Adults who lived with a smoker in the home during childhood had 31% increased odds of dying of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, compared with those who did not live with a smoker as children, researchers reported in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The findings were based on data involving more than 70,000 adults who never smoked and were followed for 22 years.
A study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that patients with type 2 diabetes who did not have any risk factors -- smoking, albuminuria or abnormal HbA1C, blood pressure or LDL cholesterol -- did not have excess mortality risk or increased risk for acute myocardial infarction or stroke, but they were at a higher risk for heart failure, compared with those who did not have diabetes. Researchers studied more than 270,000 Swedish registry patients with diabetes and found that smoking was the top predictor for mortality, while HbA1C above the target range was the strongest predictor for acute MI and stroke.
HHS, in collaboration with the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded $125 million to community health centers across the US to help improve EHR use, health care quality, patient care delivery and clinical efficiency. Community health centers "have a track record of delivering quality care at significantly lower cost, and are vital partners in our movement toward a health system that delivers quality, affordable, value-based health care for all Americans," said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan.
Three states have an Affordable Care Act reinsurance program, two have approval to start one and four want to launch one in 2019. The program, supported by federal dollars, has lowered the cost of health insurance, although industry analysts say the program is not a cure-all and does not address the underlying issue of rising medical costs.
A study released by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association confirms no association between rising list prices and rebates on top brand-name drugs in Medicare Part. "Simply eliminating plans' ability to negotiate price concessions would enrich drugmakers at the expense of patients, who'd not only face higher prices but higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs too," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.
A proposed CMS rule requests information on improving collaboration between accountable care organizations and Medicare Part D drug plans, including "financial arrangements to reward ACOs and Part D sponsors for improved health outcomes and lower growth in expenditures for Medicare FFS beneficiaries."
China's Patent Review Board has issued a partial patent invalidation for Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, or sofosbuvir, meaning generic versions of the drug will be marketable as soon as next year instead of 2024, when Gilead's patent had been set to expire.
The prevalence of more than 60 workplace benefits has increased this year compared with last year, but fewer workplaces offer 15 benefits, including preventive health care for employees with chronic conditions, flexible spending accounts, benefits for domestic partners and short-term disability insurance, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Discounts, coverage for elective procedures and on-site health clinics have become less common since 2015.
A law in Illinois effective Jan. 1 will require ninth-graders to get a dental checkup before starting school. Dental exams are already required for children entering kindergarten and second and sixth grades.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources will receive a $370,000 grant from the CDC to promote oral health and provide dental care, say Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.