Healthcare News & Tech
November 07, 2018
In response to the national opioid crisis, the FDA has recently approved two new treatments to mitigate the discomfort of opiate withdrawal symptoms. Clinics and rehabs have traditionally relied on weaker narcotics like Suboxone and Methadone for this purpose, which can also become addictive. The drug Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride) has just been approved as the first non-opioid drug therapy for patients discontinuing opioid use, as well as a new neurostimulation device, Drug Relief, that has also proven to be effective.
This year, Alaska became the 42nd state to pass a law requiring independent review organizations (IROs) to be accredited through URAC. Alaska joins the majority of states working to preserve objectivity of medical determinations and conclusions developed by IROs, which will ultimately improve the patient experience and consumer trust.
Open enrollment for 2019 healthcare plans started on Nov. 1, 2018. Enrollment can be done online, in-person, over the phone, through an agent or with a printed application. While premium costs are scaled relative to an applicant’s income, the details of 2019 plans and general pricing will be made available just before enrollment opens. Enrollment ends Dec. 15, 2018 for coverage beginning the Jan. 1, 2019, although a handful of states have extended this period.
California’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) has undergone a number of recent changes, including updates to its online portal that allows insurers to request documents and authorization from policyholders with a new digital authorization process. Users no longer need to print and fill out a formal letter of authorization, as the entire process can be completed online. The WCIRB reports that this process will save time and money, as well as increase privacy for patient information.
The FDA recently approved a brand-new treatment for patients with a BRCA gene mutation diagnosed with advanced or metastatic breast cancer, called Talazoparib. One of the most effective pharmaceutical therapies of its kind, the drug marks a promising development in the treatment of breast cancer in its most aggressive phase. To qualify for treatment, patients must undergo an FDA-approved diagnostic to confirm the presence of germline BRCA mutations.
The FDA has also recently approved a new treatment to prevent migraine headaches. As the cause of this debilitating condition is poorly understood, apart from a possible mix of genetic and environmental factors, effective treatments have been a challenge to develop and often require patient trial-and-error. The new treatment, called Emgality, is administered once a month via injection as a preventative to reduce or eliminate the number of migraines patience experience monthly.
The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, a subset of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University, has recently made an interesting case for incorporating lawyers into healthcare treatment teams and clinics. Their research shows that having lawyers on staff to help patients better understand their rights, coverage and options can help them overcome social factors negatively impacting their health.
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