Study: ‘Ubiquitous’ Nature Of Painkillers Lands Kids — Even Toddlers — In The ER

As the nation continues to confront an epidemic of opioid and prescription painkiller addiction and overdoses, its victims seem to flood emergency rooms. But a study out Monday highlights a surprising group of patients suffering from opioid poisoning at rates that have also marked a dramatic increase: adolescents, children and even toddlers.

Because of what the authors call “the now widespread availability of prescription opioids in the United States” — with retail sales of these medications quadrupling from 1999 to 2010 — they sought to examine for the first time the number of pediatric hospitalizations related to these drugs.

Insurers, Hospitals Clash Over Help Paying Obamacare Premiums

MADISON, Wis. — Having health insurance is vital for 21-year-old Mercedes Nimmer, who takes several expensive prescription drugs to manage multiple sclerosis. So Nimmer was thrilled to get health insurance last year through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace and qualify for a federal subsidy to substantially lower her cost.

Yet, the government assistance still left her with a $33 monthly premium, a hefty amount for Nimmer, who makes $11,000 a year as a part-time supply clerk.

NHS funds need urgent boost, say MPs

NHS funds need urgent boost, say MPs

  • 31 October 2016
  • From the section Health
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CMS Announces Updates to Dialysis Facility Compare: Patient Experience Ratings Now Available

October 28
by CMS

By: Kate Goodrich, M.D., Director, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced changes to the Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) website on Medicare.gov, which provides information about thousands of Medicare-certified dialysis facilities across the country, including how well those centers deliver care to patients.

These changes are in direct response to the important feedback CMS has received from dialysis patients and their caregivers about what is most important to them in selecting their dialysis facility. CMS remains committed to seeking and incorporating input from all stakeholders, but especially patients, on an ongoing basis so that we can continually improve our Compare sites and make health care quality information more transparent and understandable for patients and their caregivers.

Brexit and US election 'among anxious young's concerns'

Brexit and US election ‘among anxious young’s concerns’

  • 31 October 2016
  • From the section UK

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D.C. Week: Mental Health Parity Gets Push

WASHINGTON — The White House gave mental health parity laws some teeth and earmarked $9.3 million for teaching state insurance regulators about compliance.

White House Puts Mental Health Parity in the Spotlight

A report issued Thursday by the Obama administration aimed at increasing enforcement of mental health parity laws is a welcome advance, according to several interest groups.

“APA welcomes this much-needed report to strengthen implementation and enforcement of existing mental health parity laws,” Maria Oquendo, MD, PhD, president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), in Arlington, Va., said in a statement. “Full implementation and stronger enforcement will help ensure that psychiatric conditions are treated the same as other illnesses and individuals can access the treatment they need.”

Medicare Open Enrollment: the value of convenience

Have you ever bought milk from the convenience store just around the corner even though it’s a bit more expensive than buying it at the grocery store? Most of us have made decisions to do or not do something based on convenience.

The same is true when it comes to choosing a health plan: convenience matters. So in addition to cost, coverage, and benefits, here are some other things you may want to consider as you compare Medicare options this year:

Doctor and hospital choice

Smog chokes Indian capital as pollution hits hazardous levels

By Tommy Wilkes
| NEW DELHI

Residents of New Delhi woke up to a blanket of smog on Monday as air quality deteriorated sharply overnight in India’s capital, triggering warnings that even healthy people were at risk of respiratory problems.

New Delhi ranks among the world’s most polluted cities, with air quality usually worsening at this time of year, when smoke from firecrackers celebrating the Hindu festival of lights and crops burnt in nearby states envelops the city of 16 million.

Drivers crawled through a thick fog as experts warned people to avoid outdoor exertion.

Insurers to CMS, Congress: For Lower Rx Costs, Hand Us the Reins

WASHINGTON — Congress and the administration can help rein in rising drug costs through a few key regulatory and legal fixes, said insurers and pharmacists at AHIP’s National Conference on Medicare, Medicaid and Duals on Tuesday.

“I think plans need to be given a little bit more leeway to truly assess the value of drugs to make a decision: does this drug at the cost really provide any additional value?” said Sarah Marche, PharmD, vice president of pharmacy services at Highmark, a Blue Cross affiliate in Pennsylvania.

She noted that not every drug Medicare covers adds value.

Exclusive: Abortion by prescription now rivals surgery for U.S. women

By Jilian Mincer
| NEW YORK

American women are ending pregnancies with medication almost as often as with surgery, marking a turning point for abortion in the United States, data reviewed by Reuters shows.

The watershed comes amid an overall decline in abortion, a choice that remains politically charged in the United States, sparking a fiery exchange in the final debate between presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.