Rising drug prices fuel company revenue growth | Study suggests vaping will reduce smoking-related mortality | Few end-stage COPD patients get palliative care referrals, study finds
July 15, 2016
AHIP Solutions SmartBrief
Top Stories
Rising drug prices fuel company revenue growth
Many pharmaceutical manufacturers continue to raise drug prices, often touting list price discounts for insurers as proof of maintaining a competitive marketplace, but internal data show the discounts do not prevent the net price increases from improving company revenue. Pfizer credits its price increase in the US and higher prescription volume for pushing its US revenue for nine drugs to $2 billion in the first quarter, while Gilead Sciences' price increase for its HIV drugs helped it gain $2.43 billion in global sales for four drugs in the same quarter.
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/14) 
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Study suggests vaping will reduce smoking-related mortality
Study suggests vaping will reduce smoking-related mortality.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Use of electronic cigarettes might drive smoking-related mortality down 21% among people born after 1997, researchers report in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Some research has suggested growing use of e-cigarettes will have a negative public health impact, but the current study found that when accounting for young e-cigarette users who would not otherwise smoke as well as those who choose vaping over cigarettes, the overall benefits outweigh harms.
Reuters (7/14) 
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Navigating the Interoperability Challenge
Insight Brief: Learn about the key drivers of EHR interoperability and the analytics, data insight and technology necessary to achieve it, along with strategies to address the challenges. Access the Brief to learn how Inovalon improves speed to value.
Providers & Suppliers
Few end-stage COPD patients get palliative care referrals, study finds
Just 1.7% of US patients with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease got palliative care referrals from 2006 to 2012, even though use of palliative services increased 4.5-fold during that time, Canadian researchers reported in the journal Chest. The study, which included patients on home oxygen hospitalized for COPD exacerbations, showed palliative care referral rates were even lower for minorities, poor patients and those living in rural areas.
MedPage Today (free registration) (7/13) 
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Study finds burnout, stress prevalent among ICU nurses
Research by the Critical Care Societies Collaborative found that burnout can be common among nurses in intensive care units, with 86% exhibiting at least one of three key stress factors, and 33% having symptoms of severe burnout. The study in the American Journal of Critical Care suggests improved work environments and aid for clinicians coping with the challenging workplace.
Hospitals & Health Networks Magazine (7/12) 
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The Basics of Encryption and Compliance
Do you know why data encryption is important for your business? Read this ebook to see how using advance encryption lets you support your compliance with multiple regulations while meeting clients' expectations, protect your data and reputation, and eliminate paperwork and other overhead. Download the free ebook now.
Medical Update
Researchers find worsening health problems among obese US adults
Obese US adults had worse heart health and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes in 2014 than they did in the late 1980s, according to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers evaluated data from the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1988 and 2014 involving 18,626 obese adults and also found that the proportion of people with all risk factors for heart disease -- high blood pressure, high cholesterol and impaired blood glucose control -- increased from about 16% in 1988 to about 22% in 2014.
Reuters (7/13) 
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Study ties epilepsy, febrile seizures to higher ADHD risk in children
A Danish study found that youths with epilepsy were three times as likely to develop attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and those with febrile seizures had a nearly 30% increased risk of ADHD, compared with those without epilepsy or febrile seizures. The findings in Pediatrics also showed that those with both epilepsy and febrile seizures were more than three times as likely as those without either condition to develop ADHD.
PhysiciansBriefing.com/HealthDay News (7/13) 
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Emerging Trends
D.C. may call Uber to transport non-emergency 911 callers
The Fire and EMS Department in the District of Columbia is considering hiring nurses to determine which 911 callers need an ambulance, and then using a taxi or a ride-sharing service to transport those who need a physician but not hospital care. FEMS Chief Gregory Dean said the goal is to reduce strain on the 911 system, which responded to more than 160,000 EMS calls in 2015, many of which were not high-priority emergencies.
WRC-TV (Washington, D.C.) (7/11) 
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Health Insurance Plan Company News
Solutions Provider News
Pharma News
Sandoz's etanercept biosimilar gains FDA panel support
The approval of Sandoz's GP2015, a biosimilar to Amgen's Enbrel, or etanercept, was unanimously supported by the FDA's Arthritis Advisory Committee in a 20-0 vote Wednesday.
Regulatory Focus (7/13) 
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Policy Watch
Slavitt to lawmakers: CMS could move MACRA start date
Andy Slavitt
Slavitt (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The CMS could delay the start of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act payment reforms because stakeholders have indicated some physicians may not be ready by the current Jan. 1 deadline, said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. Slavitt said the agency is also considering shorter reporting periods, alternative ways of gathering data and additional ways to reimburse providers caring for chronic patients at a higher rate.
Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (7/13) 
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Mich. bill would allow drug prescriptions via telehealth services
The Michigan Senate approved a bill that would allow the use of telehealth services for issuing prescriptions of noncontrolled substances to patients. The House referred the bill to committee and has until Dec. 31 to pass the measure.
The Heartland Institute (7/12) 
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Help manage asthma by learning from health plans
Learn how health plans work collaboratively with providers, public health departments, and other local organizations to help consumers take better control of their asthma. As part of AHIP’s asthma initiative with the EPA, our on-demand webinars and case studies highlight effective asthma management efforts across varied communities. Visit ahip.org/asthma to learn more.
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Creating Better Health by Connecting Communities
Humana is acting as a catalyst in several communities, sharing data that identifies prevalent health conditions and barriers to health. It’s convening local stakeholders, collaborating to improve health and measuring progress toward a bold goal of improving the health of the communities it serves 20 percent by 2020. Read the blog post.
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Young professionals: Lessons learned at Institute & Expo
AHIP’s new Young Professionals Network kicked off at this year’s Institute & Expo. Get a recap of the exclusive session “Millennial Game Plan for Success.” Learn how to create a personal game plan for career success within your health care organization. Get details from the session.
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