Health Updates 30 November 2011

  • Medicare will pay for obesity counseling: “Medicare will pick up the tab for obesity screening and intensive behavioral counseling, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced late Tuesday.  CMS, which first floated the obesity coverage plan last September, said it expects more than 30% of the Medicare population to qualify for the new benefit.  Beneficiaries with body mass index values of 30 or more can receive weekly in-person intensive behavioral therapy visits for one month, followed by visits every two weeks for an additional five months, fully paid by Medicare with no co-payment….The sessions should also include dietary counseling….Medicare patients who fail to lose the 6.6 pounds in six months may be reevaluated at the one-year mark after the initial screening.” (John Gever, MedPage Today)
  • CVS notifies some doctors it will no longer fill their prescriptions for narcotics.  “The new policy appears to be limited to Florida, but it’s unclear what criteria CVS uses to determine which doctors can have their prescriptions filled.  ‘This situation highlights the lunacy we’ve gotten ourselves into; we’re talking about dangerous narcotics that are not safe as prescribed…and some pharmacies just don’t feel comfortable doing it anymore’, said Larry Golbom, a Clearwater pharmacist who hosts a radio show on prescription drug abuse.” (Health News Florida)
  • HIV not well controlled in US, CDC says: “Despite advances in the treatment of HIV, only 28% of infected Americans have the virus under control, the CDC said.  That is largely because only 41% of the estimated 1.2 million HIV-positive individuals living in the US are both aware that they are infected and are receiving ongoing care, according to a CDC Vitals Signs report published online….The findings highlight the need for continuing work to realize the full benefits of antiretrovial treatment, which has allowed infected individuals to maintain longer, healthier lives and substantially reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others…”. (Todd Neale, MedPage Today)
  • Obama administration appeals court’s decision blocking graphic warning labels on tobacco: “The appeal had been widely expected after US District Judge Richard Leon earlier this  month sided with tobacco companies and granted a temporary injunction blocking the requirement.  He said the companies would likely succeed in their lawsuit challenging the new graphic warnings as unconstitutional because it compels speech in violation of the First Amendment.” (Reuters)

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