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What We're Reading: Holistic Pain Approach; Assessing Smoking Risk; Anthem Imaging Policy


Mayo Clinic’s Holistic Program Helps Patients Quit Opioids

A 3-week program offered by the Mayo Clinic offers a multidisciplinary approach to patients with chronic pain with the goal of getting them off opioids, according to Kaiser Health News, which published an interview with the program’s director, Wesley Gilliam, PhD. The program emphasizes the treatment of underlying psychological and social stressors that contribute to chronic pain, and provides patients with tools like meditation training and cognitive techniques. “You can’t just treat the symptom, you have to treat the whole person,” said Gilliam.

Survey Finds Americans Underestimate Health Risks From Smoking

Researchers published a study in PLoS One indicating that while Americans know that smoking is dangerous, 3 in 4 of the survey respondents—whether current, former, or never smokers—underestimated the magnitude of smoking’s relative risk. The study authors concluded that warning labels should quantify the risks associated with smoking. For instance, cigarette packs in Australia carry messages such as the statistic that smoking causes over 4 times the number of deaths caused by car accidents, which has been associated with increased rates of smoking cessation.

Anthem to Stop Paying for Outpatient Imaging

Anthem will stop paying for outpatient MRIs and CT scans performed at hospitals, reports Healthcare Dive. Instead, the insurer wants to encourage patients to have scans performed at free-standing imaging clinics, which are less costly. The change will go into effect in 13 of Anthem’s 14 states by March 2018. In another cost-saving measure, Anthem will also stop covering emergency department visits in Missouri that it determines were unnecessary, a policy already in place in Kentucky and Georgia.

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