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Archive - 06 - 2012

Obama administration and states move forward to implement health care law

Posted by dlife on Fri, Jun 29, 12, 12:52 PM 0 Comment

June 29, 2012 (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) Administration makes resources available to help states implement Affordable Insurance Exchanges.Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today a new funding opportunity to help states continue their work to implement the health care law -- the Affordable Care Act. When the law is fully implemented in 2014, the affordable insurance exchanges will provide people and small businesses with one-stop shops to find, compare and purchase affordable, high-quality health insurance. Todays announcement makes more funding available to build all models of affordable insurance exchanges available to states. HHS also issued further guidance today to help states understand the full scope of activities that can be funded under the available grant funding as they work to build exchanges.The federal government and our state partners are moving forward to implement the health care law, Secretary Sebelius said. This new funding opportunity will give states the resources they need to establish affordable insurance exchanges and ensure Americans are no longer on their own when shopping for insurance.The funding opportunity announced today will provide states with 10 additional opportunities to apply for funding to establish a state-based exchange, state partnership exchange, or to prepare state systems for a federally facilitated exchange. To date, 34 states and the District of Columbia have received approximately $850 million in Exchange Establishment Level One and Level Two cooperative agreements to fund their progress toward building exchanges.Under the new announcement, states can apply for exchange establishment cooperative agreements through the end of 2014. These funds are available for states to use beyond 2014 as they continue to work on their exchanges. This ensures that states have the support and time necessary to build the best exchange for their residents.The guidance HHS issued today provides information on the exchange-building activities that states can fund with establishment cooperative agreements. The guidance can be found at:http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/factsheets/hie-est-grant-faq-06292012.html.HHS will conduct regional implementation forums in coming months to assist states and stakeholders on the work to be done in building exchanges, and to address their questions. HHS will also engage with tribes, tribal governments, and tribal organizations on how exchanges can serve their populations.For more information on exchanges, including fact sheets, visithttp://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/05/exchanges05232011a.html

Treating Diabetes Early, Intensively Is Best Strategy

Posted by dlife on Thu, Jun 28, 12, 10:14 AM 0 Comment

June 28, 2012 (UT Southwestern) Intensive early treatment of type 2 diabetes slows down progression of the disease by preserving the bodys insulin-producing capacity, a UT Southwestern study has shown.We can potentially change the course of this prevalent disease, which would represent a breakthrough, said Dr. Ildiko Lingvay, assistant professor of internal medicine and author of the study published online in Diabetes Care. The intensive treatment regimen we propose is different from the stepwise approach recommended in standard guidelines.As one of the fastest-growing diseases in the U.S., diabetes afflicts an estimated 25.8 million children and adults, or 8.3 percent of the population, according to the American Diabetes Association. A study by Population Health Management projects the number of diabetes cases to nearly double by 2025.The UT Southwestern study was selected for presentation at the recent American Diabetes Associations Diabetes Care Symposium and will be published in the July print issue of ADAs Diabetes Care.While intensive treatment has been the standard at UT Southwestern for at least a decade, the industry norm has been to emphasize lifestyle changes first. The American College of Physicians, for example, suggests losing weight and dieting before drug treatment. The ADA recommends similar lifestyle changes, plus the use of metformin the standard drug used to treat type 2 diabetes for those newly diagnosed.We believe that the stepwise approach exposes patients to long periods of high blood sugar, which leads to complications, Dr. Lingvay said. Unless dietary changes are significant and sustained long-term, diabetes is a progressive disease in which the bodys ability to produce insulin declines.If a patient can maintain insulin production, she explained, the disease is easier to manage. The study showed intensive treatment with insulin, followed by one of two drug regimens, enabled diabetes patients to maintain steady insulin-producing beta-cell function for three and a half years after diagnosis.This finding was true, regardless of the method used to attain intensive control, Dr. Lingvay said. Intensive treatments led to excellent control of blood-sugar levels, they were well-tolerated, safe, and had good compliance.In the UT Southwestern clinical trial, participants were randomly divided into two groups. Both groups first had three months of treatment with insulin and the anti-diabetes drug metformin. After that, one group took three types of diabetes medications daily, while the other continued the insulin and metformin treatment. Out of 63 initial trial recruits, 58 completed the study and are still being tracked for six-year results.Dr. Lingvay said the study did not show that any single regimen worked better than another; both intensive treatment regimens were just as effective.The point is that whatever you choose, make sure its intensive, she said. We have shown that this preserves beta-cell function, and thats the key in changing the course of the disease.Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Dr. Lindsay Harrison, an endocrinology fellow; Beverley Adams-Huet, assistant professor in clinical sciences and internal medicine; and Dr. Philip Raskin, professor of internal medicine.The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Novo Nordisk Inc., a supplier of insulin. Novo Nordisk played no role in the study design, conduct, analysis, preparation, or final approval.Dr. Raskin holds the Clifton and Betsy Robinson Chair in Biomedical Research.

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