HEALTH

Report: Standards for glucose monitors may change

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK The name of the game in diabetes management is compliance. For patients and their healthcare advocates/practitioners, compliance translates into better health outcomes that will prove to be considerably less costly over the life of the patient. And for retailers and blood-glucose meter manufacturers, compliance translates into a high-frequency/high-marketbasket consumer as compared with the average pharmacy patron.

 

So an article in The New York Times questioning the validity of meters sold in the United States could be cause for considerable concern — if American diabetics have less faith in the accuracy of their meters, then they’re likely to be less compliant in testing. And diabetics who don’t have their blood-sugar levels in check would mean poorer health, higher healthcare costs, a decline in pharmacy trips and the loss of that highly-coveted diabetes consumer.

 

As expressed in the Times report, creating a lack of faith in meter results by questioning meter efficacy is what the agency is attempting to avoid.

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HHS purchases 195 million doses of H1N1 vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Nearly 200 million doses of vaccine for novel A(H1N1) influenza could become available by this fall, according to published reports.

Reuters quoted a Department of Health and Human Services official as saying that the government had bought 195 million doses of vaccine. The U.S. population is approximately 300 million.

Since the flu strain appeared earlier this year, the World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic. Many health experts fear that if left unchecked, it could spark a devastating pandemic reminiscent of the 1918 Spanish flu, though that flu caused millions of deaths worldwide in part due to lack of medical technologies such as antiviral drugs.

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NCDP healthcare reform recommendations advocate for diabetes prevention, treatment and care

BY Allison Cerra

PRINCETON, N.J. The National Changing Diabetes Program, a program of Novo Nordisk, and several member associations urged President Obama and members of Congress to make the prevention, detection and treatment of diabetes, one of the nation’s most pervasive and costly diseases, a priority in reforming the U.S. healthcare system.

In an open letter to the President and lawmakers, NCDP said a national response to diabetes is required in order to transform health care and begin to ease the economic and personal burden of the disease, which is growing at an alarming rate. Today, more than 1-in-4 Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes, and these two conditions are estimated to have cost the U.S. $218 billion in 2007 in medical care and lost productivity, according to a recent study.

Joining the NCDP in reaching out to lawmakers are the American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians and VSP.

“We applaud the effort to reorient our health care system to focus more on the prevention of disease, and nowhere is the need greater than with diabetes,” said Dana Haza, senior director of NCDP, an initiative created by Novo Nordisk to drive health systems change at the national and local level. “Not only does diabetes frequently result in devastating and costly complications, but diabetes also significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputations and depression. So tackling diabetes early will make a huge impact on our nation’s overall health care system.”

The NCDP is calling on lawmakers to ensure diabetes is a top priority for health reform, including all new or expanded initiatives in public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP. The organization said diabetes needs to be specifically identified as a priority condition for:

  • Patient-centered care models
  • Chronic care management programs
  • Health information technology programs
  • Programs to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care
  • Prevention and health promotion initiatives
  • Quality improvement initiatives
  • Quality-based incentives
  • Medicare and Medicaid demonstrations of new care models and delivery systems

“We are facing a unique opportunity to profoundly change health care in America and improve the lives of countless people,” Haza said. “Changing diabetes is essential to health care reform.”

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