News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
4/23/2018

EHR usability issues that may harm patients include auto-refresh mix-ups, incomplete laboratory results, alert fatigue, unclear default settings and inadequately tested customization, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. The organization recommends conducting safety testing during development and after an EHR system's implementation and enlisting stakeholders from throughout the industry to form a health IT safety collaborative.

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Pew Charitable Trusts
4/23/2018

A federal court approved a request to allow health insurance providers to bring a class-action lawsuit against the federal government over unpaid cost-sharing reduction payments. The court rejected the government's argument that insurers were not all equally hurt by the CSR cutoff after they raised their premiums to offset the loss of subsidies.

4/23/2018

A study in Pediatrics showed that children with low-risk penicillin allergy symptoms whose allergy notification was removed from their medical records after they tested negative for penicillin allergy didn't develop any adverse reactions in the following year, even though some were prescribed a penicillin derivative. Researchers said the medical record delabeling was associated with changes in prescribing and improved cost savings.

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penicillin
4/23/2018

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry showed adults taking benzodiazepines were 83% more likely to receive a new opioid prescription during an ambulatory visit than patients in the general population. Researchers looked at data from 2005 to 2015 and found that the number of adults age 20 and older who received a new opioid prescription while taking a benzodiazepine increased from 7.3 million to 13 million, and rates increased from 189 to 351 per 1,000 people between 2005 and 2010 before declining to 172 per 1,000 by 2015.

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Reuters
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JAMA Psychiatry
4/23/2018

Medicare regulations can mean older patients who are kept in a hospital under observation care but not admitted can end up paying out-of-pocket for a rehabilitation center stay because Medicare will not cover it unless patients have received three nights of inpatient care. Bipartisan efforts to solve the three-night-rule problem have not been successful so far, and hospitals, using decision-support software to help determine when a patient should be admitted, often act to ensure they are not audited.

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National Public Radio
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Medicare
4/23/2018

An analysis of 3.7 million visits to 219 accountable care organizations in 2013 by 1.1 million Medicare beneficiaries who had one of eight chronic conditions found that 61% of the visits were to primary care providers, ranging from 34% to 81% of the visits, primarily for hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes. Patients were less likely to see primary care providers for chronic conditions in ACOs with the most specialists, and the findings suggested that some ACOs underutilize primary care providers.

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HealthLeaders Media
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Medicare
4/23/2018

A study to be presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting showed having high levels of belly fat, even with a normal BMI, was associated with about twofold greater risk of a major adverse cardiovascular event, such as heart attack, procedures to open clogged arteries or death from cardiac conditions, compared to having no central obesity. The findings were based on nearly 1,700 adult residents of Olmsted County, Minn., who were followed from 2000 to 2016.

4/23/2018

A study in the journal PLOS ONE revealed that adults who had vitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml were as much as five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those whose levels were 50 ng/ml. Researchers who examined data from 903 healthy adults without indicators of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes say it's not clear if the relationship is causal.

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Diabetes (UK)
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vitamin D deficiency, PLoS One
4/23/2018

Swiss researchers developed a skin implant device with genetic components, called a biomedical tattoo, which monitors blood calcium levels to help detect breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers early. The implant has shown promise in mice models and pig skin and has proven to be cost-effective, but more studies are needed before the implant can be tested on humans, researchers report in Science Translational Medicine.

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Medical News Today
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cancer
4/23/2018

Qiagen has obtained approval from the FDA for its PartoSure noninvasive strip test, which is designed to measure risk of spontaneous preterm birth in patients experiencing symptoms of preterm labor. The test detects placental alpha microglobulin and delivers results within five minutes.

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Qiagen, FDA