Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What Mississippi, Telemedicine, and CVS have in common.

In 2013, Mississippi passed a major telemedicine bill (see here, here).   A February 2015 article at Politico describes Missisippi as a leader in telemedicine (here; see also the University of Mississippi Center for Telehealth, here.)

In June 2014, I attended a CVS presentation on advances in healthcare delivery at the annual Washington healthcare conference, Health Datapalooza (2015 meeting website, here.)   I was impressed by the CVS presentation and asked the Minute Clinic President Alan Sussman what would be the most important policy changes he'd like to see.   Better coverage for telemedicine was one of the five policy topics he rapidly named for the audience:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Flurry of Media on Competition versus Scale in US Healthcare

I was asked to give a talk later this month on "how payers think," and one key concern of payers is consolidation of the providers they must negotiate with.   This has been a longstanding policy issue in healthcare, but was accelerated by the push for larger and more integrated Accountable Care Organizations under the Affordable Care Act.

FTC-DOJ Workshop
On February 24-25, for example, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice held a joint public workshop on "Examining U.S. Healthcare Competition" -- conference announcement here, conference webpage here (agenda, materials, video).

Friday, March 6, 2015

FDA Announces Workshop on Companion Diagnostics Policy: March 24, 2015

FDA has scheduled a public workshop entitled “Complexities in Personalized Medicine: Harmonizing Companion Diagnostics Across a Class of Targeted Therapies.”

The objective of the workshop is to facilitate an in-depth discussion of harmonization of companion diagnostic devices across a class of targeted therapies. The workshop aims to foster collaborations in the clinical cancer research community; provide a deeper understanding of anticancer drug and device development related to personalized medicine; provide a unique perspective of personalized medicine; and help incorporate emerging scientific findings to harmonize companion diagnostics across a class of targeted therapies.

The FDA workshop will be co-sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Date and Time: March 24, from 8:30 to 4:30.
Location:  Mayflower Hotel, Washington DC

Federal Register announcement, here.  ASCO's announcement, here.

CMS is holding a MedCAC (public advisory panel) on genomic tests on the same day (here).

Note that the FDA carefully refers to "drug and device" development - LDT's are "devices" here.

Two Online Articles on Payer Utilization Controls for Diagnostics

The trade journals DARK DAILY and MANAGED CARE published two separate articles on rising utilization controls on diagnostic tests.

The links are here:

Managed Care:  (here, 3000 words)...  Health Plans Deploy New Systems To Control Use of Lab Tests 

Dark Daily: (here, 1500 words)...  As Medical Laboratory Test Utilization Grows, Health Insurers Develop Programs to Manage Rising Costs

Sound bite [Dark Daily]:

After seeing a rise in the volume of clinical lab tests physicians order, managed care plans are develop a variety of strategies to manage utilization and costs
Health insurers are taking more aggressive actions to control the cost of clinical laboratory testing. For many years, clinical laboratories and pathology groups have been concerned about the strategies used by Medicare to control the utilization and costs of medical laboratory tests. Private health insurers usually follow the actions of Medicare, the nation’s largest health insurer. But today, managed careplans are developing their own lab-test-utilization strategies in addition to following those of Medicare.
Recently, Managed Care magazine explained many of the steps health insurers take to keep the costs of clinical laboratory tests under control. The cover story in the October issue of the magazine, “Health Plans Deploy New Systems To Control Use of Lab Tests,” outlined how health insurers Cigna, Group Health Cooperative, Priority Health, and UnitedHealthcare (UHC) are managing lab test utilization.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Two Interesting Reports from Milken Institute: Innovation in Healthcare

The Santa Monica-based Milken Institute released two interesting reports on healthcare innovation in the past year, one in March 2015 and one in July 2014.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IOM hosted Precision Medicine Conference on April 1, 2015

The Institute of Medicine will hold a public conference on precision medicine on April 1, 2015, under the title, "Policy Issues in the Clinical Development and Use of Biomarkers for Molecularly Targeted Therapies."

The April 1 workshop webpage is here; the series webpage is here.  There was a prior meeting in this series on January 29.

Full details after the break.