In the News: Nov 8–15

Liquid Biopsy Tests for Cancer Care Move Into the Mainstream

A recent review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine considers experts’ insights on the current and potential applications of cell-free DNA from plasma analysis—or liquid biopsies—within cancer patients. Liquid biopsy is increasingly emerging as a minimally invasive approach and potential substitute to a standard tumor biopsy. It is also a valuable approach for molecular testing, cancer detection and monitoring. The article suggests that effective clinical integration of liquid biopsy to guide clinical decision making requires a thorough and in-depth understanding of the advantages and limitations of this approach.

In addition to convenience and patient preference, liquid biopsies are repeatable and have been found to be as clinically reliable as traditional needle biopsies. This paves the way for them to play a role at all decision points along the cancer pathway: risk assessment, screening/diagnosis, treatment selection/monitoring and recurrence.

Sg2 believes that liquid biopsies will gradually reduce traditional biopsies, increase demand for cancer therapies, alter methods and effectiveness of surveillance, and ultimately improve early identification. To learn how to prepare for liquid biopsies at your organization in the immediate and long-term, read the Sg2 FAQ Liquid Biopsy Tests for Cancer Move Into the Mainstream.

Midterm Elections Prove Consequential to Medicaid

Last week’s midterm elections will likely have consequences for Medicaid across several states. In Kansas and Maine—states that have not expanded Medicaid—victories by gubernatorial candidates favoring expansion make it more likely to occur. Ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid passed in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah. There are also implications for states wanting to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients, such as in Michigan and Ohio.

Medicaid, along with the individual mandate and benefit design, is a key regulatory area that Sg2 continues to track, as regulatory actions by states continue to shape vastly different economic and policy landscapes for hospital and health systems, depending on their location. To learn how health systems can respond to state regulatory changes, read the Sg2 Expert Insight 2018 Policy Landscape: Federal Deregulation Sparks State Regulation.

CVS Health to Expand Services into Chronic Disease Management

A recent CNBC article discusses the anticipated changes in CVS Health’s services following CVS’s $69 billion acquisition of Aetna, which is expected to close before Thanksgiving. CVS CEO Larry Merlo explains that CVS will focus on reducing medical costs in numerous ways, including, but not limited to, managing chronic conditions, enhancing and extending primary care, reducing preventable hospital readmissions, and managing complex chronic diseases.

Merlo hopes that these added services will differentiate CVS Health from other care providers by providing simpler, personalized and accessible care to patients. CVS will pilot these services at concept stores in early 2019 to understand which services can be scaled across CVS’s 10,000 stores and 1,100 MinuteClinics.

CVS Health’s expansion of health care services into chronic disease management is the latest example of how investments in value-based primary care from non-traditional organizations have the potential to supplement and disrupt the current primary care model. To learn more about how disruptive health care investments are impacting primary care, read the Sg2 Expert Insight Does Recent Disruption Require a New Look at Primary Care?

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