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07/11/11

  12:40:06 pm, by MedBen5   , 165 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

E-prescriptions Continue To Rise, But Not Without Errors

Electronic prescriptions continue to make inroads, but it appears some of the bugs still need to be worked out.

As we noted a couple months ago, 36% of office-based physicians transmit their prescriptions electronically. In 2010, providers sent more than 326 million new e-prescriptions and replies to renewal requests – an increase of 72% from 2009.

Medical Xpress reports that while the cost of e-prescribing is high – $20,000 to $30,000 per physician, plus training and upkeep – providers benefit from automatic flagging of a patient’s medical history when a potentially harmful drug interation is detected. Doctors can also confirm prescription benefits within the system; plus, illegible writing isn’t a problem.

Then again, just because the words are clear doean’t mean the system is perfect. According to the ACP Internist blog, researchers have found that nearly 12% of e-prescriptions included at least one error – roughly the same rate as handwritten prescriptions. The most common error was omitted information (60.7% of all errors). Over one-third of the overall errors carried potential adverse drug effects.

  11:53:57 am, by MedBen5   , 292 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

The "1 Weird Old Tip" Link Offers Bad Advice

If you’ve spent even a short time perusing online news sites, you’ve likely seen the ad: A poorly animated drawing of a woman’s stomach with accompanying text, “Cut down a bit of your belly everyday by following this 1 weird old tip.” It probably comes as no shock that the “weird old tip” doesn’t exist – actually, that single ad actually services as a gateway to a variety of miracle diet products from multiple companies.

The Washington Post has a detailed report on government efforts to crack down on deceptive online weight-loss advertising. As we noted on this blog several months back, the Federal Trade Commission has petitioned federal courts to crack down on organizations that use fake news sites to sell acai berry products. But the “1 Tip” ad umbrella doesn’t stop at berries – weight-loss companies are hawking everything from African mangoes to human hormones as easy way to shed the pounds.

Typically, the “news” story offers a link to another site, where customers can order a “free” sample of the featured products, simply by entering a credit card number. In doing so, the customer has essentially authorized the company to continue billing them for additional shipments until they cancel the service – something much easier said than done.

The small print at the bottom of one of these sites tells the real story: “This website, and any page on the website, is based loosely off a true story, but has been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this page, and any page on this website, are not be taken literally or as a non-fiction story.” Bottom line, save the money on online gimmicks and stick to sensible diet and exercise.

07/08/11

  05:52:54 pm, by MedBen5   , 223 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Mouthwash No Substitute For Dental Care

Chances are you know that gargling with mouthwash is no substitute for brushing and flossing. But apparently mouthwash manufacturers would like you to think otherwise – which is why the Food and Drug Administration has repeatedly been breathing down their necks. (No word on whether the breath in question was minty fresh.)

The Chicago Tribune reports that late last year, the FDA warned three mouthwash makers to stop inferring that their fluoride-based products would prevent gum disease and remove dental plaque – just the latest in a long history of making false or exaggerated claims about mouthwash’s abilities.

Existing research has found that while mouthwash does aid in preventing bad breath, it provides no benefits for the teeth and gums. And there’s some question as to whether the ingredients of mouthwash kills off bacteria to make breath smell better, or if it’s merely the result of its alcohol and sweetener content.

Mouthwash is also no substitute for regular checkups, such as those offered though MedBen Dental. Our group dental plan focuses on prevention through scheduled exams while encouraging the use of restorative services when necessary. Available as a standard or voluntary plan, MedBen Dental incorporates affordable coverage, sound dental principles and responsiveness to the needs of your employees. To learn more, call Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683.

  01:28:23 pm, by MedBen5   , 292 words,  
Categories: Wellness, Health Plan Management

Health And Attitude Go Hand In Hand

On the subject of rising health care costs, John Kaegi, Chief Strategist of Healthstat Inc., hits the nail on the head (on the KevinMD.com blog):

“As in most things, health has interconnected, but contrary forces – its “yin and yang.” Could it be that wide access to quality care after we get sick may be the culprit creating growing indifference to the consequences of poor health behaviors? It is so easy to rationalize super-sizing our cheeseburger and fries when we have Lipitor, liposuction and a litany of care providers watching our backs. As important as it is that we have convenient and transparent health cost and outcomes information to control health care costs when we need it, I assert that it is equally critical that we avoid poor health in the first place as the ultimate means to reducing the cost of health care.”

As a new U.S. obesity study vividly demonstrates, more Americans are taking less responsibility for their personal wellness. And greater access to affordable health care will do little to stem the problems if people aren’t willing to change their attitudes and values. Kaegi suggests using physician incentives – “a system of salaried providers combined with liberal bonuses” – to encourage better patient engagement. But for that approach to work, patients have to be equally engaged about their own health.

The MedBen Worksite Wellness program can help plan members take charge of their health. Through raising awareness of personal health, assistance in preventing long-term complications from unmanaged health conditions, and one-on-one coaching for members with specific diseases, the program can be a valuable tool for anyone dedicated to improving their well-being. For more information, please contact Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683.

  10:29:46 am, by MedBen5   , 283 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Smart Grilling Reduces Cancer Risk

When you fire up the backyard grill, the last thing you want to think about is what that big juicy steak is doing to your health. But for experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research, the topic looms large – so much so, they issue yearly advice for healthy grilling, reports Medical News Today.

A recent AICR study links diets high in red and processed meat to colorectal cancer. And red meat is, of course, a mainstay of summer cookouts. But the Institute isn’t saying that you have to abandon red meat entirely – just be more judicious about portion sizes. Their suggestions:

  • Get the Red (Meat) Out, Add Other Colors. Cut back on red and processed meat in favor of colorful vegetables and fruits. Many plant foods actually offer anti-cancer protection, and grilling can really bring out their flavors. Use fruit that is almost ripe so it maintains its texture.
  • Mix & Marinate the Meat. Throw some chicken or fish on the grill rather than burgers and hot dogs. But whatever meat you choose, marinate it first, preferably with herb and vinegar or lemon juice. Marinating meat has been shown to reduce the formation of cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs).
  • Partially Pre-cook. Regardless of whether you use the microwave, oven or stove, pre-cooking reduces the amount of time the meat is exposed to the grill’s high heat. Put the partially cooked meat on the grill immediately to ensure safe food handling.
  • Go slow and low. Slow down the cooking time with a low flame, and minimize charring and burning – it reduces the amount of cancer-causing HCAs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that end up in, and on, the meat.

07/07/11

  06:15:01 pm, by MedBen5   , 225 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Many Angioplasty Procedures Are Inappropriate, Study Finds

For most patients with coronary artery disease, an angioplasty is considered a proper method of treatment. But The Wall Street Journal reports that some doctors are too quick to use the $20,000 procedure in cases where disease symptoms are mild or even non-existent.

A new study of angioplasty – typically, the placement of a tiny metal tube called a stent – finds that among patients whose symptoms don’t necessarily indicate a heart attack, the procedures are inappropriate about 12% of the time. “One in eight is probably higher than we would like,” said cardiologist Paul Chan, the study’s lead author.

The American College of Cardiology has stepped up efforts to ensure that angioplasty, and especially stents, are properly prescribed, in light of growing anxiety that such procedures are overused. Responding to the study’s findings, Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic observed, “This tends to confirm concerns that many people have expressed—that there are many thousands of patients who undergo coronary interventions for very questionable indications.”

MedBen has mutiple measures in place to ensure that clients are charged properly for medical procedures, be it heart disease or any other condition. An advanced claims surveillance system, employing over 80,000 financial and clinical algorithms, is just one way we look out for our customers. To learn more, please call Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at 888-627-8683.

  04:32:57 pm, by MedBen5   , 209 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Report Gives Americans A Big Fat "F"

Okay, nobody would expect that a report on obesity in American would offer much in the way of good news. But maybe, just maybe, we’d find some little positive scrap amidst the gloom.

No such luck.

“F As In Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future” reveals the obesity rates have climbed in 16 states and dropped in none, according to NPR. The report, a joint effort by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also states that 12 states now have obesity rates that exceed 30%. (The report adheres to the standard definition of obesity – a body mass index of 30 or more.)

Perhaps the most shocking bit of information: Colorado, the one state with an obesity rate under 20%, would have had the highest rate in 1995. Back in that comparatively fitter time, no state had an obesity rate higher than 15%.

Which state has the overall heaviest populace? Mississippi at 34.4%, followed by Alabama (32.3%) and West Virginia (32.2%). After Colorado (19.8%), the lowest obesity rates can be found in the District of Columbia (21.7%) and Connecticut (21.8%). More than a quarter of adults are obese in 38 states.

The report also notes that weight-related illnesses are on the rise as well. Diabetes rates have gone up a dozen states this past year, with 32 states exceeding 8%.

07/06/11

  04:15:22 pm, by MedBen5   , 155 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Federal Government Reduces High-Risk Insurance Premiums

NPR reports that the Obama administration has reduced premiums for high-risk insurance plans by as much as 40%. The action, effective July 1, was taken in response to initial enrollment numbers that have lagged well behind original projections.

Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have federally-run health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. States that run their own programs do not have to lower premiums but have been encouraged to do so.

Having more accurate state-specific data allowed federal officials to adjust the premiums, says Steven Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Department of Health and Human Services.

In related news, federal funds for Colorado’s high-risk insurance pool are disappearing quicker than expected, according to The Denver Post – this in spite of the fact that only 830 of the expected 4,000 patients have joined. Of the $90 million provided to run the program, $12 million of the subsidies has already been used.

  01:29:37 pm, by MedBen5   , 215 words,  
Categories: News

Screenings Reduce Colon Cancer Prevalence, Deaths

Last week we noted that nearly one-third of Americans over age 50 have never undergone a colon cancer screening. Perhaps sensing a need to spur that group into action, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that the prevalance of the disease and the number of deaths resulting from it have dropped significantly over the past decade – due, in large part, to increased screenings.

The Los Angeles Times reports that while 22 million people in the age 50-to-75 population have yet to get screened, the percentage has increased from 50% in 2003 to 66% in 2007. During that same period, the prevalance rate of colon cancer dropped from 52.3 cases per 100,000 to 45.4, while the death rate fell from 19 per 100,000 to 16.7. Those declines represent 66,000 fewer cancers and 32,000 fewer deaths.

“That’s a remarkable increase in screening … but we are concerned that it is beginning to level off,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the CDC director. He added that most of the 53,000 colorectal deaths in 2007 could have been prevented if everyone in the 50-to-75 age group was screened.

MedBen encourages its plan members to get age-specific preventive screenings as recommended. Such services are typically covered at 100% with no deductible. Clients with questions regarding their plan benefits are welcome to contact MedBen Customer Service at 800-686-8425 or visit the MedBen Access website.

07/05/11

  05:02:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

New Directory Uses Quantitative Data To Compare Local Providers

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports on a new online directory that can help patients find superior local health care. In “Comparing Health Care Quality: A National Directory“, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has gathered 224 health care reports that compare regional physicians and hospitals, and organized them by state.

Unlike other sites that simply allow patients to post their opinions of doctors and hopsitals, and are therefore subject to bias, the directory only includes reports that use performance data based on nationally recognized standards on quality and cost. As the Health Blog notes, the service will allow consumers to get “localized, quantitative information on measures such as how often patients in a certain medical practice receive their recommended screening tests or how long mothers typically spend in a given hospital after a cesarean section.”

Many of the reports cover specific states – only Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho and Alabama have no such reports, though more generalized information is available. Government organizations and community alliances are among the groups that have produced the reports found in the directory.

“It’s the best snapshot now of what quality looks like across the country,” Michael Painter, senior program officer at the RWJF, tells the Health Blog.

  04:25:49 pm, by MedBen5   , 206 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Can't Quit Smoking? Get Into The Text Habit

Just can’t kick that cigarette habit? You may want to tear off the nicotine patch and reach for your cell phone. USA Today reports that smokers double their chances of quitting if they receive supportive text messages.

In a British study of 5,800 smokers trying to quit, researchers sent one group of participants five motivational texts a day for five weeks and three per week for the next 26 weeks. The messages offered “weight control and exercise tips, recipes and motivational tips” (as one text read). Smokers could in turn text requests for help with cravings and relapses. A control group received only “placebo” texts thanking them for participating in the study.

Six months after quitting, all participants were tested for the presence of cotinine, a nicotine ingredient. Those who received written encouragement were twice as likely to still be smoke-free. About 40% of participants used other quitting methods in addition to texts.

Lead researcher Caroline Free says for most smokers, the texts provided a helping hand: “It made them feel less isolated while they tried to quit.” However, a few smokers did find the texts more of a hindrance, as it reminded them of cigarettes. “There’s no one form of support that will work for everyone,” Free notes.

07/01/11

  03:59:42 pm, by MedBen5   , 231 words,  
Categories: Announcements, News, Prescription

Investigation Finds Safety Guides Missing From Rx Information

While the Food and Drug Adminstration is making an effort to streamline the amount of information provided with prescription medications, some pharmacies have apparently taken the initiative – or, more likely, are just being forgetful – and are leaving medication guides out of the material mix. Trouble is, those guides are created by (surprise!) the FDA. And the federal government says pharmacies are required to include them.

According to WebMD, an investigation by Consumer Reports found that pharmacies, even with large chain stores, are hit-and-miss in regard to providing medication guides with prescription medicines. Moreover, the information they do give is sometimes inconsistent and contradictory to FDA instructions. And the drug labels often lack crucial safety warnings.

“Our small spot check reveals major differences among the warnings on the bottle and among the patient information material,” says Lisa Gill, prescription drug editor for Consumer Reports Health. “It’s shocking that the FDA medication guide was not included in four of the five prescription bags.” The guides are required for such popular drugs as Ambien, OxyContin, Prozac and about 130 other medications.

MedBen pharmacy plan members can check the RxEOB service to determine if a medication guide should be included as part of their instructions. Simply log in to the MedBen Access site and click on “My Rx”. If the pharmacist does not provide a guide, it can be downloaded from the FDA website.

  02:46:10 pm, by MedBen5   , 232 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Flawed Reform Law Language Benefits Early Retirees

The Associated Press has spotted some “fuzzy math” in the Affordable Care Act that could cost older people some extra money… potentially as much as $1,200 a year for single adults, and substantially more for married couples.

A “quirk” in the health care reform law would affect adults who have reached age 62 – old enough to qualify for early retirement from Social Security, but too young to join Medicare. As currently written, the ACA would give early retirees a significant break on their health insurance premiums. As the AP article notes, “[p]art or all of their Social Security benefits would not be counted as income in figuring out whether they can get federal subsidies to help pay their premiums until they join Medicare at 65.”

Policy consultant Robert Laszewski said, “There is an equity issue here. If you get a job for 40 hours a week, you’re going to pay more for your health insurance than if you don’t get a job.”

While the glitch would affect only a small number of individuals, the Obama administration is working to correct it, lest a perception grows that the law favors the less industrious over the harder working. “We are monitoring this issue and exploring options that would take into account the needs of Social Security beneficiaries, many of whom are disabled or individuals of limited means,” said Emily McMahon, a top Treasury Department policy official.

  01:50:53 pm, by MedBen5   , 307 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Shoot The "Works" Safely This Weekend

Setting off any store-bought fireworks this holiday weekend? Because if you are… well, confidentally, just between us… you really shouldn’t. What with all the risk of bodily injury, property damage, setting stuff on fire, irritating the neighbors and so forth…

But if you’re determined to let the bottle rockets fly, at the very least be cautious about it. On her Suture for a Living blog, Ramona Bates, MD offers a list of fireworks safety tips to reduce the odds that your July 4th festivities will include a trip to the ER:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. A responsible adult should be in charge.
  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Be sure other people are out-of-range before lighting fireworks. Small children should be kept a safe distance from the fireworks; older children that use fireworks need to be carefully supervised.
  • Do not smoke when handling any type of “live” firecracker, rocket, or aerial display.
  • Keep all fireworks away from any flammable liquids, dry grassy areas, or open bonfires.
  • Keep a bucket of water or working garden hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
  • Take note of any sudden wind change that could cause sparks or debris to fall on a car, house, or person.
  • Never attempt to pick up and relight a “fizzled” firework device that has failed to light or “go off".
  • Do not use any aluminum or metal soda/beer can or glass bottle to stage or hold fireworks before lighting.
  • Do not use any tightly closed container for these lighted devices to add to the exploding effect or to increase noise.
  • Never attempt to make your own exploding device from raw gunpowder or similar flammable substance. The results are too unpredictable.
  • Never use mail-order fireworks kits. These do-it-yourself kits are simply unsafe.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

06/30/11

  01:25:41 pm, by MedBen5   , 279 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Medical Screening Studies Offer Promise, Reveal Problems

A new study emphasizes the value of regular medical screenings, while a second study finds many adults fail to get one important screening for a variety of reasons.

  • Reuters reports that an ongoing study of breast cancer screenings has found that regular mammograms prevent deaths from breast cancer, and the number of lives saved increases over time.

    An international research team has studied 130,000 women in Sweden over a 29 year span. Early in their study, the researchers noted that 30% fewer women in the screening group died of breast cancer, and the trend continued as the study progressed. Almost three decades later, the researchers found that the number of women spared from breast cancer continues to rise.
  • WebMD reports that 31% of adults over age 50 have never had a colon cancer screening, while 33% of Americans between the ages of 60 and 70 fail to schedule a second colonoscopy.

    Study participants were also asked why they had failed to get a colon cancer screening. For adults over age 50 who had not been screened, the most frequent explanation was that their doctor did not recommend the procedure, Other cited reasons include time contraints, fear, and not knowing that the screening was necessary. Among those who had not followed up after their initial screening, most said the laxatives and fasting involved put them off repeating the process.

While acknowledging that these procedures sometimes come with unpleasant aspects, MedBen encourages its clients to follow standard guidelines for colonoscopies, mammograms, PSAs and other screenings, as well as an annual wellness exam. MedBen Worksite Wellness members can check their compliance with critical wellness examinations by visiting the MedBen Access website and clicking on the Wellness Plan link under “My Plan”.

  11:47:03 am, by MedBen5   , 237 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Appeals Court Upholds Affordable Care Act's Constitutionality

CNN reports that a federal appeals court in Cincinnati has ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional. The three-judge panel voted 2-1 in favor of the Obama Administration and Congress – the first U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals to do so.

At issue was the question of whether the federal government has the right to impose an “individal mandate” requiring nearly all U.S. citizens to purchase insurance by 2014 or suffer financial penalties. In its written opinion, the panel said, “We find that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause,”

Two additional appeals courts will likely rule on similar questions of constitutionality in the coming weeks. The matter is expected to ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

Prior to the ruling, David Rivkin and Lee Casey, who represent 26 states in one of the current lawsuits challenging federal health care reform, wrote a Wall Street Journal opinion piece articulating the constitutional flaws they feel are inherent in the Affordable Care Act:

“Only a ‘general police power’ – the right to enact laws alleged to be in the public interest without regard to interstate commerce or some other federal legislative authority – can support the law’s centerpiece, the ‘individual mandate’ that all Americans purchase health insurance. The Constitution denies that power to the federal government, reserving it to the states alone.”

You can read their complete thoughts here.

  10:09:15 am, by MedBen5   , 255 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Study Links Obesity, Lack of Exercise To Chronic Pain

This may come under the heading, “stating the obvious", but it still bears noting – by carrying around extra weight and not working out, you’re doing your body a serious disservice. And a new study linking obesity and lack of exercise to chronic pain and reinforces the point.

Reuters reports that Norwegian researchers followed more than 30,000 adults for over 11 years, tracking their workout habits and body mass index (BMI) along the way. Taking into account age, whether or not they smoked, and whether they did manual labor at work, the researchers found that men who exercised two hours or more a week at the start of the study were 25% less likely to have lower back pain 11 years later compared to men who didn’t work out at all, and 20% less likely to have neck and shoulder pain. And women who exercised at least two hours per week showed 8% and 9% less likelihood of lower back and neck/shoulder pain, repectively.

As for excess weight, obese men were nearly 21% more likely to develop chronic lower back pain than men of normal weight, and 22% more likely to develop neck or shoulder pain. Obese women also had a 21% increased likelihood of developing back pain, and a 19% higher likelihood of neck and shoulder pain.

The study hardly provides conclusive evidence, given its observational approach – other factors not taken into account may also contribute to chronic pain. But if your back’s been out of whack lately, it may be high time to lay off the snack foods and hit the gym.

06/28/11

  05:04:11 pm, by MedBen5   , 349 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Gov't "Secret Shopper" Survey Has Doctors Divided (UPDATED)

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that, in order to gauge how difficult it is for people to get appointments with primary care physicians, the Department of Health and Human Services will recruit a team to pose as patients and call doctors’ offices. The “secret shoppers” will call each surveyed office twice – once as a person who supposedly has private insurance, and again as a patient covered under a public plan – and ask if the doctors are accepting new patients, and if so, how long the wait will be.

The Obama administration anticipates that 30 million additional Americans that will gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act, so it’s vital to get a read on doctors’ availability. “Access to primary care is a priority for the administration, said Christian J. Stenrud, an HHS spokesman. “This study is an effort to better understand the problem and make sure we are doing everything we can to support primary care physicians, especially in communities where the need is greatest.”

Some doctors don’t see it that way. Dr. Raymond Scalettar, an internist in Washington, considers it “Big Brother tactics". Dr. Robert L. Hogue, a family physician in Brownwood, Tex., asked: “Is this a good use of tax money? Probably not. Everybody with a brain knows we do not have enough doctors.”

The medical community is also letting their feelings known through the blogosphere. Dr. Wes refers to the idea as “governmental appointment phishing". Dr. Kent Bottles disagrees, finding merit in the survey: “I think we need all the help we can get to take better care of patients.” And Kevin Pho, MD of KevinMD.com feels that “[If the government needs] to see for themselves how dire the situation is, perhaps they can act more emphatically to provide more primary care resources.”

UPDATE: The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is shelving the survey, based on criticism from doctors and politicians. “We have determined that now is not the time to move forward with this research project,” the Department of Health and Human Services said earlier this week.

  01:31:44 pm, by MedBen5   , 339 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness

Diabetes Studies Find Global Increases, Higher Survival Rates

A lot of diabetes stories on the newswire this week – the first one, an eye-opener:

  • Reuters reports that the number of adults with diabetes has more than doubled since 1980 to 347 million. While 70% of the increase can be attributed to population growth and aging, the other 30% is due to higher prevalence, researchers working with The World Health Organization said.

    The proportion of adults with diabetes rose to 9.8% of men and 9.2% of women in 2008, compared with 8.3% of men and 7.5% of women in 1980. Among developed nations, the rise in diabetes was highest in the United States, Greenland and Malta, and lowest in the Netherlands, Austria and France.

  • More research, this time focusing on childhood-onset type 1 diabetes, offers more positive news. WebMD reports that a 30-year study revealed that the life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes improved by an average of 15 years between 1950 and 1980. Moreover, the survival gap between Americans with type 1 diabetes and the general population appears to be rapidly diminishing.

    Another WebMD article notes that people with type 1 diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by exercising after meals. Researchers found that even basic physical activities, like walking the dog or washing dishes, can bring their blood sugar levels down to levels similar to people without the condition.

  • People who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should concentrate on dietary changes, HealthDay reports. Researchers found that by working with a dietician to lose weight, patients show the same improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels as those who modify both diet and exercise levels.

    Both diet-only and diet/exercise groups also lost an average of 4% of their body weights. A third group that received only routine care had little or no weight loss, and were also more likely to start on diabetes medication before the end of the study.

Just a reminder that the MedBen Worksite Wellness program offers one-on-one coaching to members with diabetes as well as those at risk for the disease. For additional information, call Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at (888) 627-8683.

06/27/11

  06:03:30 pm, by MedBen5   , 242 words,  
Categories: Health Plan Management

MedBen And The Better Health Care Strategies

On the blog KevinMD.com, writer and consultant Joe Flower has outlined “5 strategic tools to solve our healthcare woes“. Based on a survey of major employers, hospital systems and insurers (among others), Flower learned about participant programs and business models that led him to believe these tools could provide a solution to what ails our current system. Summarized, they are:

  1. Explode the business model. Mix urgent care, free clinics, online medicine and other business models with traditional insurance.
  2. Integrate. Get hospitals and doctors working closer together – “clinically, administratively and financially.”
  3. Share risk. Patients, providers and carriers all have a stake in keeping health care costs down.
  4. Build from primary care upward. Explore methods that will encourage greater numbers of doctors to join the primary care ranks.
  5. Rebuild the production system constantly. Just like other industries, always look for ways to improve health care processes.

Similarly, MedBen is continually persuing the best health care strategies – through new products and services, cost containment measures, innovative reporting models and quality controls. Partners Community Health Plan, one of our most recent introductions, is a unique benefits package in which local hospitals and doctors play an equal role in plan management. Through the involvement of employers and plan members, and an emphasis on the primary care relationship, Partners is delivering on its promise of high-quality, lower-cost health care.

For additional information about Partners, contact MedBen Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brian Fargus at (888) 627-8683.

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