Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Health Beat,” a round-up health-related topics.
NIH LAUNCHES LARGEST STUDY EVER ON BREAST CANCER IN BLACK WOMEN
The largest study ever to investigate how genetic and biological factors contribute to breast cancer risk among black women has been launched and funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The collaborative research project will identify genetic factors that may underlie breast cancer disparities and bring together investigators from many different institutions who will share biospecimens, data, and resources from 18 previous studies.
The Breast Cancer Genetic Study in African-Ancestry Populations initiative, however, does not involve new patient enrollment but builds on years of research cooperation among investigators who are part of the African-American Breast Cancer Consortium, the African-American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium, and the NCI Cohort Consortium.
Survival rates for women with breast cancer have been steadily improving over the past several decades. However, these improvements have not been shared equally as black women are more likely to die of the disease. As part of the study, the genomes of 20,000 black women with breast cancer will be compared with those of 20,000 black women who do not have breast cancer.
MEDICARE PROPOSES SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENTS TO PHYSICIAN PAYMENT SCHEDULE
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed changes to the Physician Fee Schedule to transform how Medicare pays for primary care. The changes are touted as a new focus on care management and behavioral health designed to recognize the importance primary care work physicians perform, CMS said.
The rule also proposes policies to expand the Diabetes Prevention Program within Medicare starting Jan. 1, 2018. This is the first time a preventive service model from the CMS Innovation Center would be expanded into the Medicare program.
The rule’s primary care proposals improve how Medicare pays for services provided by primary care physicians and other practitioners for patients with multiple chronic conditions, mental and behavioral health issues, as well as cognitive impairment or mobility-related impairments.
To learn more about the efforts, visit the CMS blog.
MICHAEL TILLEY: DON’T JUST SAY NO
TB&P executive editor Michael Tilley wants state policy leaders to consider other arguments tied to the medical marijuana debate. Despite assertions that more medical studies are needed, Tilley says there are plenty out there already. He also outlines additional positions that he says should be considered in addition to the against stance taken by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe. Read his full take here.