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This Week in Managed Care: September 10, 2016


This week, the top stories in managed care were poll results that show Hillary Clinton is more trusted than Donald Trump when it comes to healthcare, multiple studies highlighting remaining disparities in healthcare, and results of a digital diabetes self-management program.

Hello, I’m Justin Gallagher, associate publisher of The American Journal of Managed Care. Welcome to This Week in Managed Care from the Managed Markets News Network.

Trusting Clinton on Healthcare

Trust is Hillary Clinton’s biggest problem in the race for president. But when it comes to healthcare, voters trust her more than Donald Trump. That’s what the most recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found when it asked voters which candidate they trusted more to handle a series of healthcare issues.

Clinton had the edge in several areas, including:

  • The ability to manage Medicare’s future
  • Ensuring access and affordability in healthcare
  • Dealing with the Zika virus
  • Guaranteeing access to women’s reproductive health

While Clinton outpolled Trump on most healthcare issues by double digits, those over age 65—who are the most reliable voters—were more evenly divided. They only favored Clinton by 3 percent.

For more on the Kaiser poll, read the full article.

Closing Gaps in Healthcare Disparities

Access to quality healthcare remains more difficult for the poor, racial minorities, and those in rural areas, according to a new article in Health Affairs.

Despite efforts to end disparities, they continue to exist, especially in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Tanjala Purnell of Johns Hopkins and fellow researchers examined discuss four key ways that current interventions fail to close disparities:

  • Interventions must do more to enhance the connections between the healthcare systems and the communities they serve.
  • For certain conditions, interventions must extend from prevention to primary to specialty care, and from hospitalization to post-discharge.
  • Patients and families want interventions that look at the whole person, not just the disease.
  • Interventions must better address cultural differences and tap into community groups.

Mistrust and Information Disparity

One example of an ongoing problem with disparities is seen in breast cancer, where the gap between survival rates between African American and Caucasian women causes mistrust, according to a new study from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

The study, published in Supportive Care in Cancer, notes that 5-year survival rates among African-American women are 79%, compared with 92% in Caucasian women. Treatment for African American is often more aggressive, leading to lower quality of life.

Women with more chronic conditions often reported more problems in survivorship, the researchers found. Said study author Amy Leader, DrPH, MPH: “The associations aren’t causal, but they do show us how much diversity there is within the African American women as a group, and that it will be important to craft different approaches to address needs of different parts of the community.”

Diabetes Management Format

A study led by a pioneer in diabetes self-management has found that a digital format can produce the same clinical results and reduce depression just as well as an in-person education program.

Kate Lorig published results that involved patients recruited by Anthem to take part in a 6-week diabetes self-management education, either in a face-to-face class or a digital format through Canary Health. The curriculum was based on the Stanford diabetes self-management program that Lorig developed.

At a 6-month follow-up appointment, patients in both groups had similar improvements in their weight, A1C, depression scores, amount of exercise, and medication adherence.

The results suggest health plans can use digital programs to reach a wider audience for diabetes self-management, especially men, who have been less willing to enroll in education programs.

PCOC Issues Call for Posters

There’s something new this year at Patient-Centered Oncology Care, AJMC’s annual multi-stakeholder meeting in Baltimore, which meets November 17-18. For the first time, AJMC is calling for posters which will be presented during the meeting. Poster topics include:

  • Cost-sharing
  • Barriers to reimbursement
  • Tools for quality improvement
  • Coverage gaps

For more information about poster topics and to register, click here.

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

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