The Rundown | Week of 8.13.2018

Est. Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Link Between After-Work Emails and Anxiety

A new study by researchers from Virginia Tech found significantly higher levels of anxiety in those who check email during non-work hours. The expectation to monitor work-related email accounts provoked anxiety and conflict between spouses, which in turn decreased relationship satisfaction for significant others. The poor physical and mental health outcomes experienced as a result of occupational chronic stress emerged as major concerns as both partners reported negative effects on their own well-being. The study’s co-author, William Becker, noted: “The competing demands of work and nonwork lives present a dilemma for employees, which triggers anxiety and endangers work and personal lives.” These findings reinforce the reasoning behind New York councilman Rafael Espinal’s “Right to Disconnect” Bill, which aims to limit work-related stress by banning after-hours emails.
>>Read More: Expectation to check work email after hours is hurting our health and relationships

Amazon’s New Primary Care Project

Amazon has announced plans to open primary care clinics for employees at its Seattle headquarters. Headed by CEO Atul Gawande, noted author and Boston-based surgeon, the move has the potential to use its clinics in multiple ways, including focusing exclusively on its own employees, expanding to its second headquarters, or using it as a testing ground for clinics that could be marketed to other employers. Amazon’s announcement follows their partnership with J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway on an as-yet-unnamed joint venture aimed at disrupting employee healthcare and reducing spending. Amazon’s plans for a new healthcare company may have a trickle-down effect as they join other large companies fighting to improve health outcomes while reducing spending.
>>Read More: Amazon to launch primary care clinics for employees, CNBC reports

CMS Suggests ACO Overhaul

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed caps on the period of time accountable care organizations (ACOs) can accept upside-only risk arrangements. The initiative — ”Pathways to Success” — would slash the current, six-year allowance to two years. Eighty-two percent of Medicare ACOs that participate in a Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) do not take on downside risks and projections indicate the proposal could save Medicare $2.2 billion over 10 years. Furthermore, ACOs in upside arrangements would halve their shared savings from 50 percent to 25 percent. If the proposal is ratified, an estimated 107 of the 561 MSSP-participating ACOs would leave the program. Additional measures addressed in the proposal include paying patients incentive payments to increase beneficiary engagement and notifying beneficiaries they are in an ACO program annually.
>>Read More: CMS overhauls Medicare ACO program by limiting upside risk to only two years

Monsanto Loses $256 Million Roundup Lawsuit

Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper and regular user of Monsanto’s Roundup, was awarded $289 million after suing the agribusiness giant on the grounds of exposure to toxic chemicals in their popular herbicide, which resulted in a terminal cancer diagnosis. In response to the ruling, Monsanto has denied any link between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and Johnson’s illness, citing the Environmental Protection Agency’s classification of the chemical as “safe for people when used in accordance with label directions.” Though Johnson spent years exposed to the “probable” carcinogen, he maintains he took all necessary precautions to protect against contact with the product. “I’m glad to be here to be able to help in a cause that’s way bigger than me,” Johnson said in an announcement. His victory may set the precedent for the 4,000 cases filed against Monsanto that have yet to reach trial.
>>Read More: Jury awards $289M to man who blames Roundup for cancer

CVS and Teledoc Partner for Telehealth App

CVS has partnered with Teladoc on a new telehealth app that will offer a convenient option for patients seeking care for minor illnesses. The app, which went live in 10 states this week, features 24/7 patient visits for $59 each. After completing a health questionnaire, users are matched with a provider who reviews their information and verifies it against their medical history prior to the consultation. Post-consultation, the provider determines appropriate next steps, submits prescription orders, and recommends any follow-up care. CVS hopes to expand virtual care capabilities by making MinuteClinic Video Visits available to consumers across the country. This business plan aligns with a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which found remote interventions, electronic treatment recommendations, and text messages to be useful tools in increasing medication adherence in patients who had “poorly controlled” chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and others. However, researchers note that while medication adherence increased, there were no significant changes in clinical outcomes.
>>Read More: CVS MinuteClinic rolls out telehealth app with Teladoc

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