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10/19/2020

Medicare is encouraging rapid turnaround of COVID-19 tests by cutting reimbursement for labs that take more than two days to process results, as of Jan. 1. The idea is to encourage "faster high throughput testing, which will allow patients and physicians to act quickly and decisively with respect to treatment decisions, physical isolation, and contact tracing," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

10/19/2020

Children and adolescents newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes who had a single episode of moderate or severe diabetic ketoacidosis experienced subtle memory declines, according to a study in Diabetes Care. The findings, based on data from 758 participants, also revealed that repeated DKA episodes among children with known type 1 diabetes were tied to sizable declines in intelligence quotient, indicating that DKA effects may be heightened in children with chronic exposure to hyperglycemia.

10/19/2020

A study in Diabetes Care found that adults with prediabetes who took a daily vitamin D supplement and maintained blood levels of vitamin D higher than normally recommended for bone health had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with those who maintained lower levels of vitamin D. However, lead researcher Dr. Anastassios Pittas noted that "intermittent, high doses of vitamin D supplementation may not achieve the same protection."

10/19/2020

A study of EHR data from 688,878 adults found that those who were formally diagnosed with obesity on the same date as having their initial weight recorded had a greater likelihood of losing at least 5% of their weight 9 to 15 months later, independent of other factors. The results from the study, which was published in Obesity, could indicate that medical professionals discussed the effects of excess weight with their patients following a formal diagnosis, the researchers said.

10/19/2020

Student debt, credit card bills, COVID-19 layoffs, and other issues are causing a unique set of financial stresses for millennials. Sandy Pappa, a principal at Buck, says surveys, decision support tools, and tailored analytics can help employers identify benefit offerings that will allow younger workforce members to reach financial stability.

10/19/2020

The US logged more than 69,100 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the highest single-day spike since July 29, with more than 30 states reporting a higher number of cases in the past seven days compared with the previous week. As of Monday, more than 40 million people worldwide have been infected and 1.1 million have died, with South, North and Central America accounting for almost half the cases.

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CNN, Reuters
10/19/2020

State public health and vaccination officials have written to congressional leaders calling for at least $8.4 billion in emergency funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Officials say they do not have sufficient funding to conduct a complex vaccine distribution effort.

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The Hill
10/19/2020

A CDC analysis of more than 114,000 people in the US who died from COVID-19 between May and August showed that nearly 19% were Black patients and 24% involved Hispanics or Latinos despite only accounting for 12.5% and 18% of the US population, respectively. White non-Hispanic Americans accounted for around 51% of COVID-19 deaths despite representing 76% of the population, and researchers said the disparity in mortality rates could be caused by various socioeconomic and cultural factors.

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The Hill
10/19/2020

Senate lawmakers are poised to vote on a Republican-backed $300 billion pandemic relief bill Wednesday following a standalone vote Tuesday on additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. The relief package, which is far below the $2 trillion Democrats have called for, is expected to fail.

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Reuters
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Senate
10/19/2020

The CPT code 99072, which became effective immediately Sept. 8, can be used by radiologists in imaging centers and other nonhospital facilities to recoup additional expenses from services and supplies provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Rebecca Farrington of Healthcare Administrative Partners. Aetna, Humana, Cigna and some Blue Cross Blue Shield plans are providing CPT code 99072 reimbursements, but code payment remains unavailable under Medicare, Farrington writes.

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Rebecca Farrington