News for Insurers
Top stories summarized by our editors
2/22/2018

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the use of AstraZeneca's FluMist Quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine for the 2018-19 flu season, reversing its 2016 and 2017 announcements that the product was ineffective after seeing data demonstrating improved efficacy. The latest version uses a different type of influenza A H1N1 virus than the 2015-16 formulation, and providers may offer it as well as the inactivated influenza vaccine or the recombinant influenza vaccine for the upcoming season, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund says.

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CNN, NBC News, Reuters
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CDC, influenza, FluMist, CDC, AstraZeneca
2/22/2018

A study from Avalere Health found that 11 states plus the District of Columbia lack enough health care providers authorized to prescribe buprenorphine, which is used as part of opioid addiction treatment. The report compared opioid mortality rates from 2016 with the number of certified providers, finding that the national average was 1.6 opioid overdoses per authorized prescriber, but ratios were far less favorable in Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, D.C.

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Avalere Health, buprenorphine
2/22/2018

The FDA is recalling and destroying kratom-containing dietary supplements distributed under the brand names Botany Bay, Divinity and Enhance Your Life. The agency has received reports of 36 deaths associated with the kratom plant, while CDC has reported 28 people in 20 states who have been infected with salmonella, and the outbreak has been linked to products that contain kratom.

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Reuters
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FDA, salmonella, CDC
2/22/2018

Researchers evaluated data from 44,828 Chinese adults with impaired fasting glucose, ages 20 to 80, and found that those who engaged in high-volume physical activity reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25% over 18 years, while those who engaged in low and moderate physical activity experienced a 12% and 20% diabetes risk reduction, respectively, compared with inactive individuals. The findings in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that 19.2% of type 2 diabetes cases could have been prevented if the participants engaged in the recommended amount of weekly exercise of at least 150 minutes.

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Diabetes (UK)
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diabetes
2/22/2018

L.A. Care Health Plan, which serves more than 2 million members in the Los Angeles, Calif., area, worked with the California Long-Term Care Education Center to launch a pilot program to train and educate in-home supportive services caregivers on proper care for dual-eligible beneficiaries. The 10-week course covers CPR, personal care, first aid and other skills, but the ultimate goal is training caregivers to notice and report small changes in members' functional status that could signal a bigger health problem.

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AHIP blog
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Los Angeles
2/22/2018

CHG Healthcare in Utah found 3 in 5 employees using its on-site clinic had mental health-related issues, so it added mental health counselors, allowing workers to receive services during office hours. Nicole Thurman, vice president of talent management, said the services are part of the company's holistic approach to employee well-being.

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CHG Healthcare
2/22/2018

Page Elliott of CyberScout says the epidemic of data breaches makes cybersecurity an issue for employee wellness programs. Workspan estimates employees who are victims of a data breach need an average of 165 hours to deal with identity theft issues, have higher absentee rates and use twice as much sick time off.

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CyberScout
2/22/2018

A US Preventive Services Task Force draft recommendation calls for primary care clinicians to refer adults with a BMI of 30 or higher to a multicomponent behavioral program for weight management. The task force said evidence shows these interventions can lead to clinically significant weight loss and reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes among obese adults with elevated glucose levels.

2/22/2018

Black patients with atrial fibrillation have a higher risk of stroke than white patients with the heart condition, researchers reported in the journal Heart Rhythm. Researchers said blood-thinning medications could reduce stroke risks, especially if AFib is diagnosed early.

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HealthDay News
2/22/2018

French researchers found that alcohol use disorders were the greatest modifiable risk factor for all types of dementia, particularly early-onset dementia, with chronic excessive drinking tied to all independent risk factors for dementia onset, such as depression, diabetes, hearing loss, hypertension and lower education. The findings in The Lancet Public Health suggest the need for early diagnosis and treatment of alcohol use disorder as well as policies decreasing availability, increasing taxes, and prohibiting marketing and advertising of alcohol products, said researcher Dr. Michael Schwarzinger.