Disease Management Update
Volume V, No. 12
July 17, 2008

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

Among varying opinions on the effects of global warming on our environment, a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center and UT Dallas links climate change with a potential rise in kidney-stone cases in the United States. In addition, the U.S. Senate recently passed legislation that will benefit the millions of Americans suffering from end stage renal disease (ESRD).

And visit HIN's blog to read about another factor that is having unexpected impacts on health.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Laura Greene
Editor, Disease Management Update

If this is a forwarded copy of Disease Management Update and you like what you see, you can register to receive your own copy of this complimentary service. Sign up at: http://www.hin.com/dmdesktop/diseasemanagement.html

Table of Contents

  1. Global Warming Increases Kidney-stone Cases
  2. Disease Management Q&A: Challenges in Chronic Care
  3. HealthSounds Podcast: Improving Chronic Health Status
  4. Senate Passes ESRD Improvements
  5. Survey of the Month: Energy Costs in Healthcare
  6. Waging War on Cost of Chronic Disease

1. Global Warming Increases Kidney-stone Cases

Global warming is likely to increase the proportion of the population affected by kidney stones by expanding the higher-risk region known as the “kidney-stone belt” into neighboring states. Currently, kidney stones are more common in the warmer parts of the United States.

Dehydration is one of the risk factors linked to kidney-stone disease, and global warming will exacerbate this effect. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center and UT Dallas predict that by 2050, higher temperatures will cause an additional 1.6 million to 2.2 million kidney-stone cases — up to a 30 percent growth in some areas.

“Obviously, this escalation is a problem when considering the costs associated with treating kidney-stone disease,” said co-author Dr. Yair Lotan, assistant professor of urology at UT Southwestern. “Nationwide, the cost of treating these new kidney-stone cases could rise as high as $1 billion.”

To learn more about this research, please visit:

2. Disease Management Q&A: Challenges in Chronic Care

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Dr. Ruth Quillian-Wolever, clinic director and health psychologist at the Duke University Medical Center.

Question:What are some of the challenges you face when treating chronically ill patients?

Response: (Dr. Ruth Quillian-Wolever) Chronic patients are more likely to have mood disorders than other patients, which is a risk management concern. They are also more likely to need to change behavior they do not want to change. Highly available, ready and willing participants are ideal for guiding through the stages of change, but chronic patients are not always so eager for the transition.

For more details on treating the chronically ill, please visit:

We want to hear from you! Submit your question for Disease Management Q&A to info@hin.com.

3. HealthSounds Podcast: Improving Chronic Health Status

Blake Andersen, president and CEO, HealthSciences Institute and Chronic Care Group, outlines the critical success factors in delivering improved senior care. Pamela Fromelt, vice president of government programs for LifeMasters Inc., illustrates how important the face-to-face approach is in serving Medicare patients. Dr. Randall Krakauer, national medical director for Aetna, describes how preventing avoidable admissions in the Medicare population can have an impact on costs, mortality and morbidity. Andersen, Fromelt and Krakauer described how DM programs can serve the needs of Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions to improve their health status, while reducing spending on these conditions.

To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:

4. Senate Passes ESRD Improvements

The U.S. Senate passed a Medicare bill that included vital ESRD provisions, a gesture that recognizes the importance of much-needed reform surrounding the ESRD program for the hundreds of thousands of Americans suffering from kidney failure. Over 26 million Americans suffer from kidney disease, and that number is climbing.

The Medicare program improvements will establish important education and prevention programs to help slow the progression of kidney disease and kidney failure, revise the payment methodology for ESRD treatment and provide an inflation update to account for critical staffing demands and services.

“On behalf of the kidney community and the Americans who rely on these provisions for their survival, we are extremely pleased that lawmakers voted to pass this much-needed legislation for kidney care in 2008,” said Dr. Edward Jones, chairman of Kidney Care Partners and practicing nephrologist.

“It is imperative that the medical needs of chronic kidney disease patients be understood by our government and all Americans," said Dr. Jones.

To learn more about this research, please visit:

5. Survey of the Month: Energy Costs in Healthcare

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, healthcare organizations spend over $6.5 billion on energy each year to meet patients' needs while experiencing double-digit cost increases. In addition, rising gas prices are affecting healthcare administration and utilization. Complete our survey on energy costs in healthcare by July 31 and receive a free summary of the compiled results and $25 off the price of the full study when it is published in September. Also, the respondent who submits the most effective energy conservation/cost-saving strategy will receive a $50 gas card!

To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit:

6. Waging War on Cost of Chronic Disease

This white paper discusses the prevalence of chronic diseases, points out key elements necessary in a successful DM program and outlines the Beyond Disease Management program. It also highlights outcomes experienced by American Health clients including drastic reductions in members’ overall ER visits, hospitalizations and absenteeism and disease-specific clinical outcomes.

To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:
Please forward this news announcement to your colleagues who might find it useful.
Contact HIN:
Editor: Laura M. Greene, lgreene@hin.com;
Sales & Marketing Coordinator: Deirdre McGuinness, dmcguinness@hin.com;
Publisher: Melanie Matthews, mmatthews@hin.com

For more information on the products and services available through the Healthcare Intelligence Network, contact us at (888) 446-3530 / (732) 528-4468, fax (732) 292-3073 or email us at info@hin.com.
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