News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
9/17/2019

Loneliness is an increasingly recognized health problem -- not only among patients, as former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy noted at an AHIP conference earlier this year, but also among health care professionals. Clinicians may be more prone to loneliness as they manage stress, and deteriorating relationships seem to play a role in burnout, but some health systems are taking steps to manage the issue through coordinated efforts to promote connection among staff.

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General Vivek Murthy, AHIP
9/17/2019

The CDC's emergency operations center has been activated to coordinate the investigation into hundreds of severe lung injury cases that may be linked to vaping. The agency said it has identified six deaths and 380 confirmed or probable illnesses in 36 states.

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Reuters
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CDC, lung diseases
9/17/2019

CDC officials reported that there were no new measles cases during the week ending Sept. 12, with the total number of confirmed measles cases steady at 1,241 in 31 states, the highest since 1992. New York City health officials said the measles outbreak in Brooklyn has concluded, but outbreaks in other areas are ongoing.

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measles, CDC
9/17/2019

Researchers found that 18.5% of physician visits for US children up to age 18 involved at least one off-label prescription, according to a study in Pediatrics. Teens were most likely to get an off-label medication, but 83% of newborns that needed medication got an off-label drug, and girls, those with chronic illnesses, those who required at least two medication types and those living in the South were also more likely to get medication off-label.

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HealthDay News
9/17/2019

Studies have shown that untreated hearing loss increases the risk of loneliness and social isolation, potentially setting off a series of health consequences such as dementia, depression and even premature death. Only 1 in 5 older Americans with hearing problems wears hearing aids, due in part to the expense and technical difficulties, but efforts to shake up the hearing device market could expand access.

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National Public Radio
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Social isolation, depression
9/17/2019

States are turning to managed care organizations to rein in spending on high-cost Medicaid beneficiaries, but health care provider shortages in rural areas and social factors such as lack of housing and transportation instability are complicating their efforts, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. In addition to managed care, states such as Nevada and Indiana have explored strategies to curb costs, such as incentivizing high-performing MCOs and implementing programs to limit overuse of health care services.

9/17/2019

This year's open enrollment period for Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Part D prescription drug plans and supplemental plans runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Retirees who don't enroll when they turn 65 might be charged penalties.

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Medicare
9/17/2019

Alex Fleyshmakher, Ruben Sevumyants, Samuel Khaimov and Yana Shtindler, who either owned or worked for Prime Aid pharmacies in Union City, N.J., and Bronx, N.Y., are facing multiple charges for alleged involvement in a health care fraud scheme. Authorities say the defendants received over $65 million from Medicaid, Medicare and private insurers for drugs they never ordered or delivered to patients from 2013 to 2017, among other offenses.

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The Associated Press
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Medicaid, Medicare
9/17/2019

Members of the Forbes Finance Council share their insights on building a positive credit rating for your business. Among other things, they recommend buying from multiple vendors, starting small and exercising discipline when borrowing.

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Forbes
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Forbes Finance Council
9/17/2019

Starsky Bomer, a hospital administrator at Atrium Medical Center and Pristine Healthcare in Houston, received a 10-year prison term and was ordered to forfeit $158,260 and pay nearly $6.3 million in restitution after being convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and other charges in connection to a $16 million Medicare fraud scheme. Court evidence showed Bomer and others paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and group home owners in exchange for patient referrals, and then submitted about $16 million worth of fraudulent claims to Medicare for unprovided partial hospital services.

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KPRC-TV (Houston)