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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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: www.ncpanet.org.
Theresa Flaherty

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by: Theresa Flaherty - Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If you are traveling in a strange city and suddenly find yourself feeling the urge, incontinence supply manufacturer Tena has just the thing: A public bathroom finder. Simply type in the location (zip code, city name etc) and up pop the nearest options.

Now that's what  I call customer service.

Theresa Flaherty

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by: Theresa Flaherty - Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Do you snore? So asks a classified ad that appeared in the pages of Uncle Henry's this week, a regional catchall publication of anything you could ever hope to buy, sell or trade (the co-worker who handed me the ad was herself trying to unload some copper tubing).

The seller is offering up the machine, complete with hose and mask, for $400, a steal considering they paid $2,000 for it new.

I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the seller tried the therapy and didn't like it. It's noisy, it's uncomfortable, it's definitely un-sexy. For every CPAP success story we read (or write) about, I wonder how many hidden failure stories are out there. Would a different mask have helped this person? Did he not get the support he needed from his provider?

Theresa Flaherty

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by: Theresa Flaherty - Monday, April 27, 2009

Once again, South Florida is in the hot seat when it comes to excessive Medicare spending. This time, it's respiratory medication.

An OIG report released last week found that while only 2% of beneficiaries live in the area, they account for 17% of Medicare spending on respiratory meds in 2007. In Miami-Dade County alone, Medicare paid almost $143 million.

The average spent per beneficiary in South Florida: $4,400 compared to $815 in the rest of the country.
Theresa Flaherty

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