The Health News USA December 2 2017

  • One of the largest U.S. patient assistance charities may close after the federal government revoked its authorization, citing findings that the group, mainly funded by pharmaceutical companies, enabled drugmakers to influence prescriptions. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General notified Caring Voice Coalition in a letter on Tuesday that it would reverse the charity’s 2006 authorization after finding that it might have given drugmakers more ability to raise prices while insulating patients from the immediate effects of increases, leaving federal healthcare programs like Medicare to bear the cost.
  • According to a new study, a whopping 57% of the nation’s children and teens will be obese by age 35 if current trends continue.  The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, goes beyond previous studies suggesting unhealthy childhood weights often lead to adult obesity. It suggests that while heavy children face the highest risk, even those who make it to age 20 in good shape face substantial peril in a world where obesity could soon be the new normal.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that about half of the adults in the U.S. have inadequate skills when it comes to understanding their health care options and now, a new report details how greater knowledge can lead to healthier lives. The study polled health literacy professionals about educational programs currently in place, focusing specifically on community health and how health literacy affected patient-doctor experiences.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd of December 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-charity/u-s-says-patient-charity-helped-drugmakers-revokes-approval-idUSKBN1DT2ZN

One of the largest U.S. patient assistance charities may close after the federal government revoked its authorization, citing findings that the group, mainly funded by pharmaceutical companies, enabled drugmakers to influence prescriptions. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General notified Caring Voice Coalition in a letter on Tuesday that it would reverse the charity’s two thousand six authorization after finding that it might have given drugmakers more ability to raise prices while insulating patients from the immediate effects of increases, leaving federal healthcare programs like Medicare to bear the cost.

The charity’s board is “evaluating this very serious matter and will determine the most appropriate path forward,” Chief Executive Gregory Smiley said in an emailed statement. He said the group has worked over the past six months to ensure compliance with industry laws and regulations. Caring Voice, based in Mechanicsville, Virginia, says it aims to improve the lives of patients with chronic illnesses, including helping them afford costly drugs by covering co-payments and other costs. In recent months, companies including Pfizer Incorporated and Johnson and Johnson have said they were the subject of a U.S. probe into drugmakers’ financial support of charities offering assistance to patients seeking help to cover out-of-pocket costs. Health insurers, however, still end up paying more for the drugs they cover if prices are increased. Drug companies are prohibited from subsidizing co-payments for patients enrolled in government healthcare programs like Medicare. But companies may donate to nonprofits providing co-pay assistance as long as they are independent.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/11/29/scary-prediction-u-s-kids-57-could-obese-age-35/906474001/

According to a new study, a whopping fifty seven percent of the nation’s children and teens will be obese by age thirty five if current trends continue.  The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, goes beyond previous studies suggesting unhealthy childhood weights often lead to adult obesity. It suggests that while heavy children face the highest risk, even those who make it to age twenty in good shape face substantial peril in a world where obesity could soon be the new normal. “This study is the first to make precise predictions for today’s generation of children,” and the news is not good, said lead author Zachary Ward, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The findings, he said, show the need for stepped-up prevention efforts from infancy through young adulthood.  

The current adult obesity rate, just updated by U.S. government researchers, stands at a record thirty nine point eight percent. The rate in children and teens is eighteen point five percent.  Adult obesity is linked with health problems including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The new research relies on weight trend data from several studies that tracked individuals over varying periods of time. The researchers used that data to create a model that projects what will happen to today’s children if current trends persist.
….
The study does not look at underlying causes. But it suggests that increased risks may start earlier.  For example, a severely obese five-year-old child faces an eighty nine percent risk of midlife obesity; a normal weight peer has a fifty three percent risk. At age nineteen, a severely obese teen faces a ninety four percent risk of being obese at thirty five; a normal-weight peer has a thirty percent risk.

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/american-adults-healthcare-illiterate-article-1.3666038

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that about half of the adults in the U.S. have inadequate skills when it comes to understanding their health care options and now, a new report details how greater knowledge can lead to healthier lives. Lead author of the report, Stan Hudson, told the University of Missouri School of Medicine: “We found that low health literacy is a contributing factor for readmission for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”

The study, called “Improving Health and the Bottom Line: The Case for Health Literacy” showed how greater individual health literacy can achieve the “Quadruple Aim” or the four main goals of care — improving community health, reducing health costs, enhancing the quality of care and improving patient and provider experiences.

The study polled health literacy professionals about educational programs currently in place, focusing specifically on community health and how health literacy affected patient-doctor experiences.

The study’s co-author Karen Edison said:  “Improving health literacy will involve working with providers to communicate more effectively. We also need to empower patients and their families through educational and outreach strategies. Ultimately, we need to create opportunities for patients to understand their care as they navigate the healthcare system.”

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