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Friday’s COPD Newsletter from COPD Support, Inc.

Posted Dec 03 2010 2:16pm

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Volume 10, Issue 52
December 3, 2010
Richard D. Martin, Editor

A recent post on the COPD-Support mail list reminds us to review our medications to be sure there are no adverse interactions among them. The possibility of negative interactions increases even when we add just one more medication to our arsenalsomething we sometimes do without much thought. Checking for possible adverse interactions becomes even more important if we get medications from different sources, because our pharmacists will not have a complete list of our medications. To make matters more complicated, supplements and over-the-counter (OTC) medications may also interact with our medications. We are reminded of the importance of reading all warnings labels. Keep in mind that there are degrees to which medications can adversely interact; some interactions are more dangerous than others. If you “screen” all of your meds and find some potential problems, be sure to talk to your doctor immediately about your discoveries. Also, don’t forget to inform your doctor of any OTC medications you take.

One of the more popular websites for checking drug interactions allows you to enter the names of your mediations to determine if any of them adversely interacts any other medication you use. Once your drug information is entered, be sure to follow the instructions for saving your medication list, otherwise you will have to start fresh each time you visit the site. To check your medications, visit http://tinyurl.com/yobegy

Drugs Herbs and Supplements

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a website, MedlinePlus, that not only allows you to look up your medications, but also allows you to look up supplements and herbs and their interactions with medications. Their “Herbs and Supplements” section (below the drugs section) not only warns you of adverse interactions, but also provides information on the therapeutic claims, effectiveness of the herb or supplement, and usual dosage.
http://tinyurl.com/37kvbfs

OTC Medications

Be sure to read the warnings on all OTC medications before using them. This Family Doctor website gives you a good overview of OTC medications http://tinyurl.com/34k4sea

Drugs, OTC, Herbs and Supplements

The following Drug Digest website from ExpressScripts (a pharmacy benefits manager) allows you to look up prescription drugs, OTC drugs and even some herbs and supplements.
http://tinyurl.com/oxzhaz

- NEWSLETTER FEEDBACK
- AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF RESPIRATORY CARE’S NEW GUIDE TO AEROSOL DRUG DELIVERY
- LOW-DOSE CT SCANS MAY CUT LUNG CANCER DEATHS
- GOVERNMENT TELLS THREE MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS TO STOP SALES
- AMA SAYS PRIOR AUTHORIZATIONS HARM PATIENT CARE
- UK’S WARNING SYSTEM FOR LOCAL COPD PATIENTS
- TELEMEDICINE
- HHS DEMANDS 80 PERCENT TO BE SPENT ON MEDICAL CARE
- NATIONAL CAREGIVERS’ TENTH YEAR ANNIVERSARY
- MISCELLANEOUS
NO LEFT TURNS
FREE ONLINE JIGSAW PUZZLES
TIPS FOR SPENDING HOLIDAYS ALONE
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY
HUBBLE TELESCOPE PICTURES

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SOURCES: News items summarized in The COPD-NEWS are taken from secondary sources believed to be reliable. However, the COPD Family of Services does not verify their accuracy.
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Last week’s newsletter contained a request for feedback on this newsletter. Less than 1 percent of subscribers responded.

The American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) has a comprehensive, well-illustrated guide to Aerosol Drug Delivery. This 60 page guide, in pdf format, covers all types of delivery systems of inhaled medications, from metered dose inhalers, to nebulizers and devices for dry-powder inhalers. There is even has a chapter on maintenance and problem solving. The guide can be found at http://tinyurl.com/27ulxpe

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COMMERCIAL FREE:
We do not accept any paid advertising. Any corporations, products, medicines (prescription or over the counter) mentioned in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not to be construed as an endorsement or condemnation of same.
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Kaiser Health News reports that according to a number of news organizations, Health Net, Inc. (HNT), the Universal American Corporation (UAM), and Arcadian Health were told by Medicare to stop marketing to and enrolling Medicare beneficiaries in their Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans until violations of regulations are corrected. To view the Kaiser report, visit http://tinyurl.com/3ytehh2

HealthLeaders Media reports on a study conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) in which the AMA past president J. James Rohack, MD, is quoted as saying, “That according to the AMA study, 78 percent of physicians believe insurers use preauthorization requirements for an unreasonable list of tests, procedures and drugs.” The AMA survey reveals that physicians believe that patient care is burdened by delays that complicate and interrupt patient care as evidenced by their finding that *the majority of physicians find a 20 percent rejection rate for first-time authorizations for drugs
*almost two-thirds of physicians wait several days for preauthorization for tests and procedures
*over two-thirds of physicians have trouble figuring out what tests require preauthorization
*over two-thirds of physicians are unsure what drugs require preauthorization
This HealthLeadersMedia website provides more information http://tinyurl.com/374dgsc

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) has come up with a simple warning system for people with COPD to help them prevent their condition from becoming worse. Their service, called “Healthy Outlook” keeps an eye on weather conditions, virus levels, pollution levels and other factors to produce forecasts for their COPD patients. This service includes an automated warning call to alert patients when there is an expected risk of their symptoms becoming worse. For more information, visit the AboutMyArea website http://tinyurl.com/3699987

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MEDICAL DECISIONS. Your physician should be consulted on all medical decisions. New procedures or drugs should not be started or stopped without such consultation. While we believe that our accumulated experience has value, and a unique perspective, you must accept it for what it is…the work of COPD patients. We vigorously encourage individuals with COPD to take an active part in the management of their disease. They do this through education and by sharing information and thoughts with their primary physician and pulmonologist. However, medical decisions are based on complex medical principles and should be left to the medical practitioner who has been trained to diagnose and advise.
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Telemedicine, a service that allows doctors and patients to teleconference instead of meeting in person, is becoming more popular. American Medical News (part of the American Medical Association) reports that in addition to helping patients in more remote areas or in communities with limited medical care, telemedicine is also able to link patients with specialists in large urban medical centers. The American Medical News article also points out, that in the future, telemedicine might help address the anticipated shortage of physicians. Telemedicine has already made strong inroads in the U.S. In 2009, for example, 300,000 people received telemedicine care through the Veterans Health Administration. For more information on the history and advances in telemedicine in the U.S. see http://tinyurl.com/2f38zlx

Telemedicine is becoming more popular in Scotland. The website eHealthNews.eu reports that the National Health Service is using “HomePods,” made by Telehealth Solutions, to monitor people with COPD and other lung conditions. The HomePod can monitor vital signs of individuals with COPD, and is believed to help them avoid hospitalization during the difficult winter months. For more information, please see http://tinyurl.com/36sekln

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new regulations requiring health insurers to spend 80 to 85 percent of consumers’ premiums on direct care for patients and/or efforts to improve quality of care. This regulation, part of the Affordable Care Act, will make the insurance marketplace more transparent, therefore making it easier for consumers to compare plans. The regulation limits the amount insurance companies can spend on administrative costs, salaries, profits, overhead, and marketing. For more information, see the HHS news release at http://tinyurl.com/27vmcns

Ten years ago this month, the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) was formed by an amendment to the Older Americans Act. Family caregivers provide an estimated $375 billion each year in “free” service. To read more about NFCSP, which helps organizations reach out to the “caring” community rather than providing direct support, see http://tinyurl.com/2fye2l2

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JOIN US? Subscription to this Newsletter is free and we hope that it serves your needs. For more Newsletter information, go to: http://copd-support.com/signup-news.html

The Newsletter, like all the other endeavors of the Family of COPD Support Programs , is provided to you by COPD-Support, Inc. a non-profit member organization with IRS designation 501(c)(3). If you would like to be involved and help us provide these programs to the individuals who benefit from them, please consider joining us as a member. Further information is available at: http://copd-support.com/membership.html
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NO LEFT TURNS
This inspirational, amusing, and beautifully written gem is authored by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Gardner, who, among other achievements, was president of NBC News. This “must read” is brought to our attention by John W. from Minnesota.
http://tinyurl.com/msa5x

FREE ONLINE JIGSAW PUZZLES
Good old jigsaw puzzles are part of many fond childhood memories. They are still enjoyable, and when done online, they don’t take up table space!
http://tinyurl.com/2bzyubo

TIPS FOR SPENDING HOLIDAYS ALONE
By choice or circumstances, many of us will be spending holidays alone. PsychCentral has some good tips to help those going solo for the holidays.
http://tinyurl.com/3yzd8zm

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF EARLY PHOTOGRAPHY
This is a very interesting site where you can view the first-ever photo, learn about the development of photography, catch a glimpse of those “hidden cameras” of the cold war, and see the most expensive photo in the world ($2.9 million U.S. if you are making your holiday gift list).
http://tinyurl.com/2wtkt8

HUBBLE TELESCOPE PICTURES
Sure, you’ve caught a glimpse here and there of a photo or two taken by the Hubble telescope, but this collection will leave you speechless (after you utter “awesome”).
http://tinyurl.com/9z4a3

For comments and questions, or to contact Richard D. Martin, please send your email to: newsletter@COPD-Support.com

Until next Friday,

Richard D. Martin, Editor


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