The Rundown | Week of 6.3.2019

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Medicaid Expansion Combats Racial Disparities

New research suggests states that opted to expand Medicaid reduced racial differences in cancer treatment. These findings, which were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s recent conference, measured the time between diagnosis and the beginning of treatment. Before the 2014 expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), only 43.5 percent of African Americans began treatment within 30 days of the diagnosis, 4.8 percent less than white patients. States that expanded Medicaid cut that disparity to less than 1 percent.
>> Read More: Obamacare Cut Racial Disparities in Cancer Care

Supreme Court Rules Against HHS

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unjustly changed disportionate-share hospital payments for Medicare. These payments offset the costs of uncompensated care hospitals provide to Medicaid or uninsured patients. The Court reached a 7-1 decision requiring that HHS have a “notice and comment” period for the calculation changes. The majority argument hinged on the scale of Medicare, with small changes having a major impact, as well as the definition of a “substantive legal standard” for payment policy changes.
>> Read More: In Win for Hospitals, Supreme Court Rules DSH Change Violated Law

Report: Consumers Would Trade Health Data for Discounts

According to a new report from Aite Group, the majority of healthcare consumers would willingly trade health information for insurer rewards. Eighty-two percent of consumers were interested in an “insurance rewards program based on information collected from your devices connected to the internet.” With the rise of the Internet of Healthcare Things, connected devices can offer more remote patient monitoring (RPM) features on a variety of features, ranging from medication adherence to heart-rate measuring. Furthermore, researchers found that payers could entice more than half of consumers to change their
>> Read More: U.S. Consumer Survey: A Connected-Devices Insurance Roadmap

Study: White Meat No Better for CVD Than Red Meat

While chicken and other white meats are often considered as healthier alternatives to red meat, a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests they carry the same risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researchers measured low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, saturated fatty acid (SFA), and other factors for “generally healthy men and women” between the ages of 21 and 65. For four weeks, participants “were allocated to red meat, white meat, and nonmeat protein diets.” Ultimately, researchers found “outcomes did not differ significantly between red and white meat.” Furthermore, there was no “evidence for choosing white over red meat for reducing CVD risk.”
>> Read More: Effects of Red Meat, White Meat, and Nonmeat Protein Sources on Atherogenic Lipoprotein Measures in the Context of Low Compared with High Saturated Fat Intake: A Randomized Controlled Trial

WHO Adds Burnout Diagnosis

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. While not classified as a medical condition, burnout was described as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” The three main symptoms are “exhaustion,” “cynicism related to one’s job,” and “reduced professional efficacy.” An unrelated study found tailored electronic health record (EHR) tools and training can improve physicians’ satisfaction, thus reducing the risk of burnout.
>> Read More: Burn-Out an “Occupational Phenomenon”: International Classification of Diseases

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