PHARMACY

Antibiotic use increases among elderly patients enrolled in Medicare Part D, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO As elderly patients have found improved coverage of prescription drugs after enrolling in Medicare Part D, their use of antibiotics has increased, according to a study published in the upcoming issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study, published in the Aug. 23 edition of the journal, involved an analysis of data on 35,102 patients two years before and two years after Medicare Part D went into effect. The expansion of prescription drug coverage was estimated to reduce out-of-pocket spending by 13% to 23%. Studies have indicated that patients are less likely to fill prescriptions or take drugs prescribed for chronic conditions as medication costs increase, so the researchers sought to find whether similar associations exist for use of antibiotics.

“We found that the use of antibiotics increased in response to reductions in out-of-pocket price after Part D implementation,” the authors wrote.

The increase was most pronounced among those who had started receiving coverage under Medicare Part D after previously having no coverage. On the one hand, the authors were encouraged that antibiotic use increased among patients with pneumonia, but they also found increases in antibiotic use among patients with diseases not treatable with antibiotics, such as acute respiratory tract infections like bronchitis, pharyngitis and sinusitis.

“Our study suggests that reimbursement may play a role in addressing the substantial role of inappropriate antibiotic use,” the authors wrote.

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PositiveID files patent for Insulin Tracker

BY Alaric DeArment

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. A company that develops healthcare and information management products has applied for a patent for an insulin-pen tracking and recording device.

 

PositiveID announced Monday that it had filed for a patent for the Insulin Tracker with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The device slides onto insulin pens and allows diabetes patients to track and record the amount of insulin they inject, including the time and date of each injection, transmitting it to PositiveID’s iGlucose System database and allowing patients and their healthcare providers to monitor compliance.

 

 

“Due to the cumbersome nature of manually recording blood glucose levels, insulin dosages and the appropriate dates and times for each, many patients’ diabetes logs are incomplete or even nonexistent, which directly impacts patient compliance,” PositiveID chairman and CEO Scott Silverman said.

 

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Milwaukee Health Services taps new corporate communications specialist

BY Antoinette Alexander

MILWAUKEE, Wis. Milwaukee Health Services, which owns and operates a retail-based convenient care clinic here, has hired Clarene Mitchell as corporate communications specialist.

In her new role, Mitchell’s duties will include advancing the organization’s public image, facilitating business and government partnerships, fundraising strategy efforts and special projects.

An initial area of concentration will focus on increasing the public image and utilization of MHSI’s Convenient Care Clinic that operates in the Midtown Piggly Wiggly supermarket. MHSI opened the clinic in October 2009 in partnership with Managed Health Services. The clinic, which is owned and operated by MHSI, was the first retail based clinic to be opened by a Federally Qualified Health Center on a national basis, the company stated.

Mitchell most recently worked with VITAS Innovative Hospice Care. Her professional history includes managing programs and public relations interests for Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin.  Prior to that she was a health communications officer for the Milwaukee Health Department, the health and education liaison for Mayor John O. Norquist, in addition to other roles with such organizations as Sojourner Truth House, American Lung Association, Lisbon Avenue Neighborhood Development and the Milwaukee Urban League.

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