Readers And Tweeters Bare Their Teeth On Dental Disparities (And Other Fine Points)

Letters to the Editor is a periodic Kaiser Health News feature. KHN welcomes all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names.


Foaming At The Mouth Over Dental Insurance?

In response to the revelation that a 61-year-old academic had to rely on handouts from his mom to cough up over $50,000 for dental work (“When Is Insurance Not Really Insurance? When You Need Pricey Dental Care,” May 21), Trista McGlamery of Atlanta tweets that an ounce of prevention is worth a ton.

Another antibiotic crisis: fragile supply leads to shortages

LONDON (Reuters) – Shortages of some life-saving antibiotics are putting growing numbers of patients at risk and fuelling the evolution of “superbugs” that do not respond to modern medicines, according to a new report on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A technician stocks the shelves of a pharmacy in Kentucky, February 2018. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston/File Photo

The non-profit Access to Medicine Foundation (AMF) said there was an emerging crisis in the global anti-infectives market as fragile drug supply chains – reliant on just a few big suppliers – come close to collapse.

Utah sues opioid maker Purdue Pharma after settlement talks stall

(Reuters) – Utah’s attorney general on Thursday sued OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP to hold it responsible for its role in the opioid epidemic after he said talks to reach a settlement between various states and the drugmaker stopped being productive.

FILE PHOTO: A pharmacist holds prescription painkiller OxyContin, 40mg pills, made by Purdue Pharma L.D. at a local pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, U.S. on April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photo

The lawsuit alleges that Purdue engaged in a marketing campaign that concealed the risks of treating chronic pain with addictive opioids.

‘Markers’ of Alzheimer’s Don’t Doom You to Dementia

News Picture: 'Markers' of Alzheimer's Don't Doom You to DementiaBy Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

Latest Alzheimers News

TUESDAY, May 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Even if you discover that you have the first biological signs of Alzheimer’s, you are not doomed to develop the crippling dementia, a new study suggests.

“Just because you have amyloid [proteins] in the brain doesn’t mean you’re going to get dementia tomorrow. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get dementia in five years,” said lead researcher Ron Brookmeyer. He’s a professor of biostatistics with UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health.

“It could be many years, and it could be longer than your natural life expectancy,” Brookmeyer added.

Quality Payment Program Exceeds Year 1 Participation Goal

May 31
by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

By: Administrator, Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Quality Payment Program Exceeds Year 1 Participation Goal 

I’m pleased to announce that 91 percent of all clinicians eligible for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) participated in the first year of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) – exceeding our goal of 90 percent participation. Remarkably, the submission rates for Accountable Care Organizations and clinicians in rural practices were at 98 percent and 94 percent, respectively. What makes these numbers most exciting is the concerted efforts by clinicians, professional associations, and many others to ensure high quality care and improved outcomes for patients.

Choose health, not tobacco

Are you or a loved one hooked on tobacco? Make May 31—named by the World Health Organization as World “No Tobacco” Day—your starting point to kick the habit.

Tobacco use is the second leading cause of death worldwide, responsible for 1 in every 10 adult deaths. Join the millions who’ve found a good reason to give it up. If you’re ready to quit smoking, Medicare can help.

Medicare Part B covers up to 8 face-to-face counseling sessions in a 12-month period when you get them from a qualified doctor or other qualified health care provider. You pay nothing for these sessions if your doctor or other health care provider accepts assignment.

FDA approves first oral medication for adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis

May 30, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today expanded the approval of Xeljanz (tofacitinib) to include adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis. Xeljanz is the first oral medication approved for chronic use in this indication. Other FDA-approved treatments for the chronic treatment of moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis must be administered through an intravenous infusion or subcutaneous injection.

“New treatments are needed for patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis,” said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Today’s approval provides an alternative therapy for a debilitating disease with limited treatment options.”

Scientists engineer bi-specific antibodies that attract immune killers directly to cancer cells

May 30, 2018

Our immune system’s arsenal of defenses usually protects us from cancer. But sometimes, cancer cells overwhelm or evade this elaborate defense system.

In the lab of biochemist and immunologist Christoph Rader, PhD, associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute in Florida, scientists have engineered a new type of anti-cancer antibody, one intended to enhance nature’s cancer-fighting strategies by attracting killer T cells directly to cancer cells covered with a distinctive protein.

‘They Deserve It’: In Foster Homes, Veterans Are Cared For Like Family

Ralph Stepney’s home on a quiet street in north Baltimore has a welcoming front porch and large rooms, with plenty of space for his comfortable recliner and vast collection of action movies. The house is owned by Joann West, a licensed caregiver who shares it with Stepney and his fellow Vietnam War veteran Frank Hundt.

“There is no place that I’d rather be. … I love the quiet of living here, the help we get. I thank the Lord every year that I am here,” Stepney, 73, said.

Trump says drug companies to announce ‘massive’ price cuts soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he expects major drug companies to slash prices on their products in two weeks, but did not provide details on which companies would do so or the means by which they would provide such reductions.