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Indiana Medicare: New, Effective Approaches to Tough Medical Conditions

With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many changes have been made to Medicare coverage, with more expected. One of the changes that will take place is the approach Medicare takes in treating widespread conditions like cardiac disease and obesity. Indiana Medicare will stay abreast of the pending and existing changes in order to administer Medicare for our clients.

One of the changes in recommendations for elderly heart patients may come as a surprise to some. A traditional diet of low-fat foods with a lot of vegetables and fruits is one major factor in the treatment, but an additional recommendation has been made for chronic heart patients who have not responded to health diet alone.

Exercise has also historically been recommended for those who have a combination of obesity and heart disease. However, this recommendation falls on deaf ears in the case of some patients, or is neglected when patients experience the sore muscles that inevitably accompany vigorous physical activity.

However, there is a new approach that, while not exotic or radical, is certainly modern. Doctors at the Silverton Hospital in Woodburn, Oregon have started recommending a non-medical fix for heart disease and obesity – meditation and yoga.

Dr. Frank Lord, emergency physician at the Silverton Hospital, has expressed pleasant surprise at the success of the program the health care provider has implemented. This course, part of Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, is a multidisciplinary program that lasts for one year. Dr. Lord says that once his staff starts treating patients for the stress in their lives, cardiac health and exercise follow.

In fact, after one year in the program, the average weight loss per patient is 22 lbs. In addition, blood sugar levels drop by 23%. Even more surprising, scores on the depression scale plummet by 41%.

Dr. Lord says those results equal what you would get with medical treatments like antidepressants and gastric bypass. Results this dramatic have captured the attention of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is a tremendous step forward for heart and obesity patients, because CMMS has approved coverage for participation in the Ornish program. This is a first for Medicare and Medicaid. These organizations have never approved an “integrated” medical program before. With the new availability of this therapy, patients who need intensive rehabilitation now have the option to bypass the traditional surgical and weight-loss programs that have failed them in the past.

Similarly, Medicare approved coverage for behavioral therapy associated with weight loss therapy. It is now available on referral from the patient’s primary care physician. Indiana Medicare is glad to welcome this additional coverage from Medicare, since many of our clients have suffered from lack of helpful therapies as they recover from heart disease and cope with obesity.

Just as some of our policies cover gym memberships and participation in fitness programs, we are glad to see that the same opportunities are now available to senior citizens. Indiana Medicare will continue to make our clients aware of this great service.

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