CA Access News

October 2012

    


In this Issue: Features | Advocate Advantage | Calendar | Welcome New Partners | In the News | Interesting Information | Contact Us

 

Poll: Medicare prescription drug program popular

By David Jackson
USA Today, October 3, 2012

Here's one program candidates aren't likely to mess with: The Medicare prescription drug plan.

A new poll sponsored by a health care group shows that 90% of seniors are satisfied with the program known as Medicare Part D, and approval has constantly risen since the plan came on line in 2006.

"Nearly seven years later, 9 in 10 Medicare beneficiaries have prescription drug coverage," says the poll. "Satisfaction among those with Medicare Part D has grown 12 points from 78% to 90%. Most are very satisfied with their coverage and say their plan offers excellent value, reasonable costs, and convenience."

The survey was sponsored by Medicare Today, an initiative of the Healthcare Leadership Council.

The pollsters say that seniors "feel peace of mind" with the prescription drug program, and regard it as "a safety net."

Neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney have criticized Medicare Part D, though Obama has noted that the Bush administration pushed the plan without new revenues to help finance it.

Among other poll findings show that without Part D:

-- 84% report that out-of-pocket drug costs would be higher.

-- 61% would be unable to fill all of their prescriptions.

-- 53% would be more likely to cut back or stop taking medicine altogether.

The survey did note that seniors could be better informed about the open enrollment plan for Medicare Part D that starts Oct. 15. Said the poll: "Each year during open enrollment, seniors have the opportunity to assess their situation, compare plans, and choose one that best meets their needs. This year, most say they will not shop around during open enrollment because they are satisfied. Some, however, find comparing plans difficult. There are opportunities to raise awareness of Medicare's Plan Finder tool and other sources of help."


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Advocate Advantage

Medicare Part D Open Enrollment is Underway

By John Kehoe

It is fall, and the beauty of nature is enhanced by the season's colors. As the leaves fall, and winds sweep these accents of nature in, it is also time for the annual period of open enrollment in the health care world. While there are many iterations of these open enrollment steps, one of the key pieces of this puzzle is in the delivery of Medicare D, the prescription drug program. From October 15 to December 7, the Medicare plan permits the Medicare eligible to make changes in their coverage and benefits.

This year, a study conducted by KRC Research clearly demonstrates that Medicare D drug coverage is working. By overwhelming numbers the respondents to this survey indicate that more than 90 percent of eligible patients that Medicare Part D covers, are  satisfied with what the plan offers. During this period of open enrollment the Medicare beneficiaries are urged to review their plan, its coverage and any changes in the offing so that good, informed choices can be made for the year 2013. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offers a website, www.medicare.gov, and a toll-free telephone number to ask questions, obtain answers and have the support needed for the informed choice. The toll-free number is: 1-800-633-4227. Don't forget to use the plan finder feature, which is not as well-known as it should be. In addition to consumer satisfaction, there is the added factor of significant cost savings for the program. The American taxpayers can be very grateful for this achievement.

Partner Spotlight

Program Solves Homeless Dumping Issue for Private Hospitals

Recuperative Care (sometimes referred to as medical respite) provides medical care to homeless persons recovering from an acute illness or injury, no longer in need of acute care but unable to sustain recovery if living on the street or other unsuitable place.

These programs ensure that medical care received in a hospital or clinic setting is not compromised due to unstable living situations after discharge.

Combined with housing placement services and effective case management, recuperative care programs allow individuals with complex medical and psycho-social needs the opportunity to recover in a stable environment while reducing potential health complications and subsequent hospital readmission.

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Calendar



Check out our CPAT partner events occurring this month!


Were you unable to attend a CPAT event? All program materials are housed on our website.

Would you like to see your organization's event listed? Contact Jason Dumont at jason@perrycom.com to help advertise your upcoming event.

Welcome New Partners

A-1 Home Care / Orange County In Home Care

Join Now

Do you know a group who would be interested in joining CPAT? Please send your referrals to:

Northern California - Contact Jason Dumont at jason@perrycom.com

Southern California - Contact Brandon Stephenson at brandon@cerrell.com

In the News

NIH launches free database of drugs associated with liver injury

By Kathy Cravedi
National Institutes of Health, October 12, 2012

A free source of evidence-based information for health care professionals and for researchers studying liver injury associated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbals, and dietary supplements is now available from the National Institutes of Health. Researchers and health care professionals can use the LiverTox database to identify basic and clinical research questions to be answered and to chart optimal ways to diagnose and control drug-induced liver injury.

Drug-induced liver injury is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, accounting for at least half of cases. It occurs at all ages, in men and women, and in all races and ethnic groups. Drug-induced liver disease is more likely to occur among older adults because they tend to take more medications than younger people. Some drugs directly damage the liver, while others cause damage indirectly or by an allergic reaction. The most important element to managing drug-induced liver injury is to identify the drug that’s causing the problem and appropriate steps to eliminate or reduce damage to the liver.

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Daily multivitamin appears to slightly lower cancer risk in older men

By John Bardin
Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2012

In the new study, researchers analyzed data collected as part of the Physicians' Health Study II, which followed 14,641 male doctors age 50 and older for an average of 11.2 years. During that time, the doctors were randomized into groups that received either the multivitamin or a placebo.

Compared with the doctors taking the placebo, the doctors who took the multivitamin were 8% less likely to develop any type of cancer over the course of the study -- a modest but significant difference. The overall cancer rates were 17.6% in the multivitamin group and 18.8% in the placebo group.

But the study found no difference at all in the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer -- by far the most common diagnosis in the study. About half of the 2,669 cancers diagnosed during the study were prostate cancers, likely because of the popularity of the PSA screening test during the study period.

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Interesting Information

Mobile Health Technology Experiences Growing Pains

Rapid growth of mobile health technology means stakeholders must cope with security issues and integration into the existing IT infrastructure.

By Nicole Lewis
Information Week, October 9, 2012

A report cites six key areas where the use of mobile devices can improve research and care coordination:

Long-term disease management: As patients get older and live longer, the need for mobile devices that monitor their condition will increase and the geriatric market segment will grow.

Primary diagnosis: This is enabled through telehealth systems such as mobile video consultations. By exchanging clinical information, doctors can make diagnostic predictions and improve patient outcomes.

Emergency response systems: Text messaging, personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, and other mobile communications systems can help medical teams coordinate the care of patients in transition from one setting to another.

Health and wellness information: Health-related tools and apps are gaining popularity. These include personalized fitness tools such as Fitbit, Adidas miCoach, and WiScale, which monitor exercise regimens and track everything from how many calories you burn to your weight and body mass index (BMI).

Mobile-enhanced RFID-based tracking of drugs: Mobile devices can help track medications and other medical supplies.

Public health research: The data collected from monitoring patients can contribute to population health research and surveillance of groups of individuals with similar medical conditions.

According to Kannan, within the next three to four years, mobile device developers will gain a better understanding of the nature of security breach concerns and will improve their systems to shield against these threats.

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