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NRF welcomes repeal of tax provision in healthcare law

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation said it welcomed the House of Representatives’ vote to repeal a provision in last year’s healthcare-reform law that would widely expand the number of IRS 1099 tax forms businesses would be required to file.

“This is a commonsense step to keep the business community from being hit with a blizzard of unnecessary paperwork that has nothing to do with health care,” NRF SVP government relations David French said. “The important thing now is for the House and Senate to come together on a final version of repeal and settle this issue as quickly as possible. This provision never should have been in the healthcare bill to begin with, and it’s already taken far too long to get it removed.”

The House voted 314-112 to approve H.R. 4, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act, sponsored by Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif. The bill would repeal a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that requires businesses to file a Form 1099 with the Internal Revenue Service whenever they make noncredit-card payments totaling $600 or more to a vendor during a single year.

Other organizations that support the repeal include the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

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Study: Potassium levels may be insight to racial disparity among diabetics

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered that potassium levels in the blood may explain a racial disparity among Type 2 diabetes patients.

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, among 12,000 participants, more than 2,000 African-Americans in the study had lower average serum potassium levels than the more than 9,000 whites in the study. They also were twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

What’s more, the researchers noted, serum potassium appeared to be a novel risk factor for the disorder that may explain some of the racial disparity in diabetes risk.

The data was collected from the "Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study," information collected from 1987 and 1996.

"This research doesn’t mean people should run out and start taking potassium supplements," said Hsin-Chieh "Jessica" Yeh, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an author of the study. "But we now know lower serum potassium is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that African-Americans have, on average, lower potassium levels than whites. What remains to be seen is if increasing potassium levels through diet or supplementation can prevent the most common form of diabetes."

Nearly 13% of African-Americans older than 20 years are living with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Walgreens joins CCA

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Walgreens on Friday joined the Care Continuum Alliance, an alliance of more than 200 stakeholders providing services across the continuum of care — from wellness and prevention to chronic condition management and complex care management.

"Our mission every day is to provide customers and patients support to help them live a ‘well’ life," stated Walgreens chief medical officer Cheryl Pegus. "With more than 8,500 points of care, including Walgreens drug stores within three miles of 63% of the U.S. population, we are uniquely positioned to serve as a true community healthcare resource. Together, our pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, home care nurses and other healthcare professionals provide guidance and solutions to improve disease prevention, adherence to medications and chronic disease management for tens of millions of patients each year."

"[Walgreens’] work to promote healthful lifestyles and empower consumers to reduce risk aligns with our mission to improve care quality and value, particularly for people with or at risk of chronic disease,” stated Tracey Moorhead, Care Continuum president and CEO.

The Care Continuum Alliance has focused considerable effort in recent years on improving employee health and productivity, particularly through research on outcomes measurement. Its Outcomes Guidelines project has produced consensus clinical and financial measures for wellness and population health management programs, as well as guidance on such other key outcomes as medication adherence. The Care Continuum Alliance also has advocated successfully for greater support of wellness and prevention in federal programs and in the private market.

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