This Week in Managed Care: December 16, 2016

This week, the top stories in managed care include President Barack Obama signing the 21st Century Cures Act into law, findings from the CDC that opioid abuse has reduced life expectancy for Americans, and CVS announced a new program to lower costs for patients with diabetes.

Hello, I’m Laura Joszt with The American Journal of Managed Care. Welcome to This Week in Managed Care, from the Managed Markets News Network.

21st Century Cures Act

President Obama has signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law, which will put 1.8 billion dollars into the Cancer Moonshot program over the next 10 years. The act streamlines the FDA approval process for new drugs and medical products, which drew some criticism from patient advocacy groups.

It provides a total of 6.3 billion dollars for initiatives that includes mental health research and 1 billion dollars over the next two years to treat heroin and opioid abuse.

Vice President Joe Biden played a large role in the bill’s passage, after his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died of brain cancer in 2015. Said Biden: “Without the true bipartisan support, this piece of legislation would have never occurred, and it's going to help millions of people … The 21st Century Cures Act is going to harness America's best minds of science, medicine, and technology to tackle some of our biggest and most complex health challenges of today.”

Opioids

Opioid abuse in the United States is so rampant that it’s driving down life expectancy in the United States. That’s what the CDC reported last week, when it released data that show the expected life span for an American dropped one-tenth of a year between 2014 and 2015. While deaths from cancer are declining, death rates from accidents—including overdoses—are rising quickly, and prescription opioids and heroin are to blame.

The last time life expectancy dropped was 1993.

Check out AJMC’s new guideline on opioid management.

Caring for Complex Patients

AJMC last week covered the first meeting of The National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs, which will build on the work of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and bring together a national network of healthcare leaders with expertise in treating patients with multiple medical and mental health issues.

AJMC spoke with Dr. Jeffrey Brenner about the challenges of paying for treatment for this population. Watch the interview.

Saving on Diabetes Care

CVS Health will offer a new service, “Transform Diabetes Care” to its pharmacy benefits management clients in 2017.

The service is designed to use data analytics to identify opportunities to boost medication adherence or better lifestyle management through visits to its pharmacists or MinuteClinic staff. CVS estimates it can save clients $3000 to $5000 per year for each person with diabetes through medication cost control and other savings.

CVS has been aggressive in keeping higher cost drugs off its formulary. Earlier this year, CVS Health announced it would drop the popular insulin, Lantus, in favor of the biosimilar, Basaglar, starting in January.

EBDM: Diabetes Self-Management Education

The new issue of Evidence-Based Diabetes Management takes a look how payers fund diabetes self-management education, and how evidence shows more frequent education would be cost-effective.

The new issue, published in partnership with the American Association of Diabetes Educators, features coverage from the group’s conference and a joint commentary from AADE President Hope Warshaw and EBDM Editor in Chief Dr. Robert Gabbay, who is chief medical officer at Joslin Diabetes Center.

See the full issue.

For all of us at the Managed Markets News Network, I’m Laura Joszt. Thanks for joining us.