Vision loss tied to higher mortality risk among seniors | AHRQ releases guide to help improve Medicaid care | Sentinel alert on tubing connectors issued by Joint Commission
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August 25, 2014
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Vision loss tied to higher mortality risk among seniors
A study in JAMA Ophthalmology involving more than 2,500 people ages 65 to 84 found that declining vision is linked with higher death risk. The study team said that the correlation may be attributed to a decline in the ability to do basic daily functions such as using a phone or shopping. HealthDay News (8/21)
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White Paper: Implement Payer IT With Agile
Agile software development has taken the IT world by storm, and now its principles are being leveraged in enterprise-level software implementations. Download your free white paper: Agile Methodology for Health Plan Technology Implementation to learn 7 steps to a successful agile methodology-based implementation.
Providers & Suppliers
AHRQ releases guide to help improve Medicaid care
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a resource designed to support efforts to cut readmissions under Medicaid. The guide is designed to assist acute-care providers comply with CMS standards and establish partnerships. (8/22)
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Sentinel alert on tubing connectors issued by Joint Commission
The Joint Commission issued a Sentinel Event Alert that warned of a high risk of tubing misconnections, which can cause adverse events, when implementation of new standards for connectors begins in October. Most patients in hospitals and other health care settings will have some type of intravenous infusion, and the Joint Commission said organizational leadership is needed for safe adoption and to empower health care clinicians to report any problems as new connectors are used. Medscape (free registration) (8/21)
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Medical Update
Combining cognitive therapy, drugs may work better for severe depression
Combining cognitive therapy with antidepressants was more effective than medication alone in helping patients with severe short-term depression, according to a study in JAMA Psychiatry. The combination, however, was not better than antidepressants alone for patients with mild or severe, chronic depression. HealthDay News (8/21)
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Acid suppressants tied to gastric bacterial growth risk
Children and teens with chronic cough who received histamine-2 receptor antagonists had a higher risk of developing bacterial growth in the stomach, according to a 99-patient study in JAMA Pediatrics. "Our results highlight that any benefit of acid suppression should be weighed against potential risk, particularly in the immunocompromised host," researchers wrote. MedPage Today (free registration) (8/21)
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Emerging Trends
AFib algorithm used with AliveCor's smartphone ECG wins FDA nod
The FDA has given AliveCor 510(k) clearance to market an algorithm that can accurately identify the presence of atrial fibrillation using the company's smartphone-based ECG. The technology allows patients to take ECG readings using their Android or Apple mobile devices and send the information to a cardiologist to confirm whether they have atrial fibrillation. (8/21)
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FDA OKs Philips' 3D planning tool for TAVI procedures
The FDA has cleared Philips Healthcare to market its 3D planning application, designed to help surgeons perform transcatheter aortic valve implantations precisely. The technology employs CT imaging to help doctors map the placement of TAVI systems while making sure that the appropriate implant size is used. (Boston) (8/23)
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Health Insurance Plan Company News
Solutions Provider News
Hot Topics
Pharma News
Apixaban receives FDA approval as treatment for deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer announced the FDA has expanded the approval of the Factor Xa inhibitor apixaban, or Eliquis. The expanded approval involves the treatment of blood clots in the lungs and legs. Reuters (8/21), Bloomberg Businessweek/The Associated Press (8/21)
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ViiV Healthcare gains FDA approval for once-daily HIV drug Triumeq
The FDA has granted approval for ViiV Healthcare's triple-drug combination Triumeq for treating HIV infections in adults 18 years and older. Triumeq consists of dolutegravir, abacavir and lamivudine. The single-pill formulation taken once a day is designed to improve convenience and reduce side effects. Bloomberg (8/22), Medscape (free registration) (8/22)
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Policy Watch
Hospital Compare's fall info update restricted to 2 metrics
The October update of the CMS' Hospital Compare website will be limited to two areas of information -- Medicare Spending per Beneficiary and aggregate payment data -- due to system upgrades, the agency stated. Additional metrics will be updated in December, including data on hospital-associated infections and rates of surgical complications following hip and knee procedures. (8/21)
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The exchanges, year one. Now what?
How has retail and consumerism converged with the exchanges? What are the benefits of private exchanges for employers? All this and more Oct. 16 in Washington, D.C. and Nov. 19 and 20 in Phoenix, Ariz. Early registration ends Sept. 5 for the October forum and Oct. 9 for the November forum. Save on a HIX forum today!  
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AHIP highlights innovative immunization programs
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. AHIP continues to highlight and collect best practices for increasing immunization rates for children, adolescents and adults in its online compendium, Immunization Innovations. Highlight your health plan's progress in measuring and improving immunization rates among children, adolescents and adults. For more information, contact us today!
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What the experts are saying about state policy
New speakers have been added to the lineup at AHIP's State Health Issues Conference, Oct. 16 and 17 in Washington, D.C. Hear from insurance commissioners, health plan associations and other key experts on understanding new trends in state policy, legislative affairs and advocacy. View discussion topics and conference details. Register by Sept. 5 to save!
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Director, Compliance - Health Plan Privacy & Security Kaiser PermanenteOakland, CA
Executive Vice President-MyHealth First Network Greenville Health SystemGreenville, SC
Chief Executive OfficerUCare MinnesotaMinneapolis, MN
Various Health Care and IT PositionsCenters for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesBaltimore, Bethesda, MD
Senior Financial Analyst - Growing Manager Care Health OrgFallon Community Health PlanWorcester, MA
Regulatory Analyst Delta DentalAlpharetta, GA
National Affairs AnalystVerisk AnalyticsJersey City, NJ
Senior Vice-President Managed Care Mid-Atlantic RegionMercy Health SystemConshohocken, PA
Director of Product Planning Development; Market Planning, InnovationBlue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Quincy , MA
Vice President of MedicareUPMC Health PlanPittsburgh, PA
Commercial Health Insurance Strategist__Job #52-14American Academy of Family PhysiciansLeawood, KS
Manager of Payer RelationsPharmacy Quality Solutions, Inc.Raleigh/Durham, NC
Vice President - Government ProductsHealth Alliance PlanDetroit, MI
Click here to view more job listings.
Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."
-- John D. Rockefeller,
American industrialist
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