ACHP Media Monitoring Report: October 20, 2016

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Federal officials predict increase in enrollment
The Obama administration is expecting enrollment in health plans sold on the exchange to rise. Although premium rates are increasing and some insurers are leaving the marketplace, the administration projects sign-ups to average more than 11 million next year, a growth of nine percent. Robert Pear at The New York Times explains the enrollment growth would signal a steadier marketplace.

Rural hospitals demonstrate high quality
Rural hospitals are scoring higher on Medicare’s value-based purchasing program than facilities in urban areas. The program rewards or penalizes hospitals based on the quality of care. Virgil Dickson at Modern Healthcare shares last year about 30 percent of participating rural hospitals incurred financial penalties compared to almost half of urban hospitals.

Burwell: Open enrollment will shape future of ACA
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell believes 2016 open enrollment is a pivotal transition period for the Affordable Care Act and the future of American health care. Federal authorities are targeting younger and healthier Americans to help lower insurer risks and curb future price increases, writes Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News. Burwell acknowledges the law needs adjustments and calls on Congress to put aside partisan differences to make the necessary fixes.

Administration calls on Congress to fund cancer initiative
The White House is urging Congress to approve $1 billion dollars in immediate funding for Vice President Joe Biden’s initiative to study new cancer treatments. The National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies would use the funding to support research, streamline data sharing and test treatments for a variety of cancers. Congressional leaders promise to move on the initiative once the 2016 election is over reports Thomas Burton of The Wall Street Journal (subscriber’s content).

Health coaches help where doctors cannot
Trained health coaches are delivering cost-effective care for patients in their homes. Coaches inform doctors about an individual’s progress with medications and mental health. Sarah Varney from Kaiser Health News reports coaches prevent expensive medical emergencies by notifying doctors of urgent needs.

Studies of Note

In this feature, the Media Monitoring Report shares a selection of notable research studies within the health care industry.

Mental Health Access

The State of Mental Health in America
Mental Health America
October 2016
In its annual State of Mental Health Report, Mental Health America finds more than half of Americans who have mental health conditions do not receive treatment. According to the report, more individuals have coverage for mental health, but there are an insufficient number of specialists in the field to provide treatment. More than 40 million Americans have a mental health condition.

Psychiatric Care Resources

Psychiatric Patients Wait the Longest in Emergency Rooms, Survey Shows
Washington Post
September 2016
A survey of more than 1,700 emergency room doctors finds hospitals do not have adequate resources to treat inpatient psychiatric patients. More than 75 percent of respondents said they see a psychiatric patient who requires hospitalization on every shift. About 25 percent indicated patients with mental health conditions wait more than two days for a bed to be available, writes reporter Amy Ellis Nutt. University of Pennsylvania Division of General Internal Medicine National Clinician Scholar Jane Zhu, M.D. PhD, led the research team.

Medicaid Growth

Medicaid Enrollment & Spending Growth: FY 2016 & 2017
Kaiser Family Foundation
October 2016
National Medicaid spending and enrollment is expected to increase at a slower rate next year, according to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and Health Management Associates’ annual survey of state Medicaid directors. According to the study, high growth in 2015 can be attributed to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.


ER as Primary Care

Emergency Room Use Stayed High in Oregon Medicaid Study
Kaiser Health News
October 2016
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Economics Amy N. Finkelstein, PhD, and colleagues find emergency room use did not decline in the first few years of Medicaid expansion. The researchers analyzed data from the state of Oregon, which offered Medicaid via a lottery system, to determine if newly insured individuals would continue to use an emergency room for primary care. Contributor Kristian Foden-Vencil at Oregon Public Broadcasting has the story.