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Many U.S. Girls Aren’t Getting HPV Vaccine, Study Finds

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FRIDAY, Jan. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Only about half of American girls begin receiving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at the recommended age, a new study finds.

HPV is believed to cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer, and also other types of cancers and genital warts. The HPV vaccine protects against 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts cases, according to the researchers.

Girls should begin getting the three-dose HPV vaccine when they are 11 or 12. The vaccine is most effective before girls become sexually active, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also recommends the vaccine for boys beginning at ages 11 or 12. However, the current study only looked at girls.

“Rates of HPV infection increase significantly every year for young people between 14 and 24, so vaccination at a young age is very important,” team leader Dr. Mahbubur Rahman in a University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said in a news release. He is an associate professor in the obstetrics and gynecology department at the university.

The study found that the number of girls in the United States who started the vaccine series at the recommended age was 14 percent in 2008. By 2012, that number was 56 percent. The trends did not differ by race or ethnicity, according to the study published in the journal Vaccine.

The findings showed that nearly half of adolescent girls receive the vaccine after age 12 — and researchers said it’s not certain how effective the vaccine is after this age.

“It’s important that parents and health care providers are aware of the importance of early HPV vaccination to ensure that girls receive this vaccination at the CDC’s recommended age,” Rahman added.

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Stroke Survivors Who Live Alone Face Higher Risk of Early Death: Study

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FRIDAY, Jan. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Stroke survivors — especially men — who live alone are at increased risk for premature death, a new study suggests.

Researchers followed nearly 1,100 ischemic stroke survivors in Sweden for 12 years. An ischemic stroke occurs when the brain’s blood flow is blocked.

During the follow-up period, 36 percent of survivors who lived alone died, compared to 17 percent of those with partners. Among men, the rates were 44 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Even after adjusting for other known risk factors such as physical inactivity, heavy drinking and low levels of education, living alone was still associated with an increased risk of death in the study.

“Among the conceivable causes are that people who live alone lead less healthy lives, are less prone to take their medication and tend to wait longer before going to the emergency room,” study author Petra Redfors, of the Sahlgrenska Academy Study on Ischemic Stroke, said in a University of Gothenburg news release.

The researchers also found that survivors whose stroke was caused by large blood vessel disease, diabetes or a blood clot from the heart were also at increased risk of early death.

And stroke survivors were 10 times more likely to suffer another stroke and two times more likely to have a heart attack over 12 years than people who never had a stroke, the findings showed.

In addition, the study found that many stroke survivors still had memory, concentration and thinking problems seven years after their stroke.

“Our results underscore the importance of intensive, long-term prevention among stroke patients, including medication for hypertension [high blood pressure], diabetes and other underlying conditions, along with lifestyle changes,” Redfors said.

“Above all, serious consideration needs to be given to providing greater support and more thorough information for patients who are living alone,” she added.

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The Buddy System for Health

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When it comes to making healthy lifestyle choices, having a partner with the same goals may help you succeed according to a new study. Researchers looked at health behaviors of more than 3,700 couples either married or living together. Every two-years their smoking status and physical activity levels were assessed through questionnaires and computer-assisted interviews. Their weight was measured every four years during home nursing visits. The results showed that smokers with nonsmoking partners were much more likely to quit… and inactive people with active partners had higher odds of becoming physically active themselves. If both people practiced either of these unhealthy behaviors and one chose to make a positive change, the chances were even higher that the other would follow suit. However, for overweight individuals, having a partner with a normal body mass index did not increase the odds of losing weight. A benefit was only seen if both people started out overweight and one chose to drop pounds. The other was then 3 times more likely to join in.

The researchers say these findings suggest that behavior change interventions could be more effective if they target couples as opposed to individuals.

I’m Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV… with the health news that matters to you.

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Eczema Linked to Other Health Problems

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FRIDAY, Jan. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Adults with eczema — a chronic, itchy skin disease that often starts in childhood — may also have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study.

This increased risk may be the result of bad lifestyle habits or the disease itself.

“Eczema is not just skin deep,” said lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “It impacts all aspects of patients’ lives and may worsen their heart-health,” he said.

The researchers found that people with eczema smoke and drink more, are more likely to be obese and are less likely to exercise than adults who don’t have the disease.

The findings also suggest that eczema itself may increase the risk for heart disease and stroke, possibly from the effects of chronic inflammation, he said.

“It was intriguing that eczema was associated with these disorders even after controlling for smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity,” Silverberg added.

It’s important to note, however, that this study only found an association between eczema and a higher risk of other health conditions. The study wasn’t designed to tease out whether or not having eczema can actually cause other health problems.

Having eczema may take a psychological toll, too, Silverberg pointed out. Since eczema often starts in early childhood, it can affect self-esteem and identity, he said. And those factors may influence lifestyle habits.

The skin condition can also make it harder to exercise, because heat and sweat make the itching worse, Silverberg said.

The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

For the study, Silverberg’s team collected data on more than 61,000 adults aged 18 to 85. These adults were part of the 2010 and 2012 U.S. National Health Interview Surveys.

The researchers found that people with eczema were 54 percent more likely to be severely obese than those without the skin condition. People with eczema were also 48 percent more likely to have high blood pressure. They were also about one-third more likely to have high cholesterol than those without eczema, the study noted.

Eczema was strongly linked with sleep troubles, according to the study. People with eczema were also more likely to have pre-diabetes or diabetes than people without skin problems, the study authors said.

Silverberg noted that the lifestyle factors linked to eczema and other health conditions — such as smoking, drinking and obesity — can be changed.

“Patients and doctors can work together to eliminate these bad behaviors and reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke,” Silverberg said.

Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said the stress caused by eczema may play a role in increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.

“Eczema can have a major impact on the self-esteem and overall well-being of the patient,” she said. Stress is often a trigger, leading to a worsening of the itch and rash that follows, she said.

“It’s important to address the issue from the onset of the condition, even in children, to help them understand how to best handle the symptoms, both physical and emotional. Cognitive therapy along with skin care can have a major benefit in reducing symptoms and flare-ups from the stress component of the condition,” Day said.

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NHS Winter 2014-15: Weekly A&E tracker

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NHS winter graphic Jan 12-18

Notes & recent changes to hospitals

In October Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust was formed by the merger of two trusts; Frimley Park Hospital and Heatherwood and Wexham Park. As a result, the new trust has two hospitals with major A&E departments, instead of one last year.

The Frenchay Hospital in Bristol has closed. Its A&E department has moved to Southmead Hospital. To see data for Southmead hospital please use the postcode: BS16 1LE.

County Hospital, formerly Stafford Hospital, does not appear in this data as it no longer has a major A&E department. This is also the case for the Central Middlesex Hospital and Hammersmith.

The Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH), Bromley, is now part of the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. We will be adding the PRUH to the search, but to see data for the trust in the meantime please enter the postcode: SE5 9RS.

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‘Hidden’ Brain Damage Seen in Vets with Blast Injuries

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THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The brains of some veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who were injured by homemade bombs show an unusual pattern of damage, a small study finds.

Researchers speculate that the damage — what they call a “honeycomb” pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers — might help explain the phenomenon of “shell shock.”

That term was coined during World War I, when trench warfare exposed troops to constant bombardment with exploding shells. Many soldiers developed an array of symptoms, from problems with vision and hearing, to headaches and tremors, to confusion, anxiety and nightmares.

Now referred to as blast neurotrauma, the injuries have become an important issue again, said Dr. Vassilis Koliatsos, the senior researcher on the new study.

“Vets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan have been exposed to a variety of situations, including blasts from improvised explosive devices [IEDs],” said Koliatsos, a professor of pathology, neurology and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

But even though the recognition of shell shock goes back 100 years, researchers still know little about what is actually going on in the brain, Koliatsos said.

For the new study, published recently in the journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications, his team studied autopsied brain tissue from five U.S. combat veterans.

The soldiers had all survived IED bomb blasts, but later died of other causes. The researchers compared the vets’ brain tissue to autopsies of 24 people who had died of various causes, including traffic accidents and drug overdoses.

According to Koliatsos, the soldiers’ brains showed a distinct pattern of damage to nerve fibers in key regions of the brain — including the frontal lobes, which govern memory, reasoning and decision-making.

He said the “honeycomb” pattern of small lesions was unlike the damage seen in people who died from head trauma in a car accident, or those who suffered “punch-drunk syndrome” — brain degeneration caused by repeated concussions.

According to Koliatsos, before their deaths the five vets did show signs of “neuropsychiatric” problems, such as depression and anxiety. One died of a gunshot wound to the head, and three died of methadone overdose. Those overdoses could have been accidental, since the drug is prescribed for severe pain, he noted.

It’s not clear whether any of the soldiers’ symptoms can be blamed on the brain damage seen in this study, according to Koliatsos.

But, he said, “you have to raise the question, ‘Could the neuropsychiatric problems be related to this frontal lobe dysfunction?'”

Another expert said it “provides preliminary evidence to support structural and physical changes associated with blast [brain] injuries.”

“I think this is an important next step in our understanding of how blast injuries can impact military personnel and veterans, even if we can’t easily ‘see’ the injuries using traditional medical techniques,” said Craig Bryan, executive director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.

Both he and Koliatsos said further studies are needed to confirm these findings, and to understand what this brain damage “signature” means.

“My hope is that research such as this will eventually lead to better diagnostic tests that can detect and identify otherwise hidden injuries much sooner,” Bryan said.

It could also lead to more refined treatment, according to Koliatsos. For example, if damage to the frontal lobes is causing some blast-injured veterans’ symptoms, then treatment might include medications that stimulate the frontal lobes.

But that’s for future studies to figure out. “It’s premature to say what this means for veterans right now,” Koliatsos said.

The most important thing, he added, is for blast-exposed vets to seek treatment for any lingering symptoms.

“If you’re having problems, talk to your family and talk to your doctor,” Koliatsos said.

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Family Stories May Help Coma Patients Recover

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THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Hearing their loved ones tell familiar stories can help brain injury patients in a coma regain consciousness faster and have a better recovery, a new study suggests.

The study included 15 male and female brain injury patients, average age 35, who were in a vegetative or minimally conscious state. Their brain injuries were caused by car or motorcycle crashes, bomb blasts or assaults.

Beginning an average of 70 days after they suffered their brain injury, the patients were played recordings of their family members telling familiar stories that were stored in the patients’ long-term memories.

The recordings were played over headphones four times a day for six weeks, according to the study published Jan. 22 in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair.

“We believe hearing those stories in parents’ and siblings’ voices exercises the circuits in the brain responsible for long-term memories,” study author Theresa Pape, a neuroscientist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern University’s School of Medicine in Chicago, said in a university news release.

“That stimulation helped trigger the first glimmer of awareness,” she added.

This increased awareness can help coma patients wake more easily, be more aware of their surroundings and start to respond to conversations and directions, Pape noted.

“After the study treatment, I could tap them on the shoulder, and they would look at me. Before the treatment, they wouldn’t do that,” she said.

The patients were able to actively participate in physical, speech and occupational therapy, all of which are crucial in their recovery, Pape said.

This type of story therapy also helps patients’ families, the study authors noted.

“Families feel helpless and out of control when a loved one is in a coma. It’s a terrible feeling for them. This gives them a sense of control over the patient’s recovery and the chance to be part of the treatment,” Pape explained.

The family members recorded at least eight stories about things such as a family wedding or a special road trip together.

“It had to be something [patients would] remember, and we needed to bring the stories to life with sensations, temperature and movement. Families would describe the air rushing past the patient as he rode in the Corvette with the top down or the cold air on his face as he skied down a mountain slope,” Pape explained.

The largest gains in patient recovery came in the first two weeks of starting the story therapy, with smaller gains over the next four weeks.

Recording and playing familiar stories for coma patients is something all families can do, said Pape, who recommended that families work with a therapist to help them construct the stories.

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Many Women of Childbearing Age Take Narcotic Painkillers: CDC

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THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Too many women of childbearing age take narcotic painkillers, putting any unborn babies at risk, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

Thirty-nine percent of females aged 15 to 44 who were enrolled in Medicaid filled a prescription for a narcotic painkiller each year from 2008 to 2012, says a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among privately insured women, that rate was 28 percent.

“We are concerned because we know that 50 percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned,” said CDC epidemiologist Jennifer Lind.

Using narcotic painkillers in early pregnancy can increase the risk for certain birth defects, including spina bifida (a defect of the spine), gastroschisis (a defect of the abdominal wall) and heart defects, Lind said. These drugs also have been linked with preterm birth, she said.

In addition, infants exposed to narcotics in the womb can be born with a condition called neonatal abstinence syndrome, according to the report. These babies experience symptoms of withdrawal from the drugs taken by the mother during pregnancy.

The study appears in the Jan. 23 issue of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Lind said that most of the women in the study were prescribed narcotic painkillers to treat moderate to severe pain, such as after surgery.

“We encourage doctors to make sure that they are discussing pregnancy potential with their patients and understand that they may be treating two patients whenever they are prescribing reproductive-aged women,” Lind said.

“We recommend that they use the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time possible, and birth control to reduce the risk of becoming pregnant while taking them,” Lind said.

Dr. Jose Cordero, a member of the March of Dimes Board of Trustees, agreed. “If you are using an opioid painkiller, you should also be practicing effective birth control,” he said in a statement Thursday.

“If you decide to get pregnant or do become pregnant, tell your health care provider about all the medications you are taking right away. You may be able to switch to a safer alternative,” Cordero said.

Addiction to painkillers is a serious problem, Lind said. Depending on the pain level and the patient’s medical condition, doctors may recommend an over-the-counter pain medication rather than a narcotic, she said.

The narcotic painkillers most commonly prescribed are hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine, also found in some prescription cough medicines, Lind said. “Some familiar brand names are Vicodin and Percocet,” she noted.

Another expert, Dr. Jill Rabin, agreed that women should take the lowest dose for the least amount of time.

“The biggest risk is that the baby can be born addicted and have to go through withdrawal,” said Rabin, co-chief of the division of ambulatory care in the Women’s Health Programs-PCAP Services at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

She advises women with chronic pain to see a pain specialist to help find the best way to manage pain. If they feel they are becoming dependent on narcotic painkillers, she added, they should get help from a specialist who treats addiction.

Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., said women shouldn’t rush to take painkillers.

“Women should be cautious about what they are being prescribed,” he said.

Alternative ways of managing chronic pain, such as acupuncture and yoga, are widely available, Krakower said, adding there also are non-habit-forming drugs.

The higher rates of narcotic painkiller use among Medicaid patients than those of privately insured women might be because of differences in the medications covered under their health insurance plan, differences in health care services, or differences in the prevalence of underlying medical problems, the researchers said.

For the study, CDC researchers analyzed 2008-2012 data from Medicaid, and another database of claims from women with private health insurance.

Data from private insurance indicated that prescriptions for narcotic painkillers were highest among reproductive-aged women in the South and lowest in the Northeast.

From Medicaid, the researchers found that white women of reproductive age had nearly 1.5 times as many prescriptions for narcotic painkillers as black or Hispanic women.

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Mickey Mouse and measles

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22 January 2015Last updated at 19:08

Anthony ZurcherBy Anthony ZurcherEditor, Echo Chambers

Mickey and Minnie Mouse stand outside Cinderella's castle at Disneyland.

A California measles outbreak that has been traced back to Disneyland in Anaheim is prompting concern over the growing trend among some parents to avoid immunising their children against infectious diseases.

According to state officials, there are currently 59 cases of the highly contagious disease in California, which can be spread through the air and results in a fever, cough and rash that can be life-threatening.

“Of the confirmed cases, 42 have been linked to an initial exposure in December at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California,” the California Department of Public Health writes in a press release. There are eight additional cases connected to Disneyland in other western US states and Mexico.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

More and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children for nonmedical reasons”

End QuoteCynthia LeiferCornell University professor

Public health experts say the disease was probably brought to the amusement park packed with holiday tourists by a foreign visitor, but it has spread in part due to the lower numbers of Americans who have been opting to receive the immunisation shots.

The US government announced in 2000 that measles had been eradicated in the country, but the disease has seen a steady rebound since then. The US Centers for Disease Control reports there were 644 new measles cases in 27 states last year – the highest number since the early 1990s.

The vaccination levels for children ages 19 to 35 months in the US stood at 91.9% in 2013, below the 92% rate that ensures “herd immunity” that offers protection for those who can’t get immunised for medical reasons and adults whose immunisation has worn off. In Colorado, where two of the Disney-related cases have appeared, the rate was a national-low 86%.

A young woman gets a measles vaccination shot.Measles immunisation numbers have been declining in the US

Perhaps not coincidentally, Orange County – where Disneyland is located – is home to one of the more active anti-vaccination communities, led by Dr Bob Sears, a paediatrician who caters to parents suspicious of the immunisation shots.

“While the vast majority of physicians are troubled by the anti-vaccination movement, Sears, 45, lends a sympathetic ear,” Los Angeles Times reporter Paloma Esquivel wrote in a September 2014 profile. “About half his patients forgo vaccines altogether. To others, he offers ‘Dr. Bob’s’ alternative and selective vaccination schedules, which delay or eliminate certain immunisations.”

She writes that at some Orange County public schools, up to 60% of students had “personal belief exemptions” to required vaccinations.

Continue reading the main story

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If only we could say we didn’t see this coming”

End QuoteEditorialSacramento Bee

“The unfortunate reality,” writes Cornell University immunology Prof Cynthia Leifer for CNN.com, “is that more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children for non-medical reasons. Some refuse vaccines on the grounds of religious beliefs; others refuse on the repeatedly disproved argument that vaccines contribute to autism.”

She compares parents who decide not to vaccinate their children to a drunk driver “who makes a socially irresponsible decision that can endanger not only his life, but also the lives of the other drivers and passengers on the road”.

While the danger is real, some wonder if this high-profile outbreak could be the wake-up call that prompts action.

“For much of human civilisation, that was how we lived, and with measles outbreaks at Disneyland and elsewhere, we’re getting a taste of what our infection-plagued existence was like before routine vaccination,” writes Paul Thornton of the Los Angeles Times.

“Fears over children falling seriously ill after standing in line for Space Mountain could take hold. Perhaps we ought to start listening to credentialed researchers and mainstream doctors instead of celebrities who studied at the ‘University of Google’ and the fringe physicians and activists who enable them.”

He quotes one letter to the Times that disagrees with this view, however, emphasising that the decision not to vaccinate is one of parental freedom.

“It is my choice whether or not I want to be vaccinated,” Clayton Graver writes. “It is your choice whether or not to wash your hands or take basic public health precautions. It is an individual’s choice whether he or she wants to gamble with their child’s life. It is not your place to say what they have to do.”

There may be growing consequences for parents who make the choice not to vaccinate, however. In the California town of Huntington Beach, a high school in which a student was diagnosed with measles sent home 24 classmates for three weeks when they could not prove they had been immunised.

In Utah more than 380 people have been asked to self-quarantine after being exposed to two children who returned from Disneyland with the disease.

A Washington state doctor recounts a conversation with a father whose 13-month-old daughter, who had yet to be immunised, contracted measles during a vacation to Disneyland

“I told him he should channel that energy and speak out to support immunisations as a matter of public health,” Neil Kaneshiro writes in the Seattle Times. “Healthcare providers continue to voice support, but clearly that has not been adequate to stem the tide of anti-vaccine sentiment that continues to grow.”

The most recent outbreak has renewed calls to make vaccination waivers – which allow parents to send unimmunised children to public schools – more difficult to obtain, such as adding informed consent clauses or having them expire at the end of every school year.

“If only we could say we didn’t see this coming,” write the editors of the Sacramento Bee. “But it’s no surprise.”

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Obamacare’s Payments to Doctors Widens Access for Medicaid Patients: Study

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THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Sweetening Medicaid payments to primary-care providers does make appointments for first-time patients more widely available, a new study suggests.

The finding offers what the researchers say is the first evidence that one of the aims of Obamacare is working — that increasing Medicaid reimbursements for primary care to more generous Medicare levels increases patient access to health care. Medicaid is the government’s health insurance program for the poor.

The results were published online Jan. 21 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Medicaid notoriously pays providers less than what Medicare and private insurers pay for the same services. Policymakers were worried that the supply of primary-care doctors willing to see Medicaid enrollees after the expansion of health coverage under the Affordable Care Act would not meet patient demand.

To address their concern, the law directed states to raise Medicaid payments for primary-care services in 2013 and 2014. The increases varied by state, since some were already paying rates closer to Medicare rates and others were paying less than half of Medicare rates, the study authors noted.

States received an estimated $12 billion in additional federal funding over the two-year period to ratchet up Medicaid payments to eligible primary-care providers, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

However, the additional federal funding expired at the end of 2014 and, so far, only 15 states plan to continue the reimbursement increases, the study noted.

To assess the effectiveness of the Medicaid payment provision under Obamacare, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Trained callers posing as patients contacted primary-care offices in 10 states during two time periods: before and after the reimbursement increases kicked in. Callers indicated having coverage either through Medicaid or private insurance and requested new-patient appointments.

After the pay hike, Medicaid appointment availability rose significantly, the study found. In the states with the largest increases in Medicaid reimbursement, gains in appointment availability were particularly large, the researchers noted.

Across the 10 states examined in the study, Medicaid reimbursement for primary care rose by more than 50 percent, on average, boosting appointment availability by nearly 8 percentage points.

“In the states that are what I would call the high-bump states, rates went up by, on average, 13 percentage points, and in the low-bump rates, it only went up about 4 [percentage points],” said study author Daniel Polsky, executive director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

There was no such bump in appointment availability for the privately insured patient group, suggesting the increase in reimbursement was responsible for freeing up appointments — not other factors, explained Polsky, who is also a professor of medicine and health care management.

“We feel pretty comfortable attributing what we found to the pay bump,” he added.

However, the authors said further study would be needed to determine whether the costs and benefits of the payment policy warrant ongoing state and federal investment.

Now that the pay hike has expired, researchers can only speculate about the impact on patient access.

“I think our hypothesis for our next study would be that we might see a reversal of some of the increases [in appointment availability],” Polsky said.

Researchers thought the reimbursement increase would have a lesser effect on appointment availability in states that expanded Medicaid since there would be more patient demand, but that was not the case. Both New Jersey, which expanded Medicaid, and Pennsylvania, which did not, had similar increases in seeing new patients, according to the study.

The patient advocacy group Families USA released a document this week outlining proposed next steps for health reform, including a permanent adjustment to Medicaid rates to create parity with Medicare rates.

Primary-care physician groups are also pushing for restoration of the pay parity provision.

“This is really among our top priority issues,” said Shari Erickson, vice president for governmental affairs and medical practice at the American College of Physicians in Washington, D.C., which represents internal medicine physicians.

“I think that it’s unfortunate, obviously, to let a program lapse that is showing promising data — both anecdotally and in this initial study here — before we can really assess its true effectiveness,” Erickson added.

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