Senate lawmakers approved an $854 billion spending package that includes $675 billion for the Defense Department and $178 billion for the Labor, Education and HHS departments, including $3.8 billion in funding to combat the opioid abuse epidemic. The package, which now goes to the House, includes stopgap legislation that would keep the government open through Dec. 7.
A bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation that would permit states to use Medicaid funding to cover up to 90 consecutive days of care at addiction treatment facilities for patients with substance abuse disorders, doing away with a restriction on coverage at inpatient, residential facilities with 16 or more beds. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, one of the bill's sponsors, said they will push for its inclusion in the final House-Senate opioid package.
Survey responses from 8,774 US physicians showed 47% of their compensation was tied to quality or value, even though only 18% felt the payments would improve care or reduce costs. The survey, conducted by Merritt Hawkins, found 78% of physicians had experienced burnout and 79% said patient relationships were the biggest source of job satisfaction.
Clovis Oncology along with CEO Patrick Mahaffy and former Chief Financial Officer Erle Mast agreed to pay more than $20 million to settle allegations that they overstated the efficacy of cancer drug Roci, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
An AHIP report outlines three types of care models that it says offer coordinated care and address the unique needs of beneficiaries who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plans, Medicare Advantage plans that normally offer both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, are poised to offer greater integration; Medicare-Medicaid Plans, which cover individualized care for each enrollee, are the newest and most integrated option; and Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly are designed to help elderly dual-eligibles remain in the community, rather than residential facilities such as nursing homes.
Older adults who lived in areas in the top fifth of exposure to nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter had 40% increased odds of developing dementia, compared with those who lived in areas with the lowest air pollution exposure, UK researchers reported in BMJ Open. The findings were based on data from 2005 to 2013 involving 130,978 UK individuals ages 50 to 79.
A study in JAMA Network Open found that Medicare fee-for-service spending was $992 lower for each program beneficiary in counties with the highest well-being compared with those with the lowest well-being. The results suggest investing in programs designed to improve population health and social determinants of health will lower health care spending in addition to improving well-being.
The Senate has passed bipartisan legislation that would prohibit pharmacy contract clauses that restrict pharmacist-patient conversations about drug prices, sending the bill to the House for consideration. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act applies to health plans offered in Affordable Care Act marketplaces and by private employers.
People who walk alone walk at a different pace than when they walk with others, and where they live may affect walking pace, according to a study in PeerJ -- the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences. Researchers found the walking pace among people in Uganda averaged about 11% faster than the pace of people in Seattle when walking alone.
Employee benefits and vacation time outpaced wage growth this past year, including a nearly 12% growth in employee bonuses and other supplemental pay, according to a report from the Labor Department. Data showed a 4% increase in paid leave, including vacation time.
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