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NHIA Blog2018-10-03T17:48:50+00:00

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1311, 2020

CBD: How it is Improving the Healthcare Industry

By |November 13th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

What is CBD? CBD stands for cannabidiol, which derives from the marijuana or cannabis plant. It is a natural remedy that has the potential to assist with many common ailments. CBD is not psychoactive like THC, the component of marijuana that alters consciousness. Cannabidiol offers relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or other pharmaceutical drugs.

CBD Chemical Makeup

CBD is a naturally occurring compound in cannabis plants. The substance is an extract from both marijuana and hemp plants, but it does not cause intoxication. Cannabidiol comes from the plant and usually mixes with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or hemp oil.

Pain Relief

CBD helps relieve pain by reducing inflammation and chronic pain through endocannabinoids. One study found that 74% of multiple sclerosis patients reported lowered pain after treatment with an oral spray that contained cannabidiol. In some treatment scenarios, patients have been known to discontinue opioid-based pain relief options in favor of CBD in order to manage chronic pain.

Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac affect the body’s ability to fight inflammation. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol, there has been help for patients to reduce swelling and inflammation, providing not only pain relief but prevent disease-causing inflammation.

Reducing Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. Anxiety affects nearly 40 million people starting around the age of 18 or older each year. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single largest contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders are ranked sixth. This is a huge problem so it’s no wonder people are looking for answers and options, especially with something ground breaking like CBD treatment.

Individuals who received CBD treatment for anxiety or depression reportedly experienced improvements in their ability to perform daily functions and reduce pain and anxiety or depression symptoms. They reported some level of satisfaction with this treatment, ranging from good to excellent. Cannabidiol shows promise as a treatment for both depression and anxiety. Which leads many who live with these disorders to become interested in this natural approach. Researchers even use the substance to safely treat insomnia and anxiety in children with post-traumatic stress disorder. CBD has shown anti-depressant like side effects in several animal studies.

Cancer-Related Symptoms

CBD helps alleviate cancer related treatment side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, and pain. It helps reduce nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, which are among the most common chemotherapy-related side-effects. While we need more studies, there’s a lot of evidence that suggest cannabidiol works as a complementary therapy in cancer treatment. It works the same way as treating other chronic pain by reducing inflammation. Furthermore, studies of cannabidiol have shown that cannabinoids can slow the growth of certain cancer cells in animals.

Safety Concerns?

Overall, CBD is safe and non-habit forming. Even though the FDA has not made any formalized statement regarding the safety of CBD, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that CBD is safe for consumption, in its pure form, and have provided data to back it up.

611, 2020

Successful Chronic Care Management

By |November 6th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

Successful chronic care management is a challenge for many providers in the medical industry. Dr. Ezekiel J. Emmanuel, a chief architect of the Affordable Care Act, gave a speech at the 2018 AHIP Institute and Expo event in San Diego. In that speech he detailed five common characteristics shared by organizations managing chronic care. Those five common characteristics are identifying high-risk patients, embed care managers, empower care managers, active outreach, and educate patients.

Identifying High-Risk Patients

A high risk patient is someone with a serious medical condition who has a high risk of mortality. Conditions included under this are advanced cancer, heart failure, end-stage renal disease, and dementia. High risk patients are people who have multiple hospitalizations in the last year, or those residing in a nursing home. It can be difficult to treat patients whose insurance doesn’t cover specific medications. On the other hand, using empathy is one of the simpler-yet most effective- ways physicians can help high-risk patients.

Embedding Care Managers

Care management is defined as the application of systems, science, incentives, and information to improve medical practice and assist consumers and their support systems to become engaged in a collaborative process designed to manage medical, social, and mental health conditions more effectively. High-risk care managers must be out in patients’ communities. Several small studies have found that care management within primary care practices increases participation and enhances outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. Care management must be operationalized in a manner accepted by physicians and other care team members.

Empower Care Managers

Care managers deserve the right to have the same access to the data for their patients and should be able to make changes to the electronic medical record. It would be so much more beneficial for patients to have more doctors in one office so they can get all their care simultaneously. In addition, care managers would highly benefit from having access to a comprehensive, holistic view of each patient across the care spectrum.

This is the most effective way to identify and deliver the right care to individuals at the right time. One way to achieve this goal is by connecting technology in ways that breaks down walls and simplifies routine work, while enabling care managers to provide the human touch to patients in meaningful ways.

Active Outreach

Nationally, the trend is that patient loyalty to a specific doctor is declining. To maintain loyalty, doctors must reach out to members on a regular basis. This shows patients that medical personnel care about them. They are not just another face in and out of the office. Physicians are more than just their credentials, also. When physicians can embrace their different roles as mothers and fathers, as sisters and brothers, sons and daughter, it helps improve the connection patients are willing to have with their doctor instead of just getting in and out of the office. Patients will look forward to their visits instead of dreading going to the doctor.

Educate Patients

In addition, to improve care outcomes, physicians should spend more time with patients. Physician’s need more enthusiasm, motivation, and responsiveness to how patients’ are feeling and their needs. A patient’s understanding of their condition and the compliance with a doctor’s recommendations significantly affect the outcomes of patient health. Learning about their conditions means patients have the knowledge to undertake their treatments and with confidence and are likelier able to do it safely from home.

3010, 2020

Travel and Health Insurance

By |October 30th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|0 Comments

When you start planning to travel, you usually don’t think about health insurance as something necessary. Well experts say 15% of travelers encounter some kind of health problem while abroad and depending on where you go, your health insurance might not do you any good. Good news is, there are some ways to cover medical emergencies abroad that are surprisingly inexpensive, such as travel insurance.

Things to Consider

Checking with your health insurance carrier is always a good start. Most domestic health plans provide limited coverage overseas and won’t even cover prescriptions. If you do get covered for the treatment you receive, the care is typically charged as out-of-network care, which means higher copays and out-of-pocket costs.

The CDC recommends asking what the exclusions are for injuries relating to adventure activities such as scuba diving and hiking, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. Also ask whether preauthorization is needed for treatment.

You should also look into international health insurance. If you love to travel and are always on adventures, it’s a good thing to consider getting. Travel health insurance covers the holes or gaps your normal carrier doesn’t. Some of these companies even provide primary coverage too. One thing to know is, if you have pre-existing conditions, some of these companies won’t cover care for those conditions. You can buy a waiver to exclude that though.

Policies usually cost much less for younger buyers and less comprehensive plans. A $1-million-dollar medical insurance plan with a 0 deductible cost a 35-year-old $15 per day. Whereas the same plan could cost a 65-year-old, but with preexisting conditions with a condition waiver, medical evacuation, and $5,000 trip cancellation coverage, $220-$600 a week. The difference is crazy, but could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Benefits of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance covers a lot of things, but a comprehensive travel insurance plan will provide the following key benefits:

  • Trip Cancellation: Plans will cover specific reasons for cancelling the trip, such as a sickness or injury before you leave. Other reasons may include the death of a family member or unforeseeable natural disasters. Make sure to read the fine print of the policy to know exactly what is cover and what is not.
  • Trip Interruption: Plans will cover specific reasons for cutting a trip short, such as sickness or injury resulting to in you having to return home. Other covered reasons may include weather or natural disasters, but be sure to read the specifics of the policy to see what is covered.
  • Emergency Assistance (24/7): This service provides doctor or hospital recommendations and translation services.
  • Baggage Protection: Some plans offer reimbursement or a stipend if your bag becomes lost, stolen, damaged, or delayed.

Cost of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance plans run about 5-8 percent of your total cost. Again, some plans may or may not cover pre-existing medical conditions so make sure to check on that when looking into this insurance.  Also when you travel abroad be ready to pay up front because most foreign healthcare providers require payments in cash or credit card when you receive treatment. Only some U.S. insurers have direct relationships with healthcare providers all over the world.

2310, 2020

Fall Time Illnesses and How to Avoid Them

By |October 23rd, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Fall time is such a fun time of year. The leaves change color, you can go pumpkin picking, host bonfires, and Halloween, where you can dress up and eat candy. The thing to remember about fall time, is all the allergies and viruses that come with the weather going from hot and sunny to cloudy and brisk.

The Flu

The common flu. Once October hits, flu season goes into full swing and lasts till May. The flu is definitely something to avoid, which you can achieve with a vaccine. Most people will get the flu and be fine, but it can turn into something quite difficult to fight. The flu can turn into pneumonia and bronchitis.

There are a few things you can do to prevent the flu:

  • Wash your hands
  • Keep surfaces around the house sanitized
  • Get the flu shot
  • Get plenty of res, eat a healthy diet, and keep stress levels low- all lifestyle factors that affect your immune system.

Some common symptoms of the flu are so terrible and can include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat

Seasonal Allergies

These can be just as annoying and hard to cope with. These fall time allergies can sometimes be just as bad as getting a virus. They can make you feel like you are sick. During the fall, mold spores and ragweed are the most common allergens in the air.

Common season allergies symptoms are:

  • Runny Nose
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Watery Eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Sore or Itchy Throat

There is no for sure way to prevent allergies, but some tips for avoiding them are as follows:

  • Check your daily pollen count
  • Check the daily air quality
  • Keep windows closed
  • Take a shower after spending time outside

Common Colds

The common cold is one of the most frequently seen things during the fall. There are millions of cases of colds each year, hence the “common” in the phrase. Colds can last between a few days to a few weeks. They are very contagious. These are spread through skin-to-skin contact, saliva, and airborne respiratory droplets.

Just like the flu, there are some common ways to prevent getting this, such as:

  • Wash your hands
  • Sanitize contaminated surfaces
  • Avoid crowded spaces when possible and
  • Get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Sore Throat

As the air gets cooler, you should have a scarf or coat to cover your face when you go outside. The brisk wind and cooler air can cause your throat to start feeling scratchy. Soon, that could turn into a full- blown sore throat. Although a sore throat is a symptom of the flu and allergies, it can be a virus on its own. It could be strep throat or just soreness because of the weather changing.

Some common tips for preventing a sore throat are:

  • Use an indoor air Humidifier-Putting moisture back in to air can help your throat from feeling sore
  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your face
  • Avoid crowded spaces
  • Don’t share food or drink

These are things to remember this fall as the weather starts to cool down. These sicknesses are mostly avoidable. With children and going to and from work, it can be difficult to avoid, but they are. Enjoy all the fun fall activities with your family and friends, but remember to wash hands.

910, 2020

Enrolling in Health Insurance

By |October 9th, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

Once you decide you need coverage, you need to decide where you are going to be enrolling in health insurance. Does your employer offer it? Do you want a private insurance company? These are things to consider. There are a few things to think about when enrolling in health insurance.

Things to Consider

First things first, when can you buy health insurance in your state. Most insurance companies have an open enrollment period. This is the one time a year new enrollees or current members can change their plan for free, unless there is a special reason, then you can change it during the special enrollment period. This year the state of Florida’s open enrollment period is November 1st, 2020-December 15th, 2020. During this time, you can sign up for insurance and choose any plan you want, depending on how much you want to pay.

Special Enrollment Qualifying Events

  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child
  • Moving
  • Becoming an American citizen
  • Leaving incarceration
  • Losing an insurance due to job loss, divorce, or aging off a parent’s plan
  • COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) expiration
  • Losing eligibility for Medicaid or the children’s health insurance program
  • People with a marketplace plan may already be eligible for a special enrollment change if there has been household income change, household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing subsidies
  • Gaining status as a member of an Indian tribe

Included in Coverage

Before the ACA, individual healthcare plans’ coverage varied widely. Insurers could deny your application for insurance or set exorbitant premiums if you had any health conditions at all. Now insurers have lost that power. They have to cover you despite your past medical history. In addition, all individual healthcare plans must cover at least a set of 10 standard essential health benefits:

  • Outpatient services, including doctor’s visits
  • Emergency room visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy
  • Maternity care
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse treatment
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Services and devices for recovery after an injury or due to a disability or chronic condition
  • Lab tests
  • Preventative services, including health screenings, immunizations, and birth control. You may pay nothing out of pocket for preventative care when you see healthcare providers in a health plan’s network.
  • Pediatric Services, including dental and vision care for kids

Types of Individual Health Plans

Health insurance plans don’t differ that much in term of benefits. Where they differ is the plans costs, the way they are structured, which doctors accepts that insurance or that specific plan, and which prescription drugs they cover.

Healthcare plans in the Affordable Care Act are broken into 4 different metal categories. This makes them easier to compare. The categories are based off how much you would be paying versus how much the insurance would be paying towards your coverage. The costs are the out-of-pocket costs that include deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance.

These percentages are estimates based off of the amount of medical care an average person would use in one year:

  • Bronze- Plans pays 60% of your health care costs. You would pay 40%. The average premium for this plan is $440 monthly.
  • Silver- Plans would pay 70% of your healthcare costs. You would pay 30%. The average premium for this plan is $481 monthly.
  • Gold- Plans would pay 80% of your health care costs. You would pay 20%. The average premium for this plan is $596 monthly.
  • Platinum- Plans would cover 90% of your healthcare costs. You would pay 10%. The average premium is $706 monthly.

Generally, the less you pay for deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments would mean the premium would be higher. The Platinum plan cover much more of the costs associated with the services you would receive, but that would mean that your monthly premium would be much higher.

Making a well-educated individual health insurance decision requires time and effort, but doing the research now will pay off later.

210, 2020

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By |October 2nd, 2020|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: , |0 Comments

People typically don’t know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s. However, understanding the difference is important. Dementia is a general term for memory loss. Alzheimer’s is the most common condition caused by dementia. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80 percent of dementia cases. In addition, Alzheimer’s is an actual disease. On the other hand, dementia is an overall term- like heart disease- that covers a range of conditions.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term. It describes a group of symptoms associated with the decline in memory, reasoning, or thinking skills. There are many types of dementia and it is caused by many things. Mixed dementia is a condition in which there are more than one type of dementia prevalent in patients. There are over 400 diseases or types of dementia. Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia are the most common.

Here are some of the most common types of dementia

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular Dementia
  • Lewy Body disease
  • Fronto-Temporal dementia
  • Mixed dementia

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It makes up 60-80% of all dementia cases. It develops slowly over many years. Firstly, this disease can start as simply forgetfulness, which can be normal with aging. Early signs usually include difficulty in forming new memories of recent events, difficulty in forming sentences, and problem solving. This is a progressive build-up of abnormal clumps of protein that cause damage to the nerve cells in the brain. Currently there are no cures for this disease, but there are treatments and research is ongoing. The treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, but it can improve the quality of life for those suffering from this disease.

Vascular Dementia

Reduced blood supply to the brain due to diseased blood vessels causes vascular dementia. For example, a patient after a stroke, has reduced flow in major blood vessels in the brain. Then, thinking difficulties may start after this occurs and gradually worsen. Several studies have found that vascular changes and the brain abnormalities that come with these changes, may interact in ways that can lead to a dementia diagnosis. Symptoms of this disease include, but are not limited to:

  • Confusion
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Difficulty walking
  • Numbness or partial paralysis

Lewy Body Disease

This is a type of progressive dementia that leads to the decline of thinking, reasoning, and independent function due to abnormal microscopic deposits that damage brain cells over time. Lewy Body disease is the 3rd most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia. This accounts for 5-10 percent of cases. People suffering from Lewy Body dementia usually experience hunched posture, rigid muscles, shuffled walking, and trouble initiating movement. This disease has been linked to Parkinson’s and shares the same underlying abnormalities in how the brain processes the protein alpha-synuclein. Some symptoms of this condition include:

  • Changes in thinking or reasoning
  • Confusion and alertness varying day-day
  • Delusions
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Memory loss

Frontotemporal Dementia

Progressive nerve cell loss in the brain’s frontal lobes or temporal lobes causes frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Firstly, this causes deterioration in behavior, personality, and difficulty producing and comprehending language. Then, the patient’s dementia slowly worsens. There are a number of different diseases that cause frontotemporal degenerations. However, the two most prominent are 1) a group of brain disorders involving brain disorders involving the protein TAU and 2) a group of brain disorders involving the protein called TDP43. These two groups have a preference for the frontal and temporal lobes that cause dementia, for reasons not yet known. Some symptoms of FTD are as follows:

  • Apathy
  • Unwillingness to talk
  • Change in mood, increased depression
  • Lack of social tact
  • Obsessive or repetitive behavior

Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia is a condition in which brain changes of more than one cause of dementia occur simultaneously. The most common kind of mixed dementia is when Alzheimer’s occurs with vascular dementia, similarly, Alzheimer’s is commonly seen with Lewy Body dementia. Sometimes, all three are seen together.

Researchers don’t quite know how many people are living with mixed dementia because there is no way to study it in living people. Autopsies are the only way to figure out which brain changes have occurred. However, symptoms vary depending on the types of brain changes and the brain regions affected.

Symptoms may be similar or indistinguishable from other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or Vascular dementia or Frontotemporal dementia.

The Future

Meanwhile, the research on these diseases are ongoing and extensive. Currently, there is no test to determine if someone has one of these diseases. However, these can be diagnosed based on past medical history. physical exam, and changes in thinking, and day-to-day function and behavior. Certainly, more scientists are currently researching how to help dementia and Alzheimer’s patients

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