Industry News: Volume 2, Issue 3

Echosens Presents Research at 2021 AASLD Liver Meeting: Early Detection and Monitoring with FibroScan Mitigates Risk of Patients Developing Fibrosis/Cirrhosis

PARIS & WALTHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Echosens, a high-technology company offering the FibroScan® family of products, is pleased to announce its strong presence at the upcoming American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Liver Meeting, a digital conference, Nov. 12-15, 2021, with FibroScan-based solutions – referenced in 19 oral presentations and 180 poster presentations. They include new results demonstrating the clinical usefulness of liver and spleen stiffness measurement by VCTE as well as CAP but also further confirm the performances of Fast™, Agile 3+, Agile 4 and FibroMeter VCTE scores in many different settings.

“Non-invasive FibroScan is an innovative technology that advances efforts to halt the progression of fatty liver disease (FLD) and empowers healthcare providers with an accurate, point-of-care tool to measure liver fat and stiffness,” says Dominique Legros, Group CEO, Echosens. “Our technology solutions serve as the cornerstone of non-invasive tests for the future of liver disease management—across the liver care continuum and all population groups. With better assessment tools in primary care, unnecessary specialist referrals and more invasive and expensive diagnostic testing can be reduced.”

FLD includes nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the accumulation of liver fat in people who drink little or no alcohol, and its more severe form nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

NAFLD is often present as a comorbidity in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The mutual interrelationship between these conditions shows that Type 2 diabetes can exacerbate NAFLD by promoting progression to NASH, often leading to fibrosis and cirrhosis, while NAFLD causes the natural course of diabetic complications to worsen in Type 2 diabetes patients.

NAFLD affects about 25% of people in the world. As the rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol rise, so does the rate of NAFLD. FibroScan is acknowledged worldwide and validated by over 3,000 peer reviewed publications and 140 international guidelines across 100+ countries.

Jon Gingrich, CEO, Echosens North America, says, “This important conference allows us to showcase FibroScan as a valuable innovation that can improve care and reduce costs for managing chronic liver conditions. The expanding body of data supports FibroScan as an early assessment and monitoring tool that can mitigate the risk that patients will develop more serious conditions like fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer.”

About Echosens
Pioneer in its field, Echosens significantly changed the practice of liver assessment with FibroScan®, the non-invasive solution for comprehensive management of liver health. FibroScan® is recognized worldwide and validated by over 3,000 peer reviewed publications and 140 international guidelines. Echosens has made FibroScan® available in over 100+ countries enabling millions of liver examinations worldwide. https://www.echosens.com/

To view the original press release, click here.

Optime Care Recognizes November as National Family Caregivers Month: Patient-First Strategy Maximizes Therapeutic Treatment for People with Orphan and Rare Disorders

EARTH CITY, Mo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Optime Care, a nationally recognized pharmacy, distribution and patient management organization maximizing therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of orphan and rare disorders, is pleased to recognize November as National Family Caregivers Month and points to the benefits of Optime Care’s patient-first approach for supporting family caregivers and patients through counseling, guidance and education based upon patient and caregiver needs. Caregivers and patients benefit from this approach to optimizing the therapeutic value of a specialty drug by ensuring prescription accuracy, compliance and adherence to treatment.

“For the tireless army of caregivers supporting patients with a rare disease, this is an important time to recognize their unique, important role and help to raise awareness about the complex caregiving issues involved in day-to-day care of people who face unique challenges,” says Donovan Quill, president and CEO, Optime Care. “Our specialty Rx pharmacists provide ongoing assistance and education that helps caregivers to manage the clinical and non-clinical issues associated with rare disease.”

Research shows that caregiving can take a significant emotional, physical and financial toll. With nearly half of all caregivers over age 50, many are vulnerable to a decline in their own health.

“Coordinated support services, like those offered by Optime Care, can reduce caregiver depression, anxiety and stress,” adds Quill. “Our programs are enabling caregivers to provide care longer, which avoids or delays the need for costly and unwanted institutional care.”

About Optime Care
Optime Care, Inc. is a nationally recognized pharmacy, distribution and patient management organization offering a suite of comprehensive services tailored to maximize the therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of orphan and rare disorders. Our management team has previously partnered in the launch and management of more than 40 orphan products and programs and consistently implemented the best brand programs for the community. Our experience with small patient populations makes us uniquely qualified to help every stakeholder group impacted by these disorders. Optime Care has dual-accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) for compliance with specialty pharmacy and the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for specialty pharmacy services that demonstrate a commitment to providing quality care and services to consumers. https://www.optimecare.com/

To view the original press release, click here.

AscellaHealth Webinar Focuses on Healthcare Consumerism and Specialty Pharmacy Solutions to Optimize Clinical and Economic Outcomes

BERWYN, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AscellaHealth, a global specialty pharmacy and healthcare solutions company, announces that it will present the webinar, “Healthcare Consumerism & Specialty Pharmacy Outcomes & Solutions,” Nov. 11, 12 p.m.-1 p.m. (ET), featuring guest speakers Ryan Evans, president, Brooks Group, and Pete Olsen, healthcare consultant. These industry leaders, with expertise and experience in serving payers and providers, will discuss consumer behavior in the Specialty Pharmacy (SP) market, as well as the role of innovative SP solutions to deliver the best possible experience for patients with chronic or complex conditions requiring specialty medications or cell and gene therapies.

“Improving the patient healthcare experience is a key focus for our organization, as consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) and the importance of transparency in healthcare impact strategies for optimizing clinical and economic outcomes,” says Dea Belazi, president and CEO, AscellaHealth. “Attendees will gain valuable information and insights based upon key performance indicators and expand their understanding of the mindset of today’s healthcare consumer.”

Speakers will present case examples illustrating the ongoing value of meeting the goals of the Quadruple Aim to enhance patient experience, improve population health, reduce costs and improve the work life of health care providers, including clinicians and staff.

“AscellaHealth’s end-to-end SP services are designed to meet these goals, with proprietary payment and pricing models that adequately balance access and affordability of curative therapies,” continues Belazi. “Featuring custom and innovative copay and financial assistance solutions, our programs are helping patients mitigate the high cost of specialty medications, increasing therapy adherence and affirming brand loyalty. Collectively, these capabilities also support payers and providers in their efforts to reduce administrative waste and manage high-cost specialty spend.”

For other industry stakeholders, AscellaHealth offers pre-commercialization and outsourced market access services, an SP network with national reach and limited distribution fulfillment, comprehensive hub and patient support services and drug rebate programs.

About AscellaHealth LLC
AscellaHealth is a global Specialty Pharmacy and Healthcare services organization serving payers, providers, life sciences and patients, offering a comprehensive portfolio of customized, tech-enabled specialty pharmaceutical and medical management services. An Inc. 5000 2021 winner, AscellaHealth’s unique, patient-centric approach is built upon proprietary technology processes for innovative programs and services optimizing health outcomes and quality of life for patients with complex chronic conditions or rare diseases that require specialty medications and/or gene and cell therapies. Visit www.AscellaHealth.com.

To view the original press release, click here.

aequum Welcomes Richard Haseltine as Associate Attorney, Expands Capabilities to Protect Self-Insured Plan Sponsors & Members Against Balanced Billing, Overcharges

CLEVELAND–(BUSINESS WIRE)–aequum LLC, acting on behalf of 325 self-insured health plans and their participants nationwide, is pleased to announce that Richard Haseltine has joined its sister company, Koehler Fitzgerald LLC, as an associate attorney. He will represent and protect self-insured health plan sponsors and their members against unreasonable out-of-network balance-billing and medical overcharges, including legal advocacy services. aequum is a first-of-its kind information technology company in the complex field of medical billing and works seamlessly with Koehler Fitzgerald LLC to provide a full slate of advocacy services.

“Richard is a strategic addition to our tech-driven team of trial and appellate attorneys and IT specialists who employ data solutions and insights to level the playing field of price transparency,” says Christine Cooper, CEO of aequum and co-managing member of Koehler Fitzgerald LLC. “He joins our firm at a time of legislative change, which most recently includes new patient protections against certain out-of-network balance billing charges as provided by the No Surprises Act, effective January 1, 2022. Richard will be instrumental in helping self-insured clients navigate new federal and state regulations and litigate resolutions to medical billing disputes.”

Haseltine received his Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and served as a senior editor for the Journal of Law, Technology & the Internet. Prior to joining the company, Haseltine litigated business collections and contract disputes, as well as assisted with subrogation claims. He also has healthcare experience serving as a legal extern in the legal department of a large local hospital system. Haseltine now brings his technical skills and legal experience to Koehler Fitzgerald LLC.

About aequum LLC
Founded in 2020, aequum LLC serves third-party administrators, medical cost management companies, stop-loss carriers, employer-sponsored health plans and brokers nationwide to protect plan participants, improve employee satisfaction with their health care plans, and generate plan and participant cost savings. aequum LLC helps patients defend medical balance bills and brings savings to employer-sponsored health plans by providing administrative and other services to its partners.

In addition, its sister organization, Koehler Fitzgerald LLC, provides legal advocacy to plan participants. Visit aequumhealth.com.

About Koehler Fitzgerald LLC
Koehler Fitzgerald LLC is law firm with a national practice, focusing on providing legal advocacy to self-insured health plans and their members. Koehler Fitzgerald also has robust litigation and appellate, corporate, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate practices. The firm has consistently been recognized as a Best Law Firm by U.S. News and Worked Report and holds an AV® Preeminent™ rating by Martindale-Hubbell®. Visit www.koehler.law.

To view the original press release, click here.

SYNAPS Dx Announces DISCERN, Minimally Invasive Test for Accurate Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, Receives First-in-Category PLA Codes

ROCKVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SYNAPS Dx (SDx), a privately held company focused on the research, development and commercialization of diagnostics for neurodegenerative disorders and conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), announces that DISCERN™, the first autopsy-validated, highly accurate, minimally invasive test for the definitive diagnosis of AD versus other forms of non-AD dementias and those with AD and other degenerative pathologies, is the first AD test of its kind to earn Proprietary Laboratory Analyses (PLA) Code 206U and 207U. According to the American Medical Association CPT® Editorial Panel, which approves this code set, PLA codes are alpha-numeric CPT® codes with a corresponding descriptor for labs or manufacturers to more specifically identify their test. Tests with PLA codes must be performed on human specimens and must be requested by the clinical laboratory or manufacturer that offers the test.

“With a growing number of payers looking at the cost and effectiveness of new drugs and therapies for AD, as well as indicators of early-stage AD and benchmarks for coverage decisions, PLA codes distinguish the market position of DISCERN and impact reimbursement,” says Frank Amato, CEO and president, SDx. “DISCERN is now positioned as a critical, essential component of patient-centric, value-based strategies for providers and payers, with three SDx AD biomarkers that accurately identify and distinguish AD from all other dementias. Appropriate medical coding ensures that insurers have all the diagnostic codes necessary for payment.”

There are approximately 500,000 new cases of dementia each year in the United States, with about two million patients in years 0-3 of the disease at any given time. Research supporting DISCERN has been published in over 300 peer-reviewed papers, with results validated using the NIH “Gold Standard” of dementia in life and autopsy confirmation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.

Frederick Huie, MD, advisory council member, SDx, says, “These PLA codes put DISCERN on track to potentially reduce the economic burden of AD across the healthcare system. With demand for early-stage diagnosis at an all-time high, the introduction of this non-invasive test reinforces our focus on supporting the most cost-effective AD treatment.”

About SYNAPS Dx
SYNAPS Dx is privately held company focused on the research, development and commercialization of diagnostics for neurological disorders and conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease. The Company offers DISCERN™, the first accurate, minimally invasive test for the definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) versus other forms of dementia. SYNAPS Dx’s laboratory is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) as qualified to perform high complexity clinical laboratory testing. If you are a physician or a patient looking for more information on the DISCERN™ test, visit https://discerntest.com/. For more information on the Company, visit https://www.synapsdx.com/. Contact: info@synapsdx.com.

To view the original press release, click here.

Cost of family health insurance tops $22,000 this year

By Christopher Snowbeck

StarTribune.com—The cost of employer-sponsored insurance plans continues to rise at a relatively steady rate even as a global pandemic has caused dramatic disruptions in how and when people get health care.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

Leapfrog sees ‘significant’ infection increases across its largest-to-date release of hospital safety grades

By Dave Muoio

FierceHealthcare.com—The Leapfrog Group said it has seen industrywide increases in certain healthcare-associated infections among the results of its newly released Hospital Safety Grades, the first edition of its twice-annual watchdog report to include COVID-era data.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey

KFF.org—This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, offer rates, wellness programs, and employer practices. The 2021 survey included 1,686 interviews with non-federal public and private firms.

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $22,221 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,969 toward the cost of their coverage. The average deductible among covered workers in a plan with a general annual deductible is $1,669 for single coverage. Fifty-eight percent of small firms and 99% of large firms offer health benefits to at least some of their workers, with an overall offer rate of 59%. This year’s report also looks at changes employers made to their health benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

Urgent need for vaccine to prevent deadly Group B streptococcus

WHO.intA new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) reveals the alarming global impact of Group B streptococcus (GBS) – a common bacterium that can be transmitted in the womb, during birth, or in the early weeks of life – leading to around 150,000 deaths of babies each year, more than half a million preterm births and significant long-term disability.

The report calls urgently for the development of maternal vaccines against GBS to reduce this toll, emphasizing they could be highly cost-effective – with significant health benefits – in all regions of the world.

To view the original article in its entirely, click here.

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