Healthcare Roundup—CMS to allow states to waive Medicaid IMD exclusion 

CMS announced it will allow states to waive the much-maligned IMD exclusion in Medicaid, plus other healthcare headlines. (Getty/juststock)

CMS to allow states to waive Medicaid IMD exclusion 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will allow state Medicaid programs to waive the much-maligned institutions for mental diseases (IMD) exclusion, the agency announced Tuesday. 

The exclusion prevents the use of federal Medicaid money to cover most inpatient psychiatric services. Providers have pushed for the changes, especially amid the opioid crisis and rising suicide rates in the United States. 

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a speech before the National Association of Medicaid Directors that “everyone invovled in state Medicaid programs” should consider the waiver. 

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“It is the responsibility of state and federal governments together, alongside communities and families, to right this wrong,” Azar said. (FierceHealthcare article

340B advocacy group launches ad campaign targeting President Trump 

340B Matters, an advocacy group aimed at protecting the embattled drug discount program, has launched a series of ads targeting President Donald Trump. 

The group’s spots will air during “Fox & Friends” broadcasts, which the president is known to watch. The ads will “warn” the president about “harmful” reforms to the program, such as cuts to its payment rate that were finalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late last year

In one ad, a senior speaks to the president directly: “President Trump, don’t let Secretary Azar roll back 340B and raise prices on us.” (Announcement

Cancer now the leading cause of death in many U.S. counties, passing heart disease 

A new study found that cancer was the leading cause of death in more counties in 2015 than in 2002, while fewer counties reported heart disease as the leading cause. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that cancer will overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death nationwide in the next two years, the study noted. The shift found by the researchers was faster in high-income counties compared to low-income areas. 

“We need to work harder in lower income areas of the U.S. so they can see the same improvements in mortality,” said Latha Palaniappan, M.D., the study’s lead author and an internist at Stanford. “We need to focus more on heart disease and cancer prevention and treatment efforts in African-American populations particularly.” (CNN article

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