Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weekend update

Now that the political party conventions are over, members of Congress have five weeks to concentrate on the campaign trail, fund raising, etc. FYI, the Summer Olympics caused the back to back scheduling of the political party conventions and the late July scheduling of the PGA Championship.

The New York Times this morning offers a fascinating and lengthy article about the use of immunotherapy to treat certain cancers, including lung cancer.  Immunotherapy uses drugs to block so-called checkpoints that limit the strength of the human body's killer cells known as T cells.  As the article explains,  this is the treatment that President Carter received to cure his advanced melanoma. Immunotherapy is not a sure thing but it is another tool to use along with radiation and chemotherapy.

Speaking of drugs, Modern Healthcare tells us that
A number of insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and technology companies are developing smartphone and computer apps to provide that information for patients and physicians. They provide coverage information before patients reach the pharmacy, inform patients where their prescription can be filled at the lowest cost, and offer alternatives that may be cheaper.The goal is to cut down on cost-driven noncompliance.

Employee Benefit News reports on the strategic importance of employer sponsore health plans acquainting their members with primary care providers.  The FEHBlog believes that encourage annual visits to the PCP is much more important than health risk assessments and third party administered blood tests. Let the doctors do their own work.

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