The American College of Gastroenterology thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the three R's -- resiliency, respect and relationships, outgoing ACG President David A. Greenwald, MD, FACG, said during his President's Address at the ACG Annual Scientific Meeting. Gastroenterologists were not only challenged by the pandemic but by "issues of racial and ethnic inequity and social division," Greenwald said, and the group met the challenges with a response that was "the embodiment of the word resilience."
At least three stakeholders -- the patient, provider and payer -- should be considered in determining treatment for patients with ulcerative colitis, Corey A. Siegel, MD, MS, of Dartmouth University told the ACG Annual Scientific Meeting. Siegel said communication between the patient and provider to understand the patient's goals is important because there is no one correct order of treatments.
Surgery should be a last resort for treating lower gastrointestinal bleeding, according to a presentation by Lisa L. Strate, MD, MPH, FACG, professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, at the ACG Postgraduate Course, prior to the ACG Annual Scientific Meeting. Strate outlined other guidelines for GI bleeding and said physicians should localize the source before surgery is performed.
A review of nine clinical trials involving patients with gastric variceal bleeding showed that balloon-occluded retrograde transvenous obliteration was the best among secondary prophylaxis treatments, according to a presentation by Karim T. Osman, MD, of the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, at the ACG Annual Scientific Meeting. Beta-blocker monotherapy might not appropriate for secondary prophylaxis of gastric varices, Osman said, but it was associated with better rebleeding outcomes when compared with endoscopic hypertonic glucose injection.
New data released by the CMS showed accountable care organizations participating in the Next Generation ACO Model, which will be shuttered this year in favor of the Direct Contracting model, saved Medicare $637 million last year, while analysis of performance data from the National Association of ACOs showed Next Gen ACOs delivered $1.6 billion in gross savings and $836 million in net savings to Medicare from 2016 to 2020. As the end of the Next Gen ACO model approaches, NAACOS and other advocates are urging the CMS to give ACOs more options to take on financial risk. "Many Next Gen ACOs aren't moving into Direct Contracting and have expressed a desire to have an ACO option that allows them to more gradually move toward capitation without feeling like they are taking a step backward in their transition to value-based care payment models," NAACOS President Clif Gaus said.
Two House lawmakers have introduced legislation that would extend a measure in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act allowing free or reduced-cost use of telehealth services through health savings account-eligible high-deductible health plans. The Primary and Virtual Care Affordability Act would extend the flexibility through 2023 and allow HDHPs to waive deductibles for primary care services.
Health care organizations can implement three kinds of interventions to reduce administrative spending, according to a McKinsey & Co. report. Measures include internal "within" interventions such as automation of back-office work; external "between" interventions, such as development of insurer-clinician communication tools that offer consistent messaging to patients; and "seismic" interventions involving broad and structural changes across the health care system such as new technology systems and payment models.
A quarterly report from Moody's outlines the impact of physician and nurse shortages around the country. The report predicts that factors of this kind will continue to negatively impact the financial performance of for-profit and nonprofit hospitals next year.
Average monthly premiums for silver Affordable Care Act plans sold through the federal exchange are expected to drop by 3% in 2022, marking the fourth consecutive year of decline, while the number of participating health insurers will increase by 32 to 213 for the coming plan year, according to the CMS. Enhanced premium subsidies included in the American Rescue Plan mean the average lowest-priced plan for ACA enrollees will cost $41 per month, while 4 in 5 people will be able to find a plan for $10 a month or less.
Facial recognition technology has a number of potential health care and research applications, including appointment check-in, diagnosis of certain conditions and fraud prevention, but a survey of more than 4,000 patients found that more than 70% were uneasy with the idea of facial recognition technology in a hypothetical precision medicine study, researchers reported in the journal PLOS ONE. Respondents also expressed concerns about the privacy of medical records and genetic data, and the researchers suggest taking steps to build public trust before using facial imaging data in health care and medical research.