Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Quad City Gastroenterologists Combine Forces To Raise Colon Cancer Awareness in March PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Jake Glimco   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 13:07

Quad Cities, USA (February 17, 2012) –March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and staff from Digestive Disease Center, Gastroenterology Consultants, Digestive Disease Specialists and Trinity Medical Center have joined forces, once again, to form the Colon Cancer Free QCA Coalition.  This group consists of Gastroenterologists and other health care professionals who have come together to promote one simple message, Colonoscopies save lives.  The physicians will be meeting with various groups and family physicians this month to discuss the important role colonoscopies play in the early detection of colon cancer.

“Colon cancer is easily preventable by the removal of precancerous polyps during a screening colonoscopy.  If cancer is detected during a colonoscopy, it is easily curable in the early stages, as opposed to cancers that are detected at later stages which are often lethal.  These two facts make screening colonoscopy a no-brainier in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Please make sure you and all of your loved-ones get screened, since everyone is at risk of developing this common cancer,” says Dr. Arvind Movva, Gastroenterology Consultants.

In addition to spreading general awareness, Colon Cancer Free QCA will be working with Good Samaritan Clinic in Moline to provide free colonoscopies to a number of uninsured patients. Doctors, nurses, and support staff, from each practice, have volunteered their services to make this free screening possible.  The exams will be performed free of charge for patients who have been previously identified as being at a high-risk for colon cancer by the Good Samaritan Clinic.

Each year, over 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer making it the third most common cancer diagnosis in the United States. “Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the U.S.  However, if we can raise awareness of the role a colonoscopy can play in the prevention of colon cancer, we can decrease the mortality from colorectal cancer significantly in our area”, says Dr. Linda Tong of Digestive Disease Specialists.

Dr. Sreenivas Chintalapani of The Center for Digestive Health states, "The need for colorectal cancer screening is obvious with 150,000 new cases a year and 50,000 deaths. The technology and skills to detect and prevent colon cancer are available to most of us. It's just that that we need to get ourselves to your gastroenterologist and get your colonoscopy."  Colon Cancer remains among the top three cancer killers, even though it is also the most preventable form of deadly cancer.

The most effective means of preventing colon cancer is a colonoscopy.  In this procedure, pre-cancerous polyps are removed before they turn to cancer and early cancers are seen and biopsied, often before they cause symptoms.  If this cancer is detected early, often before symptoms appear, a person’s chance of survival is about 90 percent; however, if a person waits until symptoms develop, this percentage drops dramatically. People with an average risk for colon cancer should be tested at age 50.  However, screenings should begin at age 40 if you have a family history of colon cancer or other high risk factors.   Colon cancer affects men and women equally, crossing all socio-economic lines.

 

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Grassley Seeks Information on State Rate-setting for Medicaid Managed Care Plans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 12:54

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has asked each state for information to help determine whether the states and the federal government are conducting enough oversight of their rate-setting for Medicaid managed care plans.

 

“In light of the billions of dollars already spent on Medicaid, including managed care, and the planned expansion of Medicaid, it’s important to look at whether states are setting their managed care payment rates appropriately and in keeping with federal law,” Grassley said. “If the payment rates are out of whack, and scrutiny is lacking, Medicaid money could be ill-spent to the detriment of vulnerable beneficiaries and the taxpayers.  The risk could be especially high when Medicaid provider payment rates are boosted to match higher Medicare rates for two years as Medicaid is expanded under the new federal health care law.”

 

Grassley’s inquiry comes after the Government Accountability Office in 2010 found inconsistent scrutiny from the federal government of state rate-setting in this area.  GAO cited two states – Tennessee and Nebraska – as examples of those that received inadequate oversight from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Now, the state of Minnesota and its contractor non-profit health plans are drawing scrutiny in the state for what some analysts consider high operating margins. States are required to set rates for Medicaid managed care that are actuarially sound, but it’s unclear if the requirement is clearly defined or enforced.

 

Grassley wrote in his letter to each state, citing the GAO report, “In the 18 months since that report was issued, I have seen nothing to convince me CMS or the states have improved in their ability to confirm that managed care entities are appropriately and correctly reimbursed for the services provided. If an entity is paid too little, the access to and quality of care provided to beneficiaries is jeopardized.  If an entity is paid too much, scarce Medicaid resources are diverted away from providing services to beneficiaries.”

 

Grassley’s letter includes questions such as whether states have an independent audit requirement for managed care entities and if so, whether the audit entails certain elements; for a list of all managed care entities operating in the state and an accounting of audit occurrences and results; the state’s definition of allowable medical costs under the managed care contracts; and whether states have received any guidance from CMS or sought guidance from CMS on Medicaid managed care rate-setting.

 

The federal government will spend nearly $4.5 trillion on Medicaid over the next decade.  That’s only the federal share.  State governments spend additional, significant amounts of money on Medicaid.  “Every dollar that’s spent improperly doesn’t help a Medicaid beneficiary,” Grassley said.  “Getting a handle on managed care payment rates is necessary for the program’s bottom line.”

 

The new federal health care law boosts federal Medicaid payments to primary care physicians for two years, from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2014.  For that period, the doctors will receive Medicare payment rates, which are higher than Medicaid payment rates.  At the same time, Medicaid programs and providers will cover more patients, as required under the health care law.

 

A copy of Grassley’s letter to each state is available here.  The letters are identical.  The 2010 GAO report is available here.

 

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Help Davenport win a state-wide contest PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Davenport Parks & Recreation   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 08:34
Dear Quad City Resident,

Help Davenport win a state-wide contest, which will bring resources to our Quad City region.

 

Davenport is a finalist to become a Blue Zones Community™, which is a program to help people live longer, healthier lives.

 

If Davenport wins, then the Quad Cities wins because we will leverage these resources for the entire region.That's why we're sending you this email - so you'll join us in pledging to support for this project, so our community can be selected.

 

We are especially looking for people who live or work in Davenport to take a pledge to support this project and use their Davenport zip code.

 

So please, take a minute to vote for Davenport as a Blue Zones Community.

 

Here is what you can do:

 

Text BZP to 772937

- or -

 

Go to http://www.bluezonesproject.com/citizens/signup

 

And ask others to do the same. Because this simple act could have a positive impact on all of us for years to come.

 

Here's to our well-being!

 
Medicaid and Rural America PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Elisha Smith   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 07:59

Center for Rural Affairs analyzes benefits of Medicaid in rural areas
Rural children increasingly reliant on public health insurance

 

LYONS, NE - Medicaid protects long-term care for millions of seniors, helps people with disabilities live independently and provides health coverage that ensures children can see a doctor when they get sick. The Center for Rural Affairs released a new health care report today, entitled – Medicaid and Rural America – that examines these and other vital roles Medicaid plays in rural areas.

“A variety of unique characteristics of rural communities make Medicaid crucial for rural people and rural places,” said Jon Bailey, Rural Research Director at the Center for Rural Affairs and author of the report.


“The demographics and health care infrastructure of rural America make Medicaid a vital source of insurance coverage, filling gaps in Medicare coverage and the availability of private insurance,” Bailey continued.

According to Bailey, rural poverty rates are generally higher. Rural residents have lower rates of employer-sponsored health insurance. And rural areas have a higher proportion of older persons in their total population.

Bailey’s report goes on to explain that about 65 percent of families with non-elderly Medicaid enrollees have at least one worker in the family, with nearly half having at least one full-time worker.

“Many perceive Medicaid as the classic ‘welfare’ program,” said Bailey. “That perception is simply not true.”

A full copy of the report can be viewed and downloaded at: http://files.cfra.org/pdf/Medicaid.pdf.

The Center for Rural Affairs report makes a detailed case that Medicaid is a critical piece of the rural health care system. The connections between rural areas and Medicaid include:

  • The unique rural demographics of an older, lower income, more disabled and less healthy population with lower rates of private health insurance require a well-functioning Medicaid program.
  • Medicaid provides health insurance coverage and health care access for rural children and the disabled, both with limited health insurance options.
  • Significantly more people in rural areas would be without health insurance without Medicaid coverage.
  • Medicaid is a primary financer of long-term care, vital in rural areas with higher rates of elderly population and greater reliance on nursing facilities.
  • Medicaid helps expand health services—particularly mental health services—that would otherwise be limited or nonexistent in rural areas.
  • Medicaid keeps health care facilities and health care providers in rural areas by providing a significant portion of patient revenue.
  • Medicaid enhances the quality of life in rural areas by providing greater access to rural health care services.
  • Medicaid helps the rural economy by providing jobs and local revenue.

In the report, Bailey also provides evidence that Medicaid is also vital to the rural health care infrastructure and to rural communities. Health care providers, especially those who serve large percentages of Medicaid patients, rely on Medicaid payments to cover the costs of treating those patients. Federal and state Medicaid dollars contribute to rural economic development by generating health care jobs and other related businesses and services.

“In many respects, Medicaid has become a rural program,” explained Bailey.

The most recent data on Medicaid coverage show that 16 percent of rural residents had Medicaid coverage in the past year, compared to 13 percent of urban residents. And a recent analysis of those eligible for Medicaid from state data affirms the importance of Medicaid to rural people.

The data from 35 states and the District of Columbia shows that more rural than urban residents are eligible for Medicaid in 31 states. (New Jersey and the District of Columbia, have no rural counties). In 13 states the rural-urban variation was five percentage points higher for the rural population.

“The importance of Medicaid to certain populations - children, low-income disabled, low-income elderly and pregnant women - in rural America is especially striking,” Bailey concluded.

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HHS Mandate Controversy Misses the Mark PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Evelyn McCullough   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 08:52

Greensboro, NC – February 29, 2012 – The C12 Group, America’s largest Christian CEO roundtable provider, says that continuing media coverage about the recently announced U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate for all medical insurance plans to provide zero-cost abortifacients such as the “morning-after pill,” beginning in late 2013, broadly misses the mark.  Don Barefoot, President and CEO of The C12 Group, with more than 1000 active members across America, says, “We know that consternation about the overreaching HHS Mandate isn’t limited to church-affiliated organizations.  Bible-believing Christian business owners and CEOs see their roles as servant leaders at work as an extension of their faith and personal worship.  Several of our members have expressed outrage at the thought that our federal government is attempting to force their company medical plans to offer abortifacients.  Those with 50 employees or more also know that they’ll be penalized $2000 per employee beginning in 2014 by pending ObamaCare legislation when they refuse, as a matter of conscience, to offer such medical coverage.  They are among literally tens of thousands of Bible-believing Judeo-Christian chief executives whose religious liberties would be trampled by the radical proposals coming out of Washington DC.”

From 20 years of experience in working with more than 3000 established American companies with sales ranging up into the billions, C12 estimates that 10% of America’s one million companies with at least $1 million in annual sales and 10 or more employees are led by Biblical worldview Christians with a deep personal faith that informs their leadership.  C12 estimates that these 100,000 firms employ more than five percent of U.S. adults, and routinely interact with nearly every American over the course of a typical year.  Overall, these companies represent a significant portion of the American business landscape.  Mr. Barefoot says, “Given their commitment to excellence as a matter of stewardship, these are among the most trustworthy and resilient small-to-midsized companies, making them especially vital to America’s economic future.  Mr. Barefoot concludes, “C12 is a business organization that rarely takes time to comment on current socio-political events.

But this issue has crossed the line; we cannot be silent.  Unless the HHS mandate is rescinded, even in its amended form, many of these Christian entrepreneurs will be forced to drop company-sponsored medical coverage due to their deeply-held beliefs.  This is bad for millions of employees, bad for America, and an affront to people of Biblical faith everywhere.”

C12 was founded by Buck Jacobs, a dedicated Christian, author and CEO, in 1992.  C12 is a growing network of more than 1000 members in 75 metro areas across America and is comprised of Christian CEOs and business owners who desire a trustworthy peer advisory board and seek to ‘Build Great Businesses for a Greater Purpose.’

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