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Harvard study: Increased Medicaid coverage reduces mortality rates

BY Michael Johnsen

BOSTON — A new study from Harvard School of Public Health found that expanding Medicaid to low-income adults led to improved health and reduced mortality. It is the first published study to look specifically at the effect of recent state Medicaid expansions on mortality among low-income adults.

“The recent Supreme Court decision on the [Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act] ruled that states could decide whether or not they wanted to participate in the health care law’s Medicaid expansion. Our study provides evidence suggesting that expanding Medicaid has a major positive effect on people’s health,” stated Benjamin Sommers, assistant professor of health policy and economics at HSPH and the study’s lead author.

The study was published online July 25 and will appear in the Sept. 13 print issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The HSPH researchers analyzed data from three states — Arizona, Maine and New York — that had expanded their Medicaid programs to childless adults (ages 20 to 64 years) between 2000 and 2005. They selected four neighboring states without major Medicaid expansions — New Hampshire (for Maine), Pennsylvania (for New York) and Nevada and New Mexico (for Arizona) — as controls. The researchers analyzed data from five years before and after each state’s expansion.

The results showed that Medicaid expansions in three states were associated with a significant reduction in mortality of 6.1%, compared with neighboring states that did not expand Medicaid, which corresponds to 2,840 deaths prevented per year for each 500,000 adults gaining Medicaid coverage. Expansions also were associated with increased Medicaid coverage, decreased uninsurance, decreased rates of deferring care due to costs, and increased rates of “excellent” or “very good” self-reported health.


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AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group revenues up 8%; key growth driver

BY Michael Johnsen

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. — AmerisourceBergen on Thursday reported that in its fiscal-year third quarter ended June 30, diluted earnings per share were 71 cents, an 8% increase over the prior-year quarter.

AmerisourceBergen’s Specialty Group had another strong quarter with revenues up 8%, driven by another particularly strong performance in third-party logistics and in the company’s vaccine and physician distribution business. Specialty Group represents significant opportunity for the wholesaler, Steven Collis, AmerisourceBergen president and CEO, told analysts.

"There’s a lot of opportunities to collaborate in those areas including with our Good Neighbor Pharmacy network and there’s an opportunity to do potentially more specialty in the community," he said. "We afford a lot of AmerisourceBergen customers that are interested in this area an opportunity to gain from our expertise, including in the policy area and the manufacturer relations area."

Within AmerisourceBergen’s specialty division, oncology is the core competency but the wholesaler is fast expanding into other specialty areas. "We have expanded [AmerisourceBergen’s oncology] capabilities to become an instrumental part of the commercialization strategy for any infusible product launched into the physician marketplace," Collis said.

AmerisouceBergen’s recent acquisition of World Courier is playing a key role within specialty. "The acquisition of World Courier has given us not only a premium quality clinical trial logistics services provider, but also an international framework upon which to further capitalize on our strengths by driving our specialty logistics, consulting, commercialization and reimbursement services into other geographic markets," Collis said.

AmerisourceBergen’s overall revenue in the quarter was $19.8 billion, down 1.9%. The company also narrowed the range of its expectations for the full fiscal year 2012 diluted earnings per share to $2.80 to $2.84 from its previous range of $2.74 to $2.84.

In third quarter 2012, Pharmaceutical Distribution revenues were $19.4 billion, a decrease of 3%, compared with the same quarter in the prior year. ABDC revenues declined 5%, due primarily to a decline in the volume of sales to the wholesaler’s largest customer, the anniversary of a significant customer win during last year’s third quarter and the previously announced loss of a large retail customer.

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McLane to acquire Meadowbrook Meat Co.

BY Allison Cerra

TEMPLE, Texas — McLane has entered into an agreement to acquire Meadowbrook Meat Co.

McLane said MBM — which is one of the nation’s largest customized foodservice distributors for national restaurant chains — will continue to be led by the current executive management team and operating out of its existing facilities in the same markets. McLane’s acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including the termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.

"The Wordsworth family has built one of the finest and most highly respected companies in our industry, and we look forward to providing Jerry Wordsworth and his team our full support to continue MBM’s leadership in the market, while positioning ourselves for further growth," McLane CEO Grady Rosier said.

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