Free Shipping Over $250

Our Blog

Helpful information on the world of beauty and aesthetics supplies.
Medicare pay cut stopped again; doctors decry lack of permanent fix
Congress may have stemmed most of the damage from the latest 21% Medicare payment reduction by reversing the cut before any physicians actually could feel it. Still, physician organizations say the harm caused by lawmakers once again bringing doctors to the brink before pulling them back is another major reason why the next solution must be a permanent one. Legislation to reverse the cut and postpone it until June 1 was signed into law by President Obama late on April 15. The cut technically had gone into effect April 1 as lawmakers fought over how to pay for the bill, which also extends various unemployment and health assistance programs. But the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had instructed contractors to hold off on processing claims for 10 business days to give lawmakers more time to act -- a window that closed at the end of the day on April 14. That meant nearly 24 hours elapsed from the time the deadline expired until the president signed the retroactive bill, all [Read more]
Depression symptoms increase during residency
Fewer than 4% of doctors in training have major depression when they enter residency. But about 25% do by the end of the first year. Stressful life events, work hours and genetic predisposition were among the factors associated with depressive symptoms among residents, according to a study published online April 5 in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Lead study author Srijan Sen, MD, PhD, and other researchers surveyed 740 doctors entering residency programs at 13 U.S. hospitals in 2007 and 2008. Before beginning their residencies, participants reported their symptoms of depression in an online survey. Follow-up surveys were conducted four times over 12 months to gauge depression, work hours, perceived medical errors and life stresses. Depressive symptoms were measured during each assessment using the nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire. Researchers found that 3.9% of participants met PHQ-9 criteria for major depression before they entered their residencies. By the 12t [Read more]
Salt limits recommended for processed foods
Table salt accounts for about 6% of Americans' daily sodium intake, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The remaining salt consumed each day comes largely from processed foods and restaurant meals. The Institute of Medicine is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to gradually decrease the amount of salt that food manufacturers and restaurants add to their products. An incremental reduction would prevent people from noticing a difference in taste, the IOM said. In a report released in April, the IOM said the goal is to reduce the public's sodium consumption to 2,300 mg -- approximately one teaspoon of salt -- or less a day. In doing so, the institute hopes to lower risks of hypertension, heart disease and stroke (www.iom.edu/reports/2010/strategies-to-reduce-sodium-intake-in-the-united-states). One in three adults has hypertension, and another 25% of adults have pre-hypertension, according to the CDC. There is no deadline for implementing the [Read more]
Preventable risk factors cut 4 to 5 years off life span
Family physician Stephen Taylor, MD, had no adolescent patients with type 2 diabetes when he started his rural Vivian, La., practice 26 years ago. Now he treats children as young as 12 for the disease. Rising obesity is one reason Dr. Taylor says there are more adolescents with type 2 diabetes. He works with patients to change their lifestyles and improve their health, but they often won't act. "Lifestyle-related diseases have an immense effect on our overall morbidity and mortality. This is a huge problem, and we're going to have to begin to deal with it," Dr. Taylor said. A recent study in PLoS Medicine notes that most chronic diseases, including diabetes, are caused by multiple risk factors. The study found that four preventable risk factors for chronic diseases -- adiposity, elevated blood glucose, hypertension and smoking rates -- reduce Americans' life expectancy by about 4.9 years for men and 4.1 years for women. The findings come as obesity continues to plague the U [Read more]
Acid-reducing drugs increase risk of fractures, bacterial infections
The health benefits of proton pump inhibitors may not be worth the risk for some patients, according to studies in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Study authors encourage doctors to prescribe different medications for patients with minor gastrointestinal disorders or urge them to make lifestyle changes, such as not eating spicy foods. For patients with more serious gastrointestinal conditions, including esophagitis, they suggest prescribing the lowest effective dose of PPIs and reevaluating patients regularly. Several studies in the May 10 Archives of Internal Medicine examined the health effects of PPIs. These drugs "are an important medicine for certain indications like bleeding ulcers. ... But it's not worth the risk to take it for indigestion," said Mitchell Katz, MD, director of the San Francisco Dept. of Public Health, who wrote an editorial on the health risks of PPIs. Dr. Katz said 113.4 million prescriptions for PPIs are filled each year, and "for most patients, [Read more]
Medicare anti-fraud efforts net $2.5 billion
The passage of the economic stimulus bill last year gave the government more resources to protect consumers and safeguard taxpayer dollars, and the investment already is paying dividends, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. HHS and the Justice Dept. released its annual health care fraud and abuse report on May 13. It showed that in fiscal 2009, anti-fraud efforts resulted in $2.51 billion being returned to the Medicare trust fund, a $569 million, or 29%, increase over fiscal 2008. In addition, more than $441 million in federal Medicaid money was returned to the Dept. of the Treasury through anti-fraud and abuse efforts, a 28% increase from fiscal 2008, HHS and Justice said. Sebelius said an additional $600 million over 10 years will be allocated for anti-fraud initiatives. "We're going to provide new resources to get more boots on the ground to fight fraud in communities across the country," Sebelius said. "We're going to make it easier for law [Read more]
Med school enrollment not growing as quickly as projected
The Assn. of American Medical Colleges said first-year allopathic medical school enrollment will not increase by 30% by 2015, as the association had hoped. The AAMC recommended increasing enrollment to boost the number of first-year medical students from 16,488 in 2002 to 21,434 by 2015. But the goal is not expected to be reached until 2018. However, combined first-year enrollment at allopathic and osteopathic medical schools is expected to rise 36% above 2002 figures by 2015. That would mean nearly 27,000 total first-year spots for the 2014-15 academic year. Edward Salsberg, director of the AAMC's Center for Workforce Studies, said AAMC officials are encouraged that first-year enrollment is growing, even if it's not as fast as previously projected. "There was a slight slow-up [in enrollment growth], which we think really reflects the impact of the recession on medical school enrollment. But the long-term trend continues to be positive," he said. There is some concern by [Read more]
FDA calls on physicians to report misleading drug ads
The Food and Drug Administration wants physicians' help monitoring deceptive or misleading pharmaceutical advertising or promotional efforts. The agency's Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications in May unveiled the Bad Ad Program, an initiative aimed at getting doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to report drugmaker violations of marketing rules. "The Bad Ad Program will help health care providers recognize misleading prescription drug promotion and provide them with an easy way to report this activity to the agency," said Thomas Abrams, director of the FDA's drug marketing division. The agency's staff tracks what drugmakers say in advertisements, pamphlets and medical meetings, but has little ability to monitor what detailers or company-sponsored speakers say in private when promoting pharmaceuticals. The FDA said reportable marketing violations include when detailers or company-sponsored speakers: * Omit information [Read more]
Contact Support