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Medicare’s Rising Costs for Drug Tests
A Wall Street Journal analysis of Medicare billing data shows payments for high-tech drug tests to some doctors and laboratories have soared in recent years. The surge is a reaction to fears that pain specialists have overprescribed “opioid” painkillers. It is also a lucrative side business for some doctors that costs Medicare millions—and some experts say not all the tests are necessary. Here’s what you need to know about urine drug testing. Please click here to continue.
Doctors Cash In on Drug Tests for Seniors, and Medicare Pays the Bill
Pain specialists order costly tests for illegal drugs such as cocaine and angel dust, which few seniors ever use. Please click here to continue.
Medicare to Cover Lung Cancer Screening for Long-Time Smokers
Annual lung cancer screenings for long-term smokers may soon be covered by Medicare, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday. The reimbursement proposal would cover annual CT scans for people aged 55 to 74 with a smoking history of 30 pack-years who still smoke or who quit within the last 15 years. Pack years are determined by multiplying the number of packs smoked daily by the number of years a person has smoked. Please click here to continue.
The Life of a Pot Critic: Clean, With Citrus Notes
Jake Browne was seated in a yellow suede chair, carefully rotating a marijuana bud between his fingers. “I’m looking for bugs, mildew, things I wouldn’t want to ingest,” he said, leaning forward to hold the nickel-size flower up to the light. He paused, then took a sip of water from a cup with a Miley Cyrus hologram down its side. “This looks clean,” he concluded. Please click here to continue.
Treating Depression in Primary Care: Are Biomarkers the Key?
Depression is one of the world's most common chronic illnesses, and it remains undertreated despite large-scale efforts to change physicians' practices. Part of the difficulty in treating depression is due to confusion over which antidepressant to prescribe to an individual patient. Please click here to continue.
Work to Join Public Health, Primary Care Moves Ahead: Breaking Down Silos
Public health workers and primary care physicians may work toward the same goal — healthier people — but bringing the two fields together is not a simple task. Just ask Catherine McLaughlin. Please click here to continue.
iPhone app empowers patients to independently manage alcohol addiction
One of the lesser areas covered by the digital health movement is mental health, yet mental health and substance use play important roles in physical health. Medical treatment costs for those with both chronic medical and comorbid mental health and substance use disorders can be two to three times as high as those without such comorbid conditions, according to the 2014 American Psychiatric Association’s Milliman Report. Alcoholism, in particular, afflicts 17 million adults, and is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Please click here to continue.
How Will Legalization Affect the Language Around Marijuana?
With Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia passing measures on Nov. 4 to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Colorado and Washington as U.S. regions where the sale of the drug is (or will be) legal, I thought it might be worth taking a look at the language surrounding the contested cannabis plant. Please click here to continue.
Bad News for People Who Think Alcohol Is 'Healthy'
We’ve all seen these headlines, pithily summing up research on why a modest amount of alcohol every day won’t harm, and in fact may help, our cardiac health. Please click here to continue.
Non-Addictive Narcotic Painkillers May Be Close
Opioid painkillers have long been the gold standard for severe pain but come with a terrible dark side: They are the main culprits in a prescription drug abuse crisis that has killed thousands and spawned a resurgence of heroin in Kentucky and across the nation. Please click here to continue.
NIDA's Role in Providing Marijuana for Research
NIDA supports a drug supply program, which provides controlled substances (including research-grade marijuana) to researchers for scientific purposes. The marijuana supply program operates pursuant to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which requires each Nation to designate a single official source of marijuana for medicinal research. In the United States, NIDA has been designated the responsible agency. Please click here to continue.
Pot-Friendly States Teaming up on Capitol Hill
Members of Congress from states with legal pot are banding together to tell their colleagues on Capitol Hill not to interfere with state drug laws. Please click here to continue.
Marijuana Patient Sues after Firm Won't Hire Her
A graduate student has sued a textile company for refusing to hire her for a two-month internship because she uses medical marijuana to treat frequent and debilitating migraine headaches, a decision her lawyer calls discrimination. Please click here to continue.
Mental health: Depression needs large human-genetics studies
Five decades of work on antidepressant drugs have not made them more likely to lift people out of depression. Medications and psychotherapies help some people with the disease, but fail many others. In a study conducted in real clinical settings, a common antidepressant produced a response in just under half of the participants, and achieved full remission in only 28%. Please click here to continue.
Technology's Latest Quest: Tracking Mental Health
You can now count your steps, measure your glucose levels, monitor your blood pressure and track your caloric intake from your phone or high-tech wristband. But for those dealing with depression rather than diabetes, or trying to keep tabs on their bipolar disorder rather than their weight, the pickings are slimmer. Please click here to continue.