Amazon launches Amazon Care, a telemedicine-driven care offering for Seattle employees

Amazon is launching Amazon Care, a virtual primary care offering for its Seattle-based employees. CNBC broke the news after Amazon sent information about the program to its employees and launched a website, amazon.carelaying out the details of the offering. Continue reading

Do You Have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)?

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Peripheral vertigo is a form of dizziness involving your inner ear. The most common cause of peripheral vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • BPPV occurs when crystal deposits in your inner ear become dislodged and end up in your ear canal. The crystals disrupt the flow of the fluids, thereby confusing your balance organs, resulting in vertigo — the feeling of movement or spinning even though you’re stationary
  • If a doctor diagnoses you with BPPV, he or she may recommend physical therapy to shift the crystal deposits in your inner ear into a location that won’t affect your balance
  • There are several different particle repositioning procedures that can accomplish this, including the Epley and Foster maneuvers. If you suspect you have BPPV, you can also try these at home to achieve relief. Instructions are included
  • BPPV that is unresponsive to repositioning maneuvers may be treated with the drug betahistine. An all-natural alternative is to take ginkgo biloba, which has been shown to be just as effective as betahistine

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The Opioid Crisis — A Case of Mass Homicide?

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The inappropriate treatment approach to back pain and post-surgical pain from tonsillectomies and wisdom teeth removal are driving forces behind the opioid epidemic
  • Insurance claims data reveal 60% of children between the ages of 1 and 18 with private insurance fill one or more opioid prescriptions after surgical tonsil removal. Dentists wrote 18.1 million prescriptions for opioids in 2017
  • Research shows opioids (including morphine, Vicodin, oxycodone and fentanyl) fail to control moderate to severe pain any better than over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen
  • The American College of Physicians’ guideline for low back pain call for the use of heat, massage, acupuncture or chiropractic adjustments as first-line treatments. When drugs are desired, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants should be used
  • While clinical practice guidelines call for nonpharmacological intervention for back pain, most insurance plans avoid paying for such treatments, favoring opioid treatment instead

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What broke American health care and how to fix it

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • “The Price We Pay Dr. Marty Makary’s book, : What Broke American Health Care — and How to Fix It,” reveals the money games in the U.S. health care system, and what every American should know
  • New science is revealing that indications to treat should be narrower then previously recognized. Overall 21% of medical treatments have been deemed unnecessary, contributing to our cost crisis
  • Over the past 150 years, the focus of most hospitals has shifted from serving the community to generating profits, and these two aims are frequently at odds
  • Predatory pricing practices are crushing everyday Americans. Some hospitals will charge five to 10 times the going rate for services and then sue patients who cannot afford the padded bills
  • Investigations reveal there’s no correlation between high prices and quality of care. Nor is there a correlation between high prices and charity care
  • Another egregious example of predatory pricing is that of ambulance transport. Unless you’re seriously injured, consider taking an Uber to the hospital as the bill for an ambulance transport can run into the thousands. For helicopter transport, it could be as high as half a million dollars 

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Primary care visits available to most uninsured, but at a high price

 

Uninsured people don’t have any more difficulty getting appointments with primary care doctors than those with insurance, but they get them at prices that are likely unaffordable to a typical uninsured person, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research. Continue reading

UnitedHealth Group, America’s largest Insurer, May Quit Obamacare

UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest insurer, is scaling back its marketing of Obamacare exchange plans and may exit the program completely.

Facing major losses in its Obamacare business, Continue reading

High Deductibles, Copays Drive more Workers to Put Off Health Care

As cost shifting among employer-sponsored health plans increases, a quarter of working adults with private health insurance can’t afford their health care costs, a new analysis shows.

What’s more, those with high deductibles or low incomes are putting off needed medical care and prescription drugs, Continue reading

U.S. Drug Benefit Managers Clamp Down on Specialty Pharmacies

The terminations come from payers who together manage drug benefits for more than 100 million Americans, and they follow disclosures by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc in late October that one pharmacy accounted for about 7 percent of its sales. Continue reading

PPO Health Plans Disappearing from Public Health Exchanges

Preferred provider organization health care plans are disappearing from public health insurance exchanges established under the Continue reading

Texas Limits Access to Opioids for Comp Injuries

Two powerful opioids soon will be reclassified as nonformulary drugs on Texas’ closed drug formulary, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation. Continue reading

Excess Insurer Not Obligated to Pay if Primary Policy Not Exhausted Says Court

An appeals court ruling said Axis Insurance was not obligated to pay truck fleet operator Martin Resource Management under terms of its excess policy because the underlying primary policy with Zurich American Insurance had not been exhausted. Continue reading

Exclusive – Transatlantic Divide: How U.S. Pays Three Times More for Drugs

A pharmacy employee looks for medication as she works to fill a prescription while working at a pharmacy in New York December 23, 2009. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE-US Insurers Hold Back Lilly’s Death-Defying Diabetes Drug

America’s largest health insurers are urging doctors to stick with current standard treatments for diabetes instead of flocking to a new drug from Eli Lilly & Co that is showing it can provide life-saving results for one-third of patients.

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Nonprofit Hospitals Becoming Health Insurers

Nonprofit hospital systems are expected to become more prevalent in the commercial health insurance industry in the next several years, according to Moody’s Investors Service Inc. Continue reading