Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

GMOs should be safety tested before they hit the market says AMA

OGM - ADN

OGM – ADN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From a 19 June 2012 article at the Chicago Tribune

The American Medical Association called for mandatory pre-market safety testing of genetically engineered foods as part of a revised policy voted on at the AMA’s meeting in Chicago Tuesday.

Currently biotech companies are simply encouraged to engage in a voluntary safety consultation with theFood and Drug Administration before releasing a product onto the market.

Some activists concerned about foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, had hoped the association would have gone so far as to support mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. But some still view the policy change as a major breakthrough.

“We applaud the AMA for taking the lead to help ensure a safe and adequate food supply,” said Anne Dietrich of the Truth In Labeling Campaign, which advocates labeling of genetically engineered foods. When Monsanto Co., the world’s largest biotech seed company, testified Sunday at the AMA committee hearing on the policy, its representative did not raise any objections to the mandatory safety assessment provision.

On Tuesday, however, Monsanto spokesman Tom Helscher would not say whether or not the company supports mandatory pre-market testing, only that the current voluntary consultation process “is working,” he wrote to the Tribune. “All of Monsanto’s biotech products, and to our knowledge all those of other companies, go through the FDA consultation process, which provides a stringent safety assessment of biotech crops before they are placed on the market.”

The AMA’s Dr. Patrice Harris said the testing provision was aimed at addressing public interests and ensuring public health….

June 20, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition, Public Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Cost of Coercion [Yes, One Can Refuse Medical Procedures and Continue Health Care Insurance Coverage)(via The Health Care Blog)

From The Cost of Coercion (a February 28, 2012 posting at The Health Care Blog)

Dr. John Schumann dispels what seems to be an urban myth – if one refuses a procedure then one is responsible for any hospital charges not covered by one’s health insurance related to the decision to decline the procedure.

The case presented involves a person who did not wish to undergo an invasive (and expensive) medical procedure: cardiac catheterization. The intern told the patient that if she refused to undergo the procedure, “that she would have to sign out ‘against medical advice’ (AMA). To signify this she would have to acknowledge that leaving AMA could result in serious harm or death. In addition, Ms. DiFazio would bear responsibility for any and all hospital charges incurred and not reimbursed by her insurance due to such a decision.”

In the rest of the article, Dr. Schumann explains how he researched this and found quite the opposite – “that the idea of a patient leaving AMA [against medical advice] and having to foot their bill is bunk: nothing more than a medical urban legend.”

March 4, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

AMA: New policies that will impact the future of medicine

AMA

 

From the 14 December article at KevinMD.com by 

The AMA adopted new policy that, among other things, supports legislation that would require manufacturers of all drugs and biologics to notify the FDA of any discontinuance, interruption or adjustment in the manufacture of a drug that may result in a shortage. The AMA will also advocate for the FDA and/or Congress to require drug manufacturers to establish a plan for continuity of the supply of vital and life-sustaining medications and vaccines to avoid production shortages whenever possible.

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act underway, health insurance exchanges have received significant attention as a new way for millions of Americans to obtain health insurance coverage from private insurers. New AMA policy supports using the open marketplace model for exchanges to increase competition and maximize patient choice. The policy also asks the AMA to advocate for the inclusion of actively practicing physicians and patients in health insurance exchange governing structures and for developing systems that allow for real-time patient eligibility information.

In addition to promoting the open marketplace model for health insurance exchanges, the AMA continued to endorse giving Medicare patients greater choice in seeing the physicians they want and need to see. The AMA reaffirmed support for the Medicare Patient Empowerment Act, which would eliminate current restrictions on private contracting with Medicare patients. New policy calls on the AMA to initiate and sustain a well-funded grassroots campaign to secure passage of the bill in Congress. This legislation ensures that if patients choose to see a physician that is not in the Medicare system they can still receive the benefits they have earned.

AMA delegates also recognized that onerous administrative burdens can divert a physician’s attention away from patient care. New policy calls on the AMA to work vigorously to stop implementation of ICD-10, a new code set for medical diagnoses. Currently, physicians use 14,000 diagnosis codes under ICD-9, but under ICD-10 the number of codes would grow by about 55,000.

Physicians are already working to integrate electronic health records into their offices, and the implementation of ICD-10 will place significant and costly burdens on the practice of medicine with no direct benefit to patients. At a time when we are working to get the best possible value for our health care dollars, this massive and expensive undertaking will add administrative expense and create unnecessary workflow disruptions….

 

 

Items included

 

December 15, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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