News and Updates for Healthcare Professionals

Interventional Treatments for Acute and Chronic Pain: Systematic Review

Vertebroplasty is probably more effective than sham or usual care for vertebral compression fractures for reducing pain and improving function in older (Medicare-eligible) populations, but benefits are small. Benefits are smaller in sham compared with usual care controlled trials and larger in trials of patients with more acute symptoms.


NIH HEAL Initiative: Research Meets the Moment to Address the Opioid Public Health Crisis

NIH leadership highlight the results and progress of number strategies to find scientific solutions to address the nation’s opioid crisis.


Final Recommendation Statement: Screening for Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released today a final recommendation statement on screening for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The Task Force recommends screening people ages 35 to 70 with overweight or obesity for prediabetes and diabetesTo view the recommendation, the evidence on which it is based, and a summary for clinicians. The final recommendation statement can also be found in the August 24, 2021 online issue of JAMA.


A Call for Action to Achieve Health Equity

The urgent need to ensure equity in the American healthcare system is the subject of a new AHRQ Views blog authored by members of AHRQ’s National Advisory Council. The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly illustrated healthcare’s existing racial and ethnic disparities. With that in mind, the blog post’s authors—Edmondo J. Robinson, M.D., M.B.A., Peter J. Embí, M.D., M.S., Ramanathan Raju, M.D., M.B.A., and Yanling Yu, Ph.D.—emphasize the need to level the playing field by pursuing economic and social justice. To do so, we must fully understand the role of social determinants of health in outcomes and equity. Given AHRQ’s strength in healthcare data collection and research, the authors wrote, the Agency is in a perfect position to lead this effort. Only through improved integration and coordinated efforts across health and human services do the authors feel the Nation will create a holistic and equitable health care system for all.


Coming Soon: PCD Collection on Health Disparities and Position Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As part of its ongoing efforts to acknowledge, examine, and report on less-explored factors such as social determinants of health, including forms of racism that have resulted in the generational injustices, on August 12 PCD will release an important collection:“ Advancing Health Equity, Eliminating Health Disparities, and Improving Population Health.” Articles appearing in this collection represent 10 papers submitted in response to PCD’s call for papers for the collection, along with 7 articles previously published in the journal. All 17 of these articles underwent the journal’s rigorous peer-review process. In addition, this collection features a position statement on the journal’s commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in its scientific leadership, publications, and communication.

Since its establishment in 2004, PCD’s mission has been to promote dialogue among researchers, practitioners, and policy makers worldwide on the integration and application of research findings and practical experience to address health disparities, advance health equity, and improve population health. To be the most successful in this mission requires that PCD adapt to a changing vocabulary and embrace areas of scientific exploration to include not only familiar terms and constructs such as race and ethnicity, health disparities, health inequities, social economic position, and social determinants of health but also all forms of racism, including structural and institutional racism. PCD is well positioned to address chronic disease prevention and health promotion within this changing landscape. This collection, including PCD’s position statement, demonstrates some of the intentional steps the journal has taken to bring attention to these issues. Learn more in the complete PCD collection announcement.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) 2020 Report to Congress (RTC)

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s 2020 Report to Congress (RTC). The Innovation Center is required by statute to report to Congress on its activities, at minimum, every other year. This is the Innovation Center’s fifth RTC and covers activities from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2020. All of the Innovation Center’s Reports to Congress can be found here


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Association of Kidney Patients, the largest kidney patient consumer and caregiver organization in the nation, today issued the following statement regarding the recent approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of a new drug therapy, Kerendia by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, designed to slow chronic kidney disease progression and reduce the risk of kidney failure in adult patients with chronic kidney disease associated with type 2 diabetes. Since its founding in 1969, AAKP has been the leading independent and patient-led voice for greater investments and innovations in kidney disease research, detection, and treatment. AAKP is nationally known for its aggressive advocacy on behalf of kidney patient consumers and their right to treatment care choice in consultation with the doctors who they choose to care for them. AAKP defines high-quality kidney care as timely patient access, without interference, to prevention and treatment innovations that empower patients to remain healthy, independent, and able to pursue their aspirations including meaningful work and a career, home ownership, starting and supporting a family, and a secure retirement.
"The American Association of Kidney Patients, as the largest kidney patient organization in the nation, applauds the recent FDA approval of Kerendia because of the substantial medical advancement and hope it represents for kidney patient consumers and their decades-long demand for more innovations to help slow the impacts of chronic kidney disease associated with type 2 diabetes, including loss of kidney function and kidney failure. Kidney disease has an incredibly alarming, growing, and disproportionate impact among minority communities and the burdens and costs are carried by patients, their families, and the American taxpayer. We look forward to informing elected leaders, government agencies, and payers that timely access to this treatment, when determined to be medically beneficial and safe between doctors and their patients, is a priority. Unnecessary interference with these medical determinations or delays with patient access are inconsistent with the principle of patient care choice and the long-standing national goal of advancing innovations and new tools to slow kidney disease, reduce kidney failure, and decrease the number of Americans who may end up on dialysis or the kidney transplant waiting list."
AAKP works closely with federal government officials, medical researchers, industry leaders, and investors who are committed to re-establishing kidney patient consumers to their rightful place at the center of all kidney health, innovation, research, and policy decisions. The organization provides original kidney patient survey data and expert advice to leaders in government, industry, think tanks, and academia involved in standing up and recruiting patients for research studies, technical evaluation panels, advisory committees, clinical trials, and substantive efforts to include patient insight data across the product development lifecycle—including regulatory and payment decisions.
In 2019, AAKP launched The Decade of the Kidney™, an international patient consortium aimed at mobilizing patient consumers and their allies to push leaders and decision-makers for greater investments in kidney research and more sensible policies to accelerate innovations in kidney drugs, diagnostics, and devices, including artificial kidneys. Since 2019, AAKP, in partnership with The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has conducted The Global Summit on Kidney Disease Innovations (watch 2021 sessions OnDemand here), which has become the largest patient-led and virtual global kidney meeting, engaging over eighty countries and 20,000 viewers in 2021. In 2018, AAKP launched their nonpartisan KidneyVoters™program, the first voter registration effort for kidney patients, their families, and the broader kidney stakeholder community, including medical professionals. Based on the 2020 success of KidneyVoters™, AAKP has announced plans to register a half million patients and kidney advocates by 2024.
About the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP): Founded in 1969, AAKP is the largest kidney patient organization driving policy discussions on kidney patient consumer care choice and treatment innovations. By 1973, AAKP patient collaborations with the U.S. Congress and White House helped gain passage of dialysis coverage for any person suffering kidney failure, creating the only disease specific, taxpayer-funded entitlement program in America. That program, the End Stage Renal Disease Program (ESRD) administered by CMS, has saved over one million lives. In the past decade, AAKP patients have helped gain lifetime transplant drug coverage for kidney transplant recipients (2020); new patient-centered policies via the White House Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health (2019); new job protections for living organ donors under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) from the U.S. Department of Labor (2018); and Congressional legislation allowing HIV-positive organ transplants for HIV-positive patients (2013). AAKP virtual platforms and social networks are internationally known for their impact. Follow AAKP on social media at @kidneypatient on Facebook and @kidneypatients on Twitter and visit our website at

New Tool Helps Primary Care Practices Screen Patients for Social Needs

AHRQ has developed a new tool to help primary care practices screen and refer patients for social needs such as food or housing, so-called social determinants of health (SDOH) which, when identified, can help tailor care to patients’ circumstances.

It is one of the Tools for Change developed as part of AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health Initiative, and will be an additional resource on AHRQ’s Social Determinants of Health site.

The tool helps primary care practices:

  • Find resources and information to get started on patient screening and referral
  • Consider what approaches work best for their practice
  • Understand how to use collected information to address patients’ social needs, tailor care to their circumstances, and maximize reimbursement.

You are subscribed to Primary Care Practice-Based Research Networks for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

U.S. Surgeon General on Emotional Well-Being and Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

From September 2019 to September 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported nearly 90,000 overdose deaths in the United States. These latest data on the nation’s opioid crisis offer another stark reminder that help is desperately needed in communities across the land. NIH’s research efforts to address the opioid crisis have been stressed during the pandemic, but creative investigators have come up with workarounds like wider use of telemedicine to fill the gap.


Cognitive Impairment: Medicare Provides Opportunities to Detect & Diagnose

Do you have a patient with a cognitive impairment? Medicare covers a separate visit for a cognitive assessment so you can more thoroughly evaluate cognitive function and help with care planning.

3 Things You Need to Know:

  1. If your patient shows signs of cognitive impairment at an Annual Wellness Visit or other routine visit, you may perform a more detailed cognitive assessment and develop a care plan
  2. The Cognitive Assessment & Care Plan Services (CPT code 99483) typically start with a 50-minute face-to-face visit that includes a detailed history and patient exam, resulting in a written care plan
  3. Any clinician eligible to report Evaluation and Management (E/M) services can offer this service, including: physicians (MD and DO), nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants

Effective January 1, 2021, Medicare increased payment for these services to $282 (may be geographically adjusted) when provided in an office setting, added these services to the definition of primary care services in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, and permanently covers these services via telehealth.

Get details on Medicare coverage requirements and proper billing at