Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more breast cancers have been detected in earlier stages, according to The New York Times. For a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, investigators used a nationwide cancer database comprised of approximately 70% of all newly diagnosed cancers in the United States. They identified breast cancer diagnoses in 211,028 women, aged 50 to 74 years, who were diagnosed between 2007 and 2009, and compared it with 259,437 diagnoses from 2011 to 2013. The results of the study showed that the percentage of cancers diagnosed at the earliest stage after the implementation of the ACA increased by 3.2% in white women, 4% in blacks, and 4.1% in Latinas. “The same women who pre-ACA would have been diagnosed at stage 2 was diagnosed at stage 1 after ACA,” lead author Abigail Silva, told the NYT. “The ACA had the potential to improve public health, and there’s more and more evidence coming out each day to show that it is doing that.”
Despite concerns surrounding hyperbaric therapy for patients with diabetes, hospitals are increasing its use. Hyperbaric treatment involves breathing pure oxygen inside a pressurized air chamber, usually for 2 hours per weekday, often lasting for more than a month. According to Kaiser Health News, 20 outpatient sessions can bring in $9000 in revenue for hospitals. Since Medicare began paying for the treatment for certain diabetic wounds, the amount of hospitals in the United States that have installed hyperbaric facilities has tripled—–nearly 1300 hospitals. According to KHN, Medicare has flagged evidence of the treatment’s overuse in at least some parts of the country. The American Diabetes Association does not recommend the treatment, concluding that there was “not enough supporting data on the efficacy of this treatment to recommend its use,” as reported by KHN.
After Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided to delay a vote on the GOP health care reform bill until after the July 4th recess, 3 more Republican senators have announced their opposition to the current draft. In a joint statement, Sens Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said they opposed the bill, in part, due to concerns regarding the impact of the proposed Medicaid policies on the opioid epidemic, reported CNN. However, the 3 senators remain optimistic that the Senate will draft a bill that will be more beneficial to residents in their states, according to the report.