Morning Read: HDI starts with diabetes to build ‘healthcare system of the future’

The new Healthcare Delivery Institute in Massachusetts is building an app to help people with diabetes monitor foot ulcers more easily. The app will integrate wirelessly with a personal glucose meter to track and archive blood sugar and prompt patients with specific messages based on their weight and blood sugar readings over time. The institute was started by Worcester Polytechnic Institute  with $4 million in funding from National Science Foundation (NSF) and Veteran Administration’s New England Healthcare System.

A new biotech fund in the U.K. is planning to spend $80 million to support cancer drug research from discovery to the threshold of Phase II studies. The CRT Pioneer Fund will mostly support scientists working for Cancer Research UK, the organization that formed the fund along with the European Investment Fund. This new fund combined with several others announced recently adds up to $730 million-plus in the works for research in the U.K. and Europe.

A health information network built within the federal government has grown enough to stand on its own and is now an independent, nonprofit public-private partnership that includes federal health agencies, nonfederal hospitals and health care organizations and local health information exchanges.
The Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange–NwHIN Exchange–was initially an experiment to help the Veterans Administration coordinate care among its own providers and private contractors. Now physicians around the country will be able to use the system to exchange information with fellow accountable care organization members or state public health agencies.

More than 8,000 Florida children enrolled in Medicaid will now receive behavioral therapy for autism, thanks to a ruling from U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard. Commercial insurers are required to cover Applied Behavior Analysis, but the state agency that runs Medicaid in Florida had denied coverage because the treatment was “experimental.” Florida will pay $5 million of the total cost of $12 million a year with the federal government paying the rest.


Republicans are pushing to alternatives to Obamacare, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal would restructure Medicare to make it more like Medicare Advantage plans. Rep. Paul Broun’s proposed Patient OPTION bill would also repeal the Affordable Care Act and change Mediare into a premium support system.

Chain drug stores and community pharmacists joined nine retail pharmacy companies Thursday in a lawsuit seeking to block the merger between Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions. Opponents of the deal say it could mean fewer choices for consumers if one giant pharmacy benefit manager could further squeeze drug retailers. More than 80 members of Congress so far have voiced their concerns as well.

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