A Census Bureau survey found the number of Americans showing signs of clinical anxiety and depression has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 30% of respondents showing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and 24% demonstrating symptoms of major depressive disorder. Higher rates of anxiety and depression were seen among women, younger adults and the poor, while a state-by-state comparison showed Mississippi had the greatest share of adults with symptoms of depression or anxiety at 48%, followed by Louisiana at 43% and Illinois at 42%.
A fifth novel coronavirus pandemic relief bill could be considered in the "next month or so," according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said it will not be the $3 trillion legislation passed by the House. McConnell said the bill must have liability protection for employers because businesses are worried about a spike in lawsuits, and some moderate Senate Democrats say they are open to such a provision.
Insulin out-of-pocket costs will be capped at $35 per month in at least 1,750 Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans, under an agreement announced by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. The new insulin benefit could save beneficiaries an average of $446 per year, and AHIP said it serves as an "excellent example of public-private partnerships where everyone wins."
An analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project showed 20 states reported an increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases for the week ending May 24, compared with 13 states a week earlier. Alabama saw the biggest weekly increase at 28%, followed by Missouri at 27% and North Carolina at 26%, while the number of new cases reported nationally declined 0.8%, compared with a drop of 8% in the previous week.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will be issuing $100 million worth of rebates to insured customers and members this year after seeing a dramatic drop in claims for health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employees who took part in a wellness program were 5% more likely to have a regular primary care physician, compared with those who did not participate, and more likely to have a positive attitude about their health, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Data did not show wellness program participation had significant effects on height, weight, waist circumference, BMI and other health measures.
The World Health Organization said it is conducting an accelerated review of data on the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, and that a final decision on its benefit, harm or lack of benefit can be expected by mid-June. Safety concerns pertinent to the drug's use were raised after a study in The Lancet reported that use of hydroxychloroquine was linked to increased mortality rates and irregular heartbeats.
Sanofi said it plans to sell its $13 billion stake in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but will retain 400,000 out of an estimated 23.2 million shares in the company. Meanwhile, Regeneron announced plans to buy back approximately $5 billion worth of shares from Sanofi.
Primary care practices need to move away from the fee-for-service system if they want to survive and thrive in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said during a webinar hosted by the Alliance for Health Policy. Sean Cavanaugh, an executive at Aledade, said physician-based accountable care organizations could help PCPs weather the financial lows caused by the pandemic, but they won't be able to participate in these models if they are going out of business, and he suggests doing "something specific for primary care -- cut some of the red tape, make it easier for small practices, and support them so they're there when we need them."
The National Association of Accountable Care Organizations sent a letter to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation asking for the status of the Direct Contracting Model, set to begin next year, and the Next Generation ACO Model, which is slated to end this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "We need to grow accountable care models to support population health management and give providers the support they need, rather than leaving them uncertain about their future," according to the letter.
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