More US patients to have easy, free access to doctor’s notes, as reported by Carlo K. Johnson for APNews.com, 1 November 2020.
More U.S. patients will soon have free, electronic access to the notes their doctors write about them under a new federal requirement for transparency. Many health systems are opening up records Monday, the original deadline. At the last minute, federal health officials week gave an extension until April because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Patients have long had a right to their medical records, including doctor notes, but obtaining them could mean filling out requests, waiting for a response and paying fees. A 2016 law said delays and barriers must be removed.
If you already use a patient portal such as MyChart to email your doctor or schedule an appointment, you may soon see new options allowing you to view your doctor’s notes and see your test results as soon as they are available. You may get an email explaining where to look, how to share access with a caregiver and how to keep other eyes off your information.
Many people won’t notice a change. About 15% of health care systems already are letting patients read doctor notes online without charge. That means about 53 million patients already have access to their doctor’s notes.
Your Diabetes Insider’s Guide to Health Insurance was written by Mike Hoskins for DiabetesMine.com, 28 October 2020.
“Dealing with insurance coverage is one of the biggest headaches of living with a chronic illness like diabetes. These days, it’s even more nerve-wracking with all the political back-and-forth about healthcare policy, leaving folks with “pre-existing conditions” unsure how our coverage will be affected.
With the nationwide open enrollment period open between October and December for Medicare and many employer-based insurance policies, this is a key time for many of us to make insurance decisions. And it’s no picnic trying to review options… we know.”
Here are some great tips from Mike Hoskins to help you navigate through your options, including:
Medicare Proposes Expanding Coverage of CGMs was published by Joyce Frieden for MedPageToday.com, 28 October 2020.
Advocates for patients with diabetes are applauding a proposed rule announced 10/27/20 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that would expand coverage for continuous glucose monitors (CGMs).
“We appreciate CMS’ recognition that many of the rules limiting access for patients to CGMs are without clinical merit and limit access for patients who need them, especially lower-income Americans,” Laura Friedman, vice president for payment policy at the American Diabetes Association (ADA), in Arlington, Virginia, said in a statement. “We are eager to continue to work with CMS to bring down barriers to technology access, particularly for people with diabetes who have no other way to get this important diabetes management device if their insurance will not cover it.”
Currently, CMS “only covers therapeutic CGMs or those approved by the FDA for use in making diabetes treatment decisions, such as changing one’s diet or insulin dosage based solely on the readings of the CGM,” the agency explained. “Therapeutic” CGMs do not need their readings verified by a blood glucose test, as opposed to “adjunctive” CGMs that require such a test before changes in treatment can be made. “CMS is proposing to classify all CGMs (not just limited to therapeutic CGMs) as DME [durable medical equipment] and establish payment amounts for these items and related supplies and accessories.”
CMS added that “CGMs that are not approved for use in making diabetes treatment decisions can be used to alert beneficiaries about potentially dangerous glucose levels while they sleep and that they should further test their glucose levels using a blood glucose monitor. With one in every three Medicare beneficiaries having diabetes, this proposal would give Medicare beneficiaries and their physicians a wider range of technology and devices to choose from in managing diabetes. This proposal will improve access to these medical technologies and empower patients to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves.”
The agency also dropped its limitation on smartphone use in conjunction with a CGM. “CMS previously concluded that therapeutic CGMs, when used in conjunction with a smartphone, still satisfied the definition of DME because the durable receiver, used as a backup, was generally not useful to a person in the absence of an illness or injury, even if the smartphone might be,” CMS said. “CMS is now proposing that both therapeutic and non-therapeutic CGMs, when used in conjunction with a smartphone, satisfy the definition of DME.”
Read more: Medicare Proposes Expanding Coverage of CGMs
What to Do with Expired Insulin was written by Moira McCarthy for DiabetesMine.com, 21 October 2020.
It’s a dilemma just about every insulin-using person with diabetes has faced, for many a reason: What to do about expired insulin?
Manufacturers actually confirm that insulin has two separate expiration dates:
- One printed clearly on the product. This is the date that the insulin pen or vial, so long as it is kept refrigerated within approved temperatures, is assured by the manufacturer to be usable.
- The amount of time from which the pen or vial is first opened for use. This takes a bit of memory and math on the part of the user: Typically, insulin is effective for 28 days after opening, with a few types lasting up to 40 days.
Clearly, that means users are supposed to mark the date they open a vial or began using a pen, and then keep track and discard it after 28 days.
So when expiration dates hit, It’s not that the insulin doesn’t work, it’s all about the potency,” says Michael Castagna, CEO of inhalable insulin manufacturer MannKind. And there is one insulin that loves the freezer: MannKind’s Afrezza inhaled insulin can be frozen for an extended period of time. “You can freeze it for years and it’s fine,” says Castagna.
What can you do with expired insulin if you are not going to use it?
- Many doctors and clinics are unable to take any donated insulin once it’s opened or at all, given the uncertainties of whether it’s already been compromised by the time they’d receive it. But this policy does depend on the particular doctor’s office or clinic, so it’s definitely worth calling around to ask.
- Local animal hospitals may also accept expired insulin, depending on their policies and where they are located.
Read more: What to Do with Expired Insulin