Find the dialysis center that’s right for you

If you or a loved one has kidney problems requiring dialysis, often known as End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD), you know finding the right care can be a challenge. Dialysis centers can vary in the quality of care and services they provide, so it’s important to understand the differences in dialysis centers in your area before you decide where to go for care. If you’re already on dialysis, it’s also important to understand the quality of care that your dialysis center delivers. Dialysis Facility Compare lets you search for dialysis centers, compare them side by side, and find the right one for you.

In response to feedback from ESRD dialysis patients and experts in kidney care, we’ve recently added more information to the Dialysis Facility Compare website, including information about patients’ experiences with dialysis centers. Now you can see how patients responded to a survey that asked questions about their dialysis center, their kidney doctor, and the center’s staff.

“The changes we’ve made to the Dialysis Facility Compare website are in direct response to the important feedback we received from patients and families, like you, about what’s most important in selecting your dialysis facility,” said Kate Goodrich, M.D., director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Clinical Standards and Quality. “We remain committed to seeking and incorporating input from all stakeholders, but especially patients, on an ongoing basis so that we can continually improve our Compare sites.”

Dialysis Facility Compare also features:

  • A star rating for each dialysis center that now reflects changes in quality for each center, from one year to the next.
  • Two new quality measures—one that tells you how often patients develop bloodstream infections at each center, and another that tells you how well the center manages peritoneal dialysis on children.
  • An improved website that makes it easier to find the information you’re looking for, and makes complex quality information easier to understand.

Take control of your dialysis care today. Visit Dialysis Facility Compare and find the dialysis center that’s right for you.

Medicare also offers a number of other Compare websites that can help you select providers across your care needs, including Nursing Home Compare, Physician Compare, Hospital Compare, and Home Health Compare. Visit these websites to learn more about our efforts to make health care quality information more transparent.

Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico

Blood test for early osteoarthritis diagnosis unveiled

A blood test for early osteoarthritis diagnosis has been unveiled by scientists. The test, which could be available to patients within two years, identifies the chemical signatures found in the plasma of blood joint proteins damaged by oxidation, nitration and glycation; the modification of proteins with oxygen, nitrogen and sugar molecules.
Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico

NHS set to miss target on foreign patient costs

NHS set to miss target on foreign patient costs

  • 28 October 2016
  • From the section UK Politics
  • comments

Share

  • Share this with Email

  • Share this with Facebook

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Twitter

  • Share this with Pinterest

  • Share this with WhatsApp

  • Share this with Linkedin

Copy this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37790852

Read more about sharing.

Hospital wardImage copyright
PA

Image caption

NHS hospital care in England is free for UK residents but those visiting from overseas are charged for non-emergency treatment

The government is expected to fall well short of its target of recovering £500m a year from overseas visitors treated in NHS hospitals in England.

The Department of Health has “refined” to £346m its target for 2017-18, says the National Audit Office. Some £289m was paid in 2015-16; £73m in 2012-13.

A new “surcharge” for non-EU patients accounts for much of the rise, but only about half of debts owed are recovered.

The Department of Health said the increase showed “very good progress”.

NHS Trusts in England are legally obliged to check whether patients are eligible for free non-emergency NHS treatment and to recover any costs from overseas patients.

‘Unreliable’ data

People from the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland, are usually covered by agreements such as the EHIC scheme – where their government is billed for their treatment – while those from outside the EEA are invoiced directly.

But the National Audit Office report estimated that only half of debts were recovered from patients from outside the EEA and found that only 58% of hospital doctors knew some people were chargeable for NHS healthcare at all.

The Department of Health’s “ambitious” £500m recovery target was aimed at reducing NHS trusts’ deficits, which reached £2.45bn in 2015-16.

That year, an extra £164m was raised from a new £200-a-year surcharge on visa applications paid by temporary migrants from outside the EEA.

That year also saw a 53% increase on the amount NHS trusts in England charged directly to patients, mostly to visitors from outside the EEA – much of which is thought to be due to new rules that allow hospitals to charge up to 150% of the cost of treatment, rather than a case of more people being charged.

And although amounts charged to people visiting from countries within the EEA increased slightly, they remain “well below” the ambition to recover £200m a year by 2017-18. The latest forecast for EEA income for that period is £72m.

‘Good progress’

The report found some hospitals were better than others at recovering money – 10 NHS trusts in London accounted for half of the total amount charged to non-EEA patients in 2015-16. Twenty trusts said they had no patients using the EHIC scheme.

It praised the Department of Health for using IT systems to help trusts find patients who should be charged and for visiting 60 trusts to promote its “cost recovery programme”, and said new financial incentives for reporting and charging overseas visitors had had an effect.

But it estimated that “trusts recover around half of the amounts they charge directly to patients, mainly visitors from outside the EEA”, with recovery rates varying widely – and it was not really understood why.

Head of the National Audit Office, Amyas Morse said: “Hospital trusts remain some way from complying in full with the requirement to charge and recover the cost of treating overseas visitors.”

He said much of the increase in amounts charged and recovered over the past two years was due to changes to charging rules: “If current trends continue and the charging rules remain the same, the department will not achieve its ambition of recovering up to £500m of overseas visitor income a year by 2017-18.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “This government was the first to put in place measures to ensure the NHS isn’t abused, and as this report finds, we are making very good progress – the amount of income recovered has already more than trebled in three years to £289m.

“We consulted earlier this year on extending the charging of migrants and visitors using the NHS to other areas of healthcare.

“We will set out further steps in due course to ensure we deliver on our objective to recover £500m a year by the middle of this parliament.”

Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico

Doctors excited by cystic fibrosis therapy

Doctors excited by cystic fibrosis therapy

By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News website
  • 28 October 2016
  • From the section Health

Share

  • Share this with Email

  • Share this with Facebook

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Twitter

  • Share this with Pinterest

  • Share this with WhatsApp

  • Share this with Linkedin

Copy this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37795460

Read more about sharing.

CF therapyImage copyright
SPL

Image caption

One in every 2,500 babies in the UK is born with cystic fibrosis

A therapy that corrects the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis could transform treatment, doctors have said.

Only half of people with cystic fibrosis make it into their 40s.

Defects in their DNA mean they produce thick, sticky mucus that clogs and inexorably damages their lungs.

Data presented at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference shows that a drugs combination – which enables production of runnier mucus – slows the irreversible decline in lung function.

Errors in people’s DNA – or genetic code – can lead to defective microscopic machinery in the lungs.

Instead of producing a normal protective layer of mucus, they get the balance of salt and water wrong and it becomes damaging.

Antibiotics help prevent infections settling in and drugs can loosen the mucus, but nothing deals with the fundamental problem for most patients.

‘Very reassuring’

Early studies had suggested the drugs lumacaftor and ivacaftor could alter the microscopic machinery so they made runnier mucus.

Those studies followed patients for just 24 weeks, but now doctors have nearly two years of data on them.

The drug combination is clearly not a cure, but the researchers said the untreated patients would expect their lung function to decline by 2.3% a year, but this fell to 1.3% in those given the therapy.

They were also less likely to need hospital treatment.

Dr Michael Konstan, who led the trial from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, said: “These data suggest that the benefits of lumacaftor/ivacaftor are sustained and indicate that the medicine may modify the progression of cystic fibrosis lung disease by treating its underlying cause.”

Dr Stuart Elborn, from the Royal Brompton Hospital in London where some of the patients were treated, told the BBC News website: “This is an incremental advance rather than a breakthrough, but it is very reassuring that the effect does not wear off.

“I’m really excited by the therapy and also the pipeline of other powerful drugs that could get us closer to a cure.”

Image copyright
SPL

Image caption

Cystic fibrosis causes mucus to clog and damage the lungs leaving them prone to infection

The therapy is not available on the NHS after it was rejected by funding bodies in England and Scotland.

It costs more than £100,000 a year for each patient.

There are also many types of error in the DNA that can culminate in cystic fibrosis.

This treatment combination should work on around half of patients, while one of the drugs on its own corrects a small proportion of errors.

New treatments are still required for the remaining patients.

One in every 2,500 babies in the UK has cystic fibrosis.

Follow James on Twitter.

Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico

Federal judge blocks two abortion laws in Alabama

A U.S. federal judge on Thursday blocked abortion restrictions in Alabama that limit how close clinics can be to public schools and ban a procedure used to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester.

Judge Myron Thompson in the District Court for the Middle District of Alabama issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that the laws are likely to be found unconstitutional, according to online court records.

The school-proximity law bans clinics within 2,000 feet of a K-8 public school.

Thompson wrote the law would likely force the closing of clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, where the majority of abortions in the state are performed, causing an undo burden for women seeking an abortion and other services.

“This burden would become particularly devastating for low-income woman” who would need to arrange lengthy trips to one of the other three clinics in the state for the same services, Thompson wrote.

Thompson wrote that Alabama’s law restricting an abortion method commonly performed in the second trimester of a pregnancy, known as dilation and evacuation, also places an undue burden on women.

The law requires the doctor stop the heart of the fetus before abortion, an “inadequately studied, potentially risky procedure,” he wrote.

The restrictions come amid a wave of laws being adopted by states as conservatives seek to chip away at the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on facilities that perform abortions.

Under the restrictions, Alabama could be left with three abortion clinics in a state where nearly one million women are of reproductive age, according to the ACLU of Alabama, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the clinics.

State and ACLU officials were not immediately available for comment.

Alabama Republican Governor Robert Bentley signed the measures into law in May. The laws were to go into effect Aug. 1.

No other states have enacted limits on the proximity of abortion clinics to public schools.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Toby Chopra)


Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico

Researchers develop new blood test for diagnosis of early-stage osteoarthritis

Patients could soon be diagnosed with early-stage arthritis several years before the onset of physical and irreversible symptoms, thanks to a new test developed by researchers at the University of Warwick.

Led by Dr Naila Rabbani of Warwick Medical School, the researchers developed a test that can provide an early diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) and also distinguish this from early-stage rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other self-resolving inflammatory joint disease.

The test, which could be available to patients within two years, identifies the chemical signatures found in the plasma of blood joint proteins damaged by oxidation, nitration and glycation; the modification of proteins with oxygen, nitrogen and sugar molecules.

The researchers say that by diagnosing which type of arthritis a patient will develop at an early-stage will allow for appropriate treatment that will provide the best chance for effective treatment and potential prevention.

Related Stories

Patients with early-stage and advanced OA, RA or other inflammatory joint disease were recruited for the study alongside a control group of those with good skeletal health, with plasma and synovial fluid samples from both groups being analysed using mass spectrometry.

Through their analysis the researchers detected damaged proteins in characteristic patterns in the samples of those patients with early and advanced OA and RA, but were found at markedly lower levels in the samples of those in the control group – providing the researchers with the identifiable biomarkers necessary for early detection and diagnosis.

Commenting on the discovery Dr Rabbani said:

“Damage to proteins in the arthritic joint have been known for many years but this is the first time it has been exploited for early-stage diagnosis

“For the first time we measured small fragments from damaged proteins that leak from the joint into blood. The combination of changes in oxidised, nitrated and sugar-modified amino acids in blood enabled early stage detection and classification of arthritis – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other self-resolving inflammatory joint disease.

“This is a big step forward for early-stage detection of arthritis that will help start treatment early and prevent painful and debilitating disease.”

The research, Protein oxidation, nitration and glycation biomarkers for early-stage diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee and typing and progression of arthritic disease, is published by Arthritis Research and Therapy.

Source:

University of Warwick

Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico

UK's national sperm bank stops recruiting donors

UK’s national sperm bank stops recruiting donors

By Laura Lea
BBC News
  • 27 October 2016
  • From the section UK

Share

  • Share this with Email

  • Share this with Facebook

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Twitter

  • Share this with Pinterest

  • Share this with WhatsApp

  • Share this with Linkedin

Copy this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37786576

Read more about sharing.

Sperm travels toward the eggImage copyright
Thinkstock

The UK’s first national sperm bank has stopped recruiting donors less than two years after its launch, it has emerged.

The National Sperm Bank said it was unable to fund further donor recruitment, having successfully only taken on seven men.

It was set up in October 2014 with a government grant to tackle the shortage of donors, particularly at NHS clinics.

The Department of Health say the NSB’s demise will not affect people’s access to safe sperm donation services.

A shortage of donors often drives patients overseas or to unregistered services.

Based in Birmingham, it received a one-off £77,000 grant from the Department of Health to get up and running. The aim was for the bank to be financially self-sufficient within one year.

The NSB was a joint project run by the charity the National Gamete Donation Trust and Birmingham Fertility Centre, a unit at Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

In total, eight sperm donors were recruited since it launched, with one later dropping out.

But with the full donor process taking up to 18 months, the bank was unable to generate income in the second year.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Sperm samples must be frozen for at least six months before further testing

Following a change in the law, all children conceived as the result of sperm donation on or after 1 April 2005, have the right to know the identity of their father when they turn 18.

While a donor is not the legal parent and is not named on a birth certificate, it is believed many men have been deterred from volunteering because of the new rules.

Charles Lister, chair of the National Gamete Donation Trust said: “One of the lessons learned from running the NSB is that the level of ongoing investment required for successful donor recruitment is beyond the resources of a small charity like the NGDT.”

Laura Spoelstra, who left her role as chief executive of the NGDT, earlier this year and believes more could have been done to put the NSB on a former financial footing.

She said: “Once you have a donor at least 70% along the process, you have income. It’s a business model. It required a business way of thinking. Once you know you’ve got income in the pipeline, you can use that to offset costs.”


The screening process

  • Potential donors – aged between 18 and 40 – are screened for any genetic abnormalities that could be passed onto offspring
  • Semen samples are analysed for sperm quantity, quality and movement, and donors checked for any infectious diseases, such as HIV
  • Those who pass these tests have their sample frozen for at least six months before it is tested again
  • Not all sperm cells survive freezing and thawing, which means there may be a reduction in quality. Only men whose samples remain of acceptable quality after freezing can be donors

Demand for sperm donations in the UK has steadily grown and hundreds of new donors, who are compensated £35 per clinic visit, are registered each year.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority estimate that 2,000 children are born every year in the UK using donated eggs, sperm or embryos. The most recent data from 2014, shows 85 licensed UK clinics – both private and NHS – performing sperm donor insemination.

But the majority of licensed clinics are based in London and the south east of England and treatment can be expensive. The cost of donor sperm from the UK’s largest private sperm bank, the London Sperm Bank, is currently £950. The National Sperm Bank was proposing to charge £300 per insemination.

Prof Allan Pacey, a spokesman for the British Fertility Society, believes there is still a need for a national sperm bank.

“It doesn’t have to be bricks and mortar, it could be a network,” he said.

“We need better coordination and this just highlights how expensive it’s going to be.”

Raising awareness

Mr Lister said the NSB had demonstrated that with targeted information, “more men are willing to become donors and give the precious gift of life”.

He said the NGDT would continue to focus on raising awareness about the need for more UK donors.

The first donations from the NSB will be released shortly by Birmingham Women’s Fertility Centre to clinics across the UK.

The centre has its own sperm bank, which will continue recruiting donors.

A spokeswoman for the centre said: “We fully understand and support the decision made by NGDT.”

In a statement, the Department of Health said: “We gave a one-off start-up grant to help set up the National Sperm Bank, and while the number of donations have not been sufficient to support it continuing to seek new donors, this will have no impact on people being able to access safe egg and sperm donation services.”

Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico

Toddlers 'should get heart risk test'

Toddlers ‘should get heart risk test’

By Caroline Parkinson
Health editor, BBC News website
  • 27 October 2016
  • From the section Health

Share

  • Share this with Email

  • Share this with Facebook

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Messenger

  • Share this with Twitter

  • Share this with Pinterest

  • Share this with WhatsApp

  • Share this with Linkedin

Copy this link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37775310

Read more about sharing.

Heel prick testImage copyright
Thinkstock

Image caption

Doctors check for FH using a heel prick blood test

Toddlers should be screened for an inherited form of heart disease when they have their routine jabs, experts suggest.

A team from Queen Mary University of London checked 10,000 one-year-olds for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH).

Suzanne Sheppard, who has FH – and whose nine-year-old son also has it – said she would have “jumped at the chance” of testing him earlier.

But experts said more work was needed before such a programme was introduced.

FH is the main cause of early heart disease. If people with it do not take statins to lower their cholesterol, they have a 10-fold increased risk of a heart attack before the age of 40.

Image copyright
Other – BHF

Image caption

Suzanne and Cameron both have familial hypercholesterolaemia

Suzanne, from Cardiff, found out her family was affected by FH after her father died of a heart attack at the age of 41 – when she was 15.

“They thought there may be something behind him having a heart attack at such a young age. So a few years on I was tested and found to have FH.”

At the moment, testing works as it did for Suzanne. If an adult has heart problems and is found to have FH, others in the family are tested.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reversed the approach, and carried out heel-prick blood tests on children, with an average age of 13 months, to check cholesterol. and known genetic mutations linked to FH.

Forty children were found to be FH positive – and because one of their parents must also be affected by the genetic condition, it meant two people were diagnosed for each positive test.

The researchers say routine testing could prevent around 600 heart attacks a year among people under 40 in England and Wales.

Prof David Wald, who led the research, said: “It’s the only screening method that stands a reasonable chance of covering the whole population and identifying those at highest risk of an early heart attack.”

Suzanne’s son Cameron was tested last year – aged eight.

But she said: “As soon as I had my test done and was identified, we always knew there was a 50% chance he would have it.

“He was 18 months old when I found out, and waiting all those years. I would have jumped at the chance of finding out. Not knowing is worse.”

Cameron is now on a low dose of statins.

Suzanne said:”My thinking is, if you do it now when you have a relative amount of control, it’s not going to be a consideration when he’s a teen when that may be a bit more of a problem.”

Find others

But the UK National Screening Committee, which looked at this issue in March this year, said questions remained about how a screening programme would work in practice, whether universal screening of one-year-olds would be effective, or if it would actually reduce illness and deaths associated with FH.

Image copyright
Science Photo Library

Image caption

FH can be treated using statins

And Prof Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “Early diagnosis in children is likely to substantially improve treatment of their condition and will help find other family members with FH.

“But before nationwide screening is adopted by the NHS, more work needs to be done to show it’s a cost-effective way for picking up individuals with FH which will be acceptable to families.

“Before any future change in practice based on this new research, the widespread rollout of the current cascade testing programme is vital if we’re to prevent people unnecessarily dying from FH”.

Visit the Source Site

Powered by WPeMatico