Trending News Today: Opioid Treatment Centers Plagued by Fraud

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

A new report indicates that the 25 million Americans who live in the Appalachian region have not benefited from health gains made across the nation, according to ABC News. The 13 states were found to lag behind the rest of the country in 33 out of 41 health indicators. Deaths related to poisoning, including drug overdoses, were found to be 37% higher among residents of the Appalachian region compared with the rest of the country, according to the article. Central Appalachia was found to have the most deaths from heart disease, cancer, lung conditions, injuries, and diabetes.

A growing number of addiction treatment centers may be engaging in practices that ensure they continue to receive insurance payments, including behaviors that make drug users relapse, according to the Associated Press. One patient who was treated at one of these facilities was refused prescription drugs by the center and used illicit drugs to avoid withdrawal. The patient has since died of a heroin overdose. The owner of the treatment center is serving a 27-year prison sentence for healthcare fraud and money laundering, according to the article.

Raising the cost of cigarettes may be an effective way to curb smoking. A new study found that when the price of a pack of cigarettes goes up by $1, there is a 20% increase in individuals trying to quit smoking, according to The New York Times. The price spike was also found to reduce the risk of heavy smoking by 7% and decrease the average number of cigarettes smoked by heavy smokers by 35%; however, the study did not find that the price increase had an effect on relapsing, according to the article.