Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hump Day Headlines

And here we go.  Remember the fight over raising the debt ceiling, when Congress punted to a super-committee, which itself punted to automatic spending cuts that have to be put in place pretty soon?  Nobody's happy about it -- and now, President Obama has to begin to outline what cuts he's going to makeHalf of the cuts are supposed to be to defense spending, which has the GOP -- who pushed us into this mess -- very unhappy.  This is going to be massively painful.  The Bush tax cuts are about to expire.  Add huge spending cuts and we're destabilizing an already wobbly economy.  No matter what President Obama does, somebody's going to be upset.  It's a horrible position to be in two months before the election.

Students with disabilities are more likely to be suspended from school, with African-American disabled students being disciplined most often.  Instead of providing accommodations and supports, schools punish and exclude these kids.  It's truly a travesty.

A fascinating innovation led by Washington-based Group Health, a nonprofit health insurance plan, in which researchers inform clinical practice -- and clinical practice informs research.  One of the things we see in our insurance appeals is insurance company coverage policies that are academic-minded rather than practical.  For example, Aetna will not pay for a test called fecal calprotectin.  It costs about $200.  They say in their coverage policy that it's experimental as a predictor of IBD relapse.  But clinicians don't use it to predict relapse; they use it to determine whether symptoms are due to IBD or IBS.  Aetna's preferred alternative is colonoscopy, which costs ten times as much and is more invasive and risky.  Clinicians use fecal calprotectin routinely, but the people who write the coverage policy at Aetna aren't listening to them; they're just reading medical journals.  So this interaction between research and clinical is a really important step that may bridge this divide, finally. 

Patients with diabetes may be misdiagnosed with Type 1 when it's really Type 2, which determines the correct treatment.  Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that requires insulin; Type 2 stems from inactivity and obesity and often can be treated with diet and exercise.  If you have diabetes and are doing what your doctor told you to do but still aren't feeling better, maybe it's time for a second opinion.

Morning is prime time for self-improvement, says USA Today.  It's also the time IBD patients spend in the bathroom, and rheumatoid arthritis patients spend trying to get themselves moving for the day.  For us, the morning routine is critical to making it through the day. 

That's all for today -- a light health news day.  Since no news is usually good news, I don't mind!  Have a great day.  Jennifer

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