Overuse, underuse of health care is a problem around the world | GOP vows rapid ACA repeal, but some argue replacement should come first | Survey: Many prescribers cut back on opioid scripts
January 9, 2017
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Overuse, underuse of health care is a problem around the world
Research published in The Lancet found that overuse and underuse of health care is a problem around the world, including in the US, where as many as 70% of hysterectomies and 34% of total knee replacements were inappropriate. "In the US, we are wasting billions of dollars that should be devoted to improving the nation's health," researcher Shannon Brownlee said.
Reuters (1/8) 
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GOP vows rapid ACA repeal, but some argue replacement should come first
Leading Republican lawmakers promised quick action on replacing the Affordable Care Act, but some in their party are questioning the wisdom of rolling back the law before developing an alternative. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate will vote on repeal this week.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (1/8),  The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers)/The Associated Press (1/7),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (1/6) 
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Providers & Suppliers
Survey: Many prescribers cut back on opioid scripts
Online survey data from the SERMO social network found more than half of responding US physicians said they have reduced opioid prescriptions, while almost 10% have stopped prescribing the drugs entirely. The survey found 36% of physicians said reducing opioid prescribing had harmed patients with chronic pain.
The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (1/3) 
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VA hospitals make strides on infection control
A report published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that rates of infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus decreased 37% at Veterans Affairs hospital intensive care units from 2007 to 2015, while rates outside ICUs dropped by about 30%. Researchers also note an 80% decline in overall health care-acquired infections at VA hospitals and an almost 50% decline in rates at the VA's long-term care facilities from 2009 to 2015.
HealthDay News (1/6) 
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Medical Update
Study links heartburn drugs, gut infections
Proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers may increase the risk of C. difficile and Campylobacter bacterial infections, according to a study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Researchers said these medications may change the bacterial balance in the gut to make people more susceptible to infection.
HealthDay News (1/5) 
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Emerging Trends
Rural Ind. schools open telehealth clinics
Schools in Crothersville, Austin and Southwestern Jefferson County, Ind., are opening telehealth clinics in partnership with the Indiana Rural Health Association, and six more school systems in the state plan to open telehealth clinics over the next year.
WBAA-AM/FM (West Lafayette, Ind.) (1/4),  WBIW-AM (Benton, Ind.) (1/5) 
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Regular meetings tied to patient safety improvement, study finds
Conducting regular 15-minute meetings by clinical, administrative and IT staff may help prevent EHR security gaps and improve patient safety, according to a study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Researchers evaluated data gathered during safety huddles at a midsized hospital following its implementation of the Epic EHR in August 2013 and identified 245 EHR-related safety concerns over 249 days.
EHR Intelligence (1/4) 
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Health Insurance Plan Company News
New Report: Straight Talk on Member Engagement
What are the four key rules of member engagement for inspiring the behaviors you desire? Get the latest tips for supporting loyalty at member on-boarding and beyond. Learn what some payers are doing to engage members more successfully than others.
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Solutions Provider News
Hot Topics
Pharma News
FDA grants fast-track status to Fibrocell's rare skin disorder treatment
Fibrocell Science's FCX-007, a biotech autologous fibroblast that encodes the gene for protein type VII collagen, has received fast-track designation from the FDA as a treatment for recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. The drug candidate, currently being tested in a Phase I/II trial, is being developed as an injection for direct administration to the affected areas.
eMPR.com (1/5) 
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Policy Watch
CMS, payers scrutinize ASC bills
The CMS and private payers are looking closely at claims from ambulatory surgery centers, and claims may be denied if widespread errors are detected. The HHS Office of Inspector General indicated last year that it will update guidance on ICD-10; meanwhile, billing and coding professionals should follow best practices and foster collaboration with health care providers to avoid compliance errors, coder Alison Kuley writes.
BeckersASC.com (1/5) 
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AHIP News
Change is on the horizon: Stay up-to-speed
Two timely events will keep you up-to-speed and in-the- know: AHIP's National Health Policy Conference (March 8-9) and National Conference on the Individual and Small-Group Markets (March 9-10) in Washington, D.C. Get to-the-minute, reliable guidance with the high-caliber content you can always expect from AHIP. Register before Feb. 1 to attend both conferences and save
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Q1 recruiting starts with AHIP Career Center
Serious job switchers didn't take the holidays off. They polished their résumés. They networked. And right now, they're using one of health care's most powerful recruitment tools: the AHIP Career Center. Get a jump-start on your 2017 postings and take 25 percent off with our New Year's Sale. Use coupon code NEWYEAR25 at checkout. Offer ends 1/31/17. Post a job today!
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HSA Direct - Helping Health Plans Launch their HSA Product
For health insurance plans looking for an administrator/custodian to work with as they launch HSA products, HSA Direct can help. For example, HSA Bank serves as both a bank and administrator, and offers comprehensive account-based health benefit solutions such as HSAs, Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and Commuter Benefits.
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