July 30, 2021
AHIP Solutions SmartBrief
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President Joe Biden said Thursday that all federal workers and contractors must show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status, and those who fail to do so or are unvaccinated will face travel restrictions, mask requirements and regular testing. To boost vaccination rates and mitigate the spread of the Delta variant, Biden also encouraged state and local governments to use American Rescue Plan funding to give $100 in cash incentives to anyone who will get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Full Story: Reuters (7/29),  CNBC (7/29) 
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US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the US must do everything possible to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates as the Delta variant continues to fuel infections across the country, particularly in areas with low vaccination coverage. States that have fully vaccinated fewer than 50% of residents are seeing almost triple the hospitalization rates and more than double the COVID-19 infection and death rates, on average, compared with states where more than half of residents have been vaccinated.
Full Story: CNN (7/30) 
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Providers & Suppliers
The CDC has issued COVID-19 testing recommendations urging fully vaccinated people to get tested three to five days after exposure to the virus even if they don't experience symptoms. Prior recommendations indicated fully vaccinated people only needed testing after exposure if they were symptomatic.
Full Story: The New York Times (7/30) 
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An online survey of 248 family physicians, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, showed that loneliness is a common issue among family medicine physicians and may be tied to burnout, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey found that 50.4% of responding physicians met the criteria for burnout.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (7/28) 
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Conference sponsorship that drives leads
Showcase your solution to health care decision makers at AHIP's National Conference on Medicare, Medicaid and Dual Eligibles, Sept. 21 through 24. Choose a package that meets your budget, and your goals. Contact BusinessDevelopment@ahip.org.
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Medical Update
A study in the journal Neurology found that adults who ate at least half a serving of foods rich in flavonoids every day had a 20% reduced risk for cognitive decline, compared with those who ate fewer foods rich in flavonoids. The findings, based on data from 49,493 women and 27,842 men, also revealed that flavones, commonly found in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables -- and anthocyanins, commonly found in blackberries, blueberries and cherries -- had the most protective effect against cognitive decline among individual flavonoids.
Full Story: News Medical (7/28) 
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Treat Mind and Body Together
Can virtual care deliver easily accessible, integrated care that supports the mind and the body together? From depression to diabetes, Vida's integrated care solution is designed from the ground up to treat a wide range of comorbidities, physical and mental, in both English and Spanish. Learn more.
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Emerging Trends
The CMS expects average monthly premiums for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage to rise to $33 in 2022 from $31.47 this year. The announcement comes as the CMS and Congress explore options to address drug prices.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (7/29) 
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Eighty percent of respondents to a Harris Poll expressed concern about digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates, and though 68% said they would sign up for one, only 45% said they would be very likely to use one. Digital credentials may be less prone to fraud than paper vaccine cards, but standardization, consistent adoption and strict privacy rules are necessary, and researchers at the Brookings Institute are urging the federal government to promulgate regulations that ban companies from selling or mishandling personal health information.
Full Story: Fast Company (tiered subscription model) (7/29) 
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Health Plan Achieves 84% Directory Accuracy
More than 1.2 million data confirmation calls, continued inaccuracies, and significant provider abrasion were a few reasons why a national health plan explored sustainable approaches to improve the data accuracy of their provider directory. Learn how a health plan improved its provider data quality and accuracy, simplified their outreach process and, decreased operational costs. Access the webinar.
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Health Insurance Provider Company News
Pharma News
Eli Lilly's baricitinib was granted expanded emergency use authorization by the FDA as a COVID-19 drug that can be administered separately from Gilead's remdesivir. The expanded authorization was based on results from a trial involving 1,525 hospitalized COVID-19 patients that showed those treated with baricitinib had a lower risk of progressing to ventilator use or death compared with patients given standard of care.
Full Story: Reuters (7/29) 
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A public alert has been issued by the FDA to warn health care professionals and patients that Oncopeptides' Pepaxto, or melphalan flufenamide, may cause early death in myeloma patients, citing data from a confirmatory trial. The agency has halted patient enrollment in all Pepaxto clinical studies and may convene a public meeting to "explore the continued marketing of Pepaxto," which received accelerated approval in February for the treatment of relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.
Full Story: FiercePharma (7/28) 
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Policy Watch
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill to expand the state's Medicaid program, making all people ages 50 and older with low income eligible for coverage beginning in May 2022 regardless of immigration status. The law could add about 235,000 people to the program with costs paid by the state.
Full Story: Reuters (7/27) 
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AHIP News
White papers and case studies submitted by our Affiliate Organizations (AOs) bring you the latest thinking on current topics in health care. This week's features include Blue Eagle Consulting on choosing a health IT partner; BVK on their brand + demand strategy; Wolters Kluwer on natural language processing; and Ovia Health on behavioral interventions to encourage healthier mothers and babies.
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Join us on Wednesday, Aug. 11 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET for "Providing Comprehensive Virtual Care with Artificial Intelligence" as Lark Health discusses how AI-enabled, virtual care tools can become an integrated part of the health care journey. Learn about successful chronic disease prevention and management programs and engagement strategies that generate adoption, usage and superior outcomes.
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On The Next Big Thing in Health podcast, we explore how UPMC Health Plan is working to deliver accurate and up-to-date COVID-19 information to Spanish-speaking plan members with our guest Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan. Listen to the full episode.
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It is a time in which we will redefine what it means to be human, for this is not just the start of a revolution, it is the start of an evolution.
David A. Sinclair,
biologist, professor of genetics
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