Government agency issues draft recommendation doubting calcium, vitamin D benefits
ROCKVILLE, Md. — U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Tuesday issued a draft recommendation around the ineffectiveness of vitamin D and calcium to prevent cancer or fractures. The draft guidance also suggested vitamin D and calcium could equate to a greater risk of kidney stones in older women.
"Many people take the supplements, but the science was insufficient to make recommendations for everyone," stated panel member Timothy Wilt of the University of Minnesota.
In response, the Council for Responsible Nutrition urged caution in interpreting what the Task Force report means for recommending vitamin D and calcium supplementation. “The draft report … does not change expert recommendations for the benefits of calcium," stated Taylor Wallace, senior director of scientific and regulatory affairs at CRN. "The Institute of Medicine supports a recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU to 800 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg to 1,300 mg of calcium daily for adults," he added, citing long-term randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses that support that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D is beneficial for bone health, particularly in post-menopausal women and the elderly, when the diet is not sufficient.
"Even though the USPSTF’s recommendations are based on a large body of evidence, the draft report recognized that in the largest [randomized control trial], the Women’s Health Initiative study, the vitamin D dose used ‘may have been too low to cause an effect,’" Taylor added.
Previously, the USPSTF found that supplementation with vitamin D was beneficial in preventing incidences of falls among adults ages 65 years and older. Since falls commonly result in fractures, it’s common sense for the elderly to consider supplementing with vitamin D and calcium, Taylor noted.
Managed care organization Health Net releases PSA campaign on prenatal health
LOS ANGELES — Health Net on Tuesday launched a national public service campaign to help increase awareness of prenatal and infant health.
Created in collaboration with the National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition, the campaign announcements encourage mothers and fathers to sign up for a free mobile health service called Text4baby.
Text4baby delivers timely health information during pregnancy and through baby’s first year via personalized text messages based on a pregnant woman’s due date or her baby’s date of birth. Messages focus on a variety of critical health topics, including immunization, nutrition, mental health, oral health and safe sleep. Text4baby also connects receivers to prenatal and infant care services and resources.
“Mobile phones can play a significant role in promoting prenatal, postnatal and infant health care by delivering accurate and timely information directly to both expectant and new parents,” stated Mary Beth Govier, director of Care Management for Health Net. “Text4baby joins our tool kit of prenatal resources,” she said. “Health Net also offers health coaches and Decision Power Healthy Baby, an online educational video series available free of charge to our website visitors.”
Anyone can sign up for the service by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411.
The campaign — which features two 30-second television announcements — has been distributed to media outlets nationwide. The “Belly-to-Belly” announcement shows just the pregnant bellies of two friends talking about Text4baby. One pregnant mom is a Text4baby subscriber and shows her friend how to sign up. Accompanied by the song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” the “Baby Photos” announcement shows photos of babies whose mothers used Text4baby. The mothers of the babies in the PSA received three Text4baby messages a week while they were pregnant and/or until their babies’ first birthday.
Text4baby already has reached more than 240,000 users since it began in 2010. Health Net was the first health plan in California to partner with Text4baby and provide statewide outreach in 2010. The company was one of the first Text4baby health plan partners in Arizona and Oregon.
MinuteClinic, Florida Hospital Medical Group enter clinical affiliation
WOONSOCKET, R.I. and MAITLAND, Fla. — CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic has announced that it is partnering with Florida Hospital Medical Group, a multispecialty physician group affiliated with Florida Hospital, in a clinical affiliation that expands access to healthcare services in central Florida.
Under the agreement, FHMG physicians will serve as medical directors for 12 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in Orlando and the surrounding counties of Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk and Seminole.
MinuteClinic and FHMG also will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives. FHMG and Florida Hospital will accept patients requiring a level of care outside the scope of MinuteClinic’s walk-in services for common illnesses, wellness and prevention services, including health condition monitoring.
"MinuteClinic joins Florida Hospital Medical Group in its commitment to help patients remain healthy by making high-quality, cost-effective medical care more accessible in Central Florida," stated Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. "Florida Hospital has a long tradition of forging successful community partnerships, and we look forward to having their physicians collaborate with our nurse practitioners to provide quality oversight, teaching and backup so we can provide the best care at the lowest overall cost."
MinuteClinic and FHMG also will work toward fully integrating electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of patients’ care. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours of the visit.
"Our goal is to supplement the efficient and convenient care already provided by MinuteClinic with additional support and clinical expertise, which will improve primary care access for our community and expand our continuum of care," stated Neil Finkler, chief medical officer of FHMG. "This partnership will streamline patient care communication and facilitate access to FHMG practitioners for patients in need of further medical care."