Hospitals Will Give Price Breaks To Uninsured, if Medicare Agrees They Concede Many Charges Aren’t Fair To the Needy, but Blame Federal Rules

1/26/2003 Lucette Lagnado The Wall Street Journal Under pressure from lawmakers and consumer advocates, the hospital industry said it would consider making broad price cuts for the uninsured -- provided the federal government approves. The announcement by the American Hospital Association included a stark admission that some hospital billing and collections practices are unfair to needy patients. But even as some big hospitals scramble to curtail their most aggressive tactics, such as putting liens on debtors' homes, the trade group is also blaming much of the problem on Medicare. In a letter delivered Tuesday to the Department of Health and Human Services, the hospital group said Medicare regulations "make it far too difficult and frustrating" for hospitals to reduce prices for people who can't afford health care. The letter asks the agency, which oversees Medicare, the federal health-care program for the elderly, to change or clarify its rules so that hospitals "have the ability to do what they can to respond to the needs of these patients." In a document filed in support of its letter, the trade group also said it would urge its 4,800 member hospitals to adopt a set of voluntary guidelines on billing and collections. At the heart of the issue is the hospitals' common practice of charging full listed prices to the nation's 43.6 million uninsured patients. Meanwhile, other patients enjoy steep discounts negotiated on their behalf -- either by private insurers and HMOs or by government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, the federal-state [...]

2009-03-22T19:18:24-07:00January, 2003|Archive|

Novelist Tinniswood Dies

1/9/2003 Respected novelist and playwright Peter Tinniswood has died at the age of 66 following a long battle with cancer. The writer was diagnosed with oral cancer in 1995 and had undergone surgery to have his larynx removed. Tinniswood was responsible for bringing many memorable characters to radio and television. One of his best-remembered characters was Uncle Mort, an indomitable northerner who contracted cancer in the screenplay I Didn't Know You Cared. Several of the television and radio plays written by Tinniswood attracted a devoted following. Perhaps his best-known works were Tales from a Long Room, and its sequel, More Tales from a Long Room, which told stories about cricket, one of Tinniswood's life-long passions. His novels were produced on television, radio and the stage. Most recently he worked on the small screen adaptation of HE Bates' Uncle Silas, which stars Albert Finney. Born in Liverpool, Tinniswood grew up in Sale, Greater Manchester, England where he lived above the dry-cleaners run by his mother. As a young boy he would sit under the counter among the dirty laundry, listening to customers' conversations. "It was like live radio," he said "it sharpened my ear for dialogue...I became a good mimic." He began his working life as a journalist, writing fiction in his spare time until it was able to provide him with a livelihood. Amongs others, he has written for, and had his work performed by, are Dame Judi Dench, Billie Whitelaw, Jane Lapotaire and Michael Williams. Tinniswood's second wife, the [...]

2009-03-22T19:15:57-07:00January, 2003|Archive|

Oral cancer education now the law in New York

1/8/2003 New York New York State Dental Journal Legislation that NYSDA championed in the hopes it would help alter the deadly outlook for patients suffering from oral cancer was signed into law in September by Gov. George Pataki. The measure, which now becomes Capter 237 of the Laws of 2001, stipulates that dentists licensed in New York State must earmark no fewer than two hours of their mandated continuing education to a course devoted to the prevention and detection of oral cancer. This is a one-time requirement, which, it is hoped, will arm dentists with the knowledge they need to become a first-line defense against the scourages of oral cancer. Within weeks of the bill's passage, the New York State Dental Foundation learned it had been approved for a $150,000 grant from the New York State Department of Health to conduct a professional education/public awareness campaign to warn against the deletrious oral health effects of tobacco and tobacco products. A portion of these monies will be used to provide free oral cancer detection and prevention courses for dentists and hygienists.

2009-03-22T19:14:04-07:00January, 2003|Archive|

Norwegian study demonstrates targeted coxibs may prevent oral cancer

1/5/2003 Frankfurt, germany Dr Jon Sudbo Department of Oncology at the Norwegian Radium Hospital Researchers plan world’s first phase III prevention trial for head and neck cancer Norwegian researchers are planning the world's first phase III randomised trial to prevent head and neck cancer. They will use COX-2 inhibitors (coxibs) – a particular type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory group of drugs (NSAID) – better known as a treatment for conditions such as arthritis. These drugs block the action of COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2), an enzyme found mainly in inflammatory and immune cells and now suspected of playing a role in cell growth and genetic instability. Dr Jon Sudbo, Consultant at the Department of Oncology at the Norwegian Radium Hospital in Oslo, revealed plans for the trial at a news briefing today (Thursday 21 November) at the EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics[1], in Frankfurt, Germany. His team at the Norwegian Radium Hospital and colleagues from the University of Oslo Department of Oral Biology, have carried out a study to compare levels of COX-2 expression in three groups of people – 30 with healthy mucous membranes in their mouths, 22 with dysplastic (premalignant) lesions and 29 with oral cancer. The objective was to see whether the levels of COX-2 were linked to aneuploidy (aberrant numbers of chromosomes) in the DNA, indicating a genetic risk marker for cancer. The results are being presented for the first time at the Frankfurt conference. "We found that COX-2 expression was up regulated from healthy to premalignant [...]

2009-03-22T19:13:03-07:00January, 2003|Archive|

Small chip could test for oral cancer while you wait to see the dentist

1/1/2003 Los Angeles David Brown Dental Research Institute at UCLA A tiny, silicon laboratory on a chip that could test patients for cancer and other harmful diseases while they wait to see the dentist is being developed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers at UCLA. Painless, noninvasive and cost efficient, the device could detect evidence of cancers before even the best-trained clinician would spot them, according to David Wong, Director of the Dental Research Institute at UCLA and principal investigator. Researchers at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science bring expertise in nanotechnology and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) to the project. Chih-Ming Ho, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and Carlo Montemagno, who chairs the bioengineering department, are among a team of engineers. The project is funded by a $4.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. "We are integrating microtechnology, nanotechnology and microbiology to build a new class of devices for pre-cancer and oral pathogen detection," Montemagno said. "Because it would provide inexpensive, rapid, early detection of oral cancer and pathogen," Wong said, "it is technology that could take us to the next level of patient care." Early detection of cancer and pathogen is frequently cited as one of the best means of surviving cancer and oral infectious diseases. "Patients are often uncomfortable having their blood drawn," Wong said. The process requires trained technicians and exposes the patient and technician to possible contamination by infectious agents. This device would eliminate both the patient discomfort and danger to [...]

2009-03-22T19:11:46-07:00January, 2003|Archive|
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