The CDC released updated guidelines in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report recommending young adults up to age 26 receive catch-up human papillomavirus vaccination if they were not fully vaccinated as adolescents in accordance with existing guidelines, while those ages 27 to 45 should only be vaccinated if they are at risk for HPV. The guidance reaffirmed previous pediatric HPV immunization recommendations advising that children receive initial vaccination at ages 11 or 12 and one follow-up dose after six months to one year.
An analysis of preliminary health insurance provider filings in all 50 states showed average premiums for Affordable Care Act plans are expected to climb by 0.6% next year, the smallest increase since 2014. Only Louisiana, Vermont and New Mexico are expected to see double-digit premium increases, the analysis found.
The CMS said it will require the federal and state-based Affordable Care Act exchanges to display star ratings for health insurance plans starting with the 2020 enrollment period, as part of the administration's efforts to improve transparency and quality in the health care system. The idea was tested through HealthCare.gov in two states for the 2017 and 2018 enrollment periods and expanded for the 2019 enrollment period.
Harmony Biosciences gained FDA approval for its drug Wakix, or pitolisant, indicated for adult patients with narcolepsy who experience excessive daytime sleepiness. Wakix will be launched commercially by next quarter and will be a direct competitor of Jazz Pharmaceuticals' Xyrem, or sodium oxybate, approved for the same indication in 2005.
OSF HealthCare's Complex Solutions Innovation team focuses on social determinants of health, such as food insecurity in Peoria, Ill., which has seen grocery store closings. OSF HealthCare purchased vacant lots for community gardens, and along with increasing access to fresh foods, it provides cooking classes and workout routines.
An Australian study linked each additional fast food restaurant in a neighborhood to four additional heart attacks per 100,000 people, researchers told the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand's annual meeting. "The results emphasize the importance of the food environment as a potential contributor towards health," said study author Tarunpreet Saluja.
School districts in Texas are required to identify, accommodate and support children with severe food allergies, which have been on the rise in school-age children. Federal data show about a quarter of food allergic reactions occur in schools for students who have not been diagnosed with a food allergy.
The FDA has approved eight applications this fiscal year for generic drugs under the new competitive generic therapy designation to increase competition, and reported 84 CGT applications awaiting FDA action as of the third quarter.
Fifty-four percent of people younger than 65 who are prescribed medication for hypertension skip doses or stop taking medicine altogether, according to the results of a study involving more than 370,000 patients with private insurance. Mail-order pharmacies and 90-day prescriptions were associated with higher odds of adherence, researchers reported in Hypertension.
Gate City Transportation, a Greensboro, N.C.-based company that provided non-emergency transport services for wheelchair-bound and ambulatory clients, was ordered to pay over $5.2 million in restitution after pleading guilty to health care fraud in a Medicaid fraud case. Authorities said the company submitted inflated claims to Medicaid for medical van transportation services using ambulance codes, which resulted in more than $5 million worth of improper payments from the program.
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