Abbott Laboratories must divest two cardiac device businesses in order to continue with its proposed $25 billion purchase of St. Jude Medical. The businesses in question produce vascular closure devices, or VCDs, used to close holes in arteries following the insertion of catheters; and steerable sheaths, used to guide catheters for treating heart arrhythmias. The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday approved the deal on the condition that North Chicago-based Abbott gives up all rights to products made by Tokyobased Terumo Corp. The FTC determined that without divestiture, Abbott would control more than 70% of the market for VCDs.
Eight states are signed up for an HHS initiative intended to integrate behavioral health services with the primary-care setting. The goal is to provide greater and faster access to care for those suffering from mental illness or substance use disorders. The states selected to participate in the two-year demonstration are Oklahoma, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Missouri and Minnesota. The program will focus on Medicaid beneficiaries with serious mental illness, troubled children and patients with long-term drug use disorders.
The annual defense bill signed by President Barack Obama included a pilot program to test value-based insurance coverage in Tricare, the U.S. Defense Department’s health benefits program. A provision in the defense bill calls for a program that will reduce or eliminate co-pays and other cost sharing for certain drugs and services considered high quality because they offer proven results. Providers considered high-value would be reimbursed at higher rates as well. The secretary of defense must submit a report within the next six months detailing which providers, services and medications will be considered high-value. The secretary must also identify the co-pays or cost share amounts that will be reduced or eliminated when Tricare patients opt for highvalue care.