Zalicus Initiates Phase 2b Clinical Trial Of Synavive In Rheumatoid Arthritis

Main Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology
Also Included In: Clinical Trials / Drug Trials
Article Date: 30 Jun 2011 – 9:00 PDT

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Zalicus Inc. (NASDAQ: ZLCS) a biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops novel treatments for patients suffering from pain and immuno-inflammatory diseases today announced the initiation of the SYNERGY trial, a Phase 2b clinical trial evaluating Synavive™, a low-dose glucocorticoid with the potential for amplified immuno-inflammatory benefits, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Top-line results of the clinical trial are expected to be available in the second half of 2012. In addition, Zalicus has drawn an additional $8.5 million from its $20.0 million secured credit facility with Oxford Finance to fund Synavive advancement.

“RA is an attractive initial indication for Synavive as there is unmet need for a safer glucocorticoid; one that provides the amplified anti-inflammatory activity of a higher dose but without the associated dose-related side effects. There is already a high prevalence of glucocorticoid use in RA for chronic maintenance therapy, as well as significant demand for less expensive, easier to access options to biologic therapy,” said Mark H.N. Corrigan, MD, President and CEO of Zalicus. “Data from a prior Phase 2a clinical trial with Synavive demonstrated encouraging preliminary signs of activity in RA patients and we look forward to further exploring its potential in this indication and reporting top-line SYNERGY results next summer.”

Study Design and Objectives

The Phase 2b clinical trial titled SYNERGY (SYNavivE for Reducing signs and sYmptoms of rheumatoid arthritis trial), is a 12-week, five-arm, global, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Synavive as a treatment for the signs and symptoms of RA in approximately 250 subjects with moderate to severe disease. The trial will be conducted in up to 60 centers throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. The primary objective of the trial is to evaluate Synavive efficacy compared to placebo, while key additional secondary objectives include evaluating the efficacy of Synavive compared to its individual components (2.7mg of Prednisolone and 360mg of Dipyramidamole) as well as how Synavive performs in comparison to 5mg of Prednisone. Subjects who complete the core SYNERGY trial will be eligible to participate in a one-year extension study designed to investigate the long-term safety and durability of response for Synavive.

“We will consider the SYNERGY trial a success if Synavive demonstrates a statistically significant benefit compared to placebo and a clinically meaningful, but not necessarily statistically significant, benefit compared to its individual components alone,” said Jonathan Krant, MD, Vice President, Clinical Research of Zalicus. “In addition, we will seek to determine if the efficacy of Synavive is comparable to a commonly prescribed 5 mg dose of the glucocorticoid Prednisone.”

About Synavive

Synavive is a novel product candidate designed to enhance the anti-inflammatory benefits of glucocorticoids, without associated dose-dependent side effects. Synavive contains the cardiovascular agent dipyridamole and a very low dose of the glucocorticoid prednisolone and has been designed for once-daily use in a unique fixed-dose, aligned release, oral formulation. Synavive is thought to act through a novel multi-target mechanism of action in which dipyridamole synergistically and selectively amplifies prednisolone’s anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities by inhibiting key cell mediators of inflammation. In prior proof-of-concept clinical trials, Synavive demonstrated a powerful anti-inflammatory effect in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) and was generally well-tolerated. Synavive is currently in Phase 2 clinical development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Beyond RA, Synavive has potential in other steroid-responsive diseases such as polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), lupus (SLE), ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s as well as a potential replacement of NSAIDs and COXIB’s in osteoarthritis.

Source:

Zalicus Inc.




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Women Make More Progress Early On After Knee Replacement Surgery, Men Play Post-Op Catch-Up

Main Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology
Article Date: 30 Jun 2011 – 5:00 PDT

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Although women generally have worse knee function and more severe symptoms before undergoing surgery for knee replacement than men, they recover faster after the operation. Men take longer to recover but, after a year, they catch up with women and there are no differences in surgery outcomes at that time. These findings by Thoralf Liebs, from Hassenpflug University of the Schleswig-Holstein Medical Center in Germany, and colleagues, are published online in Springer’s journal Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.

Although research to date shows conflicting results, anatomic, social and cultural differences are thought to explain gender-specific function and health-related quality of life after total knee replacement surgery, or knee arthroplasty. Also highly debated are gender-specific total knee arthroplasty implants to account for relatively small anatomic differences. The rationale behind their respective designs is that there are specific anatomic differences; for instance, women tend to have slightly narrower knees than men.

To determine whether women are worse off than men after knee replacement operations, Liebs and his coauthors analyzed data from three German multicenter trials. The data evaluated rehabilitation measures after standard unisex knee arthroplasty in 494 patients – 141 men and 353 women. The authors looked at self-reported physical function three, six, 12 and 24 months after surgery as well as leg-specific stiffness and pain.

Women were on average three years older than men at the time of surgery and were more physically limited and in greater pain than men. At three and six months after surgery, women showed greater improvements in function, and reduced pain than men. When the authors took age, BMI (body mass index) and co-morbidities into account, the gender difference remained at three months after surgery but not at six months.

The authors concluded: “We do not know yet why women recover faster from surgery than men. It could be because of women’s lower preoperative health-related quality of life, whereby they have more to gain from surgery, or because of other speculative factors such as different postoperative activity levels, psychological factors, or different utilization of treatment. It is too early to say.”

Reference
Liebs TR et al (2011). Women recover faster than men after standard knee arthroplasty. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. DOI 10.1007/s11999-011-1921-z

Source:
Joan Robinson

Springer




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Senate Finance Committee TAA Proposal Imposes Arbitrary Cuts, Will Restrict Patient Access, AMIC Says

Main Category: Medicare / Medicaid / SCHIP
Article Date: 30 Jun 2011 – 1:00 PDT

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The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (AMIC) said today the Senate Finance Committee proposal to drastically reduce Medicare payments for critical screening and diagnostic imaging services will further harm patient access to care in their communities, causing delays in diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and cancers. The $400 million in proposed Medicare cuts would be used to pay for an extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, included in a pending free trade agreement with South Korea.

“Enacting Medicare cuts to pay for other programs will damage seniors’ access to early detection and diagnostic services,” said Tim Trysla, executive director of AMIC. “Further dramatic reductions to payments for critical screening and diagnostic services-400 million dollars, on top of the billions of dollars in cuts that have been imposed every year since 2006-can’t be sustained by physician practices that provide these services in the community, nor by the seniors whose health and lives depend upon them. Funding other programs on the backs of seniors’ health care access is harmful policy.”

In a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, AMIC, whose membership represents more than 100,000 physicians, medical providers, and patient organizations throughout the U.S., said that “reducing Medicare reimbursement levels for advanced imaging services that use MRI and CT equipment will make it financially very difficult for physicians to continue offering these services in the community, which will jeopardize seniors’ access to care. The potential impact is not limited to advanced imaging, though, as the consolidation and closing of imaging centers in the community will mean that standard imaging modalities like mammography, ultrasound and x-ray will also not be available. While all modalities would likely still be available in hospitals (which, for those in rural areas of the country, could be hundreds of miles away), access would be restricted by long waiting times for appointments, appointments at odd hours of the day, and long lines in the waiting room.”

AMIC also said that the bill “appears to be yet another instance where imaging services for seniors are being cut to pay for other policies, under the guise of achieving ‘appropriate’ payment rates.” Instead, AMIC urges policymakers to look at forward-thinking solutions such as promoting the adoption of imaging appropriateness criteria and allowing the imaging accreditation policy, enacted in 2008 and currently being implemented by the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services, to work.

The letter also pointed out that apart from short-term SGR patches, there has not been a major Medicare bill or a Physician Fee Schedule rule since 2006 that did not include a substantial cut to medical imaging payments or other major policy changes. Key examples of how imaging cuts have affected reimbursements are MRI of the brain (national payment rate reduced by 60.7 percent by 2013 when all CMS cuts have been phased in), DEXA bone density testing (reduced by 67.9 percent by 2013), and CT angiography of the abdominal arteries (reduced by 38.6 percent by 2013). Payment for even a simple chest x-ray will have been cut nearly 25 percent by 2013.

Source:

AMIC




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Statement By Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker On The Lieberman-Coburn Medicare Proposal

Main Category: Medicare / Medicaid / SCHIP
Article Date: 29 Jun 2011 – 1:00 PDT

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Proposals that shift costs to Medicare beneficiaries to save the federal government money, such as the one released today by Senator Lieberman and Senator Coburn, will do exactly what they are expected to do-cause people with Medicare, especially the half who have incomes under $22,000 a year, to avoid going to the doctor and seeking other necessary health care because they cannot afford to do so. Further, these proposals do nothing to solve the real problem and the underlying cause of increased spending in Medicare, which is rising costs in the health care sector overall. In short, it’s not over-utilization caused by patients that is the problem-it’s the prices.

One proposal included in Senator Lieberman and Senator Coburn’s plan is often deceptively referred to as “Medicare benefit simplification.” But these proposals are more scary than simple. They appear simple because such proposals would create a combined deductible and a universal coinsurance for Part A and B services as well as an out-of-pocket limit, limiting patients’ annual costs. In addition, many proposals of this nature also assume the elimination of first-dollar and subsequent reductions in coverage under Medigap.

They are scary because the allure of an out-of-pocket limit could blind patients, their caregivers and policymakers to the facts: these proposals save the government money by making patients pay more or making care so unaffordable that they just don’t get it in the first place. The vast majority of Medicare consumers would never benefit from the out-of-pocket limit because it is set far too high-$7,500 in the Lieberman-Coburn proposal. In fact, for most people with Medicare, out-of-pocket costs would increase because cost-sharing would apply where none existed before, like for home health care, and they would lose Medigap coverage of portions of their coinsurance and deductibles. This increase in out-of-pocket health costs would be a financial tipping point into poverty for many older Americans and people with disabilities, who on average already spend 15 percent of their income on health care.

As noted, these proposals also generate savings because the increased costs shouldered by patients would prevent them from using medical services. The supporters would have us believe that only unnecessary utilization would be prevented or that increased costs don’t affect people’s health. That’s not true. Across the board cost increases are a blunt tool. Patients, relying upon the advice of medical professionals and without the benefit of a medical school education, are in a poor position to determine what is necessary, as opposed to optional, care. This means those who are unable to afford care will forgo all care. And it means that these proposals would adversely affect the health of millions of people with Medicare.

Other cost shifting proposals, such as increasing Medicare Part B premiums for all beneficiaries, are simply tax-like increases on those who can least afford them-lower- and middle-income seniors and people with disabilities on fixed incomes. Medicare premiums already constitute nearly two-thirds of all health spending for beneficiaries, and have risen dramatically over time. The Lieberman-Coburn proposal would also raise premiums dramatically for wealthier beneficiaries, claiming that people like Warren Buffett can afford to pay more. That may well be, but these means-tested premiums do not raise much money. A much fairer way to raise much more income is to increase tax rates and close loopholes for Mr. Buffett and others; Mr. Buffett is already on record as calling for such.

Most importantly, these proposals to increase costs for people with Medicare and discourage them from using health care services do not solve the real problem-the cost of those services-which all Americans must bear whether they are covered by Medicare or private health insurance. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other proposals, like the bill introduced recently by Senator Rockefeller and Congressman Waxman to require additional prescription drug rebates, do get at this problem to solve some of our budget woes. Combined with realistic proposals that would generate revenue through the elimination of tax cuts and loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, this more balanced approach would allow time for measures that moderate health care costs generally to take the pressure off Medicare and prevent the need for radical proposals that shift costs to beneficiaries.

Read Joe Baker’s response to Senator Lieberman’s original proposal.

Source:

Medicare Rights Center




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Saving Medicare

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Main Category: Medicare / Medicaid / SCHIP
Also Included In: Public Health
Article Date: 29 Jun 2011 – 9:00 PDT

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A bipartisan proposal to save Medicare and lower its debt was revealed today by Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). They say over $600 billion would be saved over a decade, according to CBO (Congressional Budget Office) calculations, if the proposal goes through. They added that an extra $100 billion would also be saved as a result of employing the program integrity provisions.

Senator Lieberman, said:

“We can’t balance our budget without dealing with mandatory spending programs like Medicare. We can’t save Medicare as we know it. We can only save Medicare if we change it. And that’s what the Medicare Reform Plan Tom Coburn and I are proposing will do. Our plan contains some strong medicine but that’s what it will take to keep Medicare alive, but we believe our plan administers that medicine in a fair way. It asks just about everybody to give something to help preserve Medicare. But it asks wealthier Americans to give more than those who have less.”

(Senator) Dr. Coburn said:

“Our plan recognizes that continuing Medicare as it is currently structured is a financial impossibility. Medicare as we know it may not exist in five years if Congress does not take steps now to preserve the program. Every year we wait makes the inevitable task of structural reform more difficult. I’m encouraged Senator Lieberman has put a serious and significant Medicare reform proposal on the table. I understand these choices are difficult for members of Congress. I would encourage my colleagues to realize our partisan lines in the sand are being washed away by a rising tide of debt. Taking Medicare off the table won’t protect seniors. Doing nothing and letting seniors fend for themselves is the least compassionate and least responsible option. Our plan will preserve Medicare for current and future enrollees by taking important steps to realign the program with its original intent.”

The senators add that:

  • By allocating half of the savings from the proposal to the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, the solvency of Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) can be extended.
  • The proposal would reduce 75-year underfunding of Medicare liabilities by approximately $10 trillion, as well as considerably reducing the financial burden of Medicare Part D and Part B on the federal budget.
  • Seniors would have a yearly out-of-pocket maximum benefit within the Medicare program. The aim here is to minimize the risk of bankruptcy if they develop a chronic health condition or major illness.
  • The proposal contains a three year fix to the Medicare physician reimbursement formula that is paid for and will bring stability and payments to the Medicare provider system, ensuring access for seniors.
  • The proposal makes it more likely that Medicare continues being a government program for current and future beneficiaries.
  • The proposal would raise the Medicare retirement age to 67 – rising by 2 months every year, starting with those born in 1949, until it reached 67 years by 2025. Wealthy individuals would have to pay more for care.

US lawmakers are trying to find a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. If no increase is agreed on, the government will have used up its borrowing authority by August 2nd, 2011 – effectively, the US would default on its debts. This would lead to global chaos in the financial markets, with devastating consequences.

The Medicare Trust Fund will probably have served about 48.9 million people by the end of 2011, and approximately 64 million by the end of 2021. It is a major driver of federal spending.

“Saving Medicare: The Lieberman-Coburn Plan”
(Background material detailing the proposal)

Written by Christian Nordqvist

Copyright: Medical News Today

Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today




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Durable Medical Equipment: Medicare, Financial Aid, and Loans

Learn what constitutes “durable medical equipment”

  • Durable medical equipment typically refers to items such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, shower benches, portable commodes, and hospital beds.
  • See Medicare’s definition of “durable medical equipment.”

Learn when Medicare pays for durable medical equipment

  • Medicare web page summarizes when Medicare covers durable medical equipment.
  • Medicare web page summarizes types of equipment typically covered.
  • 16 page Medicare booklet gives detailed information on Medicare’s coverage of durable medical equipment.  The booklet also is available in Spanish.

Find a Medicare certified medical equipment supplier

Learn about DC metro financial aid for medical equipment

Find free loans of medical equipment in the DC metro area

  • Iona’s Medical Equipment Loan Closet provides free loans of donated durable medical equipment to anyone in need.  For more information, call 202-895-9448 (option 4) or email info@Iona.org.
  • The Washington Area Wheelchair Society provides free loans of donated durable medical equipment to low-income residents of DC, MD, and VA.  For more information, call 301-495-0277.
  • DC Shares provides free loans of donated durable medical equipment to low-income DC residents.  For more information, call 202-332-2595.

Explore posts in the same categories: Caregiver Resources, DC Metro Resources, Medical Equipment, Professional Resources

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Poor Oral Care May Cause Sexual Problems

Main Category: Erectile Dysfunction / Premature Ejaculation
Also Included In: Dentistry;  Sexual Health / STDs
Article Date: 29 Jun 2011 – 3:00 PDT

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A recent study has revealed erectile dysfunction can be linked to gum disease.

The research1, carried out on 70 male subjects, showed a correlation between gum disease and the ability to achieve an erection. The data indicates that as the severity of erectile dysfunction increased, so did the prevalence of chronic periodontitis (gum disease). Overall, more than four out of five men (81.8 per cent) with severe erectile dysfunction had gum disease. In comparison, in cases of mild erectile dysfunction, the incidence of gum disease was less than two in five men.

According to the National Institutes of Health2, erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to attain and or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. It is a condition that affects one in 10 men worldwide, and is more commonly experienced after the age of 403.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, believes the stigma attached to the subject could be forcing men up and down the country to turn a blind eye on their oral health.

Dr Carter said: “To associate gum disease, the major preventable cause of tooth loss in adults, with such a taboo subject amongst males is not something that should be taken lightly. If, in theory, four out of five men who suffer from erectile dysfunction have poor oral health, the effect it could have on their general health poses a serious health risk to those individuals affected.

“It is a well-known fact that gum disease has been linked to many conditions in the past that can have a detrimental effect on your general health such as heart disease and diabetes. When people have gum disease, bacteria from the mouth can get into their bloodstream, so it should therefore come as no surprise that this piece of research has linked vascular erectile dysfunction, another cardiac-related condition, with gum disease.

“The best way to combat oral health problems is to think prevention and develop a good routine to keep your teeth and gums healthy at home. By brushing for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, by reducing the frequency of how often you have sugary foods and drinks and by visiting your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend and by interdental brushing, you stand a far greater chance of having good oral health.”

For men who experience erectile dysfunction and resulting anxiety, loss of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, tension and difficulty in the relationship with their partner, the message is simple. Dr Carter said: “As the findings of this study suggests, looking after your gums and oral health in general can reduce this risk and in turn offer better quality of life.”

Notes

1. Pradeep, A R., Sharma Anuj., and Arjun Raju P. (2011). Association Between Chronic Periodontitis and Vasculogenic Erectile Dysfunction, Journal of Periodontology, 0:0, 1-7.

2. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Panel on Impotence. Impotence. JAMA 1993; 270: 83-90.

3. Krane RJ, Goldstein I, Saenz de Tejada I. Impotence. N Engl J Med 1989; 321: 1648-59.

Source:

British Dental Health Foundation




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Osteoarthritis Incidence Significantly Higher Among U.S. Military Personnel Compared To General Population

Main Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology
Also Included In: Bones / Orthopedics
Article Date: 29 Jun 2011 – 5:00 PDT

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New research shows significantly higher osteoarthritis (OA) incidence rates in military populations than among comparable age groups in the general population. The magnitude of the difference in OA rates between military service members and the general population also increased with advancing age category. Black service members had higher OA rates than white military personnel or those in other race categories according to the study findings published in Arthritis Rheumatism, a peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Close to 27 million Americans age 25 and older have OA and this disabling condition accounts for 25% of all arthritis-related healthcare visits. OA is the most common form of arthritis and is traditionally considered a disease affecting older individuals, with incidence rates increasing with age. However, recent reports suggest the majority of adults with OA are younger than 65. Prior studies have shown that occupational physical demands, traumatic joint injury, and activities involving repetitive joint movement all contribute to OA development.

“Surprisingly, little is known about the OA incidence in younger physically active populations,” explains Kenneth Cameron, PhD, ATC, Director of Orthopedic Research at Keller Army Hospital in West Point, New York. “The active duty U.S. military population provides an excellent opportunity to examine the incidence of OA in a young and physically active population that is regularly exposed to occupational activities with repetitive joint movements.”

Using the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS), researchers identified cases of physician-diagnosed OA in U.S. service members between 1999 and 2008. A total of 108,266 incident cases of OA were identified in this military population that experienced close to 14 million person-years at risk to the disease during the 10-year study period. The unadjusted incidence rate among all active duty U.S. service members during the same time frame was 7.86 per 1,000 person-years.

Demographic analysis revealed that women had a 20% higher OA incidence rate than men. The incidence of OA in service members who were 40 years of age or older was 19 times higher than for personal 20 years of age or younger. Military personal who are black were 15% more likely to be diagnosed with OA than those who are white, and 26% more likely than those service personnel in other racial categories (Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and other racial groups). White service members had a 10% higher OA rate than those in the other category for race.

Further analysis found that junior and senior enlisted service members and those serving in the Army experienced the highest incidence rates for OA. The authors suspect military personnel in these groups engage in regular knee and hip bending, and experience medium to very heavy physical demands in their occupations on a regular basis. Military service members are also at higher risk for traumatic joint injuries and prior studies have shown joint trauma to be a risk factor for OA. “Further research is needed to determine the incidence of post-traumatic OA and to explore the risk factors associated with this condition among military personnel,” concluded Dr. Cameron.

Full citation:

“Incidence of Physician Diagnosed Osteoarthritis among Active Duty United States Military Service Members.” Kenneth L. Cameron, Mark S. Hsiao, Brett D. Owens, Robert Burks, Steven J. Svoboda. Arthritis Rheumatism; Published Online: June 29, 2011 (DOI: 10.1002/art.30498).

Source:

Wiley-Blackwell




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Rural Doctors Click ‘Welcome’ Button On Telehealth Measure, Australia

Main Category: Medicare / Medicaid / SCHIP
Also Included In: Primary Care / General Practice
Article Date: 29 Jun 2011 – 2:00 PDT

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The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed today’s launch of the Federal Government’s
Medicare-funded telehealth initiative, saying it has “real potential” to improve access to specialists for rural and
remote Australians.

The measure, to commence this Friday, will allow patients in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas to ‘attend’
consultations with distant specialists via video-conferencing from the convenience of their local GP clinic or other
local healthcare facilities.

Participating health practitioners will receive Medicare rebates to compensate them for their time invested in the
consultation, and some support for implementing the technology required. Payments will be applicable for the
specialist and GP at each end of the video-conference, and the nurse, midwife or Aboriginal health worker assisting
the patient during the consultation. The Medicare-funded telehealth services will also be available to residents of
eligible aged care facilities and to patients at Aboriginal Medical Services anywhere in Australia.

“Currently many rural patients are forced to travel hundreds and even thousands of kilometres for specialist
consultations, given the significant shortage of specialists in rural and regional Australia” RDAA Vice President, Dr
Peter Rischbieth, said.

“These patients face significant travel and accommodation costs, and long periods of time away from work, in
getting to and from these consultations which can be required at regular intervals for many conditions.

“While face-to-face consultations with specialists will always be necessary in many cases, in many other cases a
consult with a distant specialist can be just as comprehensive if held via video-conference from the convenience of
the patient’s local GP clinic or healthcare facility, with the local GP in attendance to provide medical advice at the
patient’s end.

“While this initiative won’t help ease the continuing shortage of GPs in rural and remote Australia, and should never
be seen as a replacement for on-the-ground doctors, it will be an excellent additional service for many rural
patients and the local doctors who treat them.

“The Federal Government is to be congratulated on getting this important initiative up and running.

“We will continue to work with the Government to ensure the appropriate support mechanisms are available to local
rural doctors to assist them to provide this service to their patients, and to ensure the new initiative does not
disadvantage those GPs and specialists already providing on-the-ground medical care in rural and remote towns.”

Source:

Rural Doctors Association of Australia




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AARP Comments On Latest Medicare Reform Proposal

Main Category: Medicare / Medicaid / SCHIP
Article Date: 29 Jun 2011 – 3:00 PDT

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AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond released this statement following the announcement of a new Medicare reform plan authored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Tom Coburn (R-OK):

“While AARP agrees with the need to address our nation’s long-term financial problems, we have serious concerns with the Medicare proposal put forth by Sens. Lieberman and Coburn, which relies almost entirely on shifting costs and removing coverage for seniors who depend on Medicare as a lifeline.

“Medicare represents the bedrock of health security for older Americans. By relying on cost-shifting and reduced coverage for around 95 percent of the plan’s total savings, the proposal would threaten that security and risk putting Medicare out of reach for millions of seniors in the program.

“We agree people in Medicare deserve the same out-of-pocket maximums that Americans in the private insurance market will soon have, and we appreciate the Senators’ efforts to stabilize the physician payment system in Medicare. However, we believe the right way to strengthen Medicare is to improve the quality and lower the cost of care throughout the health care system. Simply shifting the bill to seniors does nothing to improve health care quality or combat the real problem of rising costs.

“We look forward to working with the Senators and their colleagues on parts of this plan to improve Medicare-including the anti-fraud measures of the FAST Act that AARP recently endorsed and a multi-year resolution to Medicare’s flawed physician payment system-but we oppose efforts to simply shift additional costs to beneficiaries.

“As AARP works with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to improve our health care delivery system, we will continue our efforts to protect Medicare from harmful cuts as part of a deal to pay the nation’s bills.”

Source:

AARP




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If you write about specific medications or operations, please do not name health care professionals by name.

All opinions are moderated before being included (to stop spam)

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MediLexicon International Ltd
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