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Wilner A.N.,Lawrence and Memorial Hospital | Sharma B.K.,CVS Health | Soucy A.,CVS Health | Krueger A.,CVS Health
Epilepsy and Behavior | Year: 2012

Our objectives were to estimate the health plan paid cost of epilepsy and to show major cost driver(s) of these costs. The health insurance claims and membership data from six U.S. health plans were analyzed. To prepare two comparison groups, individuals with epilepsy (n = 5810) were match-paired with individuals without epilepsy (n = 5810) using propensity scores derived from logistic regression using gender, age group, health plan product, and length of enrollment in the health plans. Total health plan paid cost per member per year (PMPY) was $11,232 for the epilepsy group and $3026 for the controls (p < 0.001). The estimated cost PMPY for treatment of epilepsy was $8206. Relative distribution (%) of health plan paid costs ($) by cost driver category based on place of service (POS) indicated that the treatment of epilepsy places a larger cost burden in inpatient POS than in outpatient hospital or MD office POS compared to controls. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Erickson J.M.,University of Virginia | Kim Spurlock L.,Lawrence and Memorial Hospital | Centini Kramer J.,Georgetown University | Ann Davis M.,University of Virginia
Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing | Year: 2013

Despite advances in symptom management, patients commonly experience fatigue during radiation therapy (RT). Minimal research has been conducted to determine how evidence-based recommendations are put into clinical practice and used by patients to manage fatigue. The aims of the current study were to identify the self-care strategies used by patients receiving RT, explore the effectiveness of those strategies, and identify how patients learned about fatigue management. Participants reported using multiple recommended interventions to relieve fatigue. The majority of participants reported they primarily rested or slept to improve fatigue. They also reported decreasing their activity level, exercising, using stimulants and complementary therapies, and eating and drinking nutritious items. More than half of the participants reported some relief of fatigue regardless of the intervention used. The majority of participants reported that they learned how to manage their fatigue mostly through experience and trial and error. Nurses need to explore the complex dynamics of each patient's fatigue and tailor multiple evidence-based interventions to maximize each patient's functional status and quality of life. When assessing and teaching about fatigue, nurses need to explore patients' daytime activity level and daytime sleep to be sure that excessive inactivity is not contributing to fatigue. © Oncology Nursing Society.

Wilner A.N.,Lawrence and Memorial Hospital | Sharma B.K.,Accordant Health Services | Thompson A.,Accordant Health Services | Soucy A.,Accordant Health Services | Krueger A.,Accordant Health Services
Epilepsy and Behavior | Year: 2014

Our objective was to identify the top MD-office, inpatient and outpatient diagnoses, procedures, drug classes, comorbidities, and cost of health care for people with epilepsy. We examined health insurance claims for 8388 persons with epilepsy (females. =. 52%, males. =. 48%; average age. =. 35. years; privately insured. =. 78%, and Medicaid-insured. =. 22%) from eight health insurance plans for the year 2012. All of the top three diagnoses for MD-office place of service were either for other convulsions (780.39) or for epilepsy (345.90 and 345.40). Two of the top three primary diagnosis codes from the inpatient hospital and emergency department places of service were 780.39 and 345.90 for convulsions and epilepsy, respectively, while the third code was 786.50 for chest pain. The top three procedures from the MD-office setting were for immunizations (90471 and 90658) and blood counts (85025). The top three procedure codes from the outpatient hospital setting were 85025 for complete blood count, 80053 for comprehensive metabolic panel, and 80048 for basic metabolic panel. In the emergency department, the top three procedures were electrocardiogram (93010), computed tomography (70450), and chest X-ray (71020). The top five drug classes among prescription drugs billed using an NDC code were (1) anticonvulsants, (2) analgesic-opioids, (3) antidepressants, (4) penicillins, and (5) dermatologicals. The mean monthly health plan paid cost for each patient with epilepsy in 2012 was $1028 (SD. =. $3181). Of this total, $761 (SD. =. $2988; 74%) was for medical, and $267 (SD. =. $760; 26%) was for prescription pharmacy claims. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of the patients had one or more of 29 prespecified comorbidities, while 42% had none. Monthly health-care costs increased markedly as the number of comorbidities increased. This information should help guide cost estimates and resource allocation in order to optimally care for people with epilepsy. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Wilner A.N.,Lawrence and Memorial Hospital | Sharma B.K.,Accordant Health Services | Soucy A.,Accordant Health Services | Thompson A.,Accordant Health Services | Krueger A.,Accordant Health Services
Epilepsy and Behavior | Year: 2014

The objectives of this observational study were to determine the prevalence of the most common comorbidities in women and men with epilepsy and to demonstrate the relationship of these comorbidities to health plan paid costs. Data for 6621 members with epilepsy (52% women, 48% men) from eight commercial health plans were analyzed. The presence of comorbidities in people with epilepsy was identified by searching health insurance claims for 29 prespecified comorbidity-specific diagnosis codes. More women (50%) than men (43%) with epilepsy had one or more of the 29 comorbidities (p. <. 0.05). The top 10 comorbidities for women and their relative prevalences were psychiatric diagnosis (16%), hypertension (12%), asthma (11%), hyperlipidemia (11%), headache (7%), diabetes (6%), urinary tract infection (5%), hypothyroidism (5%), anemia (5%), and migraine (4%). For men, the top 10 comorbidities and their relative prevalences were psychiatric diagnosis (15%), hyperlipidemia (12%), hypertension (12%), asthma (8%), diabetes (5%), headache (4%), cancer (4%), coronary artery disease (3%), anemia (3%), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (3%). Seven of the top 10 comorbidities were common to both women and men. Psychiatric diagnosis was the only comorbidity among the top five comorbidities for all age groups. The presence of one comorbidity approximately tripled the health-care cost for that member compared with the cost for members who had no comorbidities. Additional comorbidities generally further increased costs. The increase in health-care cost per member per month ($) with increase in number of comorbidities was greater for men than for women (p. <. 0.05). © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Moran M.S.,Yale University | Moran M.S.,William W Backus Hospital | Ma S.,Yale University | Jagsi R.,University of Michigan | And 11 more authors.
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics | Year: 2013

Purpose: Although complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) utilization in breast cancer patients is reported to be high, there are few data on CAM practices in breast patients specifically during radiation. This prospective, multi-institutional study was conducted to define CAM utilization in breast cancer during definitive radiation. Materials/Methods: A validated CAM instrument with a self-skin assessment was administered to 360 Stage 0-III breast cancer patients from 5 centers during the last week of radiation. All data were analyzed to detect significant differences between users/nonusers. Results: CAM usage was reported in 54% of the study cohort (n=194/360). Of CAM users, 71% reported activity-based CAM (eg, Reiki, meditation), 26% topical CAM, and 45% oral CAM. Only 16% received advice/counseling from naturopathic/ homeopathic/medical professionals before initiating CAM. CAM use significantly correlated with higher education level (P<.001), inversely correlated with concomitant hormone/radiation therapy use (P=.010), with a trend toward greater use in younger patients (P=.066). On multivariate analysis, level of education (OR: 6.821, 95% CI: 2.307-20.168, P<.001) and hormones/radiation therapy (OR: 0.573, 95% CI: 0.347-0.949, P=.031) independently predicted for CAM use. Significantly lower skin toxicity scores were reported in CAM users vs nonusers, respectively (mild: 34% vs 25%, severe: 17% vs 29%, P=.017). Conclusion: This is the first prospective study to assess CAM practices in breast patients during radiation, with definition of these practices as the first step for future investigation of CAM/radiation interactions. These results should alert radiation oncologists that a large percentage of breast cancer patients use CAM during radiation without disclosure or consideration for potential interactions, and should encourage increased awareness, communication, and documentation of CAM practices in patients undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Li X.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Li X.,Ohio State University | McHugh G.A.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Damle N.,South County Internal Medicine | And 3 more authors.
Arthritis and Rheumatism | Year: 2011

Objective To determine the burden and viability of Borrelia burgdorferi in the skin and joints of patients with Lyme disease. Methods Standard and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques were used to detect B burgdorferi DNA in skin samples from 90 patients with erythema migrans (EM) and in synovial fluid (SF) from 63 patients with Lyme arthritis (LA) and in synovial tissue from 9 patients. Quantitative PCR determinations of B burgdorferi DNA, messenger RNA (mRNA), and ribosomal RNA (rRNA) were made in 10 skin samples from EM patients and 11 SF samples from LA patients. Results Skin lesions in most patients with EM had positive PCR results for B burgdorferi DNA. In the majority of patients with LA, a late disease manifestation, PCR results in pretreatment SF samples were positive. In patients with antibiotic-refractory arthritis, positive PCR results persisted for as long as 11 months, but positive results in samples taken during the postantibiotic period did not correlate with relapse or with the subsequent duration of arthritis, and at synovectomy, all results of PCR of synovial tissue were negative. B burgdorferi mRNA, a marker of spirochetal viability, was detected in 8 of 10 skin samples from EM patients, but in none of 11 SF samples from LA patients, even when obtained prior to antibiotic administration. Moreover, the median ratio of spirochetal rRNA to DNA, a measure of ribosomal activity, was 160 in the 10 EM skin samples, but only 0.15 in the 3 LA SF samples with positive results. Conclusion B burgdorferi in the skin lesions of EM patients were active and viable, whereas those in the SF of LA patients were moribund or dead at any time point. Thus, detection of B burgdorferi DNA in SF is not a reliable test of active joint infection in Lyme disease. Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Rheumatology.

Narayan A.,Yale University | Carriero N.J.,Yale University | Gettinger S.N.,Yale University | Kluytenaar J.,Yale University | And 6 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2012

Detection of cell-free tumor DNA in the blood has offered promise as a cancer biomarker, but practical clinical implementations have been impeded by the lack of a sensitive and accurate method for quantitation that is also simple, inexpensive, and readily scalable. Here we present an approach that uses next-generation sequencing to quantify the small fraction of DNA molecules that contain tumor-specific mutations within a background of normal DNA in plasma. Using layers of sequence redundancy designed to distinguish true mutations from sequencer misreads and PCR misincorporations, we achieved a detection sensitivity of approximately 1 variant in 5,000 molecules. In addition, the attachment of modular barcode tags to the DNA fragments to be sequenced facilitated the simultaneous analysis of more than 100 patient samples. As proof-of-principle, we showed the successful use of this method to follow treatment-associated changes in circulating tumor DNA levels in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Our findings suggest that the deep sequencing approach described here may be applied to the development of a practical diagnostic test that measures tumor-derived DNA levels in blood. ©2012 AACR.

Manthous C.A.,Lawrence and Memorial Hospital | Sofair A.N.,Yale University
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: Medicaid is the federal program, administered by states, for health care for the poor. The Affordable Care Act (ACA†) has added a large number of new recipients to this program.Hypothesis: Medicaid programs in some, if not many, states do not provide patients uniform access to subspecialty care guaranteed by the federal statutes. Insofar as the ACA does not address this pre-existing “sub-specialty gap” and more patients are now covered by Medi-caid under the ACA, the gap is likely to increase and may contribute to disparities of health care access and outcomes.Methods: A brief description of previous studies demonstrating or suggesting a subspe-cialty gap in Medicaid services is accompanied by perspectives of the authors, using published literature — most notably the Denver, Colorado health care system — to propose various solutions that may be deployed to address gaps in subspecialty coverage.Results: All published studies describing the Medicaid subspecialty gap are qualitative, survey designs. There are no authoritative objective data regarding the exact prevalence of gaps for each subspecialty in each state. However, surveys of caregivers suggest that gaps were prevalent in the United States prior to initiation of the ACA. Even fewer papers have addressed solutions (in light of the paucity of data describing the magnitude of the problem), and proposed solutions remain speculative and not grounded in objective data.Conclusions: There is reason to believe that a substantial proportion of U.S. citizens — those who are guaranteed a full complement of health services through Medicaid — have difficult or no access to some subspecialty services, many of which other citizens take for granted. This problem deserves greater attention to verify its existence, quantify its magnitude, and develop solutions. © 2014, Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine Inc. All rights reserved.

Manthous C.A.,Lawrence and Memorial Hospital
Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine | Year: 2014

Background: in 2001, graduate medical education in the united states was renovated to better complement 21st century developments in American medicine, society, and culture. As in 1910, when Abraham Flexner was charged to address a relatively non-standardized system that lacked accountability and threatened credibility of the profession, Dr. David Leach led the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME†) Outcome Project in a process that has substantially changed medical pedagogy in the united states. Methods: Brief review of the Flexner report of 1910 and 6 hours of interviews with leaders of the Outcome Project (4 hours with Dr. David Leach and 1-hour interviews with Drs. Paul Batalden and susan swing). Results: Medical educational leaders and the ACGME concluded in the late 1990s that medical education was not preparing clinicians sufficiently for lifelong learning in the 21st century. A confluence of medical, social, and historic factors required definitions and a common vocabulary for teaching and evaluating medical competency. After a deliberate consensus- driven process, the ACGME and its leaders produced a system requiring greater accountability of learners and teachers, in six explicitly defined domains of medical 'competence.' While imperfect, this construct has started to take hold, creating a common vocabulary for longitudinal learning, from undergraduate to post-graduate (residency) education and in the assessment of performance following graduate training. © 2014.

Manthous C.A.,Lawrence and Memorial Hospital
Medical Care | Year: 2014

In a previous article in this point-counter-point, I argued that work actions could be ethically problematic and undermine clinicians' values and goals. I now respond to the elegant arguments made by Ash and colleagues, presenting additional measures that may be required - until health care unions (if ever) grow - to fortify protections for clinicians who advocate for patient safety and medical professionalism.

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