Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Nearly 1 of 5 patients stop taking statins within 2 years of having a heart attack, reported The Washington Post. In a retrospective study published in JAMA Cardiology, investigators included a cohort of 57,898 Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction (MI) between 2007 and 2011, and who filled their statin prescriptions within a month. The cohort consisted of 2 age groups: younger than 76 years and older than 76 years. The results of the study showed that despite the generally high coronary risk after an MI, only 40% of patients were adherent to their prescriptions on at least 80% of subsequent covered days over a 2-year period. “From a societal perspective, we need to make sure the highest-risk individuals are being treated with guideline-directed therapy,” senior author Robert Rosenson told the Post.
Opioid overdoses are now ranked among the top killers in Maryland, according to The Washington Post. In 2016, an estimated 2000 deaths occurred in the state from heroin and other opioid overdoses—–a number that nearly doubled from 2015 figures. Furthermore, drug overdoses increased by 19.2% from 2013 to 2014. A primary cause for the doubling of overdoses can be pinned on the synthetic opioid fentanyl. “There’s no question, no question there has been a spike in opioid overdoses,” Sen Ben Cardin (D-MD) said in an interview with Capital News Service. “Let me indicate the numbers in Maryland are shocking as we are seeing the doubling and tripling over the last couple of years, but the Maryland numbers are typical to what we see all over the country.” In response to overdoses reaching crisis levels, Maryland Gov Larry Hogan announced on March 1, 2017, that he has budgeted an additional $10 million per year to combat overdoses over the next 5 years.
As uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act persists, states are seeking to boost their own insurance markets in an effort to ward off big rate increases and pullbacks from insurers, reported The Wall Street Journal. Idaho, Minnesota, and Oklahoma have passed laws aimed to blunt insurers’ costs for covering patients who purchase individual insurance and have conditions that require expensive treatments. According to the WSJ, the strategies would allow insurers to unload some of these expenses on state programs.