7/28/2016 by Share Your Story

The Daily Rise: Thursday, July 28


Patients’ Impact on ICER: Count the Ways

Patients are having an impact on the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. You can count the ways.

Ever since patients have spoken up about our exclusion from ICER’s decision-making, the organization has shifted into full damage control mode. As part of ICER’s image campaign and PR blitz, health care industry insider Linda Bergthold authors a revisionist history of ICER’s relationship with patients.

In classic industry doublespeak, Bergthold’s piece for the Huffington Post says the exact opposite of reality.

“ICER is the only independent national resource that offers credible information about the real elephant in the room—the cost of a new drug, particularly as it compares to existing drugs for the same condition,” writes Bergthold, who has previously worked with ICER. “And ICER involves patients in making those determinations.”

Don’t dwell on the outrageous spin and gross mistruths in the piece — focus on the positive. This piece is a sign that patients are having an impact. After all, the piece mentions the word “patient” 41 times. There’s no greater evidence that ICER’s PR professionals are in full damage control mode.

ICER Weighs in on Diabetes Prevention Programs

While we’re on the subject of ICER, diabetes patients have reason to start monitoring the organization.

This week, ICER weighed in on the effectiveness of diabetes prevention programs. In its report, “Diabetes Prevention Programs: Comparative Clinical Effectiveness and Value,” ICER’s California Technology Assessment Forum considered the cost and effectiveness of “in-person programs with group coaching, digital programs with human coaching, and digital programs with fully-automated coaching.”

AJMC.com reports that the ICER Panel concluded:

  • In-person, group coaching was unanimously approved as offering superior benefits. It found using weight loss (typically 5% to 7%) is an appropriate way to gauge if a program works.
  • Digital formats with human coaching gained support from a majority of CTAF members, with most finding the programs offered intermediate value. The report noted the need to balance effectiveness with cost, and that digitally based programs were scalable to large populations.
  • Digital-only formats did not get CTAF support, due to the lack of evidence that the programs are clinically effective. Potential exists for this format, however.

Every patient should get the treatment that is right for them. Diabetes patients — who live in remote areas or lack reliable transportation — may not be able to access in-person prevention programs. For these patients, digital prevention programs may be the best option.

Tweet of the Day: My Life is Worth It

Our Tweet of the Day goes to Jennifer Hinkel, who shares new research that suggests “experiencing fear of death during cancer experience as well as utilizing psychosocial support catalyzes posttraumatic growth in the aftermath.”

The research directly refutes the effort to establish “quality-adjusted life year” as a factor in determining which patients’ lives are worth the cost of treatment. Patients undergoing treatment aren’t worth less than healthy individuals.

#posttraumaticgrowth = a more meaningful life after #cancer @ResilienceRace @patientsrising #resilience https://t.co/GL0AyAvj8b

— Jennifer Hinkel (@Oncotastic) July 27, 2016

Take that QALY!

Tougher Nursing Home Regulations

House Democrats are calling for tougher regulations on nursing homes.

Morning Consult reports that three dozen House Democrats have signed on to a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calling for stronger nursing home regulations. Among the changes sought by Democrats:

  • Require nursing homes to have a registered nurse on staff 24-7,
  • Prohibit pre-dispute arbitration clauses when patients are admitted to the facilities,
  • Address the use of antipsychotics and other similar drugs and
  • Allow residents who have been denied readmission to a facility the right to appeal that decision.

“These are a few of the critical issues that we believe must be resolved as CMS promulgates changes that will have a significant and lasting effect on the safety and well-being of millions of current and future nursing home residents, as well as the integrity of the publicly funded programs that pay for a majority of nursing home care,” they write. “Given the acknowledged need to improve both resident care and program integrity, we call on CMS to take concrete steps to ensure that resident safety and resident rights are safeguarded throughout the transition period.”

CMS is expected to release its new quality standards for nursing homes in September.


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