HHS unveiled a payment model that will reimburse ambulance services for transporting patients to facilities such as urgent care centers or physician's offices instead of emergency departments, as well as enabling them to work with a health care provider to use telemedicine for onsite care. The model, called Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport, or ET3, is designed to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and is expected to run for five years starting next year.
The flu vaccine yielded 47% overall efficacy among all age groups this season and 61% overall efficacy among youths ages 6 months to 17 years, as well as 46% efficacy against the dominant strain, compared with 25% efficacy of last year's vaccine against the dominant strain of the season, CDC researchers reported in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Another CDC study in MMWR also showed that flu activity has "low severity" so far this season.
AHIP criticized a proposal from House and Senate Democrats that would permit people ages 50 and older to buy into Medicare and obtain the same cost-sharing subsidies and tax credits offered through Affordable Care Act exchanges, calling the measure a "slippery slope to government-run health care for every American." Congress should "focus on protecting and improving what's working and fixing what's not" instead of taking away the coverage that works for older Americans, said David Merritt, AHIP's executive vice president of public affairs and strategic initiatives.
A study published in JAMA Network Open involving 327 individuals without diabetes found that a model that accounts for diet, physical activity, age and gut microbiome was able to accurately predict how blood glucose reacted to food 62% of the time, substantially better than models based on calories or carbohydrates alone. The findings helped the team understand why certain foods resulted in more energy or fatigue for some individuals, and the work suggests that a more individualized approach to diet may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Cigna and Sentara Healthcare have joined a collaborative blockchain project launched by IBM, Anthem, CVS Health's Aetna, Health Care Services Corp. and PNC Bank that aims to enhance transparency and interoperability in health care. Executives from Cigna and Sentara said blockchain has major potential to help stakeholders solve challenges and improve health care.
A federal judge in Louisiana has agreed to let House Democrats join 16 Democratic states and the District of Columbia as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by Republican-led states that challenges the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The judge, however, denied the Democratic states' request to expedite the appeal of a lower court decision that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.
Results of the 2019 Staples Workplace Survey showed 41% of workers said they would accept a 10% reduction in pay if their company cared more about employee wellness. The survey found 90% of employees said having more flexible work arrangements increases morale, and 78% said employers are responsible for helping workers stay mentally and physically fit.
XPO Logistics in partnership with digital health care firm Maven Clinic launched a new program for expecting and new parents as well as surrogates, those adopting and women who have had miscarriages. Employees, via an app, will now have access to a virtual clinic that offers several services including fertility, mental health and a personal care coordinator.
UK researchers found that adults with any chronic disease engaged in three minutes less vigorous activity and 61 minutes less moderate activity each week, compared with those without chronic disease. The findings in the International Journal of Epidemiology, based on 96,706 individuals, ages at least 40, showed that those with cardiovascular diseases had the lowest vigorous activity at 23.1 minutes/week, while those with mental health disorders had the lowest moderate activity at 559 minutes/week, compared with 27 minutes/week and 705.1 minutes/week among those without chronic disease, respectively.
A study published in the journal Stroke linked consumption of more than one artificially sweetened drink per day to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and early death for women ages 50 and older. The study did not show a causal effect, and researchers said risks were highest for black women and those who were obese or did not have a history of heart disease or diabetes.
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