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MairFacing overdoses, neighborhoods not giving up

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - “The fact that they are recognizing the challenge before them, coming together and collaborating to solve this problem, is hopeful,” said KAREN HACKER, HPM faculty and Allegheny County Health Department director. “It’s a very clear signal that’s emerging” from data on drug use, said CHRISTINA MAIR, BCHS associate professor. She has pored over hospitalization data statewide and, along with colleague JESSICA BURKE, probed ... 

Donohue comments on Trump health official's plan to slash Medicaid rolls

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STAT NEWS - The director of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promises to give states an “unprecedented level of flexibility” to design their Medicaid programs as they see fit. HPM’s JULIE DONOHUE, director of the Medicaid Research Center at Pitt, says,  “The federal rules are in place to make sure basic access and quality standards are met. The devil is really in the details in terms of how much additional flexibility to giv... 

PHDL essential in forecasting the opioid epidemic

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THE ECONOMIST - When will it peak? And how many will it kill? Epidemiologists are frantically scrambling to go beyond simple best-guess estimates to dynamic models that can forecast addiction and overdoses more accurately. Scientists from the PUBLIC HEALTH DYNAMICS LABORATORY are developing a “dynamic transmission disease model of the opioid epidemic,” matching data in the national drug-use survey to outcomes in mortality. It predicts that prescr... 

The shifting toll of America's drug epidemic, a PHDL model

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THE ECONOMIST - Today’s Daily Chart, sourced from “Sub-epidemics within the Opioid Epidemic” by H. JALAL, J. BUCHANICH , L. BALMERT, M. ROBERTS, and D. BURKE, shows red alerts for U.S. drug overdose deaths per 1000,000 population, by age, demographics, and drug type. The study points out that the number of fatal drug overdoses has doubled every eight years for the past 37 years. A continuation of that trend would see annual opioid deaths rising ... 

Van Nostrand on how the governemnt can fight the opioid epidemic under a public health emergency

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WASHINGTON POST - “Unless you keep people alive, you can’t get them into treatment,” said HPM’s ELIZABETH VAN NOSTRAND. According to the White House, 175 people will die of a drug overdose today and every day until the crisis is curbed. So the government may start with the most basic need: Keeping alive more than 11.5 million people taking prescription opioids for nonmedical reasons plus 1 million people using heroin. 

Hershey hopes Trump puts money behind words on opioid crisis

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WASHINGTON POST - Officials acknowledge that more money is needed. Trump could cite the National Emergencies Act. And even without a formal declaration, acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan has authority to streamline some responses. But HPM’s TINA BATRA HERSHEY says “None of these laws were intended to be long-term solutions. That’s the question here. [The epidemic is] unprecedented.” 

Bulger named as a 2017 40-Under40 standout

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PITTSBURGH MAGAZINE - Alumna NATALIE BULGER (HPM ’12) left Pittsburgh for college, but she wasn’t away from home for long. “My mom likes to make a joke that Pittsburgh makes this big sucking noise—that when you leave, it sucks you back in so quickly.” Pittsburgh, she adds, is a good place for someone to “strike out on their own and make a career for themselves.” And that’s exactly what she did. She began her career at The Children’s Institute of ... 

Donohue says Trump worsened ACA problems

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90.5 WESA - “The two main criticisms of the Affordable Care Act marketplace were that not enough plans were participating and that premiums were too high, and this policy change … will worsen both of those problems,” said HPM’s JULIE DONOHUE. CALEB WALLACE, an HPM alum and senior director of health policy and assistant counsel at UPMC Health Plan, said the company aims to maintain stability for consumers. “This change in particular … is a little ... 

HPM students take second at 2017 Robbins Case Competition

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Congratulations to Pitt Public Health’s team on their second place finish at the Robbins Case Competition at Baylor University. JOHN CORDIER (MHA/MBA), ZACHARY HAYES (MHA), and AMANDA WILKINS (MHA) were the students who competed in the event. HPM’s KEVIN BROOM (second from right, MHA and MHA/MBA program director) was there to cheer them on, and CHANDLER CAUFIELD (MHA/MBA) attended as an observer. She will be on the team representing us next year.... 

Down the Stream: Pittsburgh’s climate is changing and some are fighting back

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POST-GAZETTE - In this four-part, interactive feature about Pittsburgh’s changing climate, Public Health Dynamics Laboratory director MARK ROBERTS talks about modeling disasters. “We showed that, in many parts of Pittsburgh, you would hit areas where the emergency management system could not respond in the times it likes to respond to the numbers of events that occurred.” 

Gellad tells Nightly Business Report about impact of new California bill (Video)

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CNBC - New California legislation prompts Nightly Business Report ’s Meg Tirrell to ask HPM’s WALLID GELLAD about California Governor Brown’s bill requiring pharma to announce 60 days before a rise of more than 16 percent over two years, and to provide justification for the hike. Locate Gellad’s comments at 17:37–18:05. 

Gellad interviewed on Cigna's new OxyContin Rx policy

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CNN - Despite any advantages Xtampza may have (harder to crush and abuse), “people still get addicted to oral pills. They can still take too much. They can still overdose,” said HPM’s WALLID GELLAD, co-director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing. Gellad believes that there'’s more to Cigna’s new policies than a desire to combat the opioid crisis. 

HPM alumni get together in DC

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Some of our favorite HPM alumni connected at Clyde’s of Gallery Place on September 27, 2017. Back Row: Jenny Huang, Alexandra Dulin, Alex Nason, David Tye, Mark Faccenda, Kevin Broom, Mark Roberts; Front Row: Deborah Backman, Nikita Sharma, Sally Caine Leathers, Kelly Delmore, Kristin Lazzara, and Kush Banjeree. 

Hernandez on outcomes-based pricing for PCSK9 inhibitors

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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MANAGED CARE - An article by alumna INMACULADA (INMA) HERNANDEZ (HPM ’16) discusses the impact of the outcomes-based pricing arrangements proposed by Amgen on the pricing of PCSK9 inhibitor therapy, and provides recommendations for payers on the design of outcomes-based contracts. She is an assistant professor at Pitt’s School of Pharmacy. Her research explores the intersection of pharmaceutical health services and outcomes re... 

Gellad questions CVS Health move to limit access to opioid painkillers

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WALL STREET JOURNAL - One of the largest managers of pharmaceutical benefits in the U.S. says it will start limiting the duration and dose of some prescriptions for opioid painkillers, in an effort to combat widespread addiction. The restrictions, based on CDC recommendations published last year, could cause some debate. WALID GELLAD, physician and HPM assistant professor, said the restrictions for chronic pain could cause cumbersome paperwork an... 

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