HEALTH

Study: Patients increasingly turn to ER for acute ailments

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Millions of patients with such acute ailments as fevers and coughs turn to the emergency room for treatment, according to researchers. The findings serve as yet one more indicator for the need of convenient and affordable health services available at retail-based clinics.

Today, only 42% of the 354 million annual visits for acute care are made to patients’ primary physicians. The rest are made to emergency departments (28%), specialists (20%) or outpatient departments (7%), according to the study titled "Where Americans Get Acute Care: Increasingly, It’s Not At Their Doctor’s Office."

The study, which examined records of acute care visits from 2001 to 2004, was published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs.

Although fewer than 5% of doctors are emergency physicians, they handle a quarter of all acute care encounters and more than half of such visits by the uninsured, according to the study.

The study, which also was highlighted in The New York Times, calls into question how U.S. health care can be improved when an already overloaded system takes on some 30 million newly insured customers, thanks to healthcare reform.

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NACDS, NCPA in joint statement praise CMS’ move to withdraw provisions of AMP rule currently blocked by injunction

BY Drug Store News Team

ALEXANDRIA, Va. National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson and National Community Pharmacists Association acting EVP and CEO Douglas Hoey issued a statement praising the proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would withdraw existing provisions of the Medicaid pharmacy reimbursement formula under the average manufacturer price model.

"We are pleased that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a rule that would withdraw provisions of what is known as the Medicaid average manufacturer price rule. The proposed rule calls for the withdrawal of existing provisions that define AMP, that determine the calculation of federal upper limits, and that define ‘multiple source drug.’ Put simply, all of these provisions relate to the reimbursement to pharmacies for generic Medicaid prescriptions, and thus impact patients’ access to pharmacies. The move to withdraw these provisions is a victory for patient care as it is delivered in America’s pharmacies every day."

"When we filed the lawsuit in 2007 we knew that patient care was at stake. It is important to point out that the withdrawal of these provisions is another step toward reducing what would have been major cuts to pharmacy reimbursement. The end result is not an increase in reimbursement to pharmacy, but rather the lessening of cuts that previously would have involved pharmacies selling most generic drugs at a loss, thereby threatening their long-term ability to provide patient care."

 

“We insisted that this policy was not appropriate. Separately, we also have urged that policy-makers should recognize the ability of pharmacies and pharmacists to help improve health and reduce healthcare costs. We are gratified that this sense is reflected in the pharmacy provisions of the new healthcare-reform law. The new law contains provisions ranging from dramatically reducing the AMP cuts to advancing medication therapy management, through which pharmacists can help patients take their medications correctly. … The costs related to poor medication adherence have been estimated to reach $290 billion annually, or 13% of all healthcare expenditures. We urged that patient care should not be jeopardized, but rather that pharmacy be engaged more strategically for the good of patient health and healthcare delivery."

 

“We anticipate issuing formal comments on CMS’ proposed rule to withdraw these provisions of the AMP rule, and we will continue to work with Congress and with CMS to advocate for access to pharmacy services for patients.”

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Extract found in cinnamon may curb diabetes, heart disease

BY Allison Cerra

BELTSVILLE, Md. A water-soluble extract of cinnamon, which contains antioxidative compounds, could help reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease, according to a new study led by a Department of Agriculture chemist.

The study, led by chemist Richard Anderson and coauthored by Tim Ziegenfuss of the Center for Applied Health Sciences, examined 22 obese participants with prediabetes. The participants were divided into two groups, one receiving 250 mg of a dried water-soluble cinnamon extract and the other placebo, both twice daily along with their usual diets. Anderson found that the water-soluble cinnamon extract improved a number of antioxidant variables by as much as 13% to 23%, and improvement in antioxidant status was correlated with decreases in fasting glucose, he said.

Anderson also noted that additional research can tell whether the investigational study supported the idea that people who are overweight or obese could reduce oxidative stress and blood glucose by consuming cinnamon extracts.

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

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