Medicare Part D has a 73% participation rate among Medicare beneficiaries and premiums have shown little or no growth since the prescription drug program began in 2006. The cost to taxpayers, however, increased from $46 billion in 2007 to $79 billion in 2016, driven mainly from increasing enrollment and higher drug prices, but also by how the program's structure promotes cost growth, writes Austin Frakt of The Incidental Economist.
People who received benzodiazepines and Z drugs had a modestly higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease, compared with those who didn't receive them, according to a study in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. The findings were based on data from 70,719 Finnish individuals between 2005 and 2011 who were newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's, as well as 282,862 healthy controls.
More individuals who received a web-based tutorial on F-18 FDG-PET/CT imaging in addition to written information about the procedure before undergoing the scan reported that they knew "quite a lot" or "very much" about PET/CT scans and how they are administered, compared with those who received standard care, while overall patient satisfaction was high in both groups, Swedish researchers reported in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology. The findings suggest that the tutorial may help optimize F-18 FDG-PET/CT scans, but more studies involving a larger sample of patients are needed, researchers said.
Researchers found that although coronary microvascular dysfunction, or impaired coronary flow reserve, identified with cardiac stress PET testing and body mass index had value in predicting cardiovascular disease risk among patients without obstructive coronary artery disease, only CFR boosted model differentiation and had an independent link with CVD events in fully adjusted analyses. The findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed significantly increased odds of CVD events only among obese patients with impaired CFR, especially those without extreme obesity.
The FDA accepted under priority review Stemline Therapeutics' biologics license application for Elzonris, or tagraxofusp, being developed as a treatment for patients with blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm, with an action date of Feb. 21, 2019. A midstage trial showed that the drug prompted a 54% complete response rate in 13 patients.
SNMMI named Drs. Arnold Strashun, Bertrand Brill and Leonie Gordon the recipients of its Presidential Distinguished Service Award for their "continual dedication to the society." Richard Carson received the Henry J. Wagner Jr. Lectureship, and the Saul Hertz, M.D., and Michael J. Welch awards were given to Dr. Richard Wahl and Robert Mach, respectively.
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, called for the permanent repeal of the medical device tax, saying the tax would put state jobs at stake. "If this tax isn't repealed, Utah's companies won't have the money to invest in hiring and retaining employees or updating infrastructure in this rapidly changing and competitive industry," Love said at the Utah headquarters of Merit Medical.
Integrating an EHR system with practice management software would allow health care practices to make fewer mistakes, reduce the risk of data breaches and save time and money, experts say. "There are really no downsides to integrating your systems," said Tammie Olson of Management Resource Group.
The Sulphur Springs Union School District in California added a school social worker to its staff to help students make the most of the educational experience and assist families with connecting to community resources. "After noticing a large increase in transient homeless student (populations), we felt it would be a benefit to our students to have this new position at our schools," said district board member Ken Chase.
The US Labor Department has added religious belief as a defense option for federal contractors charged with anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Its Aug. 10 directive does not remove a 2014 executive order forbidding such bias, but allows auditors to grant religious exemptions under some circumstances.