Diversified Group Gives Back This Holiday Season by Supporting Operation E.L.F.

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Operation E.L.F. (Embracing Lonely Families) was established as a gesture of support to military families who are separated during the holiday season. Supporting this movement is meant to show support of the men and women in uniform and of their families. During this season of giving, Diversified Group staff decided to support Operation E.L.F. for the second year in a row.

We collected new toys and gift cards for grocery and department stores and seasonal services and donated them to either the Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc. or the Connecticut National Guard Service Member and Family Support Center. Military families in Connecticut receive these holiday gifts and warm wishes at a time when they may be unable to provide for their children as much as they would like to.

At Diversified Group, we believe in the importance of giving during this time of year. And, we are proud to have been able to make Christmas a little brighter for some of these families in need.

To learn more about Operation E.L.F. visit their website at http://ct.ng.mil/ELF/Pages/default.aspx.

Donate at Diversified

DG Food Bank

Diversified Group is holding a food drive for our local food bank, the Food Bank of Marlborough, Connecticut. This is the time of year when the food banks are in the most need. Therefore, we will be collecting donations until mid-December. We hope that you will take the time to donate this holiday season. Below is a list of some suggested items:

Cake Mixes
Frostings
Pie Crusts (Boxed)
Muffin Mixes (Pumpkin, Cranberry, Blueberry are recommended at this time)
Cranberry Sauce
Stuffing Mixes
Flour
Sugar
Any Baking Items
Any Canned Goods
Spray Shortening (Pam)
Salt & Pepper
Rice Packages (Flavor or Regular)
Any Cereals/Bars
*Please no Paper Goods

Please drop off all donations to our offices at 369 North Main Street in Marlborough, Connecticut. If you would like more information on the Food Bank, you can find more details here: http://www.foodbankofmarlborough.org/.

The IRS Announces Plan to Enforce ACA Employer Mandate Penalties

On November 8, 2017, the IRS announced that, for the first time, it would begin enforcement of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act (i.e., the assessment of tax penalties against large employers failing to provide affordable, minimum value health coverage to substantially all employees). The initiation of active enforcement efforts now comes as a surprise, as many anticipated that the IRS would not begin such efforts under the Trump administration.

Over the next few weeks, affected employers will receive an assessment letter to all employers the IRS believes owe ANY penalty under the ACA’s employer mandate. From guidance we have received, this could be due to:

  • Anticipated and appropriately assessed tax
  • Unanticipated, but appropriately assessed tax
  • ACA reporting errors

Any employer anticipating they COULD be receiving an assessment should be on the lookout. If you receive an assessment letter, ACT QUICKLY.

Questions? Concerns? Call Us!

We’re here to help, please contact Carol Parda-Ziolko at (888) 322-2524 ext. 427 or by email.

DG Compliance

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is October 28th

PrescriptionBecause of their focus on substance abuse issues and the national awareness of the opioid epidemic, Magellan Rx Management is calling your attention to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) scheduled event – National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This event will take place on Saturday, October 28th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is a great opportunity for those who missed the previous events, or who have subsequently accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs, especially medications including opioids such as codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine or fentanyl, to safely dispose of those medications.

Since the first Take-Back day in 2010, over 4,000 tons of unwanted or expired medications have been surrendered for safe and proper disposal at over 9,000 sites. Click here to find a collection site near you.

In an environment where cost containment and quality care are constantly challenged, Magellan Rx Management is the smart solution.

Hartford Courant Names Diversified Group a Top Workplace for 2017

Diversified Group has been awarded a 2017 Top Workplaces honor by The Hartford Courant. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement.

“To be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees,” stated Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics. Claffey adds, “Without this sense of connection, an organization doesn’t have a shot at being named a Top Workplace.”

“All of us at Diversified Group are honored to be recognized as one of the top workplaces in the greater Hartford region,” stated Brooks Goodison, President of Diversified Group. “In a time when health care is so critical to employers and employees throughout the U.S., we are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated and caring team of professionals serving our clients.”

Diversified Group Named Top Workplace for 2017

Diversified Honored to Accept Healthcare Excellence Award

TriZetto AwardFor nine years, Cognizant and TriZetto have been honoring clients who use their technology and resources to achieve extraordinary results through their Healthcare Excellence award. Cognizant is a professional services company that helps businesses transform their operating and technology models for the digital era.

Each year, they announce the finalists and winners of the awards at their annual Healthcare Conference. The award recognizes organizations that implement TriZetto services and utilize those solutions to achieve innovation and excellence by enhancing the efficiency of operations, creating new programs or strategies to address market needs or discovering new and improved ways to better serve their members.

2017 winners were recently announced in the categories of excellence in innovation and operational excellence. Diversified Group could not be more proud or honored to be the recipient of this year’s Healthcare Excellence Award for Excellence in Operations! The image above shows two of our own accepting the award at this year’s Conference. Thank you to Cognizant and TriZetto for this incredible recognition!

At Diversified, we do all we can to provide quality, affordable healthcare plans and to design, manage and administer customized self-insured benefit plans that everyone feels good about. Visit our website to discover why Diversified Group should be Your Solution to Health Benefits!

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New safety risks detected in one-third of FDA-approved drugs

The article below was published on May 9, 2017 by the Washington Post, written by Laurie McGinley.

A new study shows that safety issues often emerge only after new treatments have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (Andrew Harnik/AP) (Photo Source: Washington Post)

Almost a third of drugs cleared by the Food and Drug Administration pose safety risks that are identified only after their approval, according to a study published Tuesday.

The researchers said the study, which appeared in JAMA, shows the need for ongoing monitoring of new treatments years after they hit the market.

“We seem to have decided as a society that we want drugs reviewed faster,” said lead author Joseph Ross, an associate professor of medicine and public health at Yale University. That makes it critically important “that we have a strong system in place to continually evaluate drugs and to communicate new safety concerns quickly and effectively,” he said.

To win FDA approval, medications must be shown to be safe and effective. But many pivotal clinical trials used for approval involve fewer than 1,000 patients with follow-up of six months or less, according to the study. Safety problems often crop up years later after therapies have been used by much larger numbers of patients.

“No drug is completely safe, and during premarket evaluation, we are not going to pick up all the safety signals,” said Ross.

The researchers reviewed 222 products approved between 2001 and 2010 and followed them through February of this year. With 32 percent of the medications, they found, the FDA took some kind of action to deal with safety issues that emerged after approval.

Three of the drugs were withdrawn from the market. The FDA also required 61 new black-box warnings — the agency’s most serious safety alert, included in the drug’s packaging — and issued 59 safety communications to inform doctors and consumers about newly identified concerns. Some products had more than one boxed warning added or safety communication issued over the time of the study.

The median time for an FDA action was 4.2 years after approval, according to the study.

Eric Topol, founder and director of Scripps Translational Science Institute, who was not involved in the research, said he wasn’t surprised about the safety risks, but added, “the fact that it is one out of three of FDA-approved drugs is troubling.”

Part of the problem, he said, is that clinical trials often cherry-pick patients likely to produce the best results. “We don’t get a real-world representation,” he said.

He suggested that the agency consider granting new drugs conditional approval, then collect safety data from every patient to see, early on, whether a problem emerges. “Why not have a standard where we put every new drug under watch, and see if we could catch a problem before the drug is widely advertised?” he said.

The study showed that the treatments most likely to be flagged for safety concerns were those granted clearance under the agency’s accelerated approval program, as well as medications for mental illnesses and those approved close to the deadline that had been set for the review.

An agency spokeswoman said that “FDA performs post-market monitoring to identify new safety information that may impact product labeling. In general, the FDA does not comment on specific studies, but evaluates them as part of the body of evidence to further our understanding about a particular issue and assist in our mission to protect public health.”