January 13, 2021
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Clinical Updates
A retrospective study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology linked the use of statins to a reduced risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis. The study, conducted by Jung Il Lee, MD, PhD, and colleagues at Yonsei University College of Medicine in South Korea, gleaned data on patients with NAFLD and those without it from the National Health Information Database of the Republic of Korea. Read the abstract.
Full Story: Medical Dialogues (1/13) 
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Data on 100 patients with COVID-19 showed the gut microbiome composition in patients with COVID-19 was different than in people who did not have COVID-19, according to a study led by Yun Kit Yeoh, MD, of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and published in Gut. The altered composition was associated with COVID-19 severity, researchers said.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (1/11) 
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A study in BMC Medicine found elevated body mass index significantly increased the likelihood of colorectal cancer among men, while increased waist-to-hip ratio had a stronger link with greater CRC risk in women. Researchers led by Caroline J. Bull, Ph.D., from the University of Bristol in the UK, found that none of adiposity-associated metabolic changes explained the adiposity-CRC link, indicating the need for more comprehensive metabolomic measures.
Full Story: Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (1/11) 
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Women who adhered to lifestyle habits related to weight control, diet, smoking, daily exercise and caffeine intake had a lower risk for gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms, compared with those who did not follow the plan, according to a study led by Raaj S. Mehta, MD, from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The lifestyle changes may prevent up to 40% of the weekly GERD symptoms, researchers wrote.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (1/12) 
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Legal & Regulatory
Two US Senate wins in Georgia will give Democrats control of the chamber and the party still has a slim lead in the House, but they likely will not have the votes to pass many of their health care proposals without Republican support. Democrats will gain control of Senate committee chairs, which could help push through President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet choices, including Xavier Becerra, nominated to be HHS secretary.
Full Story: Kaiser Health News (1/11) 
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ACG Note: Stay up to date with the latest public policy news with ACG's weekly policy alert, "This Week in Washington, D.C."
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HHS has released a final rule requiring the agency to evaluate existing regulations every 10 years to determine if they are subject to review through the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Under the proposal, all rules issued by HHS will expire if the agency fails to evaluate and review them in a timely fashion, but the rule won't apply to HHS regulations released in tandem with other agencies, any product-specific rules by the FDA, annual payment rules such as those for clinicians and hospitals, as well as the Notice of Benefit Payment Parameters for Affordable Care Act exchange plans.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (1/8) 
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Practice News
Lay juries may be less likely to convict health care providers of malpractice in cases where decisions were based on recommendations from artificial intelligence-driven clinical support tools, researchers led by Kevin Tobia, JD, PhD, assistant professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, reported in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Participants in the study judged physicians more favorably if they accepted a standard AI recommendation than if they rejected it or accepted a nonstandard AI recommendation.
Full Story: Health IT Analytics (1/12) 
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Business & Market Trends
A review of colonoscopy volume from a commercial health insurer showed only 500 colonoscopies per month took place between March 2020 and May 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began, a decrease from the regular monthly volume of 7,500 colonoscopies. Volumes recovered by June, according to the review.
Full Story: Becker's ASC Review/Managed Health Care Executive (1/12) 
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EHR vendors, health systems still blocking access to data
Fifty-five percent of health information exchanges responding to a survey said EHR vendors sometimes block health information, typically by charging high prices for data, and 30% said health systems also block access to data at least sometimes, typically by refusing to share data. The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association highlight the importance of defining and addressing deliberate information blocking in final regulations, penalties and enforcement actions, the researchers wrote.
Full Story: EHR Intelligence (1/11) 
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Patient's Perspective
Sports nutritionist and exercise physiologist Andrew Jagim has had 12 surgeries since his diagnosis of Crohn's disease and colitis five years ago, and he shares his story online to help educate others about autoimmune diseases. "It might not be easy but you can get through it and you can get to a point where you have a good quality of life," said Jagim, who is sports medicine research director at Mayo Clinic Health System.
Full Story: WXOW-TV (La Crosse, Wis.) (1/10) 
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