Thursday, July 13, 2017

CDC: Despite recent declines, opioid prescribing is still high and inconsistent across the US

The CDC, in a July 6, 2017 Vital Signs post, reports:
  • Providers in the highest prescribing counties prescribed 6 times more opioids per person than the lowest prescribing counties in 2015.
  • Half of US counties had a decrease in the amount of opioids (morphine milligram equivalents aka MME) prescribed per person from 2010 to 2015.
  • The MME prescribed per person in 2015 was about 3 times as high as in 1999.
Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Monday, June 26, 2017

Trump Signs VA Reform Bill

Barnini Chakraborty, in a June 23, 2017 Fox News post, reports:
President Trump on Friday signed Veterans Affairs reform legislation meant to protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire problematic employees at the department... The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress earlier this month streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly.
The bill enjoyed broad bi-partisan support and fulfilled a Trump campaign promise. The ongoing VA debacle is a cautionary tale for proponents of a single payer system.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Monday, June 12, 2017

FDA Approves First Generic Truvada in U.S.

Robert Lowes delivers news from the FDA on June 09, 2017:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first generic version of emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil (Truvada, Gilead Sciences) to both treat and prevent HIV infections in this country, the agency announced today.
The list price for Gilead Science's Truvada is roughly $1500 for a month's regimen of one pill per day, or about $18,000 a year, although health insurance and patient-assistance programs knock down the price considerably. Generic versions of Truvada in other countries cost as little as $70 a year, according to Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, an international organization that promotes HIV prevention.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Proton pump inhibitors implicated in chronic kidney disease

Sydney Lupkin & Pauline Bartolone | KHN

Recent research has linked the proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, to serious side effects, including chronic kidney disease, and recently filed lawsuits allege, among other things, that the manufacturers should have known of their potential harms. The risk of chronic kidney disease is as much as 50 percent higher in people who've taken the drug compared with those who've not - although no causative link has been proven and manufacturers insist they are safe.

Read More

Senate Introduces 2 New Healthcare Bills PLUS Is Physician Shortage a Myth?

New Senate bills aim to boost Medicaid addiction treatment access and lift the ban on the creation and expansion of physician-owned hospitals. Meanwhile a new study discredits the commonly held belief that the U.S. is headed for a shortage of physicians.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Monday, May 8, 2017

Chronic Disease Management - Non-Pharma Approach for Better Outcomes

It’s no secret that cardiovascular disease, hypertension and metabolic disorder are among the top chronic conditions in the U.S. today ( The Western diet of carbohydrate rich, processed foods combined with sedentary lifestyles are major drivers of these diseases. Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity are also significant risk factors (  Health spending in the U.S. is currently approaching 20% of GDP and growing (The Fiscal Times). Thus, properly preventing, delaying and/or managing chronic conditions is critical for the long term health and wealth of our nation.

Despite lip service to diet, exercise and  life style modifications to address chronic disease, many practitioners are quick to reach for the prescription pad ( And why not? It's tough to persuade patients to eat right, workout, quit smoking and reign in alcohol consumption. Furthermore, a lot of the medications used to treat chronic conditions are inexpensive, effective  and widely considered safe.

However, these various drugs are not a panacea. First, although generally considered safe, many of these drugs are associated with significant Adverse Affects (AEs) ( and Second, meeting lipid profile guidelines and controlling blood pressure and blood sugar naturally (i.e. via diet and exercise) intuitively seems more healthful than artificially (i.e. via prescription meds). Western medicine appears to be in agreement with that intuitive conclusion. For example, the almost universally embraced Framingham Risk tool examines various data points to assess ten year risk of a cardiac event. In order to earn a low risk rating, a patient needs to have a systolic BP of less than 130 mm Hg. If the patient's BP is being treated with medicines, the risk increases even if the below 130 mm Hg benchmark is achieved. Finally, a patient who relies on prescription medications might be more likely to avoid important lifestyle changes. E.G. If my blood cholesterol is fine on the statin, why lose weight? If my blood pressure is under control with the lisinopril, why quit smoking?

Chronic inflammation and poor gut health are both implicated as major contributors to chronic disease ( and JAMA). Meanwhile an anti-inflammatory diet ( combined with a sensible exercise program can simultaneously address chronic conditions synergistically and deliver a host of additional health benefits with no AEs. A diet of healthy fats, lean protein and lots of fruit and vegetables united with exercise (30 minutes a day, five days a week, balanced between aerobic and anaerobic activity) will naturally reduce systemic inflammation and restore gut health ( and and WebMD). Anti-inflammatory supplements and probiotics can complement the diet/exercise treatment plan. Benefits include improved cardiovascular health (better lipid profile and reduced blood pressure), improved gastrointestinal function, reduced cancer risk as well as improved metabolic and sexual function. Such a treatment plan promotes healthy weight, reduces tobacco and alcohol cravings, lessens joint pain and supports restful sleep and general well-being.

Not every patient has the determination necessary to adopt a disciplined diet and exercise program. And not all patients will be able to completely restore their health without prescription medications. But a huge segment of our population could transform their health without drugs. Most of the remainder could benefit by relying on lower dosages of fewer medicines. Both healthcare practitioners and patients can prosper by adopting diet and exercise as a first line of defense against chronic disease.

Monday, April 24, 2017

FICPA Holds Health Care Industry Conference in Orlando

Health care is a profession under constant change, especially under a new administration. New rules and regulations are introduced with regularity. What can you do to keep pace with this ever-evolving industry? Attendees of the 2017 FICPA Health Care Industry Conference addressed these issues and more. The event was held at the Caribe Royale in Orlando April 20 and 21.

The program featured a morning Keynote Address entitled Information Security: Threats, Attack Vectors and Solutions, led by Robert E. Anderson Jr., Managing Director of Navigant Consulting, Inc. Breakout topics included Physician Independence in an Environment of Growing Complexity, New Revenue Opportunities, Learning From the Past: Regulatory and Transactional Lessons Learned in Healthcare Deals and Building a Personal Brand in Health Care. There was also a Luncheon Presentation focused on the Post Election World for the Health Care Industry, an afternoon Keynote Address called Value as a Driver of Provider Payment and an Expert Panel discussing The Impact of the Presidential Election on Strategy and Alternative Payment Systems.

Sponsors included:
  • South Florida Hospital News & Healthcare Report
  • American Express
  • Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC
  • PNC Health Care
  • FHIcommunications
  • Gregory, Sharer & Stuart, CPAs
  • J.P. Morgan
  • Ernst and Young, LLP
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Healthcare Financial Management Association - Florida Chapter
  • Memorial Healthcare System
  • Moore Stephens Lovelace CPAs & Advisors
  • Navigant Consulting, Inc.
  • Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting
  • Vaco
  • Winthrop Resources
The FICPA has unique conference sponsorship opportunities available that can help increase visibility and exposure of services and products. Conference sponsorship options include table-top exhibits and exclusive sponsorship of lunch, breakfast and/or breaks.

For more information on how to become a sponsor for a future conference, please contact the FICPA at (800) 342-3197, (850) 224-2727 or