What's New in Health Care Reform provides an overview of the past week’s news, updates, and commentary in health care reform and utilization management.
After Opioid Overdose, Only 30% Get Medicine to Treat Addiction
More than 115 Americans die every day of opioid overdose. Many more survive thanks to the antidote medication, naloxone. But a study out finds that just 3 in 10 patients revived by an EMT or in an emergency room received the follow-up medication known to avoid another life-threatening event. The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, followed 17,568 patients who overdosed on opioids between 2012 and 2014 in Massachusetts. It looked at survival rates over time and whether patients received medicines that treat addiction. Via Kaiser Health News.
Video Game Addiction Tries to Move from Basement to Doctor’s Office
Video games work hard to hook players. Designers use predictive algorithms and principles of behavioral economics to keep fans engaged. When new games are reviewed, the most flattering accolade might be “I can’t put it down.” Now, the World Health Organization is saying players can actually become addicted. Via NY Times.
FDA Clears First Generic Film Strip of Addition Drug Suboxone
U.S. regulators have approved the first generic version of an under-the-tongue film for treating opioid addiction. The Food and Drug Administration approved a generic version of Suboxone, a film strip that dissolves under the tongue. Used daily, it reduces withdrawal symptoms, cravings for opioids, and the high from abusing them.Via AP.
Study: Phoenix Has Largest Number of Unvaccinated Kids in U.S.
A new study published in the Public Library of Science journal found that opposition to vaccines has been growing in recent years, and measles outbreaks have increased, too. Phoenix has the largest number of unvaccinated kids in the nation, the researchers say, and that makes the area a big target for an outbreak. Via KJZZ.
The Growth of Telehealth Improves Continuity of Care
In Mississippi, there are just 186 physicians for every 100,000 people. There, the physician shortage—the worst in the country—strikes people in rural areas especially hard, as they face hourslong trips to reach specialists and the state's single academic medical center, in Jackson. But that facility, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, happens to be a leader—specifically, in telehealth. Its Center for Telehealth is connected to more than 200 locations across Mississippi, a state in which the population has the highest rates of diabetes, low birth-weights and death from heart disease. Which is to say: The need for access to health care is great. Via Modern Healthcare.
NIH Outlines Plans for $500M to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Leaders of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published an outline of how the nation’s medical research agency plans to spend the $500 million Congress gave it to fight the opioid epidemic. Specifically, the NIH will focus on improving treatments for opioid misuse and addiction and bolster strategies to manage pain, heads of the NIH wrote in an opinion piece published in the American Medical Association's JAMA. Via The Hill.
Drug Makers Considering "Substantial" Decreases in Prices, Azar Says
Several drug companies are considering “substantial and material decreases” in the prices for their drugs, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a congressional hearing. Via STAT.
Hospitals Address Widespread Doctor Burnout
Doctors who feel stressed or burned out are getting some urgent care. To address what experts view as a national epidemic of physician discontent, hospitals are expanding their c-suites with the new position of chief wellness officer. In recent years hospitals have tried a variety of wellness programs, but there is a sense this approach didn’t treat the causes of physician angst and alienation. Via Wall Street Journal.
The American Medical Association Has Long Opposed Assisted Suicide. Is That about to Change?
Although medically assisted death has gained ground in this country—with six states and the District of Columbia legalizing the practice—it remains a divisive issue among health-care providers. The American Medical Association, the nation's most prominent doctors' group, has maintained the same guidance for the past quarter-century: “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.” Via Washington Post.
WHO Classifies "Gaming Disorder" as Mental Health Condition
Watching as a video game ensnares their child, many a parent has grumbled about "digital heroin," likening the flashing images to one of the world's most addictive substances. Now, they may have backup: The World Health Organization announced "gaming disorder" as a new mental health condition included in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases, released. "I'm not creating a precedent," said Dr. Vladimir Poznyak, a member of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, which proposed the new diagnosis to WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly. Instead, he said, WHO has followed "the trends, the developments, which have taken place in populations and in the professional field." Via CNN.