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The National Institutes of Health announced awards to add four regional medical center groups to the national network of health care provider organizations (HPOs) that will implement the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program. Combined, the new HPOs will receive initial funds of $5.5 million to begin recruitment and build infrastructure. As efforts advance, the centers may receive first-year funds up to a total of $16 million. The four HPOs join awardees announced earlier this year, to enroll interested individuals, gather participants’ health information and biospecimens and provide input on developing plans for the program.

What happened? Why did my Medi-Cal Share of Cost go up?

When the IHSS share of cost people were transferred to Medi-Cal in 1998, the State paid the difference between the Medi-Cal and IHSS share of cost so that people who did not qualify for Medi-Cal under other programs would continue to have the same amount to live on as those who receive SSI/SSP and because IHSS recipients, unlike most of those who qualified for Medi-Cal with a share of cost, have to pay their share of cost each and every month.

The National Institutes of Health announced its third round of grants to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, bringing NIH’s total fiscal year 2016 investment to just over $150 million.

“In only three years we’ve already seen exciting new advances in neuroscience research come out of the BRAIN Initiative,” said Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

A clinical trial to evaluate the experimental Ebola treatment ZMapp found it to be safe and well-tolerated; however, because of the waning Ebola epidemic, the study enrolled too few people to determine definitively whether it is a better treatment for Ebola virus disease (EVD) than the best available standard of care alone. The findings from the randomized, controlled trial known as PREVAIL II appear in the Oct. 13, 2016 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Initial trial findings were reported in February 2016, at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.

Analysis of a trial that used the drug canagliflozin found that as people lost weight, their appetite increased proportionately, leading to consumption of more calories and weight loss plateau (leveling off). The findings provide the first measurement in people of how strongly appetite counters weight loss as part of the body’s feedback control system regulating weight. Results are currently available on BioRxiv  and was publish in Obesity during Obesity Week 2016.

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have identified a genetic explanation for a syndrome characterized by multiple frustrating and difficult-to-treat symptoms, including dizziness and lightheadedness, skin flushing and itching, gastrointestinal complaints, chronic pain, and bone and joint problems. Some people who experience these diverse symptoms have elevated levels of tryptase — a protein in the blood often associated with allergic reactions. Multiple copies of the alpha tryptase gene drive these tryptase elevations and may contribute to the symptoms, according to a new study led by investigators at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Individual dental insurance is probably one of the most widely adopted private insurance plans.

Individual dental insurance provides you with the coverage you need to promote good dental health in which you can generally find customized options. That means you may have some work cut out for you as you shop our web site. For example, in California we offer over 65 dental plans to choose from which beats looking through that many places. Keep in mind individual plans is just a term used to distinguish itself from group plans which you generally get from your employer. Since obtaining an individual dental insurance plan is very affordable, many people choose to take responsibility for that coverage either as a stand-alone policy or as a supplement to their group dental coverage.

Big data derived from electronic health records, social media, the internet and other digital sources have the potential to provide more timely and detailed information on infectious disease threats or outbreaks than traditional surveillance methods. A team of scientists led by the National Institutes of Health reviewed the growing body of research on the subject and has published its analyses in a special issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases (link is external).

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health have determined what differentiates dust mite allergens from the non-allergen proteins dust mites produce. According to the researchers, dust mite allergens are more chemically stable and produced in larger quantities than other dust mite proteins.

This study is the first to provide specific information about the characteristics of dust mite proteins, and may help researchers uncover factors that lead to the development of dust mite allergy and assist in the design of better allergy therapies.

By carefully tracking 5,000 people after they have experienced a traumatic event, a just-launched NIMH-funded study aims to provide a finely detailed map of the array of factors that play a role in the development of mental disorders that occur in the wake of trauma. Information coming out of the study should provide a much deeper understanding of the mechanisms that give rise to post-traumatic disorders as well as a clearer basis for predicting who will be affected and how best to target treatment.

Household air pollution created by using wood, coal and other solid fuels for cooking and heating homes is a leading cause of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases worldwide, and causes more than 4 million premature deaths each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). To tackle this global health problem, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with partial support through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is funding a $30.5 million, multi-country trial to determine if using a widely available, clean, alternative cooking fuel significantly reduces deaths and illnesses, especially in women and children who suffer the greatest exposure. This is the first large-scale trial to investigate whether home use of cookstoves that run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) improve air quality sufficiently to provide measurable health benefits and can be effectively adopted in real world situations.

Achieving moderate reduction of new HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM) will depend on significantly increasing the percentage of HIV-infected MSM whose viral load is suppressed to undetectable levels, according to a new mathematical model based on data from Baltimore. Access and adherence to antiretroviral therapy are key to sustained HIV suppression, which dramatically reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

New research is providing a more detailed view into the structure of the human cannabinoid (CB1) receptor. These findings provide key insights into how natural and synthetic cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—a primary chemical in marijuana—bind at the CB1 receptor to produce their effects. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

For the first time, National Institutes of Health researchers have demonstrated in mice that gene therapy may be the best method for correcting the single faulty gene that causes Niemann-Pick disease, type C1 (NPC1). The gene therapy involved inserting a functional copy of the NPC1 gene into mice with the disease; the treated animals were then found to have less severe NPC1 symptoms. The study, led by researchers at NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was published Oct. 26, 2016, in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.

Newly published data from the Long-Term Oxygen Treatment Trial (LOTT) show that oxygen use is not beneficial for most people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and moderately low levels of blood oxygen. It neither boosted their survival nor reduced hospital admissions for study participants. Previous research showed that long-term oxygen treatment improves survival in those with COPD and severely low levels of blood oxygen. However, a long-standing question remained whether a different group of COPD patients — those with moderately low levels of blood oxygen—also benefit. The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) — a part of the National Institutes of Health—and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, approximately half of the U.S. population does not have an affordable dental plan. The cost for affordable dental insurance can vary. Therefore, it is important to understand all your options in obtaining the most affordable dental plan coverage.

The company where you work may provide the most affordable dental insurance plan options. Dental insurance plans for individual and families are usually an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) or a PPO (Preferred Provided Organization) and operate much like traditional health insurance organizations.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed a new, less invasive way to perform transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a procedure widely used to treat aortic valve stenosis, a lethal heart condition. The new approach, called transcaval access, will make TAVR more available to high risk patients, especially women, whose femoral arteries are too small or diseased to withstand the standard procedure. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published the findings.

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