OBESITY RECOGNIZED BY THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

By: Norman McPhail

The American Medical Association (AMA) has taken a giant step recently, in which they now recognize obesity as a disease. The AMA’s change of heart will help expand health coverage and get more help for overweight people. “The American Medical Associations’ recognition that obesity is a disease carries a lot of clout,” says Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. “Their opinion can influence policy makers who are in a position to do more to support interventions and research to prevent and treat obesity.”

In the United States today, obesity has risen to alarming numbers. We are seeing 35% of adults as being overweight and 17% of children. In 1962, obesity was at a rock bottom of 13%. Obesity has gotten out of control and something needs to be done. The cause has been blamed on fast food, sodas, school lunch programs, you name it. Bottom line is, we all need to take control of our lives. I’m not talking about limiting the size of a soda at McDonald’s; I am talking about something that will make a difference in the lives of people that really need the help.

“I think you will probably see physicians taking obesity more seriously, counseling their patients about it,” said Morgan Downey, publisher of the online Downey Obesity Report. “Companies marketing the products will be able to take this to physicians and point to it and say, ‘Look, the mother ship has now recognized obesity as a disease”.

A number of medical issues caused by being overweight include high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, & cancer, to name just a few. However, getting the medical help you need if you have had any of these issues caused by being overweight, has always been a challenge.
Being overweight can also hinder the availability of certain medical help you might need. MRI’s have weight and size limitations on patients. Imaging quality, including ultrasounds, are affected by obesity. For a CT scan, an obese patient may need longer exposure to radiation, which can place you at risk for overexposure. This is in addition to the high cost of diagnostic imaging, even with insurance.

One downside to the AMA change is that it might encourage more people to rely on medications and drugs to combat their obesity, rather than change their lifestyle and eating habits. Exercise and healthy eating is the best defense against obesity, and we need to spread the word.

For those in need of affordable diagnostic imaging scans, there are services like MRI Scan Group, whose network of contracted imaging facilities offer reduced rates for uninsured and underinsured patients. Contact them at http://mriscangroup.com/, or call them at 1.866.674.8840.

 

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May Flowers Bring… Skin Cancer?

By: Elizabeth Meier

Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer, with approximately 2 million people in the U.S. diagnosed with non-melanoma cancer each year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2009, “61,646 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin, including 35,436 men and 26,210 women. 9,199 people in the United States died from melanomas of the skin, including 5,992 men and 3,207 women.”

Deemed Skin Cancer Awareness Month by the CDC, the month of May has brought about days of extreme heat and sun exposure to much of the United States. Although the month is at an end, this does not mean we should ignore the extreme dangers of the sun! Many U.S. states have experienced record-breaking heat waves already this year, and the first day of summer is still nearly a month away!

“Melanoma is the most dangerous and common form of skin cancer. However, melanoma is nearly 100% curable, especially when detected early,” says MaineHealthCancer.org. The importance of awareness and prevention cannot be stressed enough. That is why so many organizations are providing safety information to the public to help lower the skin cancer. Rite Aid Pharmacies are presenting the Road To Healthy Skin Tour, in which they will be performing free skin cancer screenings across America during May – August of 2013. Check out their website for the dates they will be near you, at http://www.skincancer.org/events/tour.

MaineHealthCancer.org urges people to follow the ABC’s of sun safety:
A. Avoid unprotected sun exposure when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
B. Block out the sun by using sunscreen (and re-apply every 2 hours).
C. Cover your body with protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.

There are several types, or stages of skin cancer and melanoma cancer. Melanoma cancer is categorized into five (5) stages, from Stage 0 to Stage IV, and Recurrent Melanoma. The recommended treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. If the physician suspects metastatic melanoma (Stage IV), other diagnosis and staging tools may include a blood test for LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) levels or imaging studies such as chest X-ray, CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and PET (positron emission tomography) scans, states skincancerabout.com. Cancer.org reports that, “imaging tests may also be done to help determine how well treatment is working or to look for possible signs of cancer recurrence after treatment.”
The use of diagnostic imaging in late stage Melanoma cancer can be expensive, especially when combined with the costs of treatments. Using a patient referral service like MRI Scan Group can help greatly reduced imaging costs. They contract with imaging facilities across the United States to offer extremely discounted self-pay rates to patients. Contact MRI Scan Group today for your imaging needs! Visit their website at http://mriscangroup.com/ or call them at 1-866-674-8840.

Resources:

http://mainehealthcancer.org/Cancer%20Information/Melanoma/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/prevention/overview/Patient/page3

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/

http://skincancer.about.com/od/diagnosis/a/diagnosis.htm

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-diagnosed

http://mriscangroup.com/

YOU BETTER SHOP AROUND… FOR AN MRI!

By Norman McPhail

Being uninsured and needing an MRI in the United States can be an overwhelming experience. The health care/diagnostic imaging business is a tangled web of confusion. Prices for a scan can set you back upwards of $2,000 per scan (Ouch)! The question is: How can you find a competitive priced scan to fit the uninsured budget?

In an emergency, you might not have the option to choose a facility for imaging services. Uninsured diagnostic imaging patients usually don’t need to have the scan done same day and thus have time to shop. The problem is that most people without insurance don’t realize that they CAN shop around. But YOU do! The best way to fight back is to do your homework. Just like when you are buying a car or new TV; shop around! You can search by price or location & scan type. If you do your research right, you could save THOUSANDS of dollars.

Imaging rates are negotiated between insurance companies, physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. The negotiated rates are normally shielded and not made available to the public. These shielded rates make it a muddy mess for uninsured patients to research and compare prices. The good news is that negotiated rates only apply to insurance companies. You do have options being uninsured and needing to pay for your health care out of your pocket.

My go-to tool for diagnostic image shopping is the internet! The internet will help you find the imaging services you need, for a price that won’t break the bank. Price comparison websites such as Healthcare Blue Book, New Choice Health and MRI Scan Group can assist you in making an informed decision that won’t break the bank. Affordable imaging is available at your fingertips, so get those piggies moving!

What Happens to the Uninsured?

By Caleb Burch

In the past several years, the US has been going through a healthcare crisis. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and for many of them, their health insurance. If you have recently lost your health insurance for any reason, do not be discouraged. There are several resources that you can draw from in order to help yourself get the treatment you need, without having to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. An article posted in September of 2011, suggests, “Doctors are dispensing advice over the phone to save patients the cost of an office visit. Some ask pharmaceutical sales representatives to increase drug samples they can distribute to needy patients. Others provide care for free, or at a discount.” This is encouraging to hear. Although millions of Americans have lost their jobs since the start of the recession, and many of them have lost their insurance right along with it, they are not all going untreated.

Doctor offices are not the only places doing their part to assist uninsured patients. Most metropolitan areas around the country have clinics that specialize in helping uninsured patients. These clinics are normally run by the city, and charge patients based on their income and family size. Also, a handful of patient referral services have started up. Referral services are companies that find uninsured patients a place where they can go to get the medical attention they require. MRI Scan Group specializes in diagnostic imaging and helps uninsured patients across the country get discounted MRI’s, CT’s, etc..

If you have recently lost your health insurance for any reason, there is hope. Before giving up, see if your personal care doctor will help you, find a public health clinic, or give MRI Scan Group a call at 1.866.674.8840. Good luck!

Doctor Delay: Why People Put Off Getting Routine Medical Attention

Written By Elizabeth Meier

There is a growing trend in America recently of patients delaying routine medical checkups and testing. In this day and age, when the keys to good health are literally right at our fingertips, what keeps a large percent of the population from taking the necessary steps to stay updated on their health? Why would we delay important health safeguards, such as routine doctor visits, standard tests and diagnostic imaging?

Cost. Time. Fear. What is the reason that you put off going to the doctor? Do you find yourself delaying routine checkups, or medical tests? Do you make sure your children see their doctor regularly, but you don’t make it a priority for yourself? What is it that makes the average person delay getting routine medical attention?

Cost. In the last few years in the United States, the average job wages have fallen, while the cost of health care has gone up. In an article on this topic in the Huffington Post, Jeffrey Young writes, “A new survey shows more than a one-quarter of Americans had trouble with medical bills in the last year… Costs led 58 percent of people to put off or go without health care they needed in the previous 12 months, a increase from 50 percent last August, says a survey released Monday by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research organization based in Menlo Park, Calif. Americans skipped doctor and dentist visits, didn’t receive diagnostic tests, didn’t take their medicines, cut pills in half or took other steps to save money that could make them less healthy, the survey found.” Costs for medical procedures and testing, medications and health service have skyrocketed, which has led to an increase in health insurance premiums and/or deductibles. The number of uninsured in America has steadily risen in relation to this epidemic.

Time. Who has the time to go to the doctor? With a daily or weekly schedule that includes work, gym, child pickups, grocery shopping, dinner, and let’s not forget to mention the commuting in between, it is easy to put off or find yourself continuously rescheduling that doctor’s appointment that you feel is not urgent. Jessica Larsen in her La Cosse Tribune article said, “There’s just not enough (time). Between work, school, kids and cleaning, who has time to sit in a clinic waiting room? Moms and caregivers are especially guilty of putting visits off. Even doctors claim the “too busy” card. One doctor admits he sometimes gets behind on going to his eye appointments. ‘Society is so busy. We’re all working 60-hour weeks, have three kids —last thing on anyone’s mind is taking a day off, not get paid, and going to see a doctor,’ he said.”
Fear. Iatrophobia – the fear of going to the doctor. Claustrophobia – the fear of enclosed spaces. Radiophobia – the fear of radiation or X-rays. Mechanophobia – the fear of machines.
Having one or several of these common fears is enough to make you run screaming in the other direction when it comes to going to the doctor, or having medical tests performed. However, the fear of the unknown hopefully wins out in this medical battle royale. It is common to avoid hearing bad news, and most of us expect the worst when it comes to medical tests, but that fear should not stand in the way of having good health confirmed, or a minor worrisome issue taken care of once and for all!

This blog written by staff at MRI Scan Group – a nation-wide referral service for diagnostic imaging. Contact us at 1-866-674-8840, or on our website at http://www.mriscangroup.com/.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/health-care-costs_n_1587284.html

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/procrastination-has-real-consequences-when-it-comes-to-going-to/article_67afc6bc-dead-11e1-9cbc-001a4bcf887a.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_phobias