictions
The Boston Globe
Since scientists first mapped the human genome, excitement has built about a new era of personalized medicine. But even as technologies that decode genomes have gotten faster and cheaper, questions have remained about how useful that information will be to a doctor and a patient trying to understand risk for a complicated disease caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as diabetes or cancer.More

Genetic find could open door for new male contraceptives
U.S. News & World Report
Scientists have found a gene that plays an integral part in male fertility, giving researchers hope for the future development of hormone-free male birth control and perhaps solving some men's infertility woes within the next five years. In mice, a mutation to the Katnal1 gene prevents the production of viable sperm, which makes it impossible for them to fertilize an egg.More

Most children with autism diagnosed at age 5 or older
WebMD Health News
New research provides a snapshot of what life is like for school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder in the United States. The findings highlight areas where there is room for improvement, including earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and access to behavioral therapies and other services.More

Poison control centers see spike in children digesting detergent packs
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Miniature laundry detergent packets arrived on store shelves in recent months as an alternative to bulky bottles and messy spills. But doctors across the country say children are confusing the tiny, brightly colored packets with candy and swallowing them. Nearly 250 cases have been reported this year to poison control centers. More