CA Access NEWS
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July 2013

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

The California Partnership for Access to Treatment is pleased to provide the July 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 miss our upcoming Seminar on Obesity Epidemic in California on September 19 in Fairfield, CA

Click here for more information or to RSVP!

California Report

While the State Legislature is out of session for Summer recess, there is still much work to be done regarding Covered California and advocating for access to medications and treatments for cancer conditions.

California's health care exchanges not harmed by ruling, officials say

By Jim Sanders
The Sacramento Bee, July 3, 2013

The Obama administration's decision not to penalize large firms for failing to provide health insurance to workers next year will not harm California's implementation of the health care overhaul, officials said Tuesday.

California is creating an exchange to sell insurance to individuals and small employers, not to large firms, spokeswoman Anne Gonzales said.

Neither the timing nor the content of policies offered on the exchange -- Covered California -- will be affected, Gonzales said.

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Medicare Part B

BayBio has encouraged the Northern California Congressional delegation to sign on to a letter by Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) titled "Support Cancer Care." This letter calls for leadership to reject further cuts to Medicare Part B reimbursement for drugs and biologics that fight cancer and other serious diseases. Part B provides an invaluable pathway for patients to access a narrowly defined, limited number of products injected or infused under the direction of a physician.

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Federal Report

This summer, a range of issues have an impact on federal health policy including the American Medical Association recognizing obesity as a disease as well as the growing imbalance with the United States' trading relationship with India and the potential consequences for American jobs.

The AMA declares obesity a disease

By David Dunaief, M.D.
Times Beacon Record, July 3, 2013

While obesity has been thought of as a chronic disease by some, until recently, it was not officially recognized as such. Obesity impairs body function, with potentially negative impacts on physical activity and psychological well-being. It lines internal organs with fat, putting stress on the body; fat tissue may cause dysfunctional cell-signaling, potentially increasing inflammation in the body.

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Pfizer urges "bold" US response to Indian IP woes

By Lynne Taylor
Pharma Times Online, July 2, 2013

India's "protectionist and discriminatory policies, which exploit US intellectual property (IP) to benefit its own industry," require "an equally bold response" from the US government, a spokesman for Pfizer has urged a US Congressional hearing.

Over the past year, the pharmaceutical industry has seen a rapid deterioration of the business environment in India, with the patent rights for at least nine innovative medicines having been undermined, Pfizer's chief intellectual property counsel Roy Waldron told the hearing, held by a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss the issue: How India's Industrial Trade Policy is Hurting US Companies.

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Alliance for Fair Trade with India

Over the last year, policymakers and courts in India have engaged in a persistent pattern of discrimination that is hurting a wide range of manufacturing and services industries and jobs in the United States. India has recently mandated domestic content rules that require as much as 100 percent of certain products sold in the country be produced domestically.

Administrative and court rulings in India have repeatedly ignored internationally recognized rights -- imposing restrictions on medical devices and denying or revoking patents for nearly a dozen lifesaving medications.

For more information, visit the website at: http://aftindia.org/.

 

The Advocate Advantage

This month our featured advocate John Kehoe of the California Senior Advocates League discusses issues surrounding the rise in obesity and how this disease is a co-morbidity for many other chronic illnesses.

The obesity epidemic in California

By John Kehoe

In today's news media, we are constantly seeing and hearing about new weight loss programs and diet supplements. The first burst of interest in such programs came about in the Nineteenth Century when an English undertaker, who himself had been quite obese began to lecture and publish articles on the pluses of weight loss. His interest in the subject of weight loss and the means to the end led to a flurry of others who came up with their own theories on how to lose weight. Unfortunately, obesity is still a growing epidemic in America.

What some don't realize is that obesity may also be linked to an assortment of other chronic diseases. Obese patients have a much higher chance of being diagnosed with diseases such as COPD, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and even Rheumatoid Arthritis. Although there is no direct evidence of this link, physicians will often times agree.

Overtime, research has evolved and has led to an increased number of tests on these theories. Even the Federal Government is involved and continues to encourage the youth in America to be aware of what they are placing in their bodies. Schools are also encouraging better nutrition in the meals served at their facilities.

There are those who have come to the conclusion that obesity should be classified as a disease. The American Medical Association is on the leading edge of an effort to make this finding a fact and plan to push this concept. Although our culture is still in the mindset of "thinking slim," the United States continues to hold one of the highest obesity rates in the world. We are seeing the start of a dramatic move as obesity was declared a disease that will hopefully facilitate a stronger effort to treat this disease in its early stages.

Calendar

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
Supervisor John M. Vasquez was elected to serve as Supervisor for the 4th District in November 2002. The district he represents covers areas of Vacaville and Dixon.

October 22, 2013
Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease Forum (PFCD) on Obesity and Diabetes
Los Angeles, Location TBD

The obesity epidemic in the United States impacts scores of people regardless of age, gender or race. Recently released statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that minority groups experience obesity rates at greater levels than their white counterparts and also have higher rates of diabetes and multiple chronic conditions. Join PFCD in one of their largest events of the year!

December 2013
Seminar on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Northern and Southern California Locations 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!

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

CPAT is a diverse network of advocacy organizations, community groups, health care providers and employers, committed to ensuring a healthy and productive California.

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

In the News

Local advocates have been working hard to prevent cuts to Medicare Part B, which enables patients to continue receiving treatments that show positive results. Advancements for medication adherence is also an important aspect of patient care; however, data of whether or not new technologies are working is needed to know true outcomes.

Medicare cuts are hurting California's elderly and sickest

By Liz Gibson
The Bakersfield Californian, July 1, 2013

Recent budget proposals in Washington include several dramatic and potentially devastating changes to Medicare. These proposed budget cuts fall particularly hard on drugs covered under Medicare Part B. This is the part of the program that covers care for those Medicare patients with conditions that are treated by injected or infused drugs that must be administered by physicians, like cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Although I am not currently a Medicare patient, I will be one in the future and I am concerned now about patients who are currently on Medicare and undergoing chemotherapy. I'm a fairly typical oncology patient. Every three weeks, I visit my oncologist to receive infused and injected treatments for cancer.

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Patient portals not quite ready for med adherence

By Ashley Gold
Fierce Health IT, July 5, 2013

Patients are enthusiastic about using online portals to manage their medications, but more features and functionality are necessary to maximize medication management and adherence, according to a study published this week in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The study's authors point out that no data exist about the potential and real uses of patient portals for medication adherence to improve outcomes.

Read More

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