Humana Research on Medication Adherence and Medicare Advantage Wins Prestigious Awards

Two researchers from Humana Inc. have been recognized for their research by the American College of Preventive Medicine.

Tristan Cordier, MPH, Manager on the Clinical Insights and Outcomes team in Humana’s Clinical Analytics department, won the award for Outstanding Oral Presentation at the group’s annual conference in February for his work on the impact of medication adherence on self-reported mental and physical health.

At the same conference, Sean Mendes, a Senior Actuarial Analyst on Humana’s Medicare Actuarial team, won Best Poster Presentation for work that assessed mortality rates among Medicare recipients. Mendes showed that members of Humana’s Medicare Advantage plan had a mortality rate that was 20 percent lower than they would be expected to if they were on traditional Medicare.

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WellCare Names Darren Ghanayem Chief Information Officer

WellCare Health Plans, Inc. announced today it has appointed Darren Ghanayem as senior vice president, chief information officer (CIO) effective April 18. As the company's top technology leader, Ghanayem will be responsible for further advancing WellCare's technology capabilities to support the company's focus on growth and innovation opportunities. Ghanayem will report to WellCare's CEO Ken Burdick and will serve as a member of the executive leadership team.

"Our IT capabilities continue to play a critical role in the success of our business," said Burdick. "Darren is a respected industry leader, and I expect his expertise will expand our technology capabilities to help us drive business results and better serve our provider partners and members."

Prior to joining WellCare, Ghanayem spent more than 15 years with Anthem, formerly WellPoint, Inc., where he provided leadership for a broad variety of technology initiatives. Most recently, he served as vice president of business transformation, where he delivered innovative solutions to improve health care for members and providers. Notably, in 2013, Ghanayem was recognized as a Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.

"WellCare has built a strong IT foundation, and I look forward to working with the team to bring more innovation and new approaches to grow our IT capabilities," said Ghanayem.

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FDA to Review Merck’s Keytruda for Head and Neck Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted Merck & Co.’s supplemental biologics license application for its immunotherapy cancer drug for patients with head and neck cancer, the pharmaceutical company said Wednesday.

The FDA granted pembrolizumab, or Keytruda, priority review status with a target action date of Aug. 9.

Keytruda, an infused drug, was approved in 2014 for the treatment of melanoma. Then, it was a new type of immunotherapy, in a category of treatments that harness the immune system to fight cancer. In October, it cleared for use in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer—the most common form of lung cancer—whose tumors contain a certain level of a protein known as PD-L1, and whose disease continued to worsen after the patient received chemotherapy or other drugs.

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