Today’s Top Story

Study: Value-based insurance may increase medication adherence

Value-based insurance design (VBID) may be associated with increased medication adherence, according to a study published online in Health Affairs. Researchers conducted a systematic review of 21 studies from online databases and used the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation system to evaluate adherence and VBID. They observed an improvement in medication adherence, ranging from 0.1 percent to 14.3 percent based on moderate-quality evidence. There appeared to be no effects on total healthcare spending related to this adherence, which the researchers noted is indicative of incremental drug spending being counterbalanced by decreased spending on other health services.

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Other News

HHS may seek new drug pricing policies

Following the release of “American Patients First,” the Trump administration’s blueprint to lower drug prices and reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may take further action to control these costs that were not outlined in the original proposal. When asked to elaborate on these plans, John O’Brien, HHS deputy assistant secretary, said the administration has a “desire to do more and more may extend quite frankly beyond what was included in the blueprint.” He said changes will not include Medicare price negotiation or any form of price controls. Mr. O’Brien said the administration is open to hearing from stakeholders on other approaches not discussed in the blueprint. AAOS submitted comments on the original blueprint.

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FDA warns of new risks associated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring a safety labeling change for fluoroquinolone antibiotics to indicate the risks of mental health side effects and serious blood sugar disturbances. The request for a label change is based on a review of the FDA’s adverse event (AE) and case reports published in the literature. A range of mental health AEs are described in the Warnings and Precautions section of the drug labeling, but differ from one drug to another. The new labels must have mental health AEs listed separately from other central nervous system side effects and be consistent across the labeling of the entire fluoroquinolone class. Mental health AEs include disturbances in attention, disorientation, agitation, nervousness, memory impairment, and delirium.

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CMS signals changes coming to Physician Fee Schedule, Quality Payment Program

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it intends to allow the use of electronic health records to record clinically meaningful information instead of just billing information, according to a CMS press release issued July 12. The proposed reforms to the Physician Fee Schedule and the Quality Payment Program (QPP), according to the release, encourage the use of telecommunications (such as audio and video applications) to determine if a doctor’s visit is needed and would encourage electronic information sharing among care providers. The proposed reforms to QPP would change quality reporting requirements “to focus on measures that most significantly impact health outcomes.” The agency also said that it would make changes to lower drug costs under Medicare Part B.

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Media organizations press for publicized opioid data

U.S. news platforms are calling for the public release of data on opioid prescriptions to help understand the role distributors and manufacturers play in the opioid crisis, according to a report from The Associated Press. Attorneys from The Washington Post and HD Media filed requests with the Drug Enforcement Administration to release lawsuit data regarding local governments and drug agencies. Other news organizations, including The Associated Press, have requested information from the federal opioid database. The federal government and drug companies both refuse to publicize this information, claiming in a court case last month that doing so would put companies’ trade information and investigations at risk, as well as violate state public record laws.

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Supracondylar humerus fracture in children: How to stay out of trouble

Supracondylar humerus fracture is a common injury in children, and it generally heals uneventfully under appropriate orthopaedic management. Still, serious complications may arise, most notably compartment syndrome and nerve injury—with permanent consequences if they are not anticipated or recognized and managed promptly. At an AAOS 2018 Annual Meeting symposium, a panel addressed “Staying Out of Trouble in Pediatric Trauma,” offering guidance on managing various fractures in children. David L. Skaggs, MD, gave tips for avoiding common pitfalls in the handling of supracondylar fractures of the humerus.

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Apply for Diversity Advisory Board member-at-large position

The Diversity Advisory Board has an open member-at-large position, a two-year term that runs from March 18, 2019, to March 12, 2021. The committee serves as a resource to all AAOS bodies on issues involving diversity in the orthopaedic community and in the provision of culturally competent musculoskeletal care. Roles of the committee include identifying, developing, and implementing strategies to overcome barriers that minorities face when choosing orthopaedics as a career; administering and managing the AAOS Diversity Awards program; acting as a resource on issues related to minorities in orthopaedics; and more. The last day to submit an application is Aug. 1.

Learn more and submit your application… (member login required)