The Rundown | Week of 8.19.2019

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CMS Adding Rating to ACA Plans

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a plan to rate Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange plans. The five-star rating system would begin with the open enrollment period for 2020. Ratings factor in enrollees’ assessment of in-network doctors, providers’ coordination with enrollees, customer service, information availability, and other metrics. Industry experts estimate ACA plan costs will increase by less than one percent in 2020. A recent study also found that health insurance coverage declined by 700,000 from 2016 to 2017.
>> Read More: CMS Is Bringing Health Plan Quality Ratings to All Exchanges for the First Time

Task Force Recommends Drug Screening for All Adults

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended that primary care providers screen “all adults age 18 years or older regardless of risk factors for illicit drug use.” Illicit drug usage includes abuse of prescription medications and illegally obtained substances, but not alcohol or tobacco. However, the screening “should be done when services for accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate care can be offered or referred.” Physicians behind the recommendation would have a “moderate net benefit” with “limited direct evidence on the harms of screening.” The drafted recommendation is open to public comment until September 9, after which the task force will issue its final recommendation.
>> Read More: Draft Recommendation Statement: Illicit Drug Use, Including Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs: Screening

E-Cigs May Be Responsible for New Illnesses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating “a cluster of pulmonary illnesses linked to e-cigarette product use, or ‘vaping.’” The agency noted that the cases were “possible” and “not confirmed,” but “ongoing.” Fourteen states have recently reported 94 incidents, 30 of which were in Wisconsin. A new study in Radiology found that vaping using e-cigarettes temporarily affects blood vessels even in healthy subjects. While the effects quickly returned to normal, researchers noted that “further studies are needed to address the potentially adverse long-term effects on vascular health.”
>> Read More: CDC, States Investigating Severe Pulmonary Disease Among People Who Use E-cigarettes

EHRs Minor Contribute to Stress and Burnout

A recent study in JAMA Network Open found that certain electronic health record (EHR) “design and use factors may appropriately be targeted by health systems … to address stress and burnout.” Researchers analyzed feedback from 282 clinicians as well as nine EHR design and use factors, ultimately finding that these accounted for 6.8 percent of burnout. However “chaotic work atmosphere and workload control” accounted for substantially more stress and burnout. While some features, such as “ability to message colleagues electronically,” were seen as positive, “data entry requirements” and “note bloat” drove negative perceptions.
>> Read More: Association of Electronic Health Record Design and Use Factors With Clinician Stress and Burnout

New Social Media Study Raises Health Concerns

While many studies have linked increased social media usage to depression and other mental health concerns, new research suggests the harm isn’t caused by the social media itself so much as what it deprives users of. The longitudinal study analyzed nearly 13,000 English teenagers, controlling for factors such as “cyberbullying, sleep adequacy, and physical activity.” Especially in female participants, when “displacement of sleep or physical activity” were accounted for, the “associations (except for anxiety) were no longer significant.” “Interventions to promote mental health should include efforts to prevent or increase resilience to cyberbullying and ensure adequate sleep and physical activity in young people,” researchers concluded.
>> Read More: Roles of Cyberbullying, Sleep, and Physical Activity in Mediating the Effects of Social Media Use on Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Young People in England: A Secondary Analysis of Longitudinal Data

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