This Week in Managed Care: April 3, 2020

April 4, 2020

This week, the top managed care news includes a CDC report says diabetes is the condition most linked with coronavirus disease 2019, CMS temporarily suspends rules to give hospitals more capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a late-stage trial for dapagliflozin ends early after showing efficacy for chronic kidney disease.

A CDC report says diabetes is the condition most linked with coronavirus disease 2019, CMS temporarily suspends rules to give hospitals more capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a late-stage trial for dapagliflozin ends early after showing efficacy for chronic kidney disease.

Welcome to This Week in Managed Care, I’m Matthew Gavidia.

The CDC this week released comorbidity data showing that among US COVID-19 cases, diabetes was the most frequently reported condition.

Dr Jaime A. Davidson, professor of medicine at the Touchstone Diabetes Center in The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said in an interview with The American Journal of Managed Care® that the findings warrant increased preventive efforts among patients with diabetes:

“You fight infections with your white cells. Those white cells that fight infections are a little sluggish every time your glucose is higher. I think the same will be true when you have lung infections…Once [COVID-19 is] in, it destroys the tissue, in some people very rapidly,” said Davidson.

Chronic lung disease and cardiovascular disease are the most frequently reported comorbidities after diabetes in patients with the virus.

For more, visit ajmc.com.

CMS announced this week that the agency will temporarily grant waivers and use other means to make it easier to separate patients infected with COVID-19 from others, allowing healthcare systems and hospitals to triage these other patients into community settings, such as ambulatory surgery centers, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, and even hotels and college dormitories.

In a statement, CMS said the move: “Will help hospital staffs to focus on the most critical COVID-19 patients, maintain infection control protocols, and conserve personal protective equipment.”

Visit AJMC.com to read more on how CMS is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

AstraZeneca said that a phase 3 trial for dapagliflozin for patients with chronic kidney disease will be stopped early following a recommendation from an independent Data Monitoring Committee based on its determination of “overwhelming efficacy.”

Currently, the SGLT2 inhibitor, sold as Farxiga, is indicated alongside diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. In the United States, the FDA also allowed indications to reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease.

Full results will be presented at a future medical meeting.

For more, visit ajmc.com.

This week, our sister site, The Center for Biosimilars, reported that self-insured companies could have saved $407 million to $1.4 billion in 2018 had they switched completely from reference biologics infliximab and filgrastim to biosimilars. The study also estimated potential savings for Medicare programs at $279 million in 2018.

To learn more, visit CenterforBiosimilars.com.

Over the past weekend, the American College of Cardiology and the World Congress of Cardiology presented their annual scientific session in a virtual format.

AJMC.com reported on findings of the late-breaking VICTORIA trial, where patients with heart failure with reduced ejection who received vericiguat were 10% less likely to experience the primary outcome—a composite of death from cardiovascular causes or first hospitalization for heart failure—than those taking placebo.

The drug, an oral soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator, could help the sickest patients through a mechanism that would take on heart failure progression.

To view our full conference coverage, visit ajmc.com.

And, now our paper of the week, which looks back at some of the most important papers over the past 25 years of The American Journal of Managed Care and why they matter today.

In the days of COVID and the attention to reducing hospital infections, it’s worth looking back at a 2010 paper, Screening Cardiac Surgery Patients for MRSA: An Economic Computer Model.

The paper called on payers to support MRSA screening for patients undergoing cardiac surgery, saying it would be cost-effective and that hospital administrators would benefit from fewer healthcare-associated MRSA infections.

For the paper, visit ajmc.com.

For all of us at AJMC, I’m Matthew Gavidia.