Tag Archives: Medicare

Medicare Now Covers Obesity Counseling

Obese people on Medicare  now have the opportunity to have regular weight loss counseling paid for when offered by a primary care provider.  Since this is considered prevention, there is no co-pay. On November 29, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that there was enough evidence that intensive behavioral counseling was reasonable and necessary to prevent disease or disability and that Medicare beneficiaries were entitled to coverage as a preventive service. This is particularly good news for people trying to prevent colon or rectal cancer since studies have consistently found a link between body mass index (fatness) and colorectal cancer, including the World  Cancer Research Foundation which included

Some People Getting Colonoscopy Screening Too Often

After a normal colonoscopy when no polyps are found, guidelines call for a repeat test in 10 years. However, almost half of Medicare patients with a negative colonoscopy got another exam within 7 years, and for one in four there was no clear evidence that they needed one. Because colonoscopies have real risks and are expensive, over-testing can be both dangerous and costly. Given limited numbers of physicians who do colonoscopies, unecessary procedures add to long waiting lists for screening and for necessary follow-up exams. Although Medicare regulations call for reimbursement only after 10 years in cases where the first procedure didn’t find a problem, payments are being made for

The $250 Check's in the Mail — Beware of Scams

This week the federal government began mailing $250 checks to Medicare Part D enrollees who have reached the doughnut hole where Part D no longer covers prescription drugs. These checks are sent automatically to seniors when 2010 prescription costs reach the coverage gap. It is not necessary to apply for the check! But scam artists are already at work, contacting  seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries asking for social security numbers, bank accounts, and pretending to help them apply for the $250 rebates.

Barriers and Facilitators for Colorectal Cancer Screening in Older People

Although Medicare pays for colorectal cancer screening, not all older people enrolled in Medicare are screened. Reviewing published medical literature, a task group from the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable found research identifying both barriers to screening and factors that made it easier. The most frequently mentioned barrier related to healthcare providers was lack of a doctor’s recommendation.  Having a usual source of health care facilitated getting screened.

Colorectal Cancer Briefs: PSA Contest,Medicare Co-Pays, NCI Bethesda Clinical Trials

Briefly The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is sponsoring a contest for print and video ads that raise awareness of colorectal cancer. Clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD are an option for cutting-edge treatment at no cost. When co-pays are raised for Medicare, the elderly make fewer outpatient visits but are hospitalized more often and stay in the hospital longer.

Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: November 16

Briefly: African Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer at later stages and have surgery less often which contributes to their poorer survival.  Women have a greater risk of a missed or early colorectal cancer after a negative colonoscopy. If you can’t have a loved one with you during a painful procedure, just looking at your partner’s picture may make it hurt less. The American Society for Radiation Oncology has a new website for patients, and open enrollment for Medicare plan coverage begins on November 15 and extends through the end of the year.

Lack of Insurance Impacts Survival in CRC Patients Under 65.

Not having insurance reduces the chance that someone with colorectal cancer will live a year after their diagnosis.  Even when patients from 18 to 64 have other illnesses, their insurance status makes a difference in survival. Risk of dying during that first year was 50 to 90 percent higher among the uninsured.  They were more likely to diagnosed at an advanced stage and live in poor neighborhoods. Other illness (comorbidities) was lowest in privately insured patients and highest in patients under 65 on Medicare, who were likely to have Medicare because of a disability.

Colorectal Cancer News in Brief: June 25

Farrah Fawcett died on Thursday, June 25, 2009 of anal cancer that had spread to her liver.  She was 62.  Anal cancer is much more rare than either colon or rectal cancer, affecting about 5,300 Americans in 2009. 710 will die from it. In other headlines, the Caterpillar company works with Peoria hospitals and doctors to ensure quality colonoscopy for their employees and a Swiss laboratory will be the first to offer a blood screening test for colorectal cancer. In research, MRI colonography is useful for patients who can’t have a full colonoscopy before surgery, screening colonoscopies are increasing for Medicare enrollees, and scientists have found factors in tumors that

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