News & Information
Chiropractors Could Soon Clear Youth Athletes After Concussions
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 09:22 AM

Chiropractors in Ohio have won the latest round of an ongoing fight with Ohio physicians over who should be allowed to clear young athletes to play after suffering a concussion.

For two years, chiropractors have been trying to become part of a new state law designed to educate coaches and ensure young Ohio athletes are pulled from competition when they show concussion-like symptoms.   The Ohio health director will set up a committee of three physicians and three chiropractors to develop guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and clearance of concussions suffered by young athletes. It also will adopt minimum education requirements for those who clear athletes.

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Kansas BCBS Spinal Fusion Policy Change One Year Later
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 09:18 AM

Nearly a year after the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas made coverage changes to their spinal fusion policy, here are five things the media want us to know about the coverage changes:

1. The policy change went into effect in July 2013, requiring more non-surgical care and documentation before the insurer will cover lumbar spinal fusions. Manager of Corporate Communications for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Mary Beth Chambers said the policy change was made after reviewing a new body of research done in the past 10 years on the effectiveness of spinal fusion. The North American Spine Society released Coverage Policy Recommendations for Lumbar Spinal Fusion earlier this year, designed to help surgeons, providers, patients and payers make decisions about surgical intervention.

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Spinal Fusion Costs Spur Insurance Changes
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 07:20 AM

Over the past two decades, the search for relief from back pain led skyrocketing numbers of Americans to a costly procedure that bonds vertebrae together. But as evidence mounted that spinal fusion surgery was used too often for the wrong people, insurer Cigna decided in 2011 to see how its own members had fared.  The news was startling: 87 percent of customers who had spinal fusion to treat pain due to wear and tear on spinal discs were still in so much pain two years later that they needed more therapies or drugs. Nearly 15 percent had more surgery. Total cost of the post-surgery claims: $11 million. That's on top of the initial fusion surgeries, which can carry price tags of $100,000 each, though insurers don't pay that much.

There is a growing number of private insurers that limit the circumstances in which they'll pay for spinal fusions. In part because of this trend, the phenomenal growth in spinal fusions — a case study in the debate over runaway health costs — should slow down, according to a report last month from London-based industry analyst GlobalData.

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California Medical Doctors Used Fake Hardware in Spine Surgeries Lawsuits Say
Written by Editor   
Monday, July 07, 2014 05:33 PM

Medical Doctors in Southern California have implanted counterfeit screws and rods, ginned up in a small machine shop, into the backs of thousands of injured workers, according to lawsuits filed throughout the state.  Some doctors who used the bogus hardware took kickbacks including cash and private plane rides, while middlemen and hospitals profited by wildly inflating the cost of the screws, according to one suit filed in Sacramento.

The allegations deepen the scandal surrounding a Corona del Mar hospital executive who pleaded guilty in April to paying doctors to bring in patients as part of a $500 million insurance scam.  The executive, Michael Drobot, also admitted to bribing former state Sen. Ronald Calderon to keep huge insurance payments flowing.

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A Broken Market in Antibiotics
Written by Editor   
Monday, July 07, 2014 04:53 PM

The drugs don't work - and neither does the market, when it comes to antibiotics.

When sophisticated bugs that medicines used to kill within days start to fight back and win, all of healthcare, and the people it keeps alive, is in trouble.

It's a glimpse of what Britain's chief medical officer Sally Davies calls the "apocalyptic scenario" of a post-antibiotic era, which the World Health Organisation says will be upon us this century unless something drastic is done.

Waking up to the threat, governments and health officials are getting serious about trying to neutralize it. It may seem like a question of science, microbes and drugs - but in truth it is a global issue of economics and national security.

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