Mortality from drug overdose quadruples among youths in 5 states | Study links mother's weight before, during pregnancy to infant survival | Joint Commission: 31.5% of hospitals make Top Performers list
November 20, 2015
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Mortality from drug overdose quadruples among youths in 5 states
The mortality rate for teenagers and young adults has more than doubled across the US and increased fourfold in Kansas, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to a new report. The Trust for America's Health found 7.3 deaths per 100,000 people ages 12 to 25 years were due to drug overdose in 2011-2013, up from 3.1 in 1999-2001. Over half of overdoses in 2013 were attributed to prescription painkillers. HealthDay News (11/19)
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Study links mother's weight before, during pregnancy to infant survival
Infants whose mothers achieved a healthy weight before pregnancy and gained a healthy amount during pregnancy had a reduced risk of dying during the first year of life, according to a study in the journal Obesity. Researchers evaluated more than 1.2 million births, including 5,530 infant deaths, in Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011 and suggested that women lose excess weight before their pregnancy to help improve infant survival. Science World Report (11/18)
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Undercoding's Impact on Health Plan Profits
In a recent study of annual coding practices, Truven Health analysts found ample evidence of undercoding chronic conditions. This costly practice is hurting health plans. Whether they're coded correctly or not, members can still incur significant costs: 94% of members not coded in year 2 had medical claims, and 73% visited a primary care physician. Download the infographic.
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Joint Commission: 31.5% of hospitals make Top Performers list
The Joint Commission said 31.5% of 3,300 hospitals that submitted quality data won spots on its Top Performers on Key Quality Measures list. To qualify, hospitals had to have a cumulative score of at least 95% across all 49 accountability measures. Joint Commission President Mark Chassin said the overall trend since 2002 is that "everyone has improved dramatically." HealthLeaders Media (11/18)
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Study examines e-prescribing rate among ED staff members
A study conducted by Children's National Health System found e-prescribing rates to be higher among nurse practitioners and physician assistants than doctors in the emergency department. Researchers revealed the e-prescribing rate among physician assistants was 46.2%, and 38.6% among nurse practitioners, compared with 31% for physicians in the ED. The study, which examined e-prescribing from December 2013 to October 2014, also found that less-experienced attendings and fellows had lower rates. (11/18)
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More providers on EFT/ERA. Fewer manual payments.
CAQH EnrollHub simplifies EFT and ERA enrollment for your network. Providers securely enroll once — free of charge — with all of their participating plans. EnrollHub works independently or integrates with legacy systems. Help improve compliance and provider network satisfaction. Watch the video and learn how to improve administrative efficiency and save time.
Medical UpdateSponsored By
Study backs light therapy for nonseasonal depression
A small study reported in JAMA Psychiatry found that light therapy, frequently used for people who become depressed during the short days of winter, may be useful for treating patients with nonseasonal depression. Patients treated with a combination of light therapy and daily fluoxetine medication had a 16.9-point decline in depression scores, those treated with light therapy alone had a 13.4-point decline, those treated with medication alone had an 8.8-point decline, and the control group had a 6.5-point decline. Reuters (11/19), HealthDay News (11/18)
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Poor olfactory function could signal memory problems, Alzheimer's risk
Data published in JAMA Neurology linked a poor sense of smell to higher risk of memory problems in older adults, suggesting an olfactory test could help identify those likely to develop cognitive deficits. The study looked at 1,400 older adults, finding those whose sense of smell was worst were 2.2 times more prone to mild memory deficits, and those who already had memory trouble were more prone to Alzheimer's disease. HealthDay News (11/16)
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A Buyer's Guide to Web CMS
A Web CMS (Content Management System) makes it easier for you to create, manage and maintain your website content, and choosing a Web CMS is a big decision for your company. It's critical to look for and understand the essential features that will address your business needs now and in the future. This guide will help you make a more informed Web CMS selection.

Emerging Trends
Wellframe to assess digital tools' effectiveness in chronically ill patients
A partnership has been formed between Wellframe and Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging to examine digital health technologies' effectiveness in helping middle-aged and older patients with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses manage their chronic health conditions. Using Wellframe's Intelligent Care Management Platform, a health checklist will be sent daily to the patients' mobile phones together with reminders about tasks they can complete to improve their conditions. The system was also designed to enable medical professionals from Dartmouth to monitor the physical activities, medication adherence and other progress of participants. (11/17)
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Health Insurance Plan Company News
Solutions Provider News
Pharma News
Skin cancer drug from Pfizer, Merck KGaA gains breakthrough status
Pfizer's and Merck KGaA's avelumab has received breakthrough therapy status from the FDA as a treatment for metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer. The designation was granted based on data from a midstage trial involving metastatic MCC patients whose disease progressed following chemotherapy. PharmaTimes (U.K.) (11/18)
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Policy Watch
Congress to consider overhaul of military health care system
The Senate and House Armed Services committees are planning a systematic review of military health care programs, which could include moving non-active-duty Tricare beneficiaries to civilian insurance plans and improving care for Reserve and National Guard forces. Reforms would also address issues related to Tricare coverage. Military Times (11/17)
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NIH issues first funding opportunities for Precision Medicine Initiative
The NIH released the first set of funding opportunities as part of the Precision Medicine Initiative. NIH Director Francis Collins said the projects will build the infrastructure of the PMI and include a coordinating center, biobank, health care provider network and a participant mobile technologies center. Health Data Management (11/18)
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AHIP has sponsorships that fit. Perfectly.
While our member health plans are busy providing coverage to more than 200 million Americans, we work to connect them with companies that have the solutions they need. Reach health plan decision makers with flexible sponsorship options that can be tailored to fit your company's goals and budget. For details, contact us today at or 866.707.AHIP (2447).
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Helping health plans advance their DM programs
For health plans looking to expand their DM programs, AHIP’s DM Direct is a valuable resource tool that provides access to a list of companies that offer innovative DM solutions. For example, Resolution Health, Inc. is a healthcare data analytics and communications company that delivers personalized patient and physician communications to help improve healthcare quality and reduce healthcare costs.
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Health plans bring innovation to the delivery system
Through value-based payments, international collaboration, and retail centers, health plan innovations are transforming care and making people healthier. Read examples on the AHIP Coverage blog.
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Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
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