The Rundown | Week of 7.8.2019

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Downside Risk Fuels ACOs’ Success

A recent study in Health Affairs concluded that accountable care organizations (ACOs’) success may require “including downside risk in contracts.” Researchers analyzed ACOs’ “structure and contracts” using national data gathered between 2012 and 2018. “Though the number of ACO contracts and the proportion of ACOs with multiple contracts have grown,” the report noted, “the proportion bearing downside risk has increased only modestly.” However, ACOs with multiple payer contracts only grew from 28 percent to 33 percent. Physician-led ACOs were 23 percent less likely to bear downside risk, despite evidence suggesting that physician-led ACOs outperform hospital ACOs.
>>Read More: ACO Contracts With Downside Financial Risk Growing, But Still In The Minority

Study: Teetotalling Improves Mental Well-Being

New evidence suggests that quitting alcohol entirely may improve “mental well-being,” especially in women. Researchers based in Hong Kong analyzed data from 10,386 participants who were “who were nondrinkers or moderate drinkers (14 drinks or less per week for men and 7 drinks or less per week for women) between 2009 and 2013.” Lifetime abstainers had the best mental well-being in both the American and Chinese study populations. “These results were apparent after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, smoking status, and other factors.” Michael Y. Ni, MD, one of the study’s authors, noted: “Our findings suggest caution in recommendations that moderate drinking could improve health-related quality of life. Instead, quitting drinking may be associated with a more favourable change.”
>>Read More: Change in Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Quality of Life: Evidence From Two Population-Based Cohorts

Trump Nixes Drug Pricing Proposal

The Trump administration has withdrawn a proposal to overhaul pharmacy benefit managers’ rebates in Medicare and Medicaid plans. Spokesman Judd Deere noted: “The Trump administration is encouraged by continuing bipartisan conversations about legislation to reduce outrageous drug costs imposed on the American people.” The pharmaceutical industry had championed the proposal. Furthermore, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta recently struck down Trump’s plan to require drug manufacturers to disclose drug prices in advertisements.
>>Read More: White House Kills Major Drug Pricing Proposal

The Common Cold Cures Cancer?

A recent study in Clinical Cancer Research found the common cold virus could treat bladder cancer. A strain of the virus effectively destroyed cancer cells in patients with bladder cancer. Of the 15 participants, one was deemed cancer-free following the novel treatment. Researchers gave patients a dose of the virus via catheter one week before their scheduled surgery. Post-surgical analysis showed that only cancer cells were targeted and other cells were unaffected. Evidence suggests the virus inflames cancer cells, triggering an immune response that eliminates the tumor.
>>Read More: Viral Targeting of Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer and Priming of Anti-Tumour Immunity Following Intravesical Coxsackievirus A21

Trump Issues Executive Order to Improve Kidney Health

President Trump recently signed an executive order to overhaul the treatment of kidney disease. After the order was executed, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) introduced five new payment models for providers treating chronic kidney disease. The payment models are designed to promote home dialysis and increase the number of kidney transplants. “The model[s] should broaden the range of care and Medicare payment options available to potential participants with a focus on delaying or preventing the onset of kidney failure, preventing unnecessary hospitalizations, and increasing the rate of transplants,” the order read. Advancing the development of artificial kidneys and supporting living-organ donors by reimbursing lost wages are also two of the objectives.
>> Read More: Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health

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