McConnell open to vote on bipartisan health deal if Trump backs it | Report: Uninsured rate reaches highest level since 2014 | CDC updates Zika screening, care guidelines for infants
October 23, 2017
AHIP Solutions SmartBrief
Top Stories
McConnell open to vote on bipartisan health deal if Trump backs it
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he's open to bringing a bipartisan health care deal struck by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., to the Senate floor for a vote if President Donald Trump says he will sign it into law. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the plan, designed to stabilize Affordable Care Act markets with measures including funding for cost-sharing reduction payments, is supported by at least 60 senators.
CBS News/The Associated Press (10/22),  Politico (10/22) 
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Report: Uninsured rate reaches highest level since 2014
The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index found that the number of US adults without health insurance has climbed 3.5 million this year, raising the uninsured rate from 10.9% at the end of 2016 to 12.3% in the July-to-September period of 2017, the highest recorded since the rate hit 12.9% at the end of 2014. The uninsured rate rose most among individuals who buy their own plans, which the report's authors attributed to uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act, fewer plans to choose from and rising premiums.
Healthcare Finance News (10/20) 
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Healthcare payer speeds processing by 72%
With OnBase workflow, provider enrollment staff at Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance need just 17 days for the work that used to take them 62 days to complete. This payer also cut 1.4 million pages of paper, reduced/repurposed 50 FTEs and eliminated all overtime. Read the case study.
Providers & Suppliers
CDC updates Zika screening, care guidelines for infants
The CDC has issued updated guidance saying that pediatricians should evaluate the risk of congenital Zika virus infection in babies born to mothers with possible Zika infection during gestation; communicate with obstetric providers; provide vision and hearing screenings and assessments for hydrocephaly, swallowing and breathing difficulties among those with congenital Zika syndrome birth defects; and let ophthalmologists offer eye exams for those without CZS birth defects but whose mothers have laboratory evidence of Zika. However, the guidelines in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report now recommend against routine infant thyroid and hearing screenings at ages 4 months to 6 months.
Contagion Live (10/19),  MedPage Today (free registration) (10/19) 
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Are you ready for machine learning?
With the advent of big data, the amount of data and our ability to process it has increased exponentially. It's an environment perfectly suited for machine learning. So how can you make it part of your analytic infrastructure? This e-book highlights the capabilities of machine learning, and best practices you can implement to take full advantage of it. Download Here.
Medical Update
Walking may reduce all-cause mortality risk, study finds
Walking may reduce all-cause mortality risk, study finds
Researchers found that adults who did moderate-intensity walking for 120 minutes or less per week were at a reduced likelihood of dying prematurely from all causes, compared with inactive individuals, while higher levels of walking were tied to a 20% lower mortality risk. The findings in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, based on data on more than 139,000 adults enrolled in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, showed that the age-standardized overall death rate among those who walked less than the recommended amount of physical activity was 2,851 per 100,000, compared with 4,293 per 100,000 among inactive participants.
Medscape (free registration) (10/19) 
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Patients with RA more likely to be hospitalized for COPD, study finds
A Canadian study in Arthritis Care & Research found rheumatoid arthritis was associated with a 47% higher risk of being hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The findings were based on 24,625 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 25,396 matched controls.
MedPage Today (free registration) (10/19) 
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Emerging Trends
Telehealth laws updated in almost all states since last year, report finds
An Epstein Becker Green report found that every state except Connecticut and Massachusetts has introduced new or modified regulations on telehealth delivery since last year, with some laws aimed at improving the definition of mental health-focused treatment. "The use of telehealth has really become mainstream and an integrated mode of treatment in most states, so in the future we expect to continue to see changes and refinements in these regulations," Brad Davidsen and James Tam of Epstein Becker Green said in an email.
MobiHealthNews (10/18) 
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Seeing The Whole Picture for 2018
What if you could impact product and strategy redesign without spending more money? Gain strategies for smarter budgeting, risk stratification, and population engagement to drive higher impact and better health for your members in 2018. Register for the webinar.
Health Insurance Plan Company News
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    Solutions Provider News
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    Pharma News
    Compounder to offer cheaper version of Allergan's dry-eye drug Restasis
    Compounder to offer cheaper version of Allergan's dry-eye drug Restasis
    (Karen Bleier/Getty Images)
    Imprimis Pharmaceuticals CEO Mark Baum said the firm will start selling a lower-cost alternative to Allergan's dry-eye drug Restasis next month, charging 99 cents for the first month's supply and a starting price of $79 for refills. Plans for the customizable topical cyclosporine formulation follow Allergan's transfer of Restasis patents to a Native American tribe to guard against patent challenges; a federal judge invalidated the patents.
    Reuters (10/19) 
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    Policy Watch
    Agency officials rush to prepare opioid emergency declaration
    Trump administration officials are struggling to develop an emergency declaration on the nation's opioid abuse crisis after the president said the declaration would be made official this week. Administration staff says agencies were not prepared for President Donald Trump's statement and there is no consensus how the emergency declaration should be implemented.
    Politico (10/20) 
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    Moves by Trump, lawmakers lead to confusion over ACA plans, rates
    President Donald Trump's executive order calling to end the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, along with senators' subsequent proposed plan to restore the payments temporarily, has led to confusion on health coverage and rates. Insurers have filed two sets of rates in many states, with one accounting for the possible loss of the payments, although whether rates can be adjusted later remains unclear.
    Reuters (10/20) 
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    AHIP News
    Consumer Experience & Digital Health: Registration discounts end 10.25
    Experience the nexus of consumer satisfaction and targeted technology. During AHIP's Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum, Dec. 5-7, discover how smart technology and consumer-focused strategies can advance affordability, value, and customer satisfaction. You'll take home ideas, partnership prospects, and tools that can optimize your organization's collaboration and connectivity. Early registration discounts end Oct. 25.
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    The information you want, the convenience you need
    What do you need to know about health insurance now? How can you stay on top of the need-to-knows while managing your day-to-days? Look to AHIP for insights and guidance. Online webinars deliver the timely topics you want with the convenience you need. See upcoming events and register today.
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    Protecting patients from opioid abuse
    Many health plans are refining their approaches and driving the innovations needed to make a real difference in the opioid crisis. Here's a look at what two Pennsylvania health plans are doing to protect patients and curtail the misuse of prescription opioids. Read more.
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