Archive for the ‘ELECTION & POLITICAL’ Category

“FLU SHOTS – 2010″

Friday, August 27th, 2010

CDC Officials Urging Public To Get Flu Shot Sooner This Year.

The Wall Street Journal (8/25, Mckay) reports that this year, CDC and other health officials are urging Americans to get the flu shot, which contains protection against three strains, most notably, H1N1, early. CDC Director Thomas Frieden stated, “I think last year will be a plus rather than a minus in terms of vaccine coverage,” and added that the agency is working on new technology that will allow vaccines to be produced faster. Nevertheless, CDC officials are aware that some people are still hesitant to get the vaccine because of concerns that it was not adequately tested, or because they believe H1N1 is not a major health threat.

(adapted from E.M.Today)

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Promoting Prevention through the Affordable Care Act


NEJM | August 25, 2010 | Topics: Implementation, Public Health
Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., and Kathleen G. Sebelius, M.P.A.

Too many people in our country are not reaching their full potential for health because of preventable conditions. Moreover, Americans receive only about half of the preventive services that are recommended1 — a finding that highlights the national need for improved health promotion. The 2010 Affordable Care Act2 responds to this need with a vibrant emphasis on disease prevention. Many of the 10 major titles in the law, especially Title IV, Prevention of Chronic Diseases and Improving Public Health, advance a prevention theme through a wide array of new initiatives and funding. As a result, we believe that the Act will reinvigorate public health on behalf of individuals, worksites, communities, and the nation at large (see table) — and will usher in a revitalized era for prevention at every level of society.

Major Sections Related to Prevention in the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
First, the Act provides individuals with improved access to clinical preventive services. A major strategy is to remove cost as a barrier to these services, potentially opening new avenues toward health. For example, new private health plans and insurance policies (for plans or policy years beginning on or after September 23, 2010) are required to cover a range of recommended preventive services with no cost sharing by the beneficiary. These services include those rated as “A” (strongly recommended) or “B” (recommended) by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), vaccinations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and preventive care and screening included both in existing health guidelines for children and adolescents and in future guidelines to be developed for women through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Examples of covered services include screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer; screening for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for persons at high risk; alcohol-misuse counseling; depression screening (when systems are in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and follow-up); and immunizations.
The prevention theme also affects individuals covered by public insurance programs. A number of policy changes will be phased in over time. For example, starting January 1, 2011, Medicare will cover, without cost sharing, an annual wellness visit that includes a health risk assessment and a customized prevention plan. Full coverage of many USPSTF-recommended services will also be available under Medicare with no cost sharing. Similarly, in 2013 and beyond, state Medicaid programs that eliminate cost sharing for preventive services recommended by the USPSTF or ACIP may be eligible for enhanced federal matching funds for providing those services.
Second, the law promotes wellness in the workplace, providing new health promotion opportunities for employers and employees. For example, the Act authorizes funds for grants for small businesses to provide comprehensive workplace wellness programs. The law also requires the secretary of health and human services to assess existing federal health and wellness initiatives and directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to survey worksite health policies and programs nationally.
Third, the Act strengthens the vital role of communities in promoting prevention. New initiative opportunities are designed to strengthen partnerships between local or state governments and community groups. For example, new Community Transformation Grants promise to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, promote smoking cessation and social and emotional wellness, and prioritize strategies to reduce health care disparities. Also, in further recognition that immunization is a foundation for public health, the Act authorizes states to use their funds to purchase vaccines for adults at federally negotiated prices. Grants for states will also support demonstration projects to improve vaccination rates.
Fourth, the Act elevates prevention as a national priority, providing unprecedented opportunities for promoting health through all policies. For example, a newly established National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, involving more than a dozen federal agencies, will develop a prevention and health promotion strategy for the country. The council will build on the foundation of preceding prevention initiatives, such as Healthy People (which has set the country’s health promotion and disease prevention agenda for the past 30 years),3 as well as efforts of expert groups such as the USPSTF, the Community Preventive Services Task Force, and the ACIP. A new Prevention and Public Health Fund, with an annual appropriation that begins at $500 million in fiscal year 2010 and increases to $2 billion in fiscal year 2015 and beyond, will invest in a range of prevention and wellness programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Initial funds have already been invested in strengthening public health infrastructure, prevention research, surveillance, integration of primary care into community-based behavioral health programs, HIV prevention, obesity prevention, and tobacco control. Reinvigorated planning will also involve a national strategy to improve the quality of health care, improved data collection on health disparities,4 and authorization of a host of other new programs. Most newly authorized programs await appropriations and future funding as available through the annual budget process (exceptions are noted in the table).
The Act authorizes heavy investment in bolstering a primary care workforce that can promote prevention. For example, the law appropriates up to $1.5 billion for the National Health Service Corps between fiscal years 2011 and 2015 to place health care professionals in underserved areas, complementing other new investments for community health centers administered through HRSA. To guide future placements of health care professionals, a new National Health Care Workforce Commission will analyze needs.
Since tobacco dependence and obesity represent substantial health threats, the Act addresses these specific challenges in a number of ways. For example, the directives for the new health plans established after September 23, 2010, also include coverage, with no cost sharing, of tobacco-use counseling and evidence-based tobacco-cessation interventions, as well as obesity screening and counseling for adults and children. Starting this year, pregnant women on Medicaid will receive coverage, without cost sharing, for evidence-based tobacco-dependence treatments; in 2014, states will be forbidden from excluding from Medicaid drug coverage any pharmaceutical agents for smoking cessation, including over-the-counter medications, that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. To promote healthy weight for populations, the Act appropriates funds for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for demonstration projects to develop model programs for reducing childhood obesity. And on the policy front, menu-labeling provisions require the disclosure of specified nutrient information for food sold in certain chain restaurants and vending machines. Collectively, these complementary actions in the clinic and the community will benefit individuals as well as populations.
In short, to prevent disease and promote health and wellness, the Act breaks new ground. We believe the law reaffirms the principle that “the health of the individual is almost inseparable from the health of the larger community. And the health of each community and territory determines the overall health status of the Nation.”3 Moving prevention toward the mainstream of health may well be one of the most lasting legacies of this landmark legislation.
This article (10.1056/NEJMp1008560) was published on August 25, 2010, at NEJM.org.
Disclosure forms provided by the authors are available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org.
Source Information
Dr. Koh is Assistant Secretary for Health, and Ms. Sebelius is the Secretary for Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.
References
1. McGlynn EA, Asch SM, Adams J, et al. The quality of health care delivered to adults in the United States. N Engl J Med 2003;348:2635-2645
2. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, 23 March 2010.
3. Koh HK. A 2020 vision for healthy people. N Engl J Med 2010;362:1653-1656
4. Siegel B, Nolan L. Leveling the field — ensuring equity through national health care reform. N Engl J Med 2009;361:2401-2403

Emergency Poetry

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

POETRY BY DRJPWINTER

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TO SEASONS OF COEUR

drjpwinter

As young love brilliance faded,
Storms of passion now jaded -
As friendship salvage tenets stated,
Love and the spirit must be traded.

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“TO FAMILIES OF EMERGENCIES”

drjpwwinter

Harmony or storms

Riding life’s ocean waves –

With dangerous sneaker forms

Which always, love saves.

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“TO EMERGENCIES BONDING”

jpwinter

Nature’s bucky balls fly

In cosmos carbon flight -

Not to any naked eye

Bonds of absolute might.

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“TO THE CALL – STAT, STAT, STAT”

drjpwinter

ER team looks for life’s sign

DOA, Trauma Red and Code Blue -

Emergency calls define

As malpractice and lawyers ensue.

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TO FAVORITE DAUGHTERS

drjpwinter

One never knows of  love

As depth of breaths recede -

And graceful prayer rains from above,

A newborn rainbow when dark clouds preceed.

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“TO THE SEASONALLY EMERGENT”

drjpwinter

Winter wonderland

Spring wildflower in hand -

Summer parade band

Fall colors in ocean sand.

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“TO MY MENTOR MRYUK”

drjpwinter

Wizard to honor

Comrade to hail –

Physician of poisons

Career sunset sail.

“DRUGS’ HALL OF SHAME” – IT’S NOT ABOUT PERFORMANCE

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

DRUGS…PROFIT…PERFORMANCE…DRUGS…CHEAT…ILLICIT…UNETHICAL…

PROFIT…

PERFORMANCE…CHEAT…ABUSE…LIE…DIE

So much of our world is drug oriented. We understand overall, that without drugs, even chemicals, our world would be full of disease, food sources would be lessened, and conveniences would be limited. As this thesis is written, the touch is embracing plastic keys, rubberized mouse pads, vinyl coated wiring – my elbows pushing steadily on laminate. The rubber tips of my work tools include rubber ear tips on my stethoscope, rubberized tubing to the metal plated bell to listen to patients’ hearts with a plastic cover shield to clean off.

So what is the deal with the lead in the toys? The recent recall included over 405,000 lead contaminate toys from the Chinese manufacturers. Some of the toys recalled were “Duck Family,” Robot 2000, Big Red Wagons, Winnie-the-Pooh spinning products.

To my knowledge, no child has been severely poisoned with these toys, nor injured in a poisoning sense with these lead toys. The greatest majority of lead cases these days are from old paints…pre-1976…when lead was taken out of the USA marketplace of paints. So old paint chips that children eat or ate, especially in older home and apartment buildings renovations, was and are the source. But the biggest reduction in lead overall in the USA was the reduction of lead in gasoline. This essentially stopped the big problem. More discussion of lead poisoning was when under Clinton’s administration, the lead limits were reduced to an absolute low level despite little or no data to support the new change. But even with this new limit in children, few ever have had disease.

Nicotine in itself is a drug, a chemical that has been used obviously in smoking addiction, but in itself is not a bad thing. It has been used in industry in a variety of compounds. Nicotine, however, is the buzz in smoking. Just good old craziness allowed the U.S. to create multi-millionaire attorneys fighting for “our rights” and for those who “didn’t know” cigarettes were bad, yet the USA funds tobacco, the tribes sell tobaccos at reduced prices to entice smoking, and the CDC funds research to explore “the nicotine drug cure,” and it is all still legal. At a recent American Heart Association meeting, research on the new nicotine vaccine has made some promising head roads. One year and five shots later, the vaccine doubled the number of “stopped” addicted smokers from about 6% to 15% over the year. The problem still exists that less than 10%, some say lower, smokers of cigarettes ever stop that consistently try to stop. How many smokers? About 46-50 million in the U.S. and about half of them will try to stop sometime. The vaccine is a potentially great drug to help. The nicotine blocker med which castMD has written on before still helps to, but so far is not necessarily more effective than the patch or the gum. Stopping smoking takes good old will power.

And then there is the date-rape drugged toys. Most of this happened if not all was with the “Aqua Dots” toys. It seems that one of the chemicals in the surrounding coating changes or gets metabolized in the body when eaten. This is an extremely unique and interesting mass-market finding. It is really quite amazing that it was found. The GHB that was found is extremely difficult to measure generally. Many times in the ER, labs can not find it. It is metabolized quickly. Some of the previous day’s internet drug providers (illicit) sold chemicals that would convert to GHB. Some of these chemicals are still passed around and used at “rave parties” and other parties. GHB is a dangerous drug. It is illicit. It can kill you or make you unable to defend, protect, or interact. Thusly, called the date-rate drug. However, it was a prescription drug known as Rohypnol that was one of the original date rape drugs. It is also now illegal in the U.S., but probably can be found in the international markets illegally…not sure of legally however. Always open your own beverage and never leave one sitting around…especially in the club scene.

Did Bonds do it or not? Will the “asterisked” marked Hall of Fame baseball be delegated a fraud by another drug story? Not just another drug related story in recent and past news. Maybe all steroids should just be allowed in all athletics. Tell the athletes the risk, the wrestlers, the baseball players, and the Olympians. All these steroid abuse stories have hit the news just in the past months.

But the problem with that is…this story…

Doping in sports is a problem. But would you give or have someone else give your daughter or son steroids for performance enhancement? Watching little league and junior to senior sports makes me wonder. How far would a parent or caregiver go?

From the 1976 Olympians of East German come the latest stories of abuse, which is being called in a new documentary “The Great Olympic Drug Scandal: Revealed.” The sports “theme plan” developed relied on anabolic steroids. That year, 40 gold medals were placed over East Germany’s team members with a heavy emphasis on women’s swimming events winning all the golds in nearly all the events. Children were given oral tablets and injections, even on the day of competition in the Olympics, untraceable at that time. Coaches were rewarded by success, despite the unethical mark. Some athletes recruited prior to teenage were started on performance enhancement drugs. Doctors were required to sign confidentiality agreements despite the unethical mark.

Some of the athletes had sexual identity and self-worth problems while growing up. Many had obvious gynecological irregularities. In later life, sexual identity was explored and some even had sex changes. But many have been left out of the story lines…How has their lives been altered? How many have died unknown, changed forever by the decay of human value, gross ethical breaches of doctors, and limitless greed of self-flagellating coaches.

Systematic. Documented in abusive performance. Involuntary. Organized to destroy human life. Sidelined by death. Welcome to professional sports and Olympian sports.

Welcome to Beijing anyone?

Welcome to the Drugs’ Hall of Shame! It is NOT about performance…

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN DONATIONS – SILENT BIAS OF THE QUID PRO QUO

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

IF YOU MISSED THIS POLICY-PUSHING DONATION GROUP LISTING IN USA TODAY NEWS, HERE IS A SECOND CHANCE TO SEE THE MONEY MIXERS.

And the money makes the politics “responsive!”

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

 CONTRIBUTIONS

TIME: JAN 1, 2007 THROUGH JUNE 30, 2007

TYPES OF BUSINESS                                    DOLLARS         PARTY

LAW FIRM-LAWYERS                             27.8 MILLION 78 % TO DEMS

SECURITIES-INVST                                   18 MILLION 56 % TO DEMS

RETIRED                                                     16.5 MILLION 51 % TO DEMS

REALESTATE                                             11.7 MILLION 50 % TO DEMS

BUSINESS                                                     8.2 MILLION 75 % TO DEMS

BUSINESS SERVICE                                      6 MILLION 63 % TO DEMS

FINANCE                                                       5.9 MILLION 46 % TO DEMS

MOVIE-TV                                                    4.6 MILLION 82 % TO DEMS

HEALTH PROF                                             4.4 MILLION 53 % TO DEMS

EDUCATION                                                  4.1 MILLION 75 % TO DEMS

SO, THE DEMS ARE IN THE LEAD SO FAR WITH DONATIONS ACROSS ALL WALKS OF EMPLOYMENT.

It is amazing that the discrepancy of donation dollars regarding the legal industry is so extraordinarily excessive compared to many other business sectors. No wonder tort reform is impossible in many areas of the country. This non-action on tort reform effects all businesses, not just medicine. Now you know. The money follows the “silent bias of the quid pro quo.”

(The data is from the Center for Responsive Politics)

ENDORSEMENTS AT RISK FOR MANY PROFESSIONALS AND SENATORS…

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

requip_larrycraig1.jpg

ANY WILLING PROVIDER – DOES YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY RESTRICT YOUR ACCESS TO A DOCTOR IN IDAHO

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Some insurers and their plans still make it difficult for patients to see the doctor of their choice.  The “Any Willing Provider Law” in Idaho mandates that all insurance companies open their doors to any provider, granted the provider apply and follow the terms of the contractual agreement.  It still seems some insurances companies restrict access to doctors and hospitals and make it difficult to get through that open door. 

In the emergency rooms of America, EMTALA took care of that.  It’s definition now is the “layperson’s view of the emergency.”

One case in Idaho went to the Supreme Court already, where the Supremes overruled the lower court, and award costs and a new appeal to a group of cardiologists. 

Isn’t it time all companies and groups representing themselves as gatekeepers to care - that insure patients in Idaho - obey the law?   Patients need to be pro-active knowing their rights.

SUMMARY


AWP laws come in a variety of forms but the most common type prohibits managed care networks from excluding physicians, pharmacists, hospitals, and other health care providers who are willing to accept the network’s terms and conditions from participation. As the term implies, AWP laws require managed care network sponsors to include any provider who agrees to abide by the terms of their contract and accept their payment schedule.

AWP laws adopted around the country differ considerably. Some permit managed care plan subscribers freedom of choice to select any provider in general, and others have choice with respect to pharmacies or even narrow categories of specialists such as chiropractors, optometrists, or psychiatrists. Some AWP laws apply to institutional providers such as hospitals and still others require network sponsors to merely notify subscribers of plan practices.

As best as we can determine at least 17 states have passed some form of AWP law. But, the governors of Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont vetoed their respect AWP legislation. The laws in nine states apply only to pharmacies and pharmacists. Among these is the Massachusetts proposal which the governor vetoed. The Massachusetts legislature voted to override the veto.

California has an open-panel requirement with respect to health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Minnesota adopted a law that requires managed care plans to expand network providers
and Virginia has an open-panel requirement for preferred provider organizations (PPOs) networks that permit chiropractors, optometrists, podiatrists, and psychologists to join if they agree to terms and conditions.


Idaho (1994)

Idaho enacted an AWP law and grievance procedure. The law includes provisions that specify that (1) any provider who is qualified and willing to meet plan terms and conditions must be allowed to participate as a network provider; (2) termination or nonrenewal of a provider may occur only after written notice of intended breach of contract, and (3) all insurers must have a grievance procedure in place that includes arbitration or other reasonable due process features (HB 886). (Adapted from: olr@po. state. ct. us)

Is your doctor getting old? Ask the mature doctor if:

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Does the doctor know that doctors and nurses wrote on the same non-electronic paper?

Does your doctor know that intravenous solutions came in glass, as well as “shots” - bottles like milk?

Does your doctor know that bedpans were steel and cold?

Does your doctor know that the coroner and funeral director and the ambulance driver were all the same guy?

Does your doctor know that appendix can come out without a catscan?

Does your doctor know that defibrillators were once very big devices and heavy?

Does your doctor reminisce when nurses got up to let the doctor sit down?

Does your doctor remember the times of routine housecalls?

Does your doctor know the Rat Pak is not a surgical dressing?

Does your doctor know the ER was not manned 24/7?

Does your doctor know that a wet xray reading was actually wet?

Does your doctor know listening to patients is a good thing?

adapted with additional content from EPM and castMD.com

HEAD INJURY – WHY NOT WEAR THE HELMET

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Recently, during a Fourth of July parade, many bikers, cyclists, gymnasts, cheerleaders, rollerskaters, Shriners’ clowns, speed-skaters, and even horseriders were watched with such intensity…and were applauded for their acts, high flying or racing speed. BUT……..Why not wear a helmet?

Some states have passed and then repealed helmet laws. There has been some emphasis on kids with bicycles to wear helmets, and some push to wear helmets during down-hill skiing. BUT…..Why not wear the helmet always?

Is it a personal right NOT to wear a helmet? Is it a business right then for taxpayers, insurers, employers, disability companies and worker comp programs to refuse coverage retrospectively for such injuries and morbidity when someone does NOT wear a helmet? What about a seat-belt? What about smoking, drinking, obesity, and lack of exercise? Sounds far fetched?

Well, back to the parade…..

The Emergency Departments see generally over 2 million head trauma victims annually in the United States.  It is the leading cause of death in persons under 25 years old, with over 50,000 persons dying yearly from head injury.

Head injury crosses all boundaries of socio-economics, ethnicity, financial burden, and coverage.  Just ask the attorney that fell from the bus he was watching a parade from…a little too much partying possibly…Ask his wife who was unrecognized by this smart man after hitting his head.  Life as it was…over…New rules, new learning, new start – ALL difficult to say the least.  Career, family, dreams, and hopes all snuffed due to the head injury.

Some patients have intra-cranial bleeding from their head injury, which is about 5-10%.   This means there is bleeding either in the brain itself, or around the brain under the skull.  Each of the types of bleeding is extremely serious.  Some do not need surgery, while other types of head injury with bleeding inside the skull require immediate life-saving procedures and surgeries. 

High risk groups for “closed” (no external injury) head injury that need a CT scan, which now is the standard, are kids under 6 months, elderly, persistent vomiting, neurological or mental changes, alcohol abuse or overuse, prolonged loss of consciousness and those on blood thinners.  The medical legal world has driven the doctors to scan more often defensively, even with minor head injury.  This has been pushed by successful litigation for what appears minor, only later to be a significant injury.

Even the NFL has now taken up the banner.  It is evident now that boxers and football players with repeated or recurrent head injuries have shown brain disability later in life.  Most of the athletic associations understand now that head injury, even minor, is not to be taken lightly.   Even many of the “rough and tough” rodeo cowboys now wear helmets with the rodeo association.  The bronco-busters are leading the pro charge.

So what’s up with the ultimate boxing and cage fighting until loss of consciousness?  Should insurers, payors, and hospitals be forced to insure these programs and their victims? 

Long term complications of concussion, (which ranges from a confusion with loss of consciousness to complete coma)  are many.  Memory difficulties exist, and may stay persistent.  Dizziness, a general feeling of weakness or lack of energy may continue for months to years.  Headache is common, as well as a problem of focusing on projects or things that require intense thought.  Amnesia, or ability to remember is certainly a problem many victims of head injury encounter.  This retrograde (backwards) memory loss can be devastating.  Thus the attorney’s wife….sobbing….and wondering….

Generally there are three classes of initial head injury in evaluation and prognosis.  They are:  mild, moderate, and severe.  This category is really of doctor’s category based on an initial scoring designed by Glascow.

castMD in a previous post discussed more about head injury.  Please see the following link if you wish to read more about concussion and sports

http://www.castmd.com/?p=93

But head injury is a very serious matter…So teach your kids to wear their helmets by wearing yours.  Consider the no helmet-no activity rule for this. 

As for what the future will bring for insurance coverage for dangerous behavior regarding helmets is still up in the air…..but many insurance companies require a rider or no insurance coverage for trampolines now…..too many broken necks and spinal cord injuries!

I remember the little boy as he was lying there.  Absolutely beautiful 4 year old.  Unconscious.  Comatose.  Scheduled for long-term care preparation and surgeries.  No sign of external injury.  “Just a closed head injury…..”