Trending News Today: Anthem-Cigna Merger Trial Could Split into Phases

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

With millions of Americans misusing prescription opioid drugs, many physicians have been searching for novel ways to improve access to care. Some addiction specialists have begun using a telemedicine approach to treat patients who are located in rural areas that may not be able to receive proper treatment from nearby physicians. This approach is part of a larger initiative that give $1.4 million to expand treatment options for those in rural areas, according to Kaiser Health News.

Judge Amy Berman, who will be deciding whether the Anthem-Cigna merger goes through, may split the trial into phases. The judge is considering splitting the trial into phases that will discuss the effects of the merger on the national market in the first phase, and the effect on local markets in the second phase, according to The New York Times. Anthem has expressed concern over the length of the trial due to an approaching merger deadline.

Despite the 18 million Americans who misuse, or are dependent on alcohol, only 20% will receive formal help. Federal officials are now encouraging physicians to increase the awareness of available drug treatments that are available, according to Kaiser Health News. The lack of medication treatment uptake is likely due to the popularity of peer-support programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.