United States Rates Higher Than Most Nations in Diabetes-Related Deaths

Monday, May 7th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Obesity and diabetes continue to make headlines, and are the subjects of two of our stories this week. The first: the United States has among the highest rates of obesity and diabetes-related deaths than most nations, according to researchers contributing to a new Commonwealth Fund report. This, among other factors, accounts for the United States’ spending more on healthcare than most nations, but getting just fair marks when it comes to quality. More on this, including the nation with the lowest per capita healthcare costs, in this issue.

Kaiser Permanente, HBO, and four major organizations are hoping to raise the country’s rating with a new public health campaign aimed at obesity, excess weight and their effects on the nation’s health. Integral to the campaign is the launch of The Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary series that will be available to all cable subscribers, not just HBO subscribers, on May 14th and 15th. There will also be an option to view the series with Spanish subtitles. Along with HBO, Kaiser is working with National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the CDC on this month-long campaign.

A campaign of a different sort takes aim at underserved communities, with the government’s continued effort to ensure their access to primary healthcare services. HHS has dedicated nearly $730 million to build, expand or improve community health centers. Currently, more than 8,500 service delivery sites around the country deliver care to more than 20 million patients regardless of their ability to pay.

And there are no likely measures on tap to rein in specialty drug spending, which is expected to soar over the next decade, according to a new study from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Unlike conventional prescription drugs, whose spending has been limited by patent expiration, generic substitution and other factors, health insurers and employers have few tools to control rapidly rising spending on specialty drugs, which are typically high-cost biologic medications used to treat complex medical conditions. Studies show that specialty drug spending has increased by 14 to 20 percent annually in recent years.

Are you a follower, director or guide? Check out our story on these three types of communication styles within motivational interviewing to find out.

These stories and more in this week’s issue of Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

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