The White House Office of Management and Budget has proposed integrating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program into HHS and renaming the agency the Department of Health and Public Welfare as part of a sweeping plan to reorganize the federal government unveiled Thursday. The proposal, which faces tough odds of obtaining approval in Congress, also calls for the creation of the Council on Public Assistance, which would supervise food stamps, Medicaid and other programs and have the authority to impose uniform work provisions in those programs.
The CMS launched a new database called Data Element Library to support better exchange of electronic health information among health care stakeholders. This free, centralized resource gives the public access to specific data that the CMS requires of post-acute care facilities, and it includes health information technology standards to make it easier for technology vendors to integrate these standards into their EHR systems.
Premiums for silver Affordable Care Act plans are expected to increase an average of 15% to $740 next year from $642 in 2018, according to an analysis of 2019 health insurance exchange rate filings in 10 states and Washington, D.C. The analysis by Avalere Health attributed the premium hike to the repeal of the ACA's individual mandate, the administration's decision to halt cost-sharing reduction payments and the lack of federal legislation to stabilize the ACA market despite enrollee risk and structural uncertainties.
Based on data provided by the United Network of Organ Sharing, researchers found that expansion of Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act increased the number of low-income patients with chronic kidney disease included in the new preemptive listings for kidney transplantation, particularly for racial and ethnic minority listings. The findings were reported in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Australian researchers found that diabetes was associated with an increased six-month mortality, mechanical ventilation use and ICU admission following any surgery. The findings in Diabetes Care, based on 7,565 surgical inpatients aged at least 54, revealed that each 1% increase in HbA1C correlated with a greater risk for major complications when diabetes was used as a continuous variable, while each percentage increase in HbA1C was associated with an increased length of hospital stay and ICU admission.
Shire's Cinryze, or C1 esterase inhibitor [human], was approved by the FDA for use to prevent attacks in patients with hereditary angioedema who are at least 6 years old. The drug was previously approved for adolescents and adult patients with HAE.
The CMS is soliciting public comments on how it can reduce the regulatory burden associated with the Stark Law, or the physician self-referral law, particularly aspects of the law that may negatively affect care coordination. "Reviewing the Stark Law regulations is an important step forward to building a value-based system, which is one of Secretary Azar's priorities at HHS," said HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan.
It is "Take Your Dog to Work Day," and while the event focuses on encouraging pet adoptions, a survey by Wellness Natural Pet Food found 37% of people would give up benefits such as vacation time or a pay raise for the ability to bring their dog to work. There may be health benefits to bringing a pet to work, and Alison Sullivan of Glassdoor says being pet friendly gives employees "flexibility in balancing work and their furry family members."
Researchers say planks and crunches are the gold standard exercises for core strengthening. Swedish researcher Martin Eriksson-Crommert said crunches are effective at activating superficial abdominal muscles because the muscle fibers are vertical and line up in sync with the straight-up motion of the exercise.
A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found adults whose diets were highest in ultra-processed foods and beverages were more likely to develop irritable bowel syndrome and concomitant functional dyspepsia than those who ate the least highly processed foods. People with the highest intake were less likely to follow nutrition recommendations than those with the lowest consumption.
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