Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Medicare-Covered Screening Test for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms(AAA) are responsible for 9000 deaths annually in the United States. Normally Medicare does not cover screening test for AAA.

Good news for patients new to Medicare because starting this year(2007) will cover screening Ultrasound test to detect AAA in certain conditions.

I subscribe to the Medicare Newsletter and here is the good news. If you or your love-one is in the high risk group of people to have Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm(AAA), read on. Being aware that you have asymptomatic AAA may save your life. Here is the newsletter from Medicare.


New in 2007 ~ Medicare Now Provides Coverage for a One-time Ultrasound Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms as Part of the Initial Preventive Physical Examination

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) invites you to join with us in promoting awareness of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) and the new screening benefit for the early detection of this disease. Three in four aortic aneurysms are AAAs. Aortic aneurysms account for about 15,000 deaths in the United States annually; of these 9,000 are AAA-related. Men are 5 to 10 times more likely than women to have an AAA and the risk increases with age. Although AAAs may be asymptomatic for years, as many as 1 in 3 eventually rupture if left untreated. [i] [ii] Early diagnosis allows for more effective treatment and cure. Diagnosis of an AAA can be done painlessly with a simple ultrasound scan. Medicare now provides coverage for this screening service for eligible beneficiaries.

Medicare Coverage ~ Effective for dates of service on or after January 1, 2007, Medicare will pay for a one-time ultrasound screening for AAA for beneficiaries who are at risk (has a family history of AAA or is a man age 65 to 75 who has smoked at least 100 cigarettes in his lifetime). Eligible beneficiaries must receive a referral for the screening as a result of their initial preventive physical examination (IPPE) also referred to as the Welcome to Medicare physical exam. There is no Part B deductible. The coinsurance/copayment applies.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Only Medicare beneficiaries who receive a referral for the AAA ultrasound screening as part of the Welcome to Medicare physical exam will be covered for the AAA benefit.

How Can You Help?As a trusted source, your recommendation is the most important factor in increasing the use of preventive services and screenings. CMS needs your help to ensure that patients new to Medicare receive their Welcome to Medicare physical exam within the first six months of their effective date in Medicare Part B and those beneficiaries at risk for AAA receive a referral for the ultrasound screening as part of their Welcome to Medicare physical exam. It could save their lives!

For More InformationFor more information about Medicare's coverage of the AAA benefit, refer to MLN Matters article MM5235 (2006), Implementation of a One-Time Only Ultrasound Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA), Resulting from a Referral from an Initial Preventive Physical Examination, located at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/MM5235.pdf on the CMS website.

CMS has also developed a variety of educational products and resources to help health care professionals and their staff become familiar with coverage, coding, billing, and reimbursement for all preventive services covered by Medicare.
The MLN Preventive Services Educational Products Web Page provides descriptions and ordering information for all provider specific educational products related to preventive services. The web page is located at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MLNProducts/35_PreventiveServices.asp on the CMS website.

For information to share with your Medicare patients, visit http://www.medicare.gov/ on the Web.

For more information about Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, please visit http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/arm/arm_what.html on the Web.

Thank you for helping CMS to increase awareness of abdominal aortic aneurysm disease and the new AAA preventive benefit." End of the newsletter.

Call your personal physician right away to find out if you are in the high risk group of patients to harbor asymptomatic(silent) AAA.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Quit Smoking | Is Nicotine Addiction Real?

I found this interested article and I want to share it with my audience. Also read my comment below after you had read the entire article.

Here is the article:

"I'm a person who walked away from smoking forever about eight months ago and now I can't help but ask this question. I realize that everyone on the television, radio, and internet claims that nicotine is addictive, but is this really true or are they simply trying to get you to buy into the hype so they can get your money? I have to tell you, as a person who smoked for fifteen years and walked away without the aid of any gum, patches, pills, or anything else, I have to tell you that I honestly believe it's all hype!

Really, if it were true and there are actually withdrawals and the like associated with quitting smoking, wouldn't I have experienced some of them? Were there times I wanted a cigarette? Of course, but my conclusion is that it was because I was used to sticking cancer sticks into my pie hole for fifteen years, not because I was addicted to anything. I was just used to smoking. I mean anything that you engage in for 15 years is bound to feel like "normal", right?

The conclusion that I came to is that I wasn't actually addicted to anything and that it was all hype. So I decided not to buy into the hype any longer. Anytime I heard about being addicted or how hard quitting smoking was going to be, I simply said to myself, "I don't believe that, it's going to bee easy to stop." I did this while I was still smoking. When I was by myself smoking, I would look at the cigarette and say the same basic thing directly to the cigarette.

And do you know what. Within a couple of months of doing that, I went in my pack to grab a smoke only to find out that it was my last one. I looked at that cigarette and said, "this is it, I'm done." I proceeded to smoke that cigarette and haven't touched one since that day.

It was literally as simple as that. I've realized that quitting smoking is what you think about quitting and not about being addicted to nicotine. You're addicted to nicotine if you believe that you're addicted to nicotine. It's as simple as that, and if you buy into the hype, you'll believe that you're addicted to nicotine. I'm simply telling you that you're not really addicted to anything you just think you are. You can do exactly what I did and be free of cigarettes and nicotine forever. Unless of course you believe that you can't."

Trevor Kugler - Co-founder of JRWfishing.com Trevor has more than 20 years of fishing experience, and raises his three year old daughter in the heart of trout fishing country....Montana.
Check Out Our Boats and Pontoons: http://www.jrwfishing.com/boats.html
http://www.jrwfishing.com/sunglasses.html - Start Catching more fish Today!!!!
Sign up for the best free fishing Ezine on the web and get $10 for your trouble. - http://www.jrwfishing.com/signup.html
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Trevor_Kugler"

End of article.

I want to congratulate the author of the-above article and I wish him long-term success in quitting smoking, using the cold-turkey method. Even though the 8-month smoking-free period is too short to predict long-term success, it is still better than those who can not quit at all. Many of my patients had tried this method but only a very had long-term success.

It is proved that nicotine addiction is real. See my previous post at http://realmedicalstories.blogspot.com/2007/01/new-stop-smoking-aids-new-medication.html

The author above is right in being skeptic about the tv., radio and internet claims. My best advice to any one is to consult your personal healthcare provider who has special interest in combating nicotine addiction before jumping into buying into any program of quit-smoking aids. of which hypnosis is one.

This is my 3rd consecutive posts about nicotine addiction. I have been writing Chantix for about at least 2 months now. So far there is one patient on the maintenance pack of Chantix. Two or three patients did not fill the first-month prescription due to various reasons, of which the most common is "I am not ready" Surprisingly, cost is not the mail reason.

Hypnosis is becoming mainstream. The Health System to which I belong is advertising about applying hypnosis as an adjunct in treatment of nicotine addiction and obesity. I will look into hypnosis soon.

Suthin Liptawat,M.D.