February 2013

The fact that we waste hundreds of billions a year is all the more infuriating because we have the ability right now to stop the hemorrhaging

Joseph Burns

As recommended treatment grows more aggressive, health plans should better manage both infusion and injectable medications

Thomas Reinke

Health plans and providers can provisionally adopt promising therapies before all the evidence is in hand

Mark Perman, MD

Rich data streams from electronic health records, when used appropriately, can transform population-based care management

David Bodycombe

A patient-centered medical home pilot project yields results that lead the health plan to launch a major effort

Frank Diamond

Wrenching transformation in many forms is starting to be felt in many parts of the system. Here are ways to help resistant employees get on board.

Scott Guerin, PhD



Departments
Legislation & Regulation

Meaningful use or not, electronic medical records are not delivering on the promise of improving care management

John Carroll
Medication Management

These programs tend to operate on the fringes of cancer care, but a movement to make them more central gains favor

Thomas Reinke
Biologics in Development
Michael D. Dalzell
Book Review

UCLA Health System went from bad to best, using a plan that emphasized increased respect for the patient

Peter Boland, PhD
Evidence Review

A summary of ECRI Institute’s Emerging Technology Evidence Report

Tomorrow's Medicine

The recent approval of Aubagio (teriflunomide) provides an opportunity to conduct head-to-head trials in this expanding treatment category

Thomas Morrow, MD
Plan Watch

UnitedHealthcare study unveils some impressive numbers, and now the company sets its sights on prediabetes

Frank Diamond

Managed Care’s Top Ten Articles of 2016

There’s a lot more going on in health care than mergers (Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna) creating huge players. Hundreds of insurers operate in 50 different states. Self-insured employers, ACA public exchanges, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care plans crowd an increasingly complex market.

Major health care players are determined to make health information exchanges (HIEs) work. The push toward value-based payment alone almost guarantees that HIEs will be tweaked, poked, prodded, and overhauled until they deliver on their promise. The goal: straight talk from and among tech systems.

They bring a different mindset. They’re willing to work in teams and focus on the sort of evidence-based medicine that can guide health care’s transformation into a system based on value. One question: How well will this new generation of data-driven MDs deal with patients?

The surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. There’s hope for sufferers of a different form of MS. By homing in on CD20-positive B cells, ocrelizumab is able to knock them out and other aberrant B cells circulating in the bloodstream.

A flood of tests have insurers ramping up prior authorization and utilization review. Information overload is a problem. As doctors struggle to keep up, health plans need to get ahead of the development of the technology in order to successfully manage genetic testing appropriately.

Having the data is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. Applying its computational power to the data, a company called RowdMap puts providers into high-, medium-, and low-value buckets compared with peers in their markets, using specific benchmarks to show why outliers differ from the norm.
Competition among manufacturers, industry consolidation, and capitalization on me-too drugs are cranking up generic and branded drug prices. This increase has compelled PBMs, health plan sponsors, and retail pharmacies to find novel ways to turn a profit, often at the expense of the consumer.
The development of recombinant DNA and other technologies has added a new dimension to care. These medications have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and many of the other 80 or so autoimmune diseases. But they can be budget busters and have a tricky side effect profile.

Shelley Slade
Vogel, Slade & Goldstein

Hub programs have emerged as a profitable new line of business in the sales and distribution side of the pharmaceutical industry that has got more than its fair share of wheeling and dealing. But they spell trouble if they spark collusion, threaten patients, or waste federal dollars.

More companies are self-insuring—and it’s not just large employers that are striking out on their own. The percentage of employers who fully self-insure increased by 44% in 1999 to 63% in 2015. Self-insurance may give employers more control over benefit packages, and stop-loss protects them against uncapped liability.