Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Last week, the CDC reported that the 2017/2018 influenza season peaked in early February and has been on the decline ever since, according to The Hill. Despite flu activity in a majority of states and Puerto Rico, the number of cases dropped compared with previous weeks. The number of patients presenting with flu-like symptoms was also down last week. The CDC found that another 17 children died from the flu last week, which brought the pediatric death toll to 114, according to the article.
Providing financial incentives for receiving care from a cost-effective provider has been used to control costs by state public employee insurance programs for years, according to Kaiser Health News. This strategy is also making its way into the public sector. In New Hampshire, a school nurse received $50 for choosing a facility for a mammogram and $25 for laboratory testing, Kaiser reported. These financial incentives are a share of the cost-savings generated from choosing specific providers and may successfully reduce overall health care spending, according to the article.
Although the federal government has authorized additional funding to fight the opioid epidemic, states say the money is not available yet and they are struggling to meet the treatment demands, according to Kaiser Health News. The Oklahoma Behavioral Health Association—which represents addiction treatment providers—has been instructed to cut more than $2 million from their budget. The cut for treatment also prevents the organization from providing homes, food, shelter, clothing, health care, and other services that are necessary for successful rehabilitation, according to the article.