An amendment to the American Health Care Act proposed by Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., would retain the Affordable Care Act's essential health benefits at the federal level but allow states to request approval to replace the EHBs with their own list. States could also let insurers charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions if they create high-risk pools for those patients, according to the amendment, which has been billed as a tool for resurrecting the legislation for a vote the White House would like to see happen next week.
Health insurers have filed for participation in Affordable Care Act exchanges in Virginia and Kentucky, which have some of the first filing deadlines in the US, providing an early indication of what the markets might look like for the 2018 plan year. Even after filing, insurers could still decide against participating in those states, and details such as rates and regions where plans will be offered were not disclosed.
A RAND study in Health Affairs found the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act could save Medicare $35 billion to $106 billion in spending on physician services, and $32 billion to $250 billion through 2030 on hospital services. Researchers said the impact will depend on participation in the Advanced Alternative Payment Models.
The 32 initial participants in the CMS Accountable Health Communities program will need to keep comprehensive databases with information on health care providers who can address health-related social needs, collect and share beneficiary data, and monitor and evaluate how well beneficiaries' social needs are being met. The program has three tracks -- awareness, assistance and alignment -- focused on increasing beneficiary awareness of available services, supporting community services for high-risk beneficiaries and improving alignment of services and needs.
A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that bringing informal, unpaid caregivers into the discharge process for elderly patients helped reduce 90-day readmissions by 25% and 180-day readmissions by 24%. Most of the studies included in the paper also found that inclusion of informal caregivers in discharge processes was linked to lower post-discharge care costs, shorter time-to-readmission and shorter rehospitalization periods.
The Integrated Behavioral Health psychotherapy program at Mayo Clinic, used in primary care settings, improved symptoms for patients with anxiety, researchers reported at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America's annual meeting. Researcher Craig Sawchuk said anxiety disorders are more likely to be first seen in a primary care setting, compared with a mental health setting.
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Wyoming has the highest rate of EHR adoption across the US at 78.6%, followed by South Dakota, Utah, Iowa and North Dakota, according to a report from SK&A. The lowest EHR adoption rates were found in Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Louisiana and New York.
A Government Accountability Office report on telehealth and remote patient monitoring use in Medicaid programs in six states found that Connecticut spent $89,053 in 2015 on 817 encounters involving provider-to-provider consultations via secure messaging, while Montana's Medicaid program used telehealth to let patients consult with in-state and out-of-state specialists remotely. Meanwhile, Kansas implemented a remote patient monitoring pilot project from September 2007 to June 2010 and called telehealth a "valuable" tool, the report stated.
Tesaro has launched Zejula, or niraparib, as a maintenance treatment for adults with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer whose tumors have shrunk completely or in part because of platinum-based chemotherapy.
President Donald Trump signed legislation to extend the "Veterans Choice" pilot program, which lets some veterans see health care providers in their communities rather than those inside the Veterans Affairs system. The program facilitates sharing of medical records and reimbursement of non-VA providers in the wake of concerns about delays and inefficiencies inside the system.
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