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May 19, 2009America's Health Insurance Plans

  Industry News 
 
  • Insurers detail possible health care cost savings
    Making the billing process easier for physicians and rewarding them for better performance are two ways the health insurance industry can contribute to reducing U.S. health care costs, an AHIP spokesman said. Other cost-cutting measures, such as changing government reimbursements to providers, would require federal legislation, said Jay Gellert, CEO of Health Net. Bloomberg (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Bill calls for setting up value-based Medicare pilot
    A bill introduced in Congress last week calls for a demonstration project to test a value-based insurance design for Medicare to improve outcomes and lower health costs. The program would reduce or eliminate co-pays for high-value prescriptions and treatments so that at-risk and chronic-disease patients would be more likely to follow treatment plans. HCPro/HealthLeaders Media (5/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Providers & Suppliers 
 
  • Hospitals utilizing evidence-based design
    Data from different studies indicate that single-patient rooms can reduce infections and stress, as well as alleviate pain and sleep troubles. More organizations are incorporating such evidence-based design factors in their construction or renovation projects to boost patient safety and satisfaction. NYTimes.com (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Mass. General uses nurses to help cut elderly care costs
    Massachusetts General Hospital aims to reduce hospital stays and emergency room visits by elderly patients by 15% to 20% using primary care nurses who have almost constant contact with the elderly. The program is one of many nationwide that are trying to cut costs while improving patient care. The Boston Globe (free registration) (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Dawn Owens, OptumHealth CEO, will discuss Total Population Health Optimization June 3 at 4 p.m. during AHIP. This innovative approach proactively identifies opportunities for improvement, engaging customers, partnering with care providers and measuring the value of your health care investment. Click here to learn more or visit us at booth #407.
  Medical Update 
 
  • Women more susceptible to lung damage from smoking
    A study found that women smokers have lung damage earlier in life than men smokers and also can have reduced lung function with less smoking exposure than men. The lead researcher said anatomy, such as smaller airways, and hormones may play a role in the differences. Reuters (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study backs device for patients with severe asthma
    Asthmatx's Alair device, which uses radiofrequency-generated heat to reduce airway blockage, proved effective in cutting the rates of severe asthma attacks and visits to emergency rooms among patients who no longer get relief from drugs, U.S. researchers found. Asthmatx expects the FDA to approve the device by the end of the year, CEO Glen French said. Forbes/Reuters (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Emerging Trends 
 
  • Doctors use iPhone, smartphones to interact with patients
    Steven Schwartz at Georgetown University Medical Center often relies on an iPhone application to help patients figure out what pills they are taking based on their descriptions and characteristics. He also uses his phone to show patients instructional diagrams and videos, write electronic prescriptions, and check basic information. More doctors nationwide are using iPhones and smartphones in their practices. The Washington Post (5/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Md. legislation to support EMR adoption, HIE creation
    Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is scheduled today to approve legislation aimed at boosting EMR adoption and the development of a statewide system for health information exchange. House Bill 706 enables the state to use funding from the stimulus plan to give incentives to hospitals that deploy EMRs and requires two groups -- the Maryland Health Care Commission and the Health Services Cost Review Commission -- to create a state HIE by Oct. 1. American City Business Journals/Washington, D.C. (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Company News from PR Newswire 
 
  Other Company News from AHIP Solutions 
  Pharma News 
  • FDA clears Risperdal Consta for bipolar I disorder
    Janssen received FDA approval to use Risperdal Consta, a long-acting version of bipolar disorder drug Risperdal, in people with bipolar I disorder. The clearance allows the unit of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, to market the product as either a standalone treatment or a combination therapy with lithium or valproate. Forbes/HealthDay News (5/18), Reuters (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
The Buzz(CORPORATE ANNOUNCEMENTS)

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Interested in learning more about advertising in the AHIP Solutions SmartBrief? Contact Matt Kavney at (202) 737-5500 x244 or mkavney@smartbrief.com.  

  Policy Watch 
  • Senate confirms Hamburg as FDA chief
    The Senate confirmed the nomination of Dr. Margaret Hamburg as FDA commissioner. During her confirmation hearing, Hamburg vowed to improve product safety and access to laboratory tests and other medical products as the country confronts the H1N1 swine flu strain. Forbes/Reuters (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Holtz-Eakin calls for focus on private insurance market
    Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin says health care reform should focus on expanding access to health insurance in the private market rather than implementing a government plan. He called for more state involvement and less federal intervention in health care in a report commissioned by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Modern Healthcare (free registration) (5/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  AHIP News 
  • AHIP's State Issues Conference -- From Washington to the States
    The timing of this year's conference -- Oct. 21 to 23 -- is as critical as the location. The fall timeframe will allow us to focus on where the national debate stands and how proposed initiatives will impact the states. Industry experts, health insurance plans, state trade associations and other stakeholders will address health care reform efforts at all levels. Register today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AHIP tools to address racial, ethnic disparities
    AHIP's series of tools feature two health plan toolkits on data collection and disparities; online cultural competency training courses for health plan staff, physicians and nurses; and an online compendium of culturally and linguistically appropriate resources for consumers, physicians and health plans. Access these tools today. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 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, Wells Fargo Health Benefit Services, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., is a premier provider of health and wealth management solutions for companies and individuals across the nation. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  SmartQuote 
If you rest, you rust."
--Helen Hayes,
American actress


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