Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.
The large pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) Express Scripts plans to limit the number and strength of opioids prescribed to first-time users, according to the Associated Press. While the PBM is using this approach to curb the opioid epidemic, the American Medical Association (AMA) believes that Express Scripts should not have a say in patient treatment. Under the program, patients would be limited to 7-day prescriptions of short-acting opioids. The AMA said that physicians have reduced opioid prescriptions by 17% and are directing patients towards nondrug approaches to reduce the potential harms of opioids.
A recent survey showed that physicians and nurses may not be aware of the potential dangers faced by women who have recently given birth and the warning signs of potential complications and improper healing, according to NPR. Due to the lack of education, the survey found that postpartum nurses were unable to discuss potentially life-threatening symptoms, including swelling, headaches, heavy bleeding, and breathing problems. By not educating new mothers to these risks, healthcare professionals may be missing a crucial opportunity to reduce the maternity mortality rate, according to the article.
The Trump administration plans to continue making Affordable Care Act payments to insurers this month, despite threats to cut subsidies, Politico reported. If the subsidies are cut, it is expected that numerous insurers would exit the individual exchanges or increase premiums substantially for 2018. While this move would likely ease the concerns of insurers, it has been denounced by a House conservative, suggesting tensions about how to move forward with healthcare reform, according to the article.