In The News

Offering states flexibility to increase market stability and affordable choices

Providing opportunity through Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

March 13, 2017

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in partnership with the Department of the Treasury, suggested ways to help foster healthcare innovation by giving states greater flexibility.

"States need the flexibility to develop innovative healthcare models that will improve patient access to care, increase affordability and choices offered, lower premiums, and improve market stability," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. "Today's letter highlights State Innovation Waivers as opportunities for states to modify existing laws or create something entirely new to meet the unique needs of their communities."

Read more about today's announcement.

Roles of CMS and CDC in the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) Expansion - March 22 Webinar Announced

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be hosting a co-led webinar on Wednesday, March 22nd from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT. The webinar will provide an overview of Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Model (MDPP) expansion and the CDC Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP), the requirements for pending and full CDC DPRP recognition, review the CDC recognition in the 2017 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), and next steps for organizations thinking of offering MDPP. Registration is now open.

For more information, please visit the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Model (MDPP) web page.

AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW Initiative Estimates Heart Health Needs in Primary Care

AHRQ’s EvidenceNow, an initiative that supports smaller primary care practices’ efforts to improve heart health, has found that participating practices regularly provide evidence-based care while recognizing the potential to improve on one or more of the heart health clinical services known as the ABCS: Aspirin use for high-risk individuals, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation counseling. EvidenceNOW provides support services typically not available to smaller primary care practices to help them improve the care they deliver. Baseline data from more than 1,000 primary care practices participating in EvidenceNOW indicate that while an average of more than 50 percent of patients are receiving each of the ABCS services, many practices have not yet reached the EvidenceNOW goal of 70 percent.

Read more in a new AHRQ Views blog post by the Agency’s Chief Medical Officer David Meyers, M.D.

NIH consortium takes aim at vascular disease-linked cognitive impairment and dementia

02/22/2017 03:00 PM EST

MarkVCID brings team science approach to small vessel disease biomarkers in the brain.

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Health Policy and Clinical Practice in the New Era of Quality

Abstract

April 27th, 2016 executive notice by the US Department of Health and Human Services issued key provisions to the Medicare Access and Summary CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, (MACRA). MACRA replaced the 1997 Sustainable Growth Rate formula for determining Medicare reimbursement. MACRA provides a new approach in Medicare reimbursement based on value and quality care. MACRA legislation is guided by the Quality Payment Program, directing two paths for Medicare reimbursement: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), or the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM). Nurse Practitioners, require knowledge and information to prepare for MIPS and APM to begin January 1, 2017.

Read more

February is American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. February is American Heart Month, a great time for health care providers to share the facts about heart health with their patients, especially those who may be at high risk of heart attacks.

AHRQ has fact sheets for primary care health professionals to help their high-risk patients adopt the ABCS of heart disease prevention: Aspirin use by high-risk individuals, control their Blood pressure, lower their Cholesterol, and quit Smoking.

To download these free materials go to: Aspirin Use, Control Blood Pressure, Lower Cholesterol, and Quit Smoking.

Native Americans Turning the Tide Against Diabetes

By: Judy Sarasohn, HHS (Public Affairs)

The tribal elder at Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota had struggled with his diabetes for years. His blood glucose level was about twice what's considered normal, his blood pressure was dangerously high, and he was overweight.

His health care provider talked to him about the need to address his diabetes and he was included in the tribal clinic's diabetes registry, so they wouldn't lose track of him. But he just didn't take the steps necessary to manage his condition. Until one day, it apparently clicked.

Jared Eagle, Director of the Indian Health Service's Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SPDI) at the reservation in New Town, said the man finally started taking advantage of the resources and care provided through the clinic. He started walking more; lost 20 to 30 pounds; and reduced his blood glucose and blood pressure levels.

"You can see him walking every day. He's walking his dog every day, even in the winter," Eagle said.

The story of this elder of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes) reflects the significant progress being made in Indian Country where Native Americans have a greater chance of having diabetes and kidney failure resulting from diabetes than any other U.S. racial or ethnic group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nonetheless, the CDC also reported recently that kidney failure among Native Americans dropped by 54 percent between 1996 and 2013, the fastest rate for any racial or ethnic group in the U.S.

READ MORE: Native Americans Turning the Tide Against Diabetes

Study finds premature death rates diverge in the United States by race and ethnicity

Premature death rates have declined in the United States among Hispanics, blacks, and Asian/Pacific Islanders (APIs) — in line with trends in Canada and the United Kingdom — but increased among whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), according to a comprehensive study of premature death rates for the entire U.S. population from 1999 to 2014. This divergence was reported by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and colleagues at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), both part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. The findings appeared Jan. 25, 2017, in The Lancet.

Declining rates of premature death (i.e., deaths among 25- to 64-year-olds) among Hispanics, blacks, and APIs were due mainly to fewer deaths from cancer, heart disease, and HIV over the time period of the study. The decline reflects successes in public health efforts to reduce tobacco use and medical advances to improve diagnosis and treatment. Whites also experienced fewer premature deaths from cancer and, for most ages, fewer deaths from heart disease over the study period. Despite these substantial improvements, overall premature death rates still remained higher for black men and women than for whites.

In contrast, overall premature death rates for whites and AI/ANs were driven up by dramatic increases in deaths from accidents (primarily drug overdoses), as well as suicide and liver disease. Among 25- to 30-year-old whites and AI/ANs, the investigators observed increases in death rates as high as 2 percent to 5 percent per year, comparable to those increases observed at the height of the U.S. AIDS epidemic.

"The results of our study suggest that, in addition to continued efforts against cancer, heart disease, and HIV, there is an urgent need for aggressive actions targeting emerging causes of death, namely drug overdoses, suicide, and liver disease," said Meredith Shiels, Ph.D., M.H.S., Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), NCI, lead author of the study.

"Death at any age is devastating for those left behind, but premature death is especially so, in particular for children and parents," emphasized Amy Berrington, D.Phil., also of DCEG and senior author of the study. "We focused on premature deaths because, as Sir Richard Doll, the eminent epidemiologist and my mentor, observed: 'Death in old age is inevitable, but death before old age is not.' Our study can be used to target prevention and surveillance efforts to help those groups in greatest need."

The study findings were based on death certificate data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.