A short but busy week; here’s a few “highlights”
Big jump in hiring – 287,000 new jobs last month. Even better, the jobless rate has stayed below 5 percent for the last nine months, AND hourly wages increased albeit by a marginal amount AND there are still 5.8 million unfilled jobs as of April. Here’s one expert’s read:
“This report should ease any fears that a persistent slowdown or recession is coming soon in the U.S.,” said Dean Maki, chief economist at Point72 Asset Management. “The service sector is where the real strength is, with 256,000 hires, but the gains were widespread across sectors.”
But…real median household income is still below where it was ten years ago.
Off-label prescribing run wild
Fentanyl – now infamous for having killed Prince – is the subject of a devastating piece in the NYT detailing the arrest of two pharma marketers for allegedly “financially incentivizing” docs to prescribe Subsys, a fentanyl spray intended for breakthrough cancer pain. According to Katie Thomas’ article, only 1 percent of Subsys scripts were from oncologists.
Suggestion – ask your PBM to tell you how many Subsys scripts you paid for, and what practitioners were writing them. NDC codes here. Thanks to Brian Grant MD of MCN for this one
How the pharma world works
From Drug Channels comes this easy-to-read flow chart showing the drug and dollar flows in the pharmacy market. Boss Adam Fein is a must-follow for those interested in this business.
Hat Tip to WorkCompWire for the head’s up on the news that Minnesota’s Department of Labor and Industry just published their 2014 system report. A couple of not-obvious takeaways:
Medicare’s physician fee schedule is new and improved – a brief synopsis courtesy of HealthAffairs is here. Couple of key points:
- Until 2019, Medicare will give physicians a fee increase of 0.5 percent per year.
- After 2019, there will be no additional fee increases; providers will have to pick one of two reimbursement methodologies
States adopting the MACRA (new acronym for the fee schedule) for workers’ comp are going to have to figure out what to do after 2019…
Enjoy the weekend – hope we get some rain. Not used to drought in upstate NY…