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by: Theresa Flaherty - Monday, June 22, 2009

Today marked the start of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Congress 2009. That means that Capitol Hill is about to be overrun with 150 kids with Type 1 diabetes attempting to put a face on Type 1 diabetes for lawmakers, through visits and in testifying before Congress. Funding for the JDRF is projected to take a 35% hit this year.

After trailing along with HME providers from North Carolina last month during the AAHomecare fly-in I am impressed that these kids and their parents are taking time to do this. Pounding those marble halls is an exhaustive day-long process that too few people are willing to undertake.

Theresa Flaherty

by: Theresa Flaherty - Wednesday, June 17, 2009

As we head into summer, the country's lawmakers wrangle over healthcare reform, with all the pork and pomp that any eventual reform package will entail.

Meanwhile, there's "reform" activity at the grassroots level. Take this posting from craigslist yesterday:

"We buy test strips and get them to people who need them (the uninsured). Most brands are needed. We can pay $5.00 for boxes of 50 and $10.00 for boxes of 100 strips."

It's a worthwhile and lofty goal, although I can't imagine who'll have boxes of strips lying around. They are like gold to most folks with diabetes. I hope they are able to  help people, but in the meantime, I continue to wonder when the price of the strips will come down. After all, test strips have been around for a few decades now, and while I am sure the technology has improved, it seems the price needs to drop,  you know, like it has with DVDs, cell phones, etc. Or, are the manufacturers just keeping the prices inflated because they have a captive audience?

Theresa Flaherty

by: Theresa Flaherty - Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's not news that independent pharmacies in many cases are struggling to survive, faced with competition from the big guys and the trend by many insurance plans that require beneficiaries to obtain prescriptions via mail order.

Independent pharmacists provide a valuable, often personal, service that, say, CVS can't compete with.

An article today on highlights the struggle, but it also wraps on a note that should warm the hearts of pharmacists—and indeed, small providers. everywhere.

Brian Caswell, owner of Wolkar Drug in Baxter Springs, Kan., is quoted in the story as follows:

Just recently, he sent a customer to the hospital after he had entered the pharmacy complaining that he didn't feel well.

"I took his blood pressure and knew something wasn't right," Caswell says. "He came back days later and says he could have dropped dead from cardiac arrhythmia. Now I have a customer for life. Can mail-order do that?"

Theresa FlahertyTo top of page

by: Theresa Flaherty - Friday, June 12, 2009

Here's a few select bites some from well-known chains. I admit, most of these sound pretty good tasty about now, but considering the recommended daily allowance of calories is 2,000 (about 1,500 for me), well, I think I'll cook at home tonight.

Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad:
1,260 calories, 23 grams sat fat

Chili's Big Mouth Bites: 2,350 calories, 38 grams sat fat

Olive Garden's Spaghetti & Meatballs:
1,110 calories, 20 grams sat fat

Uno's Uno Burger: 1,040 calories, 28 grams sat fat

Uno's Cheese & Tomato Deep Dish (individual): 1,740 calories, 36 grams sat fat

by: Theresa Flaherty - Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm going to let you all in on a not-so little secret about the state of Maine, where HME News is based.

We're fat. Granted, we're not in the top 10 tubby states which disproportionately hail from the deep-fried south, but still, with an average obesity rate of 25.2% in 2007 (latest figures I could find) compared to Mississippi at 32.6%, that's splitting pant seats.

Maine lawmakers are currently floating a bill requiring calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. Of course, that is raising the ire of those food purveyors.

I admit to being on the fence when it comes to government mandates (that's another Maine trait, one of which I am proud), but I know from personal experience that when a menu indicates that the cheeseburger I am craving contains 1,200 calories, I usually make a healthier choice.

It's also fascinating to read the calorie counts, therefore I will share the fun tomorrow, when I will post a few shockers.

Theresa Flaherty

by: Theresa Flaherty - Thursday, May 28, 2009

If we needed any more reminders that health care needs reform, check out this bit from the Associated Press yesterday:

In Arkansas, a convenience store clerk wouldn't open the register for a robber but gave the man $40 from his own pocket after the robber told him he needed the money for insulin. Police were called Monday night to the E-Z Mart, where the clerk explained that a man he didn't know entered the store and lifted his shirt to display a pistol tucked in his waistband.

The clerk said the man told him, "I hate to do this," and told him he needed $40 from the register.

The clerk said money in the register wasn't his to give. It was then the robber said the money was for insulin. The robber accepted the money from the clerk's wallet, thanked him and shook his hand.

Police are searching for the robber.

by: Theresa Flaherty - Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A few years ago, I had a headline taped to my fridge. It read "court rules eating is a major life activity." I don't recall if it was a federal court or the Supreme Court, but it had to do with The Americans with Disabilities Act, which has often proved a catch-22 for people with diabetes (I won't go into details).

President Obama has tapped Sonia Sotomayor as his pick to replace outgoing Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor, 54, would be the first Hispanic to serve on the court.

One topic that came up while her nomination was under consideration: her health. You see, Sotomayor was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 8. According to an article in the New York Daily News, she has never let it get in her way

Theresa Flaherty

by: Theresa Flaherty - Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A new survey from Philips Electronics reveals that managers are sleeping 19% less than the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night.
According to the survey:
* Americans are more likely than other nationalities to lose sleep through stress at work with 30% citing it as the reason they wake up during the night.
* The average amount of time it takes Americans to fall asleep is nearly 26 minutes—longer than any other country surveyed—and American men lead the world in snoring with 29% snoring every single night.
* 70% said that their work suffered because of lack of sleep
* The number one symptom of this lack of sleep was less patience, followed
closely behind by less enthusiasm and concentration.
The survey also found that 60% of respondents are aware of OSA as a curable illness, but only 35% said it was a problem for them and 65% said it was a minor inconvenience.

by: Theresa Flaherty - Friday, May 22, 2009

The prosecution has wrapped its case against a Wisconsin mother accused of second-degree reckless homicide in the death of her 11-year-old daughter.

Leilani Neumann believed that prayer would make Madeline well. Madeline died on March 23, 2008 of untreated diabetes.

Doctors have testified the girl could have been saved even on the day she died, had her parents sought medical help.

Diabetes is a treatable, manageable disease, albeit a difficult one. In this day and age, in this country, we should not be reading stories like this.

Theresa Flaherty, Type 1 diabetic, 10 years

by: Theresa Flaherty - Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The first meeting of the new Medicare Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) is coming up in June. The committee advises Medicare on the implementation of national competitive bidding (that doesn't mean Medicare takes their advice).
One group of providers who aren't represented: Community pharmacists. Although many small independent pharmacists also face competitive bidding, accreditation and surety bond requirements, they have no seat at the table, points out former PAOC member Bill Popomaronis, who is also vice president, long term and home health care services for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).
"If you look at the National Suppliers Clearinghouse Web site, pharmacists have 1 out of every 3 numbers," he said. "To not have any pharmacist, whether from a community pharmacy or one of the chains on the PAOC is quite a concern for me."
NCPA is currently supporting legislative efforts that seek to exempt pharmacists from accreditation and surety bond requirements. For more information:
Theresa Flaherty