HEALTH BLURBS

Hello All!

Here we are near Easter again.  The time I was planning on being about 20 pounds lighter.  Same for you?  Well, keep plugging along, and whatever you do, don’t give up.  If you give up bad, bad things will follow.  Let’s keep trying with the yield of healthier bodies.  I am not saying that I could live to be 109, the age at which a lady in Ohio just died, but hey, we all have to have a goal!  After that little soap box, I have a few items you may find interesting.

MEDICARE COVERAGE FOR LUNG CANCER SCREENING  According to sources of the National Cancer Institute, in February of 2015 the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its guidelines for Medicare coverage of low-dose CT screening for lung cancer.  CMS will now cover low-dose CT screening for persons 55 to 77 years old with a 30 or more pack year history of smoking, and are current or former smokers who have quit within the past 15 years. In order to receive coverage of the screening you must participate in a counseling and shared-decision making visit prior to the initial screening.  At this visit benefits and potential of the screening, as well as current and non-smoking abstinence will be discussed.  If you have questions about cancer you may contact the Cancer Information Center at 1-800-422-6237, Monday through Friday 8:00 a,m. to 8:00 p.m. EST to speak with a specialist.  You may also visit the National Cancer Institute’s website http://www.cancer.gov/ to chat with specialists for more information.

ONLINE MEDICAL RECORDS?  Obviously we all have our pros and cons in this regard.  A recent article in the New york Times addresses what we, as patients, can do if we have access to our own medical records.  Some medical centers are making medical information available to patients by online access to physician notes in an initiative called OpenNotes.  In a recent evaluation of the project in three states, more than two thirds of patients reported a better understanding of their health conditions.  Locations who have adopted the OpenNotes concept include medical centers in Boston, Pennsylvania, Seattle, The Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and the Veterans Affairs.  By now, nearly five million folks in American have the access.  Privacy and potential legal issues slow the process.  However, a patient who has benefited states “This is what the next generation, which lives on data, is going to want.”  If you would like to access the article, see New York Times March 31, 2015 article entitled “The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records” by Steve Lohr. http://nyti.ms/1ywqFDw in print on April 1, 2015, page B1 with the headline “Healed by His Own Data”.

ARIZONA’S LAW REQUIRING DOCTORS TO ADVISE ABORTION DRUGS MAY BE REVERSIBLE  Another NYT article, by Rick Rojas dated March 31, 2015 entitled “Arizona Orders Doctors to Say Abortions With Drugs May Be Reversible”.  The article points out both sides of the abortion issue, and that once again Arizona finds itself on the border of anti-abortion legislation with a law passed late Monday. (March 30, 2015).  The docs must advise women who receive abortion drugs that their procedure may be reversible.   A primary argument seems to be that there is no scientific data behind the effectiveness of this method.  Some believe that given the information it may encourage ladies to change their minds,.  The article appears on the April 1 edition, page A11.

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