Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that "the way forward now [to health care reform] is somewhat murky" after legislation to alter or repeal the Affordable Care Act failed to pass before the August recess. Also, McConnell said lawmakers are waiting to see an insurance stabilization bill being crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., which could finish by mid-September and include funding for cost-sharing reduction payments.
A 2.3% tax on medical devices sold in the US -- established to help pay for the Affordable Care Act -- is set to go back into effect in January, after a two-year moratorium, though many in the industry are advocating for another suspension or full repeal of the tax, saying it will hurt employment, health care prices and innovation. A proposal to repeal the tax was tied to the unsuccessful effort to unravel the ACA, so any effort to forestall its implementation would now require new action by Congress.
Diabetes patients who used secure messaging for medical advice in addition to routine visits to care providers showed better diabetes management, compared with those who did not use secure messaging, according to a study in Diabetes Care. Researchers evaluated diabetes patients enrolled in an outpatient health care organization's online portal from 2011 to 2014 and found that given visit frequency, nonusers of secure messaging had a lower likelihood of meeting an A1C target of less than 8% than those who used secure messaging.
A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that type 2 diabetes patients treated with multiple daily insulin injections reduced their mean A1C levels from 8.5% at baseline to 7.5% 12 weeks after using continuous glucose monitoring, compared with dropping to 7.9% among those in the blood glucose meter testing only group. Researchers used a cohort of 158 diabetes patients and found that the median time spent in the range of 3.89 to 9.99 mmol/L was 802 minutes per day at baseline to 882 minutes per day at 24 weeks in the CGM group, compared with 794 minutes at baseline to 836 minutes per day in the control group.
Researchers used data from electronic medical records to develop a new risk-stratification tool that was able to identify a type 2 diabetes patient's 12-month risk of being hospitalized for hypoglycemia based on the following risk factors: age, chronic kidney disease stage, insulin use, number of prior episodes of hypoglycemia-related utilization, prior year emergency department use and sulfonylurea use. The findings in JAMA Internal Medicine were based on data from 206,435 diabetes patients in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health system.
An NIH-funded study discussed at The Human Microbiome: Emerging Themes at the Horizon of the 21st Century conference will evaluate whether vaginal microbiome profiles are a factor in the disparity in spontaneous preterm births. Researchers also are looking at risk factors such as maternal nutritional patterns, smoking, and psychosocial stress and depression.
Many health care workers are not using personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of exposure to blood and other bodily fluids, according to data from the International Safety Center. Center President and Executive Director Amber Mitchell said 2015 surveillance date from participating hospitals should be "a wake-up call to the many health care institutions concerned about worker and patient safety."
ANA President Pamela Cipriano was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare for 2017 by Modern Healthcare, her third time on the annual list. The three Republican senators who voted against a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act were ranked at the top of this year's list.
Keylogging malware installed on the San Antonio Institute for Women's Health's computer network enabled hackers to steal patient data, including names, medical procedures, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, as well as the financial information of those who used credit or debit cards to pay for services. The malware was installed on the practice's network on June 5, and officials said they discovered it on July 6 and removed it by July 11.
Kelly Hoover Thompson, former deputy secretary at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, has been appointed as the new CEO of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, a national HIE trade association, succeeding interim leader Pam Matthews. Thompson also led the development of Pennsylvania's HIE, the eHealth Partnership, which developed a patient care alert system and achieved statewide connectivity in July of last year.
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