Medicare program; additional supplier standards. Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), HHS. Final rule with comment period. (1/55)

This final rule establishes additional standards for an entity to qualify as a Medicare supplier for purposes of submitting claims and receiving payment for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS). These regulations will ensure that suppliers of DMEPOS are qualified to provide the appropriate health care services and will help safeguard the Medicare program and its beneficiaries from any instances of fraudulent or abusive billing practices.  (+info)

A national general practice census: characteristics of rural general practices. (2/55)

OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present study was to describe, using a national census, the characteristics of rural general practices and compare these with city and town general practices. METHODS: A previously piloted, anonymous but linked, questionnaire was issued to all GPs in Ireland. A liaison network covering the country was developed to increase the response rate. Respondents were asked to designate the location of their main surgery as being city (>20 000 population), town (>5000) or rural (<5000). Each responding practice was asked to nominate one partner to complete a specific section on practice information. RESULTS: Completed individual questionnaires were returned from 2093 GPs (86% response rate). Information on 1429 practice centres was provided; 488 (34%) of these were designated as city, 405 (28%) as town and 536 (38%) as rural. Rural practices reported fewer private patients (P < 0.001) and more socio-economically deprived patients (P < 0.001) than those in towns or cities. The mean number (SD) of total scheduled hours per average week per GP was 77.95 (37.0) for city practices, 80.6 (35.9) for town and 103.6 (39.0) for rural (P < 0.001). Rural practices are more likely, in comparison with those in cities and towns, to have attached staff working from purpose-built premises which are publicly owned. Rural practices also have more contacts with members of the primary care team such as Public Health Nurses, and the quality of these contacts is described more positively. The range of available services is broadly similar, with emergency medical equipment being available more frequently in rural practices. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that rural practitioners and their practices differ from their urban counterparts in many important aspects. Consideration should be given to the development of formal under- and postgraduate rural general practice programmes to prepare new, and continue to enthuse present, rural GPs.  (+info)

Preventing infection from reusable medical equipment: a systematic review. (3/55)

BACKGROUND: In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) had eight sets of conflicting recommendations for decontaminating medical equipment. We conducted a systematic review of observational studies to assist WHO in reconciling the various guidelines. This paper summarises the methods developed and illustrates the results for three procedures--alcohol, bleach and povidone iodine. METHODS: We developed a Medline search strategy and applied inclusion criteria specifying the decontamination procedures of interest and an outcome of microbial destruction for a set of marker organisms. We developed protocols to assess the quality of studies and categorised them according to the reliability of the methods used. Through an iterative process we identified best practice for the decontamination methods and key additional factors required to ensure their effectiveness. We identified 88 published papers for inclusion, describing 135 separate studies of decontamination. RESULTS: For disinfection with alcohol, best practice was identified from 23 studies as an exposure to 70-80% ethanol or isopropanol for at least 5 minutes. Bleach was effective for sterilization at a concentration of 5000 ppm for 5 minutes and for disinfection at 1000 ppm for 10 minutes (33 studies). Povidone iodine was only partially effective for disinfection at a concentration of 1% for 15 minutes (15 studies). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide an evidence base for WHO guidelines on decontaminating medical equipment. The results support the recommended use of bleach and show that alcohol could be used more widely than current guidelines suggest, provided best practice is followed. The effectiveness of povidone iodine is uncertain.  (+info)

Using administrative data to study persons with disabilities. (4/55)

Administrative data result from administering health plans--tracking service utilization, paying claims, monitoring costs and quality--and have been used extensively for health services research. This article examines the strengths and limitations of administrative data for health services research studies of people with disabilities. Administrative data offer important advantages: encompassing large populations over time, ready availability, low cost, and computer readability. Questions arise about how to identify people with disabilities, capture disability-related services, and determine meaningful health care outcomes. Potentially useful administrative data elements include eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid through Social Security disability determinations, diagnosis and procedure codes, pharmacy claims, and durable medical equipment claims. Linking administrative data to survey or other data sources enhances the utility of administrative data for disability studies.  (+info)

Durability of aortouniiliac endografting with femorofemoral crossover: 4-year experience in the Evt/Guidant trials. (5/55)

OBJECTIVES: We evaluated mid-term results of the multicenter EVT/Guidant aortouniiliac endograft (AI) trial and ascertained the durability of this endovascular technique in patients unable to undergo standard bifurcated endografting. METHODS: From November 1996 to December 1998, 121 patients were enrolled to receive the AI device on the basis of complex iliac artery anatomy contraindicating bifurcated endografting. Clinical data were centrally collected, and radiographic data were evaluated by core facility. RESULTS: AI placement was technically successful in 113 of 121 patients. At operation, patients who underwent AI had significantly more arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, and peripheral occlusive disease (P <.05) compared with patients who underwent open aneurysmorrhaphy in the EVT/Guidant trials, indicating comorbid features in this anatomic cohort. Distal AI attachment was performed to the external iliac artery in 40 (36%) patients. Median follow-up was 38 months. In the AI group, overall aneurysm diameter decreased over the duration of study from 54.4 +/- 9.6 mm to 44.4 +/- 16.4 mm (P =.004). At 24 and 36 months after repair, reduction in aneurysm size was associated with absence of endoleak (P =.003 and P =.008, respectively). Aneurysms shrunk or remained stable in 109 (96.5%) patients. Endoleak was identified in 52.3% of patients at discharge, and at follow-up in 30.9% at 1 year, 34.8% at 2 years, 28.6% at 3 years, and 30.4% at 4 years. Type II endoleak predominated. Leak from failure to completely occlude contralateral iliac flow accounted for 8 of 58 endoleaks (13.8%) at discharge. Sixteen patients (14.2%) underwent postoperative endoleak treatment; in one of these patients open conversion was necessary at 20 months. Post-procedure thigh or buttock claudication developed in 16 patients (14.2%). Thirteen patients (81.3%) had either distal attachment in the external iliac artery or contralateral type IIA occlusion. Fifteen patients (13.3%) required intervention because of reduced limb flow; one of these patients underwent open conversion at 27 months, and another underwent axillofemoral grafting at 28 months. Device migration was confirmed in 2 (1.8%) patients, without current clinical sequelae. Whereas no femorofemoral graft thromboses occurred, graft infection developed in 3 patients (2.6%). During follow-up, aneurysm in 2 patients ruptured. Late death occurred in 41 patients (36.3%). Twenty-four patients (58.5%) died of cardiopulmonary disease; one death was endograft-related after aneurysm rupture; and one death was related to femorofemoral bypass infection. Actuarial survival was 78.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 71%-86%) at 2 years and 63.4% (95% CI, 54%-73%) at 4 years. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with significant comorbid conditions and complex iliac anatomy unfavorable for bifurcated endografting, AI with femorofemoral bypass grafting is safe and effective. In most patients this endovascular option provides satisfactory mid-term results.  (+info)

Socioeconomic disparities in the use of home health services in a medicare managed care population. (6/55)

OBJECTIVE: To investigate socioeconomic disparities in access to home health visits and durable medical equipment by persons enrolled in two Medicare managed care health plans. DATA SOURCES: A telephone survey of 4,613 Medicare managed care enrollees conducted between April and October of 2000 and linked to administrative claims for a subsequent 12-month period. STUDY DESIGN: We estimated a series of logistic regression models to determine which socioeconomic factors were related to home health visits and the use of durable medical equipment (DME) among Medicare managed care enrollees. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Controlling for health and demographic differences, Medicare managed care enrollees in the lowest tertile for nonhousing assets had 50 percent greater odds than those in the highest tertile of having one or more home health visits. All else equal, enrollees with less than a high school education had 30 percent lower odds than those who had graduated from high school of using durable medical equipment. CONCLUSIONS: Medicare managed care enrollees of low socioeconomic status do not appear to have reduced access to home health visits; however, use of durable medical equipment is considerably lower for enrollees with less than a high school education. Physicians and therapists working with Medicare managed care enrollees may want to actively target DME prescriptions to those with educational disadvantages.  (+info)

Follow-up study of adolescents exposed to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) as neonates on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support. (7/55)

Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic tubing soft and flexible. Animal data show that adverse effects of DEHP exposure may include reduced fertility, reduced sperm production in males, and ovarian dysfunction in females. Known treatments that involve high DEHP exposures are blood exchange transfusions, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and cardiovascular surgery. Although potential exposure to DEHP in ECMO patients is significant, the exposure has not been associated with short-term toxicity. To evaluate long-term toxicity, we undertook a study of neonatal ECMO survivors to assess their onset of puberty and sexual maturity. We evaluated 13 male and 6 female subjects at 14-16 years of age who had undergone ECMO as neonates. All subjects had a complete physical examination including measurements for height, weight, head circumference, and pubertal assessment by Tanner staging. The testicular volume and the phallic length were measured in male participants. Laboratory tests included thyroid, liver, and renal function as well as measurements of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, testosterone for males, and estradiol for females. Except for one patient with Marfan syndrome, the rest had normal growth percentile for age and sex. All had normal values for thyroid, liver, and renal functions. Sexual hormones were appropriate for the stage of pubertal maturity. Our results indicate that adolescents exposed to significant quantities of DEHP as neonates showed no significant adverse effects on their physical growth and pubertal maturity. Thyroid, liver, renal, and male and female gonadal functions tested were within normal range for age and sex distribution. Key Words: DEHP, ECMO, toxicity.  (+info)

West Nile virus economic impact, Louisiana, 2002. (8/55)

West Nile virus (WNV) is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause illness in humans ranging from mild fever to encephalitis. In 2002, a total of 4,156 WNV cases were reported in the United States; 329 were in Louisiana. To estimate the economic impact of the 2002 WNV epidemic in Louisiana, we collected data from hospitals, a patient questionnaire, and public offices. Hospital charges were converted to economic costs by using Medicare cost-to-charge ratios. The estimated cost of the Louisiana epidemic was US 20.1 million dollars from June 2002 to February 2003, including a US 10.9 million dollars cost of illness (US 4.4 million dollars medical and US 6.5 million dollars nonmedical costs) and a US 9.2 million dollars cost of public health response. These data indicate a substantial short-term cost of the WNV disease epidemic in Louisiana.  (+info)