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Category Archives: Medicine

Opioid Addiction: Laws, Regulations, and Other Factors Can Affect Treatment Access

Opioid Addiction: Laws, Regulations, and Other Factors Can Affect Medication-Assisted Treatment Access, GAO-16-833: Published: Sep 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 2016.

“Overdoses of opioids such as heroin caused more than 28,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2014. Medication-assisted treatment (which combines medication with behavioral therapy) can reduce opioid addiction. We looked at factors that can affect patients’ access to medication-assisted treatment such as:

  • Federal laws: Laws are more restrictive when medications—e.g., methadone—are used to treat addiction rather than pain.
  • Practitioner availability: Qualified, registered practitioners may not be available.
  • Perception: This treatment is stigmatized and some practitioners are reluctant to use it.
  • Costs: Insurance coverage for treatment can be limited.”

Analyzing Hospice Care in the United States

Center for Data Innovation – “The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a data set called the Hospice Utilization and Payment Public Use File (Hospice PUF) detailing the services of 4,015 hospice providers to Medicare subscribers in 2014. The Hospice PUF includes deidentified data on over $15 billion in Medicare payments… Continue Reading

Medicare Part D: A First Look At Prescription Drug Plans in 2017

Kaiser Family Foundation – “Current enrollees in stand-alone Medicare Part D plans are projected to face an average 9 percent increase in premiums if they remain in their current plan for 2017, according to an analysis released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation. During Medicare’s 2017 open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 through… Continue Reading

Report – Families Caring for an Aging America

National Academies: “At least 17.7 million individuals in the United States are providing care and support to an older parent, spouse, friend, or neighbor who needs help because of a limitation in their physical, mental, or cognitive functioning. The circumstances of individual caregivers are extremely varied. They may live with, nearby, or far away from the… Continue Reading

Kaiser – How Much Has Medicare Spent on the EpiPen Since 2007?

Kaiser Data Note: “The latest example of high and rising prescription drug prices to attract significant media and public attention relates to the EpiPen, an auto-injector containing the drug epinephrine which is used to reverse the effects of severe allergic reactions. Since Mylan acquired the EpiPen from Merck in 2007, the company has increased the… Continue Reading

Medications in public wastewater focuses need for better safeguards

Mental Floss – “A new study reveals that most of the high concentrations of pharmaceuticals in wastewater don’t come from people flushing their meds willy-nilly down the toilet, as New Scientist reports. Rather, we are flushing meds through our bodies into the sewers.  In a new study in Science of the Total Environment, scientists collected wastewater… Continue Reading

GAO Reports – Bulk Fuel, Generic Drugs, DHS, Affordable Care Act, School Choice

Bulk Fuel: Actions Needed to Improve DOD’s Fuel Consumption Budget Data, GAO-16-644: Published: Sep 12, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 2016. Generic Drugs Under Medicare: Part D Generic Drug Prices Declined Overall, but Some Had Extraordinary Price Increases, GAO-16-706: Published: Aug 12, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 2016. Homeland Security: DHS’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear… Continue Reading

Kaiser – Breast and Cervical Cancer Statistics (Updated State Data)

Updated – September 01, 2016 Breast Cancer Deaths per 100,000 Women Updated – September 01, 2016 Cervical Cancer Incidence Rate per 100,000 Women by Race/Ethnicity Continue Reading

Pew – U.S. Public Wary of Biomedical Technologies to ‘Enhance’ Human Abilities

“Cutting-edge biomedical technologies that could push the boundaries of human abilities may soon be available, making people’s minds sharper and their bodies stronger and healthier than ever before. But a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults shows that majorities greet the possibility of these breakthroughs with more wariness and worry than enthusiasm and… Continue Reading

Fentanyl Law Enforcement Submissions and Increases in Synthetic Opioid–Involved Overdose Deaths — 27 States, 2013–2014

CDC – Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, August 26, 2016:  “In March and October 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and CDC, respectively, issued nationwide alerts identifying illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) as a threat to public health and safety (1,2). IMF is unlawfully produced fentanyl, obtained through illicit drug markets, includes fentanyl analogs, and is… Continue Reading

GAO Report – Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B: Data on Coupon Discounts Needed to Evaluate Methodology for Setting Drug Payment Rates, GAO-16-643: Published: Jul 27, 2016. Publicly Released: Aug 26, 2016: “In 2015, manufacturers of 29 of the 50 high-expenditure Medicare Part B drugs GAO analyzed offered coupon programs, which reduce the costs patients incur for specific drugs. Part B… Continue Reading

The link between health spending and life expectancy: The US is an outlier

Via Our World in Data by Max Roser – “[This graph and much more can be found in the Our World In Data-entry on how healthcare is financed.] The graph shows the relationship between what a country spends on health per person and life expectancy in that country between 1970 and 2014 for a number… Continue Reading