HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the CMS could soon permit health systems and hospitals to help with housing, nutritious food and other social determinants of health through Medicaid. "We believe we could spend less money on health care -- and, most important, help Americans live healthier lives -- if we did a better job of aligning federal health investments with our investments in non-health care needs," Azar said, noting officials at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation are exploring new strategies to better address social determinants.
An analysis of inpatient costs in 25 metropolitan areas with the most hospital consolidations from 2010 to 2013 found that the price of a typical inpatient stay in a third of those areas climbed by at least 25% from 2012 to 2014. Hospital mergers essentially eliminated competition, and prices increased even more steeply when large hospital systems acquired physician practices, according to researchers from the Petris Center at the University of California at Berkeley.
Diabetes coaching and monitoring startup Virta Health has announced a business model under which insurers and employers will pay for its program only when it works. The first payment is made only if a patient has demonstrated adequate engagement after using it for a month, and the second payment is made after one year, but only if patients hit their predetermined blood glucose targets.
AHIP has released a report outlining ways the government can lower premiums for Americans who buy their own coverage in the individual market, particularly those who don't qualify for assistance. Among the ideas are measures to enable state-level marketing and outreach, improve the risk pool, such as by providing premium discounts for members who take part in wellness programs, and bring down costs by eliminating the health insurance tax and inappropriate third-party premium payments.
The latest figures from the CMS show that almost 1.2 million shoppers selected Affordable Care Act coverage in the first 10 days of open enrollment, down about 300,000 from the first 11 days of last year's enrollment period, and daily enrollments are down about 12.5%. Among this year's HealthCare.gov enrollees, 274,913 are new to the exchange, compared with 345,719 a year ago.
Although universal health coverage provides free care for the entire population of England, socioeconomic inequalities persist in diabetes-related hospital admissions for major cardiovascular events. Lower socioeconomic status is a powerful predictor of a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes and its long-term complications. Besides improved risk stratification strategies that consider socioeconomically defined needs, wide-reaching population-based policy interventions are required to reduce inequalities in diabetes outcomes.
Amnion epithelial cells produce exosomes, which function in a paracrine fashion to exert pro-inflammatory effects on myometrial and decidual cells and may be an important component of parturition.
This study assessed the relationship between Life's Simple 7, or seven identified metrics of ideal cardiovascular health, and incident peripheral artery disease in a biracial cohort of middle- and older-aged adults. Participants were classified as having inadequate, average, or optimal cardiovascular health based on their Simple 7 score. Compared with the inadequate category, participants in the average and optimal categories each had a substantially lower risk of developing peripheral artery disease.
Medication effects were evaluated in patients with COPD and asthma using Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database. The study included 251,398 patients with COPD plus asthma and 514,522 patients with COPD alone, with a mean follow-up period of 9.85 years. After adjustment, hazard ratios (HRs) for long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) and inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting beta 2 agonist (ICS/LABA) combinations were lower [time-dependent model, 1 year: LAMA, HR 0.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.49-0.54; ICS/LABA combinations, HR 0.61, 95% CI 0.60-0.62; all p < 0.0001] than those for LABAs or ICSs in patients with COPD and asthma. LAMA or ICS/LABA combinations use was associated with a lower risk of acute exacerbation in patients with COPD plus asthma in this study.
This prospective observational study of 807 patients over 65 looked to determine whether anticholinergic burden may predict one-year mortality in older patients discharged from acute care hospitals with or without dependency in basic activities of daily living (BADL). For older patients discharged with at least one BADL dependency, anticholinergic cognitive burden score at discharge may predict mortality. Hospital physicians should be made aware of this and should try to reduce anticholinergic burden at discharge whenever possible.