In a covereage decision announced Tuesday of this week, Medicare will now pay for an “intensive behavioral therapy” session in a primary care physician’s office, where the doctor encourages aspirin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease for men ages 45 to 79 and women ages 55 to 79, and screens for high blood pressure in adults. The behavioral therapy also should include intensive behavioral counseling on the importance of a healthy diet for adults with hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and other risk factors for cardiovascular and diet-related chronic disease.
The coverage decision allows for only one reimbursable counseling session per year, and that session cannot take place in a hospital setting, which makes one wonder how effective this new service will be.
To read the full press release, click HERE.
The AHRQ just released a statistical brief highlighting findings from the 2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a US-based longitudinal survey that tracks healthcare utilization, status, expenditures and insurance use.
Findings showed that on average women cost less to treat for heart disease than men ($4,363/man, $3,723/woman) but that women experience higher prevelancy rates for both hypertension and heart disease.
The findings indicate that if organizations like WIN can work to reduce the number of women who experience heart disease and highlight the reasons behind the cost-savings amongst female patients, that it would go a long way to reduce the overall costs of healthcare in the United States (where heart disease ranks as the most costly condition).
To read the article and statistical brief, click HERE.
If you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.
FDA experts say black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall. When that happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure.
To read more, click HERE.
A new study, to be published in the November, 2011 issue of the Journal of of the American College of Cardiology, found evidence of a link between human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and heart disease in women who have no other risk factors.
While the researchers have not confirmed this link and have not established whether or not HPV may cause heart disease, they did see that “oncogenic HPV types were strongly associated with CVD.”
The full study results will be out next month in JACC, but to read the related news release from Asia One News, click HERE.
SCAI and the ACC Maryland Chapter recently wrote a letter to the Maryland Health Care Commission clarifying the ACC/AHA/SCAI Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Guideline recommendation that interventional cardiologists perform at least 75 cases a year. The letter noted that a variety of valid reasons for not reaching the 75 case threshold may exist, including pregnancy, citing the 2011 SCAI WIN publication radiation safety for female cath lab operators and personnel. To read the letter, click HERE. For more information, please
contact WIN Director, Rebecca Ortega at firstname.lastname@example.org.