Newsflash


Parker College Honors Dr. Arlan W. Fuhr with the Drugless Research Hall of Fame Award
Newsflash
Written by News Accross the Profession   
Friday, 11 February 2011 14:54

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 28, 2011 – Parker College of Chiropractic presented Dr. Arlan W. Fuhr with the Drugless Research Hall of Fame Award during the Third Annual Parker Gala on Friday, January 14, during Parker Seminars Las Vegas. Dr. Fuhr, the third hall of fame inductee, plays a major role in chiropractic research as the president of National Institute of Chiropractic Research and co-founder and chief executive officer of Activator Methods International. Dr. Fuhr was honored with the award because of his dedication to chiropractic research and pursuit of excellence as a chiropractor to impact the health care of the world without drugs.

The Drugless Research Hall of Fame is an innovative recognition platform designed by Parker College to showcase significant drug-free contributions in research worldwide. Previous inductees include Dr. Ron Rupert and Dr. Cheryl Hawk.

In 1985, Dr. Fuhr received the first grant ever given to chiropractic from the National Institutes of Health. Today, he impacts chiropractic research through numerous efforts including his work with The National Institute of Chiropractic Research (NICR). NICR raises funds for fundamental scientific, clinical, and historical chiropractic research. The NICR conducts research, and through a modest extramural grant-making program, has funded a number of research projects by other investigators.

Dr. Fuhr has been widely acknowledged in the health care industry for his many accomplishments, most notably for being the co-inventor of the Activator® Adjusting Instrument and the Activator Method Chiropractic Technique®.

Recently, Dr. Fuhr was recognized by the World Federation of Chiropractic with its prestigious Honour Award. In 2008, Dr. Fuhr was inducted into Dynamic Chiropractic's Champions of Chiropractic Hall of Fame. He was also honored as Dynamic Chiropractic’s Person of the Year Award. He received the President's Award from the American Chiropractic Association in 2005 and was also given the Greenawalt Foundation Award for Clinical Excellence in Technique. In 1993, Dr. Fuhr was named Arizona’s Chiropractor of the Year and accepted the Daniel David Palmer Chiropractic Scientific Award that same year. From 1981 through 1991, Dr. Fuhr served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, Missouri.

He has traveled around the world educating chiropractors on the benefits of low-force chiropractic adjustments. He is credited with 25 peer-reviewed publications, 13 domestic patents, 47 worldwide trademarks, and more than 100 copyrighted works. In 2008, Dr. Fuhr published the second edition of the technique textbook, The Activator Method, globally known as the standard reference for instrument adjusting.

 
UnitedHealth Group Sued by Pomerantz for Improper Recoupment Practices
Newsflash
Written by News Accross the Profession   
Friday, 11 February 2011 14:09

NEW YORK, Feb. 2, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pomerantz Haudek Grossman & Gross LLP, one of the country's preeminent class action firms and a leader in combating the abuses of the health insurance industry, filed a class action lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group and Health Net of the Northeast, Inc. on behalf of a putative nationwide class of health care providers, as well as the Ohio State Chiropractic Association. United's acquisition of Health Net of the Northeast's health insurance business closed in December 2009, adding to United's status as the nation's largest private health plan by revenue. The suit challenges the Defendants' abusive practices in using post-payment audits and reviews, and improper repayment demands, to pressure providers to repay substantial sums that had previously been paid as health insurance benefits.

The action alleges that the post-payment audit and review process as applied by the Defendants violates the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), in that its repayment demands are retroactive determinations that particular services are not covered under the terms of the United and Health Net health care plans, but without proper appeal or other protections otherwise available under ERISA for both self-funded and fully insured health care plans offered through private employers.

"ERISA establishes the procedures that insurance companies must follow when making benefit determinations – whether prior to payment or retroactively," says Plaintiffs' counsel, D. Brian Hufford of Pomerantz. "The Defendants here, as is true for many insurance companies, are violating their ERISA obligations in order to recover funds that simply do not belong to them."

In the complaint, Plaintiffs allege that, as a means to maximize their profits, United and Health Net used their post-payment audit and review process to make retroactive adverse benefit determinations whereby they demand that providers repay funds they had previously received for providing services to United and Health Net subscribers. Moreover, Defendants frequently withhold new benefit payments for unrelated services to apply toward the alleged overpayments, even where there has been no valid appeal process or validation that any sums are in fact owed by the providers, a practice called "offsetting."  Plaintiffs' Co-Counsel, Vincent Buttaci of Buttaci & Leardi, LLC, states that "providers are placed in an untenable position as a result of false fraud allegations made against them in an effort to coerce and intimidate, and through our lawsuit they are now fighting back."

Pomerantz and Buttaci & Leardi have pending actions against a number of Blue Cross and Blue Shield entities, as well as Aetna, Inc., asserting similar claims. Robert J. Axelrod of Pomerantz notes that "the current defendants represent some of the largest insurers in the country, but certainly are not the only ones engaged in this improper conduct against all type of providers, including both individuals and health care facilities and hospitals." Plaintiffs seek to enjoin United and Health Net from continuing to engage in impermissible audit and recovery practices and to compel them to return the funds they have improperly withheld.

Counsel for plaintiffs are continuing to investigate these claims, and other related claims that may be added to the litigation.  If you have any questions, please contact D. Brian Hufford by phone (212-661-1100) or email ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

 
New Palmer Board of Trustees member named; reappointments announced
Newsflash
Written by News Accross the Profession   
Friday, 11 February 2011 12:48

The Palmer College of Chiropractic Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Susan Hatfield, Ph.D., has been appointed to the Board, effective January 1, 2011. This one-year appointment was made by the College Certificate Holders, who annually evaluate applications from potential Board members.

Dr. Hatfield earned her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1980 and her Master of Arts degree in organizational communication in 1981, all from Miami University. She went on to obtain her Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Minnesota in 1990. She is a professor of communication studies at Winona State University, where she has taught since 1981.

In addition to her university responsibilities, she serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and has been appointed by the United States Secretary of the Navy to the Marine Corps University Board of Visitors. A nationally known presenter, Dr. Hatfield has consulted with many colleges and universities on issues related to student learning, assessment, communication research, planning and accreditation.

Dr. Hatfield and her husband, Tim, have four children and live in Winona, Minn.

In addition to Dr. Hatfield’s appointment, current Board members Dr. Michael Hahn, Mr. John Huston, Mr. Ken Koupal, Dr. Barry McAlpine, Dr. Paul Peterson and Dr. Paul VanDuyne were reappointed to the Board and will each serve a three-year term.

 
New Study Shows DNA Test Highly Accurate In Predicting Curve Progression in Scoliosis Patients
Newsflash
Written by News Accross the Profession   
Friday, 11 February 2011 12:39

Peer-Reviewed Study Shows Genetic Markers Can Help Identify Low-Risk Patients, Potentially Reducing Need for Repeated X-Rays and Physician Visits

Raynham, MA – (December 1, 2010) –A new study shows the SCOLISCORE™ AIS Prognostic Test, a DNA test to determine the likelihood of curve progression in children with mild adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), an abnormal curvature of the spine, is 99 percent accurate in predicting which children are least likely to progress to a severe curve (Cobb Angle of 40 degrees or more). [1] 

Researchers analyzed DNA samples and medical records of nearly 700 patients from over 100 clinical sites throughout the United States.  Their findings appear in the December 1, 2010 online edition of SPINE, a leading international, peer-reviewed journal. 

“This study demonstrates that for the first time genetic factors can be used to accurately quantify the risk of scoliosis curve progression," said Kenneth Ward, MD, study co-author and chief scientific officer of Axial Biotech, Inc., the developer of the test and the laboratory that conducts the DNA analysis used in the SCOLISCORE Test. "Physicians never had this kind of information before.  Now that they do, physicians can better personalize treatment plans and provide peace of mind to patients and their families."

When a child is diagnosed with mild AIS, it is very difficult for physicians to predict if that curve will progress to a more severe form of the condition, which may require surgery or other treatments.  The SCOLISCORE Test, when combined with other radiographic and clinical information obtained at the time of diagnosis, is designed to help reduce that uncertainty, and may help patients reduce the need for repeated doctor visits, physical examinations and years of frequent x-rays.

Researchers studied 697 Caucasian patients between the ages of 9 and 13 who had mild, moderate or severe AIS, as documented by medical records.  DNA from their saliva was analyzed using the SCOLISCORE Test, which produces a score of 1 to 200 indicating a patient's individual risk for developing a spinal curve of more than 40 degrees. A score of 50 or less is classified as low risk, 51 to 180 is intermediate risk and 181 to 200 is high risk.  The score is calculated based on 53 genetic markers previously identified as being associated with scoliosis progression and the patient's current spinal curve or Cobb angle.

The study found the SCOLISCORE Test had a 99 percent accuracy rate in identifying low-risk patients, those least likely to progress to a curve of 40 degrees or more. [2]  Study authors advise that although the SCOLISCORE Test is accurate for patients who score in the intermediate- or high-risk range, they should be followed closely by a scoliosis specialist since the study was designed to determine negative predictive value rather than likelihood of progression. 

According to the National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF), scoliosis affects about 7 million people[3], mostly children, but studies show that only 1 to 4 percent of patients diagnosed with scoliosis experience curve progression severe enough to warrant surgery (curves of 45 degrees or more)[4].  However, most children with mild AIS (curves of 25 degrees or less) are regularly monitored for possible progression until they stop growing. This generally means x-rays and physical examinations every four to six months over a period of several years. In some cases, children wear a brace in an attempt to slow or stop possible curve progression. 

“Scoliosis can be a devastating diagnosis for children and their families.  They all fear the worst.  Now we can reduce that fear for most patients since most patients are at low risk for severe curve progression," said Harry L. Shufflebarger, MD,* director of the Division of Pediatric Spine Surgery at Miami Children’s Hospital, a scoliosis specialist who helped recruit patients for the study, but was not involved in analyzing the study results.   "It's important however to remember, that while the SCOLISCORE Test gives us important information, the results of the test must be interpreted in the context of all other clinical and diagnostic information when developing management plans and setting expectations for patients."

Though suspected for many years, only recently have studies demonstrated that AIS has a strong genetic component.  Building on this knowledge, researchers reviewed the medical and DNA records of more than 9,500 scoliosis patients and their family members.  This led to the development of the SCOLISCORE Test, which is now offered at more than 150 spine centers in the United States. More information about the SCOLISCORE Test can be found by visiting www.scoliscore.com.

“Parents are often frightened, and frustrated, because they don’t know what to do to help their child with scoliosis.  The SCOLISCORE Test provides information that helps reduce the family’s anxiety, and gives orthopedic spine specialists an important and reliable clinical tool that helps them provide more individualized care at the time of initial diagnosis," said Joe O'Brien, President, National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF). 

The SCOLISCORE Test is the first commercially available genetic test for a spinal deformity and is intended for Caucasian children between age 9 and 13 diagnosed with mild AIS (10°-25° Cobb Angle). Currently, the SCOLISCORE Test is offered only to Caucasian patients because despite aggressive targeted recruitment efforts of patients of all races for inclusion in the study, sufficient sample sizes were only obtained for Caucasian children.   The study authors report that other racial groups will be the subject of future studies. 

Unlike other genetic tests, the SCOLISCORE Test helps predict the risk of progression to a more severe curve once AIS is diagnosed. It does not predict an individual's susceptibility to inherit the condition, or the final outcome of a patient’s progression.  The SCOLISCORE Test is distributed by DePuy Spine.  

The study published in SPINE was led by Dr. Ward, James W. Ogilvie, MD, their colleagues at Axial Biotech and Gordon Engler, MD from the University of Southern California, University Hospital in Los Angeles.  The study was funded by Axial Biotech, Inc.

 
Blue Cross or Blu-ray: Nearly Half of Adults Spend More Time Researching Latest Gadget Than Their Doctor
Newsflash
Written by News Accross the Profession   
Monday, 07 February 2011 15:48

Study Finds Consumers Want More Information on Doctors Online

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the recent Patient Choice study released by Insider Pages and conducted by Harris Interactive®, U.S. adults with a primary care physician spend more time researching the latest electronic gadget or a gift for a friend than they do selecting their primary care physician. At the same time, the majority of U.S. adults with a primary care physician wish they could find more comprehensive information about their doctors online.

While the online ratings and reviews category has seen explosive growth in recent years across a number of categories such as consumer electronics, healthcare has lagged far behind, and consumers have more or less settled for what they can find out about their doctors from health insurance websites. The end result is that many consumers don't favor one source of information to evaluate potential doctors outside of their insurance companies' websites. Compounding this problem is the belief by many of those with a primary care physician that the recently passed Healthcare reform bill will require them to switch doctors. Between November 10 and November 21, 2010, Insider Pages commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct the telephone study among 2,020 adults aged 18+ of whom 1,490 have a doctor they consider their primary doctor.

The results also suggest that many people base their choice of doctor on the convenience of the doctor's office location, as opposed to other important factors such as patient ratings, the doctor's malpractice records or expertise.

 
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