CDC: Flu vaccine cuts risk of serious illness by 36% | GOP lawmakers discuss possibility of adding ACA fixes to omnibus bill | Not enough physicians have buprenorphine waivers
February 16, 2018
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CDC: Flu vaccine cuts risk of serious illness by 36%
CDC: Flu vaccine cuts risk of serious illness by 36%
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CDC researchers reported that the batch of flu vaccine distributed this year cut risk of serious illness by 36% overall, 59% among children ages 6 months to 8 years and 33% among adults ages 18 to 49. The findings in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report also showed this year's vaccine cut risk of serious cases of H3N2 -- the dominant strain of the season -- by 25%; risk was reduced 67% for H1N1 and 42% for influenza B strains.
Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (2/15),  The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (2/15) 
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GOP lawmakers discuss possibility of adding ACA fixes to omnibus bill
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., met with Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, to discuss how they can reconcile House and Senate measures designed to stabilize Affordable Care Act markets. Alexander said he hopes the ACA fix measures will be included in the upcoming omnibus spending bill due next month.
The Hill (2/15) 
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Providers & Suppliers
Not enough physicians have buprenorphine waivers
About 5% of US physicians have a buprenorphine waiver so they can treat patients with drug addiction, but University of Kentucky researcher Hannah Knudsen said that is not enough to meet demand. Seattle-based family physician Pamela Pentin, M.D., obtained a waiver because she feels treating addiction is part of family care, but Alicia Agnoli, M.D., a family physician in California, said there are barriers to obtaining a waiver, such as administrative burdens and additional federal oversight.
MedPage Today (free registration) (2/14) 
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Medical Update
Researchers tie ultra-processed food increase to elevated cancer risk
A French study in The BMJ found a 10% dietary increase in sugary cereals, packaged snacks and other highly processed foods was associated with a 12% increase in the overall risk of cancer. The findings, based on 24-hour dietary records for almost 105,000 adults with an average age of 43 who completed at least two online questionnaires, showed an 11% higher risk of breast cancer tied to ultra-processed sugary products.
HealthDay News (2/14),  CNN (2/14) 
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Newborn SUID prevalence remains high, study finds
A study in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that 8,869 US babies died from sudden unexpected infant death during the first month of life between 1995 and 2014, 2,593 of whom were ages 6 days and younger, while the rate of SUIDs among those younger than 1 year plateaued after 2002. The continued high prevalence of SUIDs among newborns may be due in part to hospitals encouraging mothers to place their infants in a prone position on their chests soon after birth, a practice some families may continue at home, where it has not been shown to be beneficial, said lead researcher Dr. Joel Bass.
Today (2/14),  USA Today (2/14) 
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Emerging Trends
Study shows benefits of EMR-based alert system in pediatric care
An EMR-based alert system developed by a team of researchers from the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC had a 96.8% sensitivity and a 98.5% specificity for identifying children ages younger than 2 who were at risk for physical abuse, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
Becker's Hospital Review (2/13) 
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Uninsured rate will rise by nearly 8M by 2026 following ACA mandate repeal
Nearly 8 million additional people will choose to forgo health insurance over the next eight years as a result of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act's mandate that individuals purchase insurance or face a financial penalty, according to information released by the CMS. The number of uninsured will increase from 30 million this year to 37.7 million by 2026, according to the analysis.
Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (2/14) 
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Health Insurance Plan Company News
Pharma News
Drugmakers scrambling to undo Medicare Part D changes
Drugmakers are lobbying to repeal language in the latest congressional spending plan that will increase the percentage of costs drugmakers must cover for Medicare Part D subscribers in the coverage gap. They are also lobbying against passage of a bill to prohibit some tactics makers of brand-name drugs use to thwart development of generics.
The Hill (2/14) 
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Institute & Expo sponsorships filling up
Considered the essential event for the health care industry, thousands of health care professionals will be at Institute & Expo. Showcase your solutions, meet with potential business partners and more. Contact
Policy Watch
HHS to focus on untreated mental illness after Fla. shooting
HHS Secretary Alex Azar vowed the agency would increase efforts to address untreated mental illness in response to a school shooting in Florida this week. Azar also said the CDC has the authority to conduct studies on gun violence and its causes, and he suggested this research will be a priority at the CDC.
The Examiner (Washington, D.C.) (2/15) 
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Some states look to Idaho as it prepares to buck ACA insurance rules
Idaho is preparing to allow sales of health insurance plans that don't comply with all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and other states are watching to see whether Idaho's effort could be a model for getting around the Obama-era health law. Critics say the move is likely to mire the state in expensive lawsuits.
Politico (2/14) 
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Ore. House passes bill to make health care a constitutional right
Oregon's House of Representatives has passed a bill that would add the right to health care to the state's constitution. The bill still must pass the Senate and would then be put on the ballot for a vote by the people, but if passed it would be the first such guarantee in the nation.
Statesman-Journal (Salem, Ore.) (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (2/14) 
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Choose your path to the LTCP professional designation
The Long-Term Care Professional (LTCP) is the premier designation in the long-term care insurance field. And now, AHIP offers three ways to earn this impressive credential: a four-part program, a single-exam combined course, or customized team training. All lead to the designation that can take your career further. Which path is best for your learning style? Find out here.
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Must-attend webinar. Register today.
Managing Medicaid benefits has never been easy. In the last few years, the challenges seem to have grown exponentially, resulting in a need to stretch available dollars further. Join us Tuesday, March 13, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET to learn how an innovative approach called Enhanced Benefit Management can help you control your costs. Register here.
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Healthy teeth, healthy kids
February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Check out our guide to dental insurance to make sure you get the most out of your plan.
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