The CDC reports a 52% rise in vaping-related illnesses from last week; bundled payment models are being tried for maternity care costs; the chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has resigned and a merger put on hold after news of his alleged alcohol-related crash 3 months ago became public.
The CDC said that 805 vaping-related illnesses have been reported nationwide, a 52% rise from the 530 cases reported last week, according to The Associated Press. So far, 13 deaths have been attributed to the mysterious lung illnesses with a reported case occurring in nearly every state. Many patients reported vaping tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of marijuana, with some reported cases involving solely nicotine. The FDA has set out its plan for regulating e-cigarettes, pointing to the increased use found in teenagers as a major issue. Countries throughout the world have additionally began to ban the sale, importation, and manufacturing of e-cigarettes as a precaution from the cases found in the United States.
Bundling, the process of combining physician payments into a single flat fee that covers all care and procedures, is being utilized by a New Jersey—based medical practice for its patients’ maternity care costs, according to Kaiser Health News. This transition by Lifeline Medical Associates highlights increasing attempts to curb medical costs for patients amid historical expense levels. The medical practice partnered with the UnitedHealthcare, which announced in May its intention to use the new program. While maternity care physicians are welcoming the new model, obstetricians are more cautious as it could expose doctors to financial risks.
A prominent chief executive officer, Patrick Conway, MD, resigned from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina at the request of its board, The Wall Street Journal reported, in the aftermath of an alleged alcohol-related highway collision in June. News of Conway’s arrest this week halted a merger of the North Carolina insurer with another regional Blue, Cambia Health Solutions. Conway, a former CMS official, is a member of the editorial board of The American Journal of Managed Care®.