CA Access NEWS
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August 2013

In this Issue: California Report | Federal Report | Advocate Advantage | Calendar | Join the Network | Interesting Information | Contact Us

The California Partnership for Access to Treatment (CPAT) is pleased to provide the August issue of CA Access News, a monthly e-news publication for CPAT partners members and supporters which highlights current health care issues at the state and national level. We welcome your comments, suggestions and contributions.

Don't Forget to Register for Our Upcoming Seminars:

The Obesity Epidemic in California - September 19, Fairfield, CA - Click for more info and to rsvp

AND

Addressing Obestiy in America - October 22, Los Angeles - click for more info and to rsvp 

California Report

The State Legislature is back in session and there is much work to be done before the Affordable Care Act is implemented on October 1. Covered California has stirred questions for some while others are already jumping on board.

Reality Check: Will Covered California be Ready by Oct. 1?

By Sam Brock
NBC Bay Area, August 15, 2013

Ready or not, Obamacare is coming.

The state's health care insurance exchange, Covered California, rolls open its welcome mat on October 1, paving the way for some 5.3 million uninsured or under insured Californians to access affordable health care.

And in a state that presents itself as a leader in setting national policy, you can bet the eyes of the nation will be upon us.

The question on the tip of the tongue for many, however, is a practical one: Is California prepared?

Read More

Firms Sign Up for State Health Insurance Marketplace

San Jose Mercury News, August 7, 2013

Twelve insurance companies have signed contracts to join the state's newly created health benefit exchange, the Covered California agency announced Wednesday.

The state exchange, a consumer health insurance marketplace set up under the national health care reform act, will be open for enrollment in October through the end of March. It will permit consumers to easily comparison shop for health insurance available at variety of costs and coverage levels.

Read More

Federal Report

Medicare open enrollment is right around the corner. Now is the time to review health plans as well as programs that ensure access to needed medication. The information below about open enrollment, Medicare Part D and Part B are key items to consider during this time.

Part D: A Medicare Success Story

Medicare Open Enrollment Begins: Review, Compare & Enroll Today!

It's that time of the year again. Medicare open enrollment for 2014 starts on Tuesday, October 15 and closes on Saturday, December 7. Open enrollment is an opportunity to review and update your current Medicare plan, including your Part D prescription drug coverage. New healthcare plans become available each year that may offer better coverage or save you money, so it's important to take the time to carefully review your options.

With a wide variety of prescription drug plans to choose from, Medicare Part D has a plan that should fit your needs. The Part D program has increased access to medicines for millions and has led to an improvement in the health of many seniors. It also has high beneficiary satisfaction rates, with 94 percent of seniors reporting that they are satisfied with their coverage and 95 percent who believe that the level of coverage meets their needs. Plus, average monthly premiums are approximately $30, an amount that has remained.

To learn more about the prescription drug plans that are available in your area, check out the Medicare Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan. You can also call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit www.medicare.gov to enroll.

*Open Enrollment Tip: Before choosing a different plan, it's a good idea to consult with a family member, friend or caregiver to help select which drug plan best fits your needs.

Read More

Medicare Budget Cuts Could Threaten Cancer Patients' Access To Drug Treatments

By Janet Novack
Forbes, August 2, 2013

Earlier this month, Forbes guest commentator John Wilson celebrated cuts planned for Medicare Part B as a result of sequestration and called for additional "savings" to be wrung out of the program.

Across-the-board federal budget trimming has forced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to significantly reduce the reimbursement rate for healthcare providers that participate in Part B, which covers drugs that have to be administered under professional supervision.

Mr. Wilson thinks these rate cuts are a good start -- and he wants more. He claims that "Part B drugs have a history of CMS overpayments" and suggests additional reimbursement reductions won't have any ill effects.

He's mistaken.

The model for Part B provider payments is working well to bring down long-term healthcare costs and ensure enrollees have access to needed medication. Additional reimbursement reductions will compromise care in communities throughout the country while doing little to curtail Medicare expenses.

Read More

 

The Advocate Advantage

This month our featured advocate, John Kehoe of the California Senior Advocates League, discusses the effect media has on health practices.

How Popular Culture Can Fight Obesity

By John Kehoe

In addition to new medicines, disciplines and measures of success, there is a new delivery system being developed to teach us how to use these tools. The world of popular culture has found that nutrition and medicine have common goals and should be linked.

As a child of the nineteen thirties, radio programs like Captain Midnight and Little Orphan Annie encouraged kids to buy cereals with prizes and cool things like decoder rings.

Now cereal boxes are giving instruction for good health practices. This marketing technique is being adapted today by the Clifford the Big Red Dog, Muppets and Big Bird. A very big part of this instruction process is calorie counting, carbohydrate numbers and other nutritional information.

Children aren't the only ones benefiting from pop cultures' focus on health. Dr. Oz, The View and Oprah Winfrey among others are promoting healthy lifestyles through programs focusing on nutrition. With all of this information flowing freely, by the end of the century we may see Americans who are thinner, more fit and routinely using these tools to track their health.

It is interesting to note that with the creation of cable networks like the Food Network, it is becoming possible to learn to cook healthy foods. Programs that highlight unhealthy cooking, like chefs that include enormous amounts of butter in recipes, evokes instant criticism. This is a sign that health minded communications are working.

We're all in this together; it's a national team effort. We can do this in the true American spirit.

Calendar

CPAT hosts health-related events throughout the state to educate its partners and communities and to serve as a resource. Join us for upcoming events which will focus on obesity and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Upcoming CPAT Events - Mark Your Calendar!

September 19, 2013
11:30 a.m-1:30 p.m.
The Obesity Epidemic in California

Solano County Government Center,
County Events Center, Conference Room A
675 Texas Street, Fairfield, CA


Having a conversation about your weight can be intimidating. However, it is essential in order to effectively manage overall health. Join CPAT in its next seminar about obesity, diabetes, health and wellness.

Keynote Speaker: Ken Fujioka, M.D.
Director of Center for Weight Management
Director of the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center
Scripps Clinic, Dept. of Diabetes and Endocrinology

Opening Remarks: Solano County Supervisor, John M. Vasquez

Sponsors: OAC

RSVP here: www.obesityepidemiccpat.eventbrite.com


October 22, 2013

8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Addressing Obesity in America

Los Angeles Athletic Club
431 W. 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014


Join the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) to examine the rise of obesity, its impact on diverse communities and to evaluate how we can combat this disease.

This event will feature several notable speakers such as:

Ken Thorpe, Ph.D. - Chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, Professor and Chair at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tommy G. Thompson - Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and Governor of Wisconsin

The PFCD is an internationally-recognized NGO of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs: chronic disease.

RSVP online or email Lauren Lewow at lauren@cerrell.com


November 20, 2013

Seminar on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Southern California - Location and Time TBD
Sponsor: Breathe California of Los Angeles County

December 2013
Seminar on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Northern California Event Information TBD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is a progressive lung disease that slowly stops a person's ability to breathe. Although there are treatments, there is no cure for the disease. Join CPAT for its last two seminars of the year as it hosts an event focused on COPD.


Were you unable to attend a CPAT event? All program materials are housed on our website. Check out our CPAT events occurring this month!

CPAT Partner Events

Covered California Town Halls

August 23, 2013
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (doors open at 10:00 a.m.)

Adventist Medical Center
115 Mall Drive
Hanford, CA 

AND

August 23, 2013
4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (doors open at 4:00 p.m.)

East Bakersfield Veterans Hall
2101 Ridge Road
Bakersfield, CA

Covered California is working hard to launch the Affordable Care Act -- a historic expansion of affordable health coverage in our state. Over five million Californians could benefit from coverage offered through Covered California; two million will be eligible for subsidies from the federal government. 

Covered California will lead a discussion to include:

  • An update on Covered California’s progress and current plans.
  • Outreach and community education strategies
  • What you can do to help ensure every Californian has access to affordable health insurance
  • Your feedback, questions, and comments

Parking is available on site.

Please register for this town hall by calling 1-888-975-1141.

This event is co-hosted by Assemblymember Rudy Salas

Check out the Stakeholder Tab online at http://www.healthexchange.ca.gov/StakeHolders for more information.

 

Would you like to see your organization's event listed? Contact Yadira Beas at yadira@perrycom.com to help advertise your upcoming event.

Join the Network

Welcome New CPAT Partners!

Join Now

Do you know a group who would be interested in joining CPAT? Please send your referrals to:

Northern California - Contact Yadira Beas at yadira@perrycom.com

Southern California - Contact Lauren Lewow at lauren@cerrell.com

Interesting Information

Obesity and Its Co-morbidities

Obesity's related co-morbidities are sure to cause concern. The five most common and highest-cost chronic diseases associated with obesity are listed below:

  • Arthritis: Obesity aggravates and exacerbates arthritis. In 2010, California had 6.6 million patients with arthritis.
  • Cancer: Obesity is a risk factor in certain cancers including kidney, colorectal, thyroid, post-menopausal breast cancer and more. California had 505,825 patients with obesity-related cancer in 2010.
  • Diabetes: Being overweight or obese significantly increases an individual's risk of Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and accounts for $174 billion in total U.S. health care costs.
  • Heart disease and stroke: Having high blood pressure and levels of low-density lipoprotein can raise the risk of long-term heart disease or stroke. In 2010, California had 1.8 million patients with heart disease and stroke.
  • Hypertension: Being overweight or obese raises the risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, which can cause damage to an individual's arteries, heart, and other body functions. California had 6.4 million patients with hypertension.

Read more

Nearly 450 Innovative Medicines in Development For Neurological Disorders

America's biopharmaceutical research companies are developing 444 new medicines to prevent and treat neurological disorders, according to a new report released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

There are more than 600 neurological disorders that strike millions of Americans each year. These disorders inflict great pain and suffering on millions of patients and their families, and cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars annually. They range from well-known disorders such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, to more obscure conditions such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Friedreich's ataxia.

"Despite the incredible complexity of neurological disorders, biopharmaceutical scientists have delivered significant advances for patients in recent years, including new medicines for multiple sclerosis and Huntington's disease," said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani. "The nearly 450 medicines in the pipeline have the potential to bring us ever closer to our shared goal of improving the health and extending the lives, of patients facing these debilitating disorders."

Read More
Read the full report

Biopharmaceutical Sector Impact on the Economy of CA

The Biopharmaceutical sector directly supported 178,300 jobs in California in 2011. The industry also supported another 592,071 jobs outside the biopharmaceutical sector, for a total of 770,371 jobs. These additional jobs are with vendors and suppliers such as construction companies and I.T. companies, and jobs generated by the sector’s employees such as day care centers and restaurants.

Read More

 

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