News & Information
CMS to Ease Physician Burden, Give More Patient Time
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 07:41 AM

The Trump administration wants to give doctors more time with patients by rolling back the regulatory requirements foisted on physicians over the years.

"I'd like to think of regulatory reform in terms of painting a house," said Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"Typically, repainting needs to occur every few years, and before you do it, you need to strip the layers of paint underneath," she continued during a meeting with hospital, physician and other healthcare stakeholders held at the agency's Washington office. "Unfortunately, during past administrations CMS has been simply applying new layers of paint without taking this essential step."

Verma announced the launch of a "Patients over Paperwork" initiative, geared towards scrapping or reducing regulations while lowering healthcare costs and enhancing patient care.

Wanted, a Few Good Providers
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 01:38 PM

Sufficient research evidence and recommendations are documented in published guidelines, frameworks and models of care to inform clinical practice and the care of chronic spinal pain worldwide. 

The gap in care services is not the availability of prescription medication or allied health services, but rather the coordinated, multidisciplinary provision of care services by health care practitioners with an interest and skill in pain management. 

The challenge of our time is ensuring early access of patients with chronic spinal pain to care, coordinated practitioner teamwork and the application of the correct level of care individualized to the patient. 

Ex-Pharma Exec to Head HHS
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 07:27 AM

Former pharmaceutical company executive Alex Azar II is being nominated by President Trump to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and to preside over either the elimination or implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Azar served as the HHS department’s general counsel from 2001 to 2005 in the George W. Bush administration and then as its deputy secretary, the number-two position, from 2005 to 2007.

It's his last high-profile job as president of Lilly USA, the largest affiliate of drugmaker Eli Lilly, however, that has raised the most eyebrows. If confirmed by the Senate, Azar will be Trump's lead person in dealing with Big Pharma. Azar worked at Eli Lilly for a decade after his stint at HHS.

Use of Integrative Medicine in the US Military Health System
Written by Editor   
Monday, November 13, 2017 07:45 AM

Integrative medicine (IM) is a model of care which uses both conventional and nonconventional therapies in a “whole person” approach to achieve optimum mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and environmental health, and is increasingly popular among patients and providers seeking to relieve chronic or multifactorial conditions. 

The US Department of Defense (DoD) shows particular interest in and usage of IM for managing chronic conditions including the signature “polytrauma triad” of chronic pain, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among its beneficiaries in the Military Health System (MHS).

These modalities range from conventional nondrug, nonsurgical options such as cognitive-behavioral therapy to nonconventional options such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and mind-body techniques. These are of particular interest for their potential to relieve symptoms without relying on opiates, which impair performance and show high potential for abuse while often failing to provide full relief.

'Choosing Wisely' Praised and Sometimes Feared
Written by editor   
Friday, November 03, 2017 07:37 AM

The “Choosing Wisely” initiative has done a lot to change the culture around performing unnecessary procedures. In 2012, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) debuted “Choosing Wisely," asking specialty groups to produce a list of five tests or procedures that may be overutilized. 

There were four rules that the groups had to follow:

  • It needed to be in their discipline
  • It needed to have an impact -- that is, it had to be a test or procedure that was very expensive or performed a lot
  • It needed to have evidence that it was being done too much
  • There needed to be a transparent process for choosing each item

Five years later 80 medical societies have lent their intellectual capital to thinking about this.

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