We've come a long way, baby. Yes, women in the workplace, in the board room, in political office-and in healthcare-have come a long way. A status report on Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures specifically targeting women is showing upward trends, or at least steady statistics. Private health plans showed improvement in 35 out of 42 effectiveness of care HEDIS measures in 2005.
Drug Manufacturers have introduced vaccines for meningococcal disease, shingles, pertussis, rotavirus, and cervical cancer, meanwhile even more vaccines are in the development pipeline. While each represents a major step forward for public health, the advances present an assortment of challenges from payment rates for physicians to moral issues for parents.
About two hours after a colleague and I lamented over breakfast about Americans' shortcomings in wellness, I heard the news that the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) had received the final nod from FDA. Now there was something Americans were actually doing pretty well: immunizing.
Although any change in moving newly released over-the-counter (OTC)medications to benefit designs or formularies is currently beingdriven by health plans, other emerging market factors willinfluence how plans and employer groups think about coverage forOTCs. For example, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has hadnumerous inquiries about OTC coverage, usually from employer groupsthat know Medicaid and some Part D plans can cover OTCs. Inaddition, some states are evaluating their pharmacy practiceguidelines to determine how to revise them to accommodate changesin dispensing OTCs. This change is driven by the addition of OTCsto formularies and by the move to put pseudoephedrines behind thecounter. Another industry trend in some states, includingMinnesota, allows pharmacists to prescribe OTC products for publicprogram recipients.
Perhaps back when she was a graduate student at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), Dorothy Tarrant, LCSW, MPA, had an idea that someday she would end up in her current role as the healthcare ombudsman/mediator (HCOM) for Kaiser Permanente's Redwood City Medical Center in California.
In the United States today, 10 million people have osteoporosis (bone density that's about 25% less than a healthy young adult). In addition, 34 million more people have low levels of bone mass, placing them at increased risk. Osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually, including 300,000 hip fractures, approximately 700,000 vertebral fractures, 250,000 wrist fractures, and more than 300,000 other fractures. About 68% of those affected by osteoporosis are women.