PHARMACY

CMS announces $36 million for SHIP programs

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that about $36 million will be distributed to State Health Insurance Assistance Programs in 2008, according to published reports. SHIPs are state based programs that use community-based networks to provide Medicare beneficiaries with local, personalized assistance on a wide variety of Medicare and health insurance topics.

The nearly $36 million being distributed to the SHIPs today is the first installment of more than $50 million that will be provided to the SHIPs in 2008. This $20 million increase in funding over fiscal year 2007 reflects more than $39 million in regular SHIP grants, performance-based grants to be awarded in September, and SHIP support, as well as an additional $15 million in supplemental funding that will be distributed on June 1.

“State Health Insurance Assistance Programs fill an important role in providing information and support to people with Medicare in their communities across the nation,” said CMS acting administrator Kerry Weems. “In addition to helping answer beneficiaries’ questions about Medicare, this year’s funding should further the SHIPs’ efforts to help us reach those people who are most likely eligible for Medicare’s low-income-subsidy and then help them apply for the extra help.”

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GE introduces ChipCap humidity and temperature gauge

BY Diana Alickaj

BILLERICA, Mass. GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies has announced a new product; proven to lower the cost of humidity and temperature sensor integration by 50 percent or more, according to published reports.

The product is known as ChipCap, a sensor for relative humidity and temperature used for the HVAC, automotive, medical and appliance industries. It is the only device that offers digital and analog configurations on a single chip. According to published reports, it is also highly resistant to contaminants and is programmed to fully recover in condensing environments.

Bryan Conner, Global Product Manager of Gas and Moisture for GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies, says, “ChipCap offers a full factory calibrated solution. It doesn’t require further signal conditioning, therefore reducing the overall design time in integration and time to market for new products. By eliminating the need for calibration, end users increase throughput and lower cycle time once in production.” The new product is sad to save an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 in capital equipment costs and calibration labor, according to published reports.

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Oxycontin removed from Walgreens Tampa Bay locations

BY Diana Alickaj

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. As a response to recent pharmacy robberies in the Tampa Bay area, Walgreens has decided to remove the drug Oxycontin from some of its Tampa Bay stores, according to published reports.

Oxycontin, which is supposed to be used in treatment for severe pain or injuries, as well as cancer, has been identified as a street drug with names like OC, Ox, Kicker or Oxy. The most recent robbery occurred on March 27, according to published reports, during which a man pulled out a gun to obtain Oxycontin.

Carol Hively, a spokesperson from Walgreens, released the following statement in response to the news of the removal of Oxycontin:

“Walgreens is in the process of removing OxyContin from some of its stores in the Tampa area. This is a temporary measure we’re taking for the safety of our customers and employees, in response to local robberies. Signs are posted in our stores informing pharmacy patients of the change.”

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