CDC reports Zika infections in 279 pregnant women in US and US territories | Intensive hypertension treatment lowers seniors' risk of heart problems | Nonprofit hospitals enter new partnerships, markets
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May 23, 2016
AHIP Solutions SmartBrief
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CDC reports Zika infections in 279 pregnant women in US and US territories
President Barack Obama pushed Congress to appropriate $1.9 billion to fight the spread of the Zika virus as the CDC announced that 157 pregnant women in the continental US and another 122 in US territories have tested positive for the virus. The CDC will compile data from surveillance systems in the US and Puerto Rico and issue weekly reports on pregnant women with any laboratory evidence of potential infection.
National Public Radio (5/20),  Reuters (5/20) 
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Intensive hypertension treatment lowers seniors' risk of heart problems
Seniors who maintain an intensive systolic blood pressure target of 120 mm Hg have one-third lower risk of suffering a heart attack, heart failure or stroke, compared with seniors with only a standard target of 140 mm Hg, researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings, based on the NIH's Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, also show that intensive treatment for high blood pressure can reduce seniors' mortality risk by almost one-fourth and does not affect the risk for other complications, including hospitalization, fainting or falls.
HealthDay News (5/20) 
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Behavior change isn't a trend—it's the future
Traditional methods to get people to adopt healthy behaviors are not working. Discover how you can motivate lasting health behavior change by implementing behavior change science to create tailored, meaningful experiences for your members. Register for the webinar today >
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Providers & Suppliers
Nonprofit hospitals enter new partnerships, markets
More nonprofit hospitals are entering partnerships with health insurance carriers, starting their own insurance companies or purchasing existing insurers, according to a Moody's Investors Service report. Nonprofit hospitals are also co-branding pharmacies and urgent-care clinics, offering direct-to-employer contracts and accountable care organizations, and entering new markets, such as ambulatory care, cancer care, skilled nursing and long-term care.
BeckersHospitalReview.com (5/17) 
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Study: Many physicians do not have good grasp of health care costs
Data showed 92% of physicians said they have a responsibility to control health care costs but just 37% reported having a good understanding of what test and procedure costs should be, according to a study by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice published in the American Journal of Managed Care. The study found primary care physicians were more likely than other specialists to be aware of the Choosing Wisely initiative, as well as more likely to say it provided tools or information needed to reduce unnecessary procedures and tests.
BeckersHospitalReview.com (5/18) 
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Do you struggle with provider credentialing & recredentialing?
Does your health plan struggle with provider credentialing or recredentialing? Download a one-page fact sheet to learn how you can:
• cut credentialing turnaround time by up to 94%
• eliminate credentialing backlogs
• ensure NCQA compliance
• improve provider-payer relationships
• and clean up your provider directory in less than 30 days
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Medical Update
Study: Women with AFib more likely to survive than men
Researchers reviewed data for more than 10,000 adults with atrial fibrillation and found that although women were more likely to experience symptoms and had a greater risk of stroke than men, they had lower odds of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The findings, published in JAMA Cardiology, also showed that men and women had similar rates of anticoagulant use.
Medscape (free registration) (5/19) 
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Survey: More than half of hip fracture patients unaware they have osteoporosis
A survey conducted by researchers at Northwell Health in New York found that 71% of patients who received treatment for a hip fracture were not informed by their physicians that they had osteoporosis, while 57% said they were not recommended to take any prescriptions for osteoporosis. Findings also show that 38% of participants had a damaging fall within a year, 44% of whom suffered another fracture, which may have been tempered if patients had received osteoporosis screening or treatments. The study was presented at the yearly meeting of the American Geriatrics Society.
United Press International (5/19) 
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Patient care is shifting from fee-for-service to a value-based model.
By 2018, 50% of healthcare payments will be based on healthy outcomes rather than services provided. Those navigating the transition need to consider the different viewpoints of payers, providers as well as today's empowered consumer.
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Emerging Trends
Once-promising heart drugs fail to live up to hype
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitors lowered bad cholesterol levels in clinical trials and were hailed by some as potential blockbusters, but the drugs failed to prevent cardiovascular problems. Three drugmakers abandoned development efforts, but Merck and Dezima are still working on the compounds. "The CETP story reveals the frequent -- and often disappointing -- lack of agreement between so-called surrogate markers ... and real-life benefits such as fewer heart attacks and strokes," Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus write.
STAT (5/19) 
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Requirements for e-prescribing could cut Rx drug abuse, experts say
All states allow electronic prescribing of opioid drugs and other controlled substances, but only Maine, Minnesota and New York require e-prescribing of controlled substances. Moreover, prescribers' use of prescription-drug monitoring databases is low where laws do not mandate their use. Health IT experts say linking the databases to electronic health records would help reduce prescription drug abuse.
USA Today (5/19) 
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Health Insurance Plan Company News
Do you struggle with provider credentialing & recredentialing?
Does your health plan struggle with provider credentialing or recredentialing? Download a one-page fact sheet to learn how you can:
• cut credentialing turnaround time by up to 94%
• eliminate credentialing backlogs
• ensure NCQA compliance
• improve provider-payer relationships
• and clean up your provider directory in less than 30 days
ADVERTISEMENT
Solutions Provider News
May is Asthma Awareness month
Help members breathe easier during Asthma Awareness month. Learn how health plans are helping their members better control their asthma and improve their quality of life. Stay up-to-date on asthma management initiatives and resources. Take advantage of AHIP's complimentary on-demand webinars, case studies, and more. Visit ahip.org/asthma for more information.
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Hot Topics
Pharma News
FDA approves generic epilepsy drug from Glenmark
The FDA has granted final authorization to Glenmark Pharmaceuticals for the marketing of its rufinamide tablets, a generic version of Banzel from Eisai, in 200- and 400-milligram strengths. The drug is indicated as a treatment for epilepsy.
LiveMint.com (India) (5/19) 
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Policy Watch
States mull rules for storing, using newborns' blood samples
Hospitals routinely draw blood from newborn babies to screen them for serious inherited diseases, and in many cases those samples are retained or used for research, which has prompted a series of lawsuits. Privacy advocates warn that testing of the samples could lead to privacy breaches, discrimination or government intrusion, but such fears are not justified, says Natasha Bonhomme, vice president of strategic development at the Genetic Alliance. Indiana sought to address the issue by requesting parental permission to store blood samples and to use them for medical research.
Bioscience Technology online/The Associated Press (5/16) 
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AHIP News
The elections and the fate of health care
It's an election season few would have predicted. As Donald Trump emerges as the presumptive Republican candidate and Hillary Clinton is predicted to be the Democratic nominee, it's a pivotal time for health care. Is your organization ready? Take the first step today and register for AHIP's Institute & Expo, June 15-17.
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Only one week left, 25% off job postings
Hurry, sale ending soon! Now through May 31, take 25% off job postings at AHIP’s Career Center. While you're at it, extend your reach by posting your job and searching resumes on the National Healthcare Career Network (NHCN), a collection of hundreds of top health care associations and professional organizations. Use discount code SpringSale2016.
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Webinar-Millennial Mindset: One Break Away from Broke
What should benefit administrators and employers know about adapting to the unique needs of the millennial generation? In this webinar on June 6 from 1 to 2 p.m. EDT, you will hear from industry experts on what millennials really care about and how companies can develop benefit strategies to support a more engaged millennial employee.
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