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Incontinence Support Blog

Why Aren’t Adult Diapers Covered by Insurance? And Why Men’s Liberty is…

Posted by Mens Liberty

Dec 8, 2015 2:55:00 PM


As you all should already know – last week we did a great new blog on how to get the best bang for your buck when paying for health insurance. And it seems to have sparked quite a discussion. And there has been one question coming to us over and over from viewers and I wanted to take a few minutes to answer it this week.

You asked: why does insurance cover Men’s Liberty but not adult diapers or pads?

It’s a great question – and it’s the topic for this week’s edition of “Understanding Your Insurance” with Men’s Liberty.


Let me start by giving you one little caveat – there are more than 35,000 different insurance plans in the US right now – so there’s no way I can tell you about each one. We’ve got to make some generalizations and then it’s up to you to look at your policy information or call your insurance company and ask one of their policy experts.

But in general, there are three main reasons for the difference in coverage.

#1:  Medicare sets the standard and most insurance companies follow their lead. Today, Medicare and Medicaid provide insurance coverage to roughly 1 in 3 Americans. That makes them a market leader – and the standard other plans are measured against. Medicare does not cover absorbent incontinence supplies, therefore most insurance companies follow their lead. Now there are some “cadillac” insurance plans out there that may cover some of these supplies but to be honest, I’ve never seen one.

Which leads us to #2: adult diaper manufacturers don’t want it to happen. Insurance coverage for any item usually requires proof of medical need and brings along medical coding, billing and documentation requirements. That is a lot of cost for the companies who would have no choice but to pass on the expense to consumers. So the cost of a pad goes up – and now you can’t buy it in CVS or Walgreens – you have to go to a doctor for a prescription. Quite simply –  if companies can sell lots more of them slightly cheaper – they STILL make more money. So it’s not in the manufacturers interests to get covered by insurance.

#3: It’s simply too expensive. Let’s do a little math – if 30 million people have urinary incontinence in the US (according to the NIH) and each of those people wears 4-6 diapers a day AND each diaper costs roughly $0.44 that is a total annual cost of $28,908,000,000 each year – i.e. nearly $29 BILLION dollars per year. That is a cost that insurance companies and insurance simply cannot afford to absorb without dramatically increasing everyone’s costs.


So with all that information – why cover Men’s Liberty? Because it’s only for men, because as manufacturers we have been through the Medicare coding verification process, because we provide the required documentation and ultimately – because the benefits outweigh the costs for men with urinary incontinence.

And before I leave you this week, I want to recommend a great video blog called Healthcare Triage. It’s run by Dr Aaron Carroll who is great at explaining all these things. He has a great blog that I’ll link in the description called “What is Health Insurance and Why Do You Need It” that’s filled with lots of great information.

Got insurance questions you need answered – email, call or let us know in the comments. 

Topics: proactive patients, Medicare, insurance

Sample - How To Post

Posted by Mens Liberty

Dec 4, 2015 3:05:00 PM


This week we’re tackling a bit of a new subject for us – home healthcare. It’s a buzz word that’s been flying around a lot lately but it’s not always clear that we all mean the same thing when we say “home health”.


So let’s start with the basics. Home healthcare is defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as “a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury.” Some common examples of home healthcare services include: wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound, intravenous or nutrition therapy, injections, or monitoring serious illness and unstable health status.

The logic here is that will be cheaper and more effective if we can deliver this kind of care in your home, rather than forcing people to stay in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. And in general, that’s about right.

But those of you that read our blogs regularly know that there is a “BUT” coming. And it’s true. So here it is: home health can be a wonderful service for many people BUT most people don’t quite understand how having a home health nurse impacts their other insurance benefits. The devil really is in the details.

Basically, your home health care is provided by an agency. This agency is a private, for profit corporation which is contracted by Medicare or your insurance provider to provide care. They get a fixed daily payment for providing care and are supposed to provide all the care you need and all the medical supplies you need out of that per diem.

As a private, for profit agency, home health companies want to provide the required care the cheapest way possible. The less they spend on you, the more they get to keep in profit. Sounds like a recipe for problems, right?!

So what does that have to with us here at Men’s Liberty? That’s complicated by the joys of Medicare billing but LONG story short – according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services only one group or entity can bill Medicare at a time for the same service. So we get quite a few of you all calling in for Men’s Liberty only to discover that if you are on home health then the agency has to purchase your supplies for you. Legally, we can’t bill your insurance for them!

So that is why, when anyone reaches our Care Representatives, we always ask whether or not you have someone coming out to your home to provide any medical care or services. Does that make sense? I know it didn’t make a lot of sense to me at first, but once I understood, a lot of other little bits started making sense. That’s why I wanted to share this info with you all here today. Home healthcare can be a great service for people in need, but it’s not always a simple as they might like you to think.


Still confused? Have questions about your health insurance coverage for Men’s Liberty? Give us a call at (800) 373-7006 or just leave your question in the comments and we’ll answer you right away!

Subscribe to the Blog!

Topics: Medicare, insurance

Understanding Your Insurance

Posted by Mens Liberty

Dec 1, 2015 10:30:00 AM


 Welcome back everyone! This week we’re talking about the biggest seasonal news out there. Nope – not Christmas. It’s Open Enrollment. That’s right – in addition to turkey and mistletoe this time of year is a very special one for people looking at new health insurance options. So today, we’re adding to our ongoing blog series: “Understanding Your Insurance.” And I’d like to share a little wisdom and help you get the best value for your insurance dollars.


The #1 Rule is to make sure you understand exactly what your insurance actually covers. This will help you get value for money in your current policy and help you pick the best policy for next year.

Tip #2 is to maximize value once you’ve met your deductible.

If you’ve met your deductible, the remainder of 2015 is an ideal time for elective procedures, surgeries, appointments, etc. that your current insurance covers. That is why this time of year is exceptionally busy period for healthcare providers. Also, don’t forget that your “well visit” is fully covered by Medicare (with no out-of-pocket expenses) and most other insurance, so make sure to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity by calling your healthcare provider immediately.

And our blog today wouldn’t be complete without some useful insurance selection tips.

While it’s always nice to get a head start in October to compare your current coverage with other options, but there’s still time to do some research. Think of insurance as a bit of a gamble for you and your insurance provider. You’re paying a set amount up front,  betting that your plan that will provide all the coverage you need & save you money;  but the insurance company is betting that you will need less coverage than you’re paying for. Sometimes you use less, sometimes more – if you’ve got the right insurance this should balance out over time.

So what is the right insurance for you?

It depends on your health needs and your financial situation. Most of you will probably be on Medicare so you need to decide what additional coverage you may want. To do this, its important to understand what Medicare does and does not cover. If you need certain services that aren’t 100% covered under Medicare Part A or Part B, you’ll most likely have to pay for part of them yourself unless you are enrolled in a:

  • Medi-gap (secondary) plan
  • Medicare Advantage plan OR a
  • Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan

 

Keep in mind that:

  • Even if Medicare Part A or Part B covers a service or item, you generally have to pay deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. In general Medicare covers 80% of the expense of a covered service – so you still have to pay the other 20% which can really add up!
  • Since Medicare Advantage plans do not necessarily provide coverage equal to Medicare, they may not be right for you if you require a surgery or procedure or have a condition (diabetes, urinary incontinence, etc.) that requires ongoing therapy, treatment with a prescription or supplies. Before choosing any Advantage plan be sure to read all the exclusions in your contract. Don’t be blinded by advertisements offering $0 co-pays. If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is!

Now for you Men’s Liberty clients out there – how can you tell what insurance coverage will be provided for your incontinence supplies?

The good news is the traditional Medicare Part B covers services or supplies for diagnosing or treating medical conditions. The one-a-day gold standard in treating male urinary incontinence, Men’s Liberty external collection device, is covered. Just like with other services, Medicare covers 80% of the cost – and if you have a secondary policy that usually picks up the other 20%. That’s 100% coverage right there!

So take action now during open enrollment – and follow these simple guidelines to get the most out of your insurance coverage!

Regain Your Freedom Today! 

Topics: proactive patients, Medicare, insurance

How Do I Know if My Insurance Plan Covers Men’s Liberty?

Posted by Mens Liberty

Nov 24, 2015 11:00:00 AM


 This week we’re following up on one of our most popular series – Understanding My Insurance! This week we’re going to be talking about one of the most confusing parts of your insurance – how to know what your insurance will cover.


So first, let me start with a disclaimer. There are over thirty five thousand different insurance plans available in the US right now. There is no way I can cover all of them. The best I can do is give you some helpful guidelines and general information from our insurance experts.

First – consult your benefit book. If you’re like me, you probably got this massive booklet a few years ago, promptly tossed it in a corner and never read it. Your benefit booklet is your holy grail for information on what is covered AND what isn’t.

The downside is, it’s written in legalese – that’s the knick-name for language used by lawyers to confuse us normal people who don’t speak in tongues. But if you strip away the legal mumbo-jumbo – it will tell you whether or not something is covered.

Not sure, you can call them but you’ll be on hold for several weeks before you speak to an actual person. So your best bet is often to visit their website. Most insurance companies will let you set up an online account to access your profile. This has lots of coverage information and even better, it’s usually written in plain English!

Our second tip, especially for those of you who have Medicare, is to call 1-800-MEDICARE. They can give you lots of great information about coverage. In general, for older adults, Medicare sets the baseline for what is considered acceptable coverage. If Medicare covers it, many insurance companies will follow suit. This isn’t always the case but it can be a useful indicator.

And our third and final tip – if you’re not sure – ask us! We talk to men every day looking to try Men’s Liberty and get it covered by their insurance. We work with our distributors to do something called: insurance verification. This is where we take your information from your insurance card and check it with the insurance company online to verify your benefits for Men’s Liberty. Men’s Liberty is covered under a particular code – so that’s what we look for. Once we’ve verified your insurance, we’ll call and tell you if it’s covered or not! If you’re looking for another product – reach out to a distributor who sells that product – they do the same insurance verification process.

 


I hope this helps you all – and if you have more insurance questions be sure to let us know and we’ll include them in our next installment of the Understanding Your Insurance series.

Get Help Now! 

Topics: Medicare, how to, insurance

Tips & Tricks: How to Use the Bedside Bag

Posted by Mens Liberty

Nov 20, 2015 10:00:00 AM


We’ve seen a new question popping up over the last few weeks and I wanted to take a few minutes here with all of you to answer! It seems like we’ve got a little confusion out there about some of the related products that can be provided alongside your Men’s Liberty.


The first of these products is a bed bag. It looks just like this one <<hold one up>>. This is designed for overnight use and attaches to the small plug at the base of the Men’s Liberty pouch. It holds up to 64 ounces of fluid and is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.

So when you’re ready for bed – this is what you want to do:

  • Sit down on your bed, place the empty bed bag on the floor next to your bed or hook it to your bedframe. It doesn’t matter which of these you do – you just want to make sure that the bag is resting below your bladder so that gravity will make sure it drains.
  • Next, take off the blue cap on the end of the bed bag tubing. Remove the plug from the bottom of your Men’s Liberty pouch and push the bed bag adaptor into the plug hole on the pouch firmly. Keep pushing the adaptor in there until it’s secure. Pull up your boxers or other pjs and then you’re ready to get a restful night’s sleep. In the morning, remove the adaptor and replug your Liberty. Empty the bed bag into the toilet and put it somewhere safe for tomorrow night.
  • One other tip, if your bed bag has a bit of a smell to it after a few nights, you can rinse the bag with a solution of 2 parts white vinegar and 3 parts water or 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach and about a cup of water. Pour this into the bag and swish it around for about 30 seconds. Drain the bag and allow to dry.  This will totally get rid of the smell and keep your bed bag daisy fresh.

The bed bag is supposed to be re-used for up to two weeks. That’s why we give you two bed bags with each month’s supply of Men’s Liberty. If you don’t wear the Liberty at night – just tell us and you can skip the bed bags.


I hope this is helpful – if you have any other product questions – please let us know in the comments or send us an email to CustomerCare@MensLiberty.com – we want to hear from you!


 

Topics: urinary management, Medicare, how to

Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know About Medicare Advantage

Posted by Mens Liberty

Oct 23, 2015 11:00:00 AM


I just spend two and half hours on the phone with 1-800-Medicare. It was NOT fun. A friend signed up for a Medicare Advantage plan last year and it’s turned into an epic, if predictable, disaster. I was trying to help clean up the mess.

So why am I telling you? As our regular readers know, we are committed to sharing the best information that we can with all of you. Open enrollment is going on from October 15th to December 15th so now is the perfect time to be talking about the kind of insurance choices you should be making for the year ahead.


One of the biggest choices you will make is whether or not to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. For those of you new to the game, a Medicare Advantage plan is a private insurance replacement for Medicare Part A, i.e. hospital coverage, and Medicare Part B, also known as out-patient coverage. The private insurance company takes over your coverage and promises to cover everything that traditional Medicare would cover and lower your out of pocket costs.

Sounds too good to be true… and well for 98% of us, it is.

You see a Medicare Advantage plan works like any other HMO – you have to use in network physicians and get referrals for everything. They also may require you to use lower cost options or deny access to certain high cost medications.

So what happened to that friend of mine –two years ago, she started losing the feeling in her right arm. She went to a chiropractor and treatments were helping. Everything was covered under her traditional Medicare plan. Then she signed up for the AARP United Medicare Complete HMO plan. When the same problem came back this year she discovered the dark side of Medicare Advantage.

Although United claimed to provide coverage for chiropractic services, there were ZERO doctors in her area that accepted her insurance – no one within 50 miles!! Can you believe it! And because she had an HMO the insurance wouldn’t pay for any out of network coverage.

So now she is paying thousands of dollars for medical treatment that is supposed to be covered. That’s why I spent so much time on the phone – I was racking my brain trying to figure out how this was even legal, and then after much research I understood.

An Advantage Plan is required to cover everything that traditional Medicare covers but there are no rules that govern how much they have to pay doctors. So if Medicare would normally pay $10, the Advantage Plan can say they will only pay $4 for the same service. Doctors that can’t afford to provide that service for $4 opt out of accepting the insurance plan.  

That’s exactly what happened to that friend of mine. The AARP United Medicare Advantage Plan was offering chiropractors so little money that they had to opt out of accepting that insurance plan. Doctor’s offices are businesses too and they need to at least break even.

The stunning thing here – all of this is completely legal; possibly unethical, bad business, bad for patients and completely legal.

Now, I don’t want you to think that all advantage plans are terrible. For patients who are in excellent health and do not have any chronic conditions, they can be a good choice. Think of it like a bet. You are betting on whether or not you will need more or less coverage than the policy provides. The insurance company bets you will need less – that’s how they make money. If they’re right you both save some money. If they’re wrong, you’re the one footing the bill, not the insurance company.

So now that open enrollment is right around the corner, take a long hard look at your options for healthcare coverage for 2016. You have three choices:

  • Traditional Medicare
  • Traditional Medicare & a Medi-Gap plan or
  • Medicare Advantage

My only caution is this – Before choosing any Advantage plan be sure to read all the exclusions in your contract. Don’t be blinded by advertisements offering $0 co-pays. If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is!

We’ll be taking a detailed look at Medi-Gap plans in another bonus edition of Understanding Your Insurance. Until then - let us know if we've missed anything or share your insurance horror stories in the comments below.  

Regain Your Freedom Today!


 

Topics: proactive patients, Medicare, insurance, incontinence

7 Medical Procedures You May Not Need...

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jul 19, 2013 10:20:00 AM

You're facing minor surgery, and your doctor orders routine preoperation tests. Do you get them?

You're a senior with insomnia. Prescription sleeping pills are OK, right? You see an ad for a screening to detect a potential stroke. Good idea?

Probably not, the experts say. All three are among the unnecessary or potentially harmful tests and treatments identified by 17 key medical specialty societies, which recently, in Washington, released their lists of questionable procedures as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign.

That campaign, set up by the nonprofit American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, began in 2012 when nine medical societies first offered their lists of unnecessary treatments.

Consumer Reports is a partner in the Choosing Wisely campaign, and John Santa, M.D., who directs that group's health ratings, says, "We know Americans believe more health care is better, and all prevention is good." But, he stresses, "waste and overuse is a major issue — and it's frequent across all medical disciplines."

Christine K. Cassel, president and chief executive of the ABIM, says the Choosing Wisely campaign is "about the right care at the right time for the right patient."

Here are seven overused tests or treatments commonly prescribed for people age 50-plus that experts now say you probably don't need if you're healthy.

1. Recommendation: Avoid routine presurgery tests for eye and other low-risk surgeries (American Society for Clinical Pathology and American Academy of Ophthalmology).

Men and women facing elective surgery — eye, foot and cosmetic operations, as well as biopsies — routinely undergo unnecessary blood and other tests. "You need to ask: Why do I need these tests?" says Lee Hilborne, M.D., an official with the clinical pathology society. Cataract patients, for example, often get an EKG, blood work and a chest X-ray, says William Rich, M.D., of the ophthalmologists group. "They're paying for tests we don't think are necessary," he says. Average costs run $300 to $400.

Danger: Aside from the cost, a few test results come back abnormal even though the patient is fine — causing anxiety and further tests that could delay the surgery.

Exception: A patient with a severe heart condition or symptoms that could be heart-related should have a presurgery EKG.

Diabetic patients need a blood glucose test and those on diuretics should have a potassium test.

2. Recommendation: Don't take prescription sleeping pills as the first choice for insomnia (American Geriatrics Society).

Insomnia is very common in older people, but experts say seniors should avoid some widely prescribed sleeping pills, such as Restril and Ambien. Instead, talk to your doctor about other therapies, such as counseling to improve sleep patterns through lifestyle changes.

Danger: Meds called sedative-hypnotics, including benzodiazepines, double the risk of falls and hip fractures, leading to hospitalization and death in older adults, according to several large studies.

"It's not entirely clear why; it may be there's some carryover the next day," says Cathy Alessi, M.D., president-elect of the American Geriatrics Society.

Exceptions: For seniors, prescription sleeping pills (sedative-hypnotics) should be reserved for anxiety disorders or severe alcohol withdrawal after other therapies have failed.

3. Recommendation: Don't get a screening test for carotid artery disease unless you have symptoms (American Academy of Family Physicians).

Companies provide screenings for carotid artery stenosis — the narrowing of arteries that can lead to strokes — but unless you have symptoms, don't get scanned. "The scientific evidence is very clear that more people are harmed than helped by having this test, and we advise against it," says Glen Stream, M.D., board chair of the family physicians group.

Danger: Screening someone with no symptoms of carotid artery disease could lead to further tests and even surgery, which carries increased risk of stroke.

Exception: If you've had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ministroke, you may need a diagnostic test.

4. Recommendation: Talk to your doctor about not having a urinary catheter. If a catheter must be used, have it removed as soon as possible (Society of Hospital Medicine).

One in five hospital patients has a catheter, but about half don't need one. Sometimes they're used for incontinence or the convenience of the patient or health care staff.

"Don't get a catheter put in. But if you have to have one, get it out as quickly as you can," says John Bulger, an official with the society that represents hospital physicians. While patients hate it, wetting the bed or intermittent catheterization is far preferable to the continuous use of a catheter, he adds.

Danger: Urinary tract infections from catheters are more prevalent the longer a catheter is in place. Urinary tract infections are the most common hospital-acquired infection, and can be fatal. About 13,000 people a year die as a result of infections from catheters, a study found.

Exceptions: If you have surgery, you may need a catheter. Guidelines call for its removal the next day.

5. Recommendation: Skip the annual Pap test (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Academy of Family Physicians).

If you're under 65, get a screening every three years. After 65, if you've had several normal Pap tests, you can stop having them.

"Pap smears annually are a waste of money," says Gerald F. Joseph, M.D., of the OB/GYN group. "In average-risk women, studies show no advantage to annual screenings over those performed at three-year intervals."

Danger: False positive results cause anxiety for patients.

Exception: If you've had cervical cancer or cervical disease, continue annual Pap smears. Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted through sexual relations.

6. Recommendation: Don't use testosterone for erectile dysfunction (American Urological Association).

A number of TV ads and men's clinics are pushing this remedy, but most men should skip testosterone supplements if their testosterone levels are normal.

"Anecdotally, we know a lot of prescriptions are being written for testosterone for men with normal testosterone," says Daniel A. Barocas, M.D., assistant professor of urologic surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. But he says the prescription doesn't work for erectile dysfunction.

Danger: Testosterone does not affect the ability to get an erection. It enhances libido or sex drive but not performance. It also reduces fertility and may make prostate cancer blossom. Prostate cancer thrives on testosterone. Gels can irritate the skin; injections can increase red blood cells.

Exception: If you have other symptoms of low testosterone, including loss of muscle mass and body hair, talk to your doctor to see if hormone testing is right for you.

7. Recommendation: Don’t order a blood test for creatinine or upper-tract imaging for patients with an enlarged prostate (American Urological Association).

Most men after age 50 have enlarged prostates, which result in urination that disturbs sleep and a weaker urine stream.

Danger: Even routine tests are not risk-free. Patients spend time and money and may get false positive readings, leading to other tests. CT scans mean radiation exposure.

Exception: Tell your doctor about blood in the urine, pain with urination or urinary retention.

The full list is available at ChoosingWisely.org.

Topics: doctors visit, medical research, healthcare professionals, urinary tract infections, Medicare

The real cost of incontinence - News From Australia

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jul 3, 2013 9:46:00 AM

Urinary incontinence isn't limited only to the United States. Individuals all over the world deal with incontinence issues every day. In support of World Continence Week, the Australian Physiotherapy Association, shared some surprising statistics about incontinence Down Under!

  • Incontinence affects almost five million Australians That's one person in every four. That’s someone you know, or maybe it’s you.

  • Everyday 19 people in Australia undergo surgery to correct their incontinence.

  • The total financial cost to the country is $117 million (AUD) every day and $42.9 billion (AUD) every year.

But despite these statistics, there isa general reluctance by many to discuss the nature and gravity of these problems. While the life-altering issues experienced with continence concerns can be sensitive and awkward to talk about, it is by first normalising these worries, terms, and experiences that we can raise awareness, educate, and start talking about incontinence.

 

 So check out this awesome video on incontinence in Australia. It's powerful stuff!

Topics: urinary management, proactive patients, physical therapy, Medicare

Surgical 'Never-Events' Are Shockingly Common - New Study Published!

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Apr 24, 2013 1:00:00 AM

I was shocked to see this headline land in my inbox yesterday and I just had to share. We've talked about so-called "never-events" before because one of the most common "never-events" are hospital acquired infections and pressure ulcers.These two never-events are frequently linked to the use of out-dated incontinence management products like adult diapers and medically unnecessary Foley catheters.

To give you a little background, the term "never events" was introduced in 2001 at the National Quality Forum by Dr. Ken Kizer, in response to severe, largely preventable, hospital acquired conditions.  The NQF initially defined 27 conditions which were revised and expanded to 28 in 2006.

A 2010 GAO report estimated that 1 in 7 Medicare beneficiaries will experience a "never event" during their hospital stay. These events also lead to the death of almost 15,000 Medicare beneficiaries per month and over 100,000 people each year.

And sadly, improving these numbers has been an uphill battle - leading to the story below.

Surgeons Make Big Mistakes Nearly 80 Times a Week

As every doctor knows, "never-events" are the kind of medical mistakes that should simply not occur. Despite this, and despite hospital and physician risk-management efforts to prevent them, such events occur more often than people believe, according to a recent study by patient safety researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.[1] The full study appears in the April issue of the journal Surgery.

The study estimated that "a surgeon in the United States leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or towel inside a patient's body after an operation 39 times a week, performs the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week, and operates on the wrong body site 20 times a week."

To identify malpractice judgments and out-of-court settlements, researchers used data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal repository of medical malpractice claims. On the basis of such data, the researchers estimate that 4044 never-events occur in the United States each year.

Surgeons between the ages of 40 and 49 years were responsible for more than one third of the events, whereas surgeons older than 60 years were responsible for 14.4%. Approximately 6 in 10 of the surgeons involved in a never-event were named in more than 1 separate malpractice report, and more than 1 in 10 were involved in at least 1 separate surgical never-event.

Medical centers have put safeguards in place to prevent such mistakes. Among other things, they have instituted mandatory "time-outs" in the operating room, during which the team is supposed to match the surgical plans with the patient on the table; they have required that surgical sites be designated with indelible ink; and they have insisted that surgical team members count such items as sponges and towels before and after surgery.

But critics think more needs to be done, including public reporting of never-events. Such reporting would not only help consumers make informed choices; it would "put hospitals under the gun to make things safer," says Marty Makary, an associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins and one of the study's authors.

Topics: hospital errors, proactive patients, Medicare, hospital acquired infections

The Punxsutawney Phil of Incontinence: Our 2013 Prognostications

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Feb 2, 2013 11:04:00 AM

We’ll we’re back in one piece from San Diego. We had a great time at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting. There were thousands of healthcare professionals and students committed to improving patient’s independence and quality of life – including dealing with incontinence!

But now that we’re back in the office, my mind turns to the next holiday on the calendar – Groundhog Day! It’s this Saturday and it’s impossible to truly appreciate Groundhog Day without a viewing of the holiday themed movie starring Bill Murray. For anyone living under a rock during the early 90’s, the basic premise is that Bill Murray’s character is a reporter who lives Groundhog Day over and over until he gets it right.

Why mention this here? Well, I appreciate a good prognostication and anything Hallmark can make a holiday out of (those are some great marketing folks). But mostly, ruminations on Groundhog’s Day, combined with a great conference where we heard from some of the leading healthcare professionals has inspired my own Punxsutawney Phil moment – my prognostications for the future of incontinence management in 2013. Will there be another 6 weeks of winter or will we finally see the light?

Want the short answer?  I suspect there will be another few weeks of winter in our future.

Incontinence is a major issue and it is definitely starting to emerge as a hot topic for healthcare professionals but there is still a ways to go. The embarrassment and shame factor helps keep this topic under wraps, left out of major healthcare discussions between doctors and patients.

But don’t despair – I can see a light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s probably not an oncoming train). One of the most inspiring things I saw at the convention last week was the wide array of people who GOT IT.

Whether they were students, educators or practitioners a growing number of people just GOT IT.  They saw the device and wanted to show it to their patients, their students, their teachers. And that has me excited. Despite the winter, I believe we are reaching a tipping point, where incontinence isn’t a shameful subject to avoid but is understood to be an integral component of ensuring patient’s quality of life, no matter what their diagnosis.

That understanding will shape how we think and talk about incontinence going forward. One of the physicians I spoke to last week said something that has stayed with me – “why don’t I know about this already?”

It’s a great question, and one we’re working on putting to rest. Men’s Liberty was introduced in 2006 and we’ve been the underdog among billion dollar companies who are heavily invested in the status quo. But the word is getting out and with more events like the APTA CSM we’ll reach you all soon!

In the meantime, we rely on our patients to spread the word. Patients are desperate for something better to manage their incontinence; they find us and end up introducing the product to their Doctor. There are thousands of products, pills and treatment options out there. Even the best doctor can’t keep track of everything new that comes out. But proactive patients are seeing the benefits!

Does your doctor know about Men’s Liberty? Would you like to send them information or bring the information to your next appointment? Click here to send them information!

 

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Topics: bladder control, doctors visit, Caregiving, proactive patients, Medicare