Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced a deal to stabilize the individual insurance market by funding cost-sharing reduction payments through 2019, giving states more flexibility to skirt certain Affordable Care Act requirements, allowing consumers over age 30 to purchase copper plans, and providing $106 million to support ACA enrollment. However, the proposal garnered mixed messages from President Donald Trump, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not said whether he will allow a vote, and some Republicans said they oppose it.
Several senators said they want to amend or repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act -- legislation that reportedly weakened the government's ability to fight the opioid epidemic. Among those pushing for outright repeal are Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who introduced a bill that would repeal the act. However, some lawmakers who sponsored the original legislation took issue with criticism of the law, saying the affected government agencies helped write it.
A comparison of DNA from mice, dogs and people led to the identification of four genes linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder, researchers reported in Nature Communications. The findings may give researchers a better understanding of how OCD develops, says Dr. Marco Grados, a Johns Hopkins University OCD researcher who was not involved in the study.
Anesthesiologist Vance Nielsen is developing a carbon monoxide-based emergency treatment for venomous snake bites that interfere with coagulation, and tests in plasma samples and live animals have shown the treatment works on 36 different kinds of venom. The treatment does not replace antivenoms but may keep snake bite victims alive long enough to get to a treatment center, Nielsen says.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that in 2019 will require pet stores to ensure any puppies, kittens and rabbits they sell are from only shelters or rescue centers and not from commercial breeders. Consumers will still be allowed to buy directly from a breeder after the law goes into effect.
Eleven accountable care organizations participating in the CMS Next Generation program and six ACOs in the Pioneer program earned payments for 2016, while seven lost money and three dropped out. The Next Generation program grew to an estimated 44 health systems for 2017.
Eight percent of 7,590 head impacts among youth football athletes were considered high-magnitude, or impacts more than 40 times greater than the force of gravity, according to a study in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. The findings, based on data involving 45 fourth- to seventh-grade players ages 9 to 13, also showed the highest likelihood of high-magnitude head impacts among those who played as quarterback, running back and linebacker.
UK researchers evaluated 632 type 2 diabetes patients with insufficient glycemic control and found that those who received oral semaglutide had significant reductions in mean change in A1C level from baseline to week 26, compared with those on placebo. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Health care providers should better educate diabetes patients about insulin pen use after a patient died from not receiving any insulin doses due to a failure to remove the standard insulin pen needle cover, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices wrote in its National Alert Network newsletter. The group also offered several tips for preventing insulin pen mix-up, including teaching patients how to use an insulin pen properly, training them according to the pen needle they will be using at home and reminding them to consult a health care professional if their blood glucose levels are elevated after injecting insulin.
The HIMSS-Immunization Integration Program testing tool has been approved by the ONC as a substitute for its approved method of evaluating transmissions to immunization registries. The testing method uses an open-source testing tool created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and can be fully integrated into EHR systems and other clinical software, allowing clinicians to access immunization histories, administer the right vaccines and increase monitoring, safety and acceptance of vaccines.
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