Posted - Feb 11 2011 : 3:23:56 PM
| Volume 11, Issue 6
February 11 2011
MEDICARE PROPOSES NEW RULES FOR LODGING COMPLAINTS
At present, only Medicare recipients admitted into hospitals are given information on how to lodge a complaint concerning the quality of their care. CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has proposed a new rule that would require most Medicare participating providers to also inform Medicare recipients of their rights and how to contact their state's QID (Medicare Quality Improvement Organization) to lodge a complaint. Unknown to many, every state has a QIO. Medicare participating providers are those providers who agree to accept, as payment in full, the amount that Medicare pays, although they can still bill you for deductibles and/or coinsurance amounts.
Currently, the quality of care concerns that are addressed by QIOs apply only to hospital settings and are limited to:
- Medication errors
- Unnecessary or inappropriate surgery
- Unnecessary or inappropriate treatment
- Change in condition not treated (such as complications)
- Premature discharge from a hospital
- Incomplete discharge instructions and/or arrangements
Your state's QID can also direct you to resources to assist you with issues that they do not handle, such as: unprofessional conduct; dirty hospitals; rooms that are too hot or too cold; fraud; etc.
For more information on hospital related complaints, see Medicare's brochure (in PDF format) at:
To locate the QID for your state, go to:
The new CMS proposal will require the following Medicare participating providers to also inform patients of their rights as well as provide information on how to lodge a complaint. In addition to hospitals, the proposal would cover:
- Ambulatory Surgical Centers
- Long Term Care (LTC) Facilities
- Home Health Agencies (HHAs)
- Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (CORFs)
- Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)
- Clinics and Rehabilitation Agencies
- Portable X-Ray Services
- Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
For a CMS overview of this proposal see:
For complete information about the new proposal, please see the Federal Register in PDF format (scroll down right column on page 5755) at:
For more guidance and suggestions, you may also want to contact your state's Department of Health. You can find yours at:
Also be reminded that a hospital's patient advocate may also assist you in resolving quality of care problems.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
- MEDICATION FOR OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
- THORACIC SOCIEY OPPOSES LEGISLATION THAT WOULD LEAD TO AIR POLLUTION
- GLAXOSMITHKLINE STARTS NEW COPD DRUG TRIALS
- VOLUME OF VIRUSES IMPACTS RISK OF INFECTION
- REVERSIBLE HEART DAMAGE FROM COPD?
- NEW GUIDELINES FOR SALT INTAKE
- NEW ANTI-INFLAMMATORY STEROID DISCOVERED
- WHAT IS GRANULOMA IN THE LUNGS?
- COPD AND OSTEOPOROSIS
- APRIA BUYS PRAXAIR'S HOME SERVICES
PUT ON YOUR THINKING CAP…REALLY!
VIDEO ON HOW TO WALK AT HOME
UNIQUE VIEW FROM CANADIAN SIDE OF MT. RUSHMORE!
FUN TRIVIA QUIZZES!
SOURCES: News items summarized in The COPD-NEWS are taken from secondary sources believed to be reliable. However, the COPD Family of Services does not verify their accuracy.
MEDICATION FOR OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
What's this, an oral medication for obstructive sleep apnea? Yes! This all too common condition for some of us with COPD may one day be treated with an oral medication. Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep due to an airflow obstruction. Cortex Pharmaceuticals, located in California, is currently studying a new drug they call Ampakine. The results, thus far, reveal a statistically significant improvement in oxygen saturation, a reduction of the amount of time oxygen saturation is below 90%, and a reduction in the number of times per hour saturation drops below 90%. One downside is that those who receive the drug sleep significantly less time, although they don't report sleepiness the next day. Although "statistically significantâ€ť improvements are noted, the overall results are less than dramaticâ€”at least at this point in their research. For Cortex Pharmaceutical's press release, see:
THORACIC SOCIEY OPPOSES LEGISLATION THAT WOULD LEAD TO AIR POLLUTION
Proposed legislation in the U.S. could undermine the protection of clean air, according to Dean E. Schraufnagel, MD, President of the American Thoracic Society. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on the subject. This Medical News Today article provides a good overview of the issue:
GLAXOSMITHKLINE STARTS NEW COPD DRUG TRIALS
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is announcing clinical trials for two COPD treatments. In association with their partner Theravance, they've started a phase III trial of their once-daily medication LAMA/LABA (combination bronchodilator treatment GSK573719/vilanterol). This trial will involve more than 5,000 patients worldwide. Patients are currently being enrolled in a study to determine the drug's safety. Upon completion of this study, four large studies will then compare potential improvements in lung function between this new medication, a placebo, and tiotropium (Spiriva). GSK's press release can be found at:
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VOLUME OF VIRUSES IMPACTS RISK OF INFECTION
Have you ever wondered how long an infected person's flu-bug laden sneeze lingers in the air, or how long after the sneeze those germs floating in the air are able to infect you? These questions also occurred to Virginia Tech researchers, so they collected air samples in a daycare center, a health facility, and onboard airplanes for their study. Research into the airborne transmission of microbes, particularly viruses, is limited. Most of the studies look into direct and indirect contact rather than airborne transmission of germs. This is simply because it is very difficult to study germs floating in the air because they quickly become diluted or settle due to gravity. Using their air samples, the researchers found that the viruses that cause illness are extremely small and can remain in the air for hours. The average amount of air containing airborne viruses one would breathe in one hour, they conclude, would be enough to result in infection. For this Virginia Tech study, see:
REVERSIBLE HEART DAMAGE FROM COPD?
The Journal of The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in Bethesda, MD reports on research conducted into what happens to the hearts of people exposed to low levels of oxygen. The researchers' subjects are hikers who spent time at a Mt. Everest base camp. Their heart functions, due to oxygen deprivation because of the altitude, resemble what is seen in COPD. The researchers find that the hikers' hearts return to normal within six months after their study. This finding suggests that if the underlying cause of the heart's abnormal condition can be addressed, the heart may be able to respond accordingly. For more information, see the FASEB study at:
NEW GUIDELINES FOR SALT INTAKE
Put down that salt shaker! The U.S. Department of Agriculture's guidelines, updated from 2005, recommend we limit our salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. That's about a teaspoon. Worse, if you are 51 or older, or have an underlying medical condition, you should not consume more than 1,500 milligrams. For comparison, the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams each day. If you are a salt lover and you want more information, wipe away those salty tears and read the following from the National Institutes of Health:
MEDICAL DECISIONS. Your physician should be consulted on all medical decisions. New procedures or drugs should not be started or stopped without such consultation. While we believe that our accumulated experience has value, and a unique perspective, you must accept it for what it is...the work of COPD patients. We vigorously encourage individuals with COPD to take an active part in the management of their disease. They do this through education and by sharing information and thoughts with their primary physician and pulmonologist. However, medical decisions are based on complex medical principles and should be left to the medical practitioner who has been trained to diagnose and advise.
NEW ANTI-INFLAMMATORY STEROID DISCOVERED
A biopharmaceutical company in San Diego, Harbor BioScience, Inc., has discovered a new anti-inflammatory steroid that is naturally present in humans. Preclinical studies suggest they might be useful in the treatment of COPD, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases. For more information, see:
WHAT IS GRANULOMA IN THE LUNGS?
A few of us have been diagnosed as having "granulomas" in our lungs, and there was recent discussion amongst members about this condition. Michael H., from Wisconsin, shared a link to a Mayo Clinic website that provides a good explanation of this condition. The Mayo website explains that granulomas are small area of inflammation, often the result of an infection. They show up on x-rays and other forms of imaging. Depending on their appearance, cancer sometimes has to first be ruled out before the "unusual things," that show up on images (sometimes referred to as nodules) are considered granulomas. Granulomas are not cancerous, and most granulomas don't require treatment. Although there are many possible causes, but the most common is from histoplasmosis, a fungal infection found more commonly in people who work with or around soil or around bird or bat droppings. For more information on granuloma, see the Mayo Clinic article at:
If you want information on histoplasmosis, the National Institutes of Health provides it at:
COPD AND OSTEOPOROSIS
Yes, another reason to insure we have an adequate intake of vitamin D! Studies have shown that those of us with COPD have an increased risk of osteoporosis—up to a 69% greater risk (although some researchers wiill say the percentage is much lower). Vitamin D deficiency is believed by many to increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Further, osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis, is also more common in those of us with a vitamin D deficiency. Because we are at greater risk, it might be important for us to talk to our doctor about vitamin and calcium intake or supplements. For more information, see page 3 in the Respiratory Research article on vitamins and COPD in PDF format at:
APRIA BUYS PRAXAIR'S HOME SERVICES
Praxair customers be aware that Apria, the large nationwide provider of home and portable oxygen, home respiratory therapy equipment and supplies, etc. has just purchased the homecare unit of Praxair. Praxair is a large company that also provides oxygen and respiratory services similar to Apria. It has 85 branches in the U.S. Praxair, however, is better known for supplying a variety of industrial gasses. It has business operations in 30 countries. Incidentally, Apria was bought out by Blackstone Group, L.P. Praxair's press release can be found at:
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PUT ON YOUR THINKING CAP…REALLY!
Electrical brain stimulation really works! Participants having electrical stimulation to their brain solve three times the number of math problems than those without brain stimulation! This Medical News Today article will certainly get you thinking!
VIDEO ON HOW TO WALK AT HOME
Although not specifically for those of us with COPD, this video shows how you can walk at home if you don't have a treadmill:
UNIQUE VIEW FROM CANADIAN SIDE OF MT. RUSHMORE!
Few people take the time to venture to the Canadian side of Mt. Rushmore, but it is a sight you will never forget!
FUN TRIVIA QUIZZES!
These really are fun quizzes (although not as stimulating as the above thinking cap)! Just click one of the categories of those listed in the column. The page looks a bit confusing at first, but the list starts with, "What's the difference." Once you choose a category, you then have to pick either "flash" or "html." Both seem to work well.
For comments and questions, or to contact Richard D. Martin, please send your email to: newsletter@COPD-Support.com
Until next Friday,
Richard D. Martin, Editor
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