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Latest News Around the Web

Raising Patient Co-Pays To Save Money On Mental Healthcare May End Up Adding To Costs Of Treating Bipolar And Psychiatric Disorders

Reuters (7/19, Emery) reports, “An effort by the Netherlands to save money on mental health care by raising patient co-pays produced $15 million in short-term savings, but ended up adding $29 million to the costs of treating bipolar and psychotic disorders,” researchers found. What’s more, “the increase in patient cost-sharing led to fewer people seeking regular mental treatment and a simultaneous rise in acute care and involuntary commitments,” the analysis of “1.4 million treatment records” revealed. The findings were published online July 19 in JAMA Psychiatry.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (7/19, Sapatkin) reports on the Netherlands’ 2012 attempt to reduce healthcare costs by implementing “mandatory copayments for mental health care on adults but not children,” reasoning that patients would not “seek unnecessary services” if they had more “skin in the game.” The article says the change caused “adults’ use of regular mental health services” to plummet “13.4 percent for both severe and mild disorders,” with an even starker drop among the poor, but “no appreciable change” for children, “who had no copay.”

Healio (7/19, Oldt) reports the author of an invited commentary wrote, “Without careful planning and oversight, mental health care cost-sharing programs may exact a steep price.”

Related Links:

— “Mental health coverage cuts result in extra costs,” Gene Emery, Reuters, July 19, 2017.

Almost Three Dozen Alzheimer’s Medications To Begin Clinical Trials In Next Five Years

HealthDay (7/18, Preidt) reports that almost three dozen experimental Alzheimer’s medicines are expected to begin clinical trials over the next five years, according to an analysis scheduled for presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. No medications have been approved to treat Alzheimer’s in the US since 2003.

Related Links:

— “Dozens of Potential Alzheimer’s Meds in the Pipeline,” Robert Preidt, HealthDay, July 18, 2017.

Patients With IBS May Show Higher Levels Of Depression, Anxiety

Healio Gastroenterology (7/18, Leitenberger) reports, “Patients with irritable bowel syndrome [IBS], regardless of subtype, show higher levels of depression and anxiety compared with healthy controls,” researchers found after reviewing 27 studies involving “2,293 IBS patients and 4,951 healthy controls.” The review’s findings were published online July 1 in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

Related Links:

— “Depression, anxiety levels higher in all IBS subtypes,” Lee C, et al., Healio Gastroenterology, July 18, 2017.

No Apparent Association Found Between Lyme Disease, Depression

Healio (7/18, Viguers) reports that investigators “who set out to clarify whether there is an association between Lyme disease and depression found that the prevalence of depressive symptoms was similar among infected and noninfected patients who sought care at a tertiary Lyme center.” Included in the study were “1,454 patients.” The study authors “said their findings suggest that depressive symptoms should not be used to help diagnose Lyme borreliosis (LB) in this setting.” The findings were published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Related Links:

— “Study shows no link between Lyme disease and depression,” Tizza P. Zomer, MSc, Healio, July 18, 2017.

Access To Outpatient Behavioral Healthcare Was Limited In Denver Metropolitan Area After Implementation Of ACA

Healio (7/17, Miller) reports, “Access to outpatient behavioral health care in at least one metropolitan area was limited after implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” researchers found. For the study, investigators “posed as potential patients with mild-to-moderate depression and used a secret shopper methodology to contact all the behavioral health” professionals “in the Denver Colorado metropolitan area networked through several large insurance companies about the next available appointment date.”

All in all, the study authors “made 1,932 calls from 2014 to 2015.” The study revealed that “a patient in the Denver area would need to call seven to 10 psychiatrists, depending on the insurance company, to find an available appointment.” The findings were published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Related Links:

— “Behavioral health access restricted under Affordable Care Act,” Williams MO, Healio, July 17, 2017.

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