Trending News Today: Co-Treating Overdose, Substance Use Disorder May Combat Opioid Epidemic

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A new report from the Iowa Department of Human Services predicts that privatizing the state’s Medicaid program will save 80% less than originally predicted, according to The New York Times. The analysis suggests that Iowa will save $47.1 million from privatizing Medicaid compared with the previous estimate of $232 million, according to the article. Although the new estimate is much lower, Gov Kim Reynolds still strongly supports the decision to move the program to the private sector.

Current guidelines suggest that patients younger than 75 years without heart disease take statins to stave off potential adverse events, however, the CDC projects that nearly half of this population actually takes the drugs, The New York Times reported. There are no guidelines for treating patients older than 75 years without heart disease, which has raised concerns that statins may be causing harm to these patients. The lack of guidelines could also mean that patients who may benefit are not taking the drugs, according to the article.

Offering individuals integrated treatment for both an overdose and opioid use disorder may help prevent additional overdoses and combat the opioid epidemic, Kaiser Health News reported. The integrated program offered by Kaiser Permanente is an 8-week course that educates patients about pain management and only costs $100 for Colorado residents. Through the program, patients interact with physicians, pharmacists, mental health and physical therapists, and nurses. Kaiser Permanente said that emergency department visits dropped 25% among patients and inpatient admissions plummeted 40%, according to the article. This program may be an effective and inexpensive way to significantly reduce opioid use while also increasing education about the drugs.

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